Read Harder 2018: This Is Why It’s Called A Challenge

This month, I needed to read a science fiction novel with a female lead or written by a female author as well as a comic that isn't published by Marvel, DC or Image. I've had pretty good luck with science fiction novels I've read for this challenge, so I guess it was time for a clunker. What I should have done was go with my instinct - I really wanted to read Octavia Butler's Kindred. But the library recently won a grant to do a project around this title, and I want to be able to take part with the community, so I decided to try something else. You know when you're reading a book and you keep hoping it will get better, but really it never does? That's what reading All the Birds in the Sky felt like. It's set in the future and boils down to magic vs. technology and two misfit kids who are now misfit adults and can they save the world or not. I know, there's more to it than that, and it was a starred review and won some awards, and I probably missed a gazillion references that would have made the story better. All I know is that it felt like a slog.

I was looking forward to reading an off-the-beaten path comic since I've been introduced to some fun graphic novels through the past few years of this challenge. I guess this month was just going to be my "not it" month for challenge reading. I tried two: Mimi Pond's The Customer Is Always Wrong and Brennan Mulligan's Strong Female Protagonist. Since I worked in food service in college, I figured a comic about a quirky café in Oakland in the late '70s would be up my alley. But a few too many quirks and too many drugs and frankly it was just more depressing than inspiring. So I dug into my 2nd comic and remembered that I'm really more of a fan of graphic novels that aren't about super heroes but are more about other kinds of stories, just told graphically. This was definitely a comic of the super hero variety. Although the heroine didn't want to be a super hero any more and was trying to just live like a regular college student, her super strength and earlier history as a super hero made that close to impossible. One thing that I did enjoy were the footnotes on just about every page. I'm a sucker for footnotes - my favorite use of them is found in The Spellman Files.   

I've realized when I don't like the books I'm reading for the challenge, I often run into issues with other books I'm reading that month. And when the challenge is smoother, my other books tend to be better matches. This month was all in the negative, but I know it will get better as I move through the rest of this year's challenge.

Karen for Ravenous Readers