I was fortunate enough to be able to spend the majority of June reading primarily for enjoyment. I read 4 poetry collections, a poetry chapbook, and several comic books. I was able to knock out 3 books that were on my poetry TBR back in April, and am excited to report some of my hits and misses. Everything I read this month was pretty short, so there are a lot of books to cover. Let’s dive in!
I literally cannot praise this comic enough. The story is brilliant, tragic, and too potentially realistic for comfort. The artwork–just look at the cover!–is absolutely stunning. When I closed the back cover on this paperback (the first 6 issues) I felt empty inside. I needed more. I needed to know what was next. I needed to pick up a pencil and draw one of the characters so that I could continue interacting with the text. Needless to say, I’m hooked.
Low is set far into the future after the sun expands and heats the earth to an uninhabitable temperature. Humanity resides in ships down in the deepest depths of the ocean, and has sent probes out into space looking for inhabitable planets. The story follows Stel Caine who, despite traumatic circumstances, seems to be the only human left who has hope for the future of humanity. The story is tragic, even from the first few pages, but it completely captured my attention. I mean, look:
Our Lady of the Crossword by Rigoberto Gonzalez
This was the June book selection for the Rumpus Poetry Book Club. It’s a teeny tiny chapbook of poetry… but don’t let the size fool you. The poems here are powerful, thought-provoking pieces that examine sexuality across borders, our relation to the natural environment, familial relationships, and other topics. I really enjoyed this one and would recommend this tiny read to anyone looking for poetry that covers homosexual or Latin themes… or, you know, just to anyone who enjoys poetry.
And look at that cover image! Stunning.
Sappho translated by Mary Barnard
I was admittedly disappointed with this one, but that’s probably just cause I didn’t know what I was getting. I’ve only read works by Sappho as they appeared in a few anthologies I own, and translated by who-knows-who. Going in, I really expected this collection to be more erotic… and I was pretty disappointed when it wasn’t.
I was ecstatic when I found this collection of Sappho’s poetry a few months back at Barnes and Noble. I had been looking for a collection of her work for months and this was a darling (but pricey, at $17) little copy. Of course, the very next day after I purchased this, I was told that I should read the Anne Carson translation and forego all the others. I wish I had heard that advice before I purchased this copy… this translation didn’t really hit home for me, and I’d love to compare it to Anne Carson’s translation once I get my hands on it.
Wolf Doctors by Russ Woods
Where do I even begin? I want to lend this book out. I want others to see how poetry can be funny and entertaining and strange and also so very strangely dark all at the same time and still look so pretty. Read this. It’s fun. Also, sad.
War of the Foxes by Richard Siken
I pre-ordered this one on Amazon, and anxiously waited for months for it to arrive in the mail. Of course, it stood patiently on my book shelf for another couple of months before I actually got to reading it. I admit, this book didn’t speak to me quite the same way Siken’s first book, Crush, did. But then again, I had unattainable hopes for this one. I wanted to love it more than I loved Crush. But, you guys, Crush left me speechless. Crush left me empty when I was done reading it. Crush had me drawing thematic maps in my Moleskine because the images were too many spiderwebs to exist only in my brain. How could I possibly hope for more than what Siken has already given me?
So I’ll leave it at that. Siken is an incredible poet, and will forever be one of my favorites, and this new book really is beautiful…
Bitch Planet No. 1 by DeConnick, De Landro, Peter, & Cowles
I had to pick up the first copy of Bitch Planet on account of the radical women at Book Riot raving about this comic the past several months all over social media. I read this issue pretty quickly at a tea shop and will definitely need to read it over much more closely a second time. This comic brings readers to a world where non-compliant women are sent to an inhumane prison-like environment called Bitch Planet. It seems as though their husbands send them there when they step out of line, and men are often happy to gain a younger, more attractive replacement. I’ll definitely need to read this one again to become more familiar with plot. Overall, the first issue was good, but I’m happy to wait until August to read the next several issues when the trade paperback comes out.
Overwinter by Jeremy Pataky
Really excellent poems about the Alaskan wilderness here. I would recommend this poetry collection to anyone who was a fan of Mary Oliver’s American Primitive. If you’re curious, check out my review on NewPages: here.
Black Science Volume 1 How to Fall Forever by Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera, and Dean White
I picked this comic up during my lunch hour a few weeks back when I had a lull in my reading obligations and was craving a new comic. I only had about 20 minutes to browse and decided upon Black Science since it was written by the same man who wrote Low, and because I’m becoming quite the fan of Image Comics. I really, really could not get into this. I’m surprised I was even able to finish it considering the fact that it really had no redeeming qualities for me to dig into.
This comic is about an anarchistic scientist who creates a pillar that can transcend typical boundaries of time and space and place travelers into any dimension of the eververse. This means that anything that has ever been imagined by anyone exists somewhere in some dimension and can now be accessed by travelers using this pillar. I guess the hope was that tremendous inventions and the cure to cancer could be found once the eververse was mapped out… but I have to think there are a lot more nightmares and horrific things out there than there are good, and when the pillar goes haywire and sends travelers in and out of horrific worlds, they experience this firsthand.
I guess this is a pretty popular comic, but it really just wasn’t for me. Like, at all.
Overall, June was a great reading month for me. I knocked some items off my TBR, discovered some new comics, and enjoyed several poetry collections.
As for the coming months? Well…
What have you been reading this past month?