What I Read
Slade House by David Mitchell
Once every 9 years on the last Saturday in October, a specially chosen guest is lured into Slade Alley. They discover a small black door with no handle. When they touch the door it swings open and they discover an impossibly large, impossibly lush garden – and mansion – on the other side. The chosen guests are never seen again. This short novel tells the story of several of those specially chosen guests, ranging from 1979 to 2015. Why are they chosen? How is the massive Slade House in such a small space? Who is luring them there? For a short novel, this story is an intricate blend of genre-bending back-story and masterful clues. Highly, highly recommend for anyone who wants a quick, engrossing, and thought-provoking read. The whole book blossomed from a short story Mitchell published on Twitter.
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
This is easily one of the best, boldest stories I’ve read in a long time. Alana and Marko met during the war. She’s a winged book-lover from the planet Landfall. He’s a curly-horned warrior from Landfall’s moon and perpetual enemy, Wreath. Yes they fall in love. And they have a child. The story is told from the perspective of a baby on the run. Like Sandman by Neil Gaiman, this graphic novel series is richly imagined and unpredictable – dozens of gruesome monsters and strange, stunning landscapes are introduced once and never seen again, little peaks into an intricate universe. As the name suggests this is a big story: deep emotions, complicated characters, shocking action, and stunning illustration.
Other Graphic Novels:
I’ve kind of been on a Graphic Novel blitz this month. Here’s what I’ve read and loved lately:
— Karissa Alcox (@karissadawna) January 18, 2016
I’m currently working on The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (feminist fantasy, soon to be a movie starring Emma Watson), Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (a fan-fic-esque novel of a Harry Potter spin-off), Speak by Louisa Hall (unique epistolary novel about artificial intelligence), Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins (a drought-based post-apocalyptic love story) and Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman (funny but deeply moving YA novel about gender identity).
What I Watched
The Big Short
Somehow this based-on-true events movie about the housing market crash is fascinating and hilarious. Even if you don’t know anything about banking or mortgages, you’ll still find value in this movie – plus it catches you up on the terms pretty quick. With actors like Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Steve Carrel, Ryan Gosling, and yes Selena Gomez, it’s hard to look away. You’ll learn something, you’ll get excited, you’ll get mad, and you’ll enjoy it.
What I Listened To
My Dance Floor by Radio Radio
Ever since seeing Radio Radio perform at In The Soil last year, I’ve been watching the band to see what they’d come out with next. This week they released the video for their new single, and it’s funky.
What I Played
My brother surprised me with the ultimate board game Christmas gift – a massively intricate story-version of my favourite co-operative game, Pandemic. The game comes with multiple sealed boxes and secret files that you can’t open until directed by the game. Your goal is still to save the world from multiple diseases, but this time your actions in each game affect all your future games. You write on the board. You rip up cards. You place stickers to indicate rioting cities. I can’t say much more without revealing spoilers – but this is probably the best board game I’ve ever played in my life. And also the most stressful.
I’ve seen this game turn up on so many “Best Games of 2015” lists that I had to give it a try. At my latest Board Game Cafe program at the library I got a chance – and I have to say, it lives up to the hype. No one wanted to stop playing! It’s an interesting type of party game – one that requires deep thinking and careful communication skills. A grid of 25 words are on the table. There are two teams, and each team has an appointed captain. The captains must get their team clues, in the form of a single word, to get them to guess designated words. The goal is for your team to guess all your words first. As a team captain, you feel like you’re creating riddles and word puzzles for your team. I have to say, I think the hardest part is staying straight faced while your team analyzes your clues. I think this would be an AMAZING game for a grade 6, 7 or 8 class room.
What I Did
I got engaged! On December 19th 2015 my boyfriend and best friend of 2.5 years asked me to marry him and I said YES. The proposal was an elaborate surprise that I did NOT see coming that day. Does anyone really expect to get engaged at a storage unit? Nonetheless, it was extremely romantic and very us. Plus there was a fancy cheese picnic and a cool hangout nook. Afterwards we went to dinner at a local restaurant, Proof, and it was wonderful. Now, let the wedding planning begin!
What books have you loved this month?