My May reading is introduced to you by Schenok!
Suzanne van Rooyen “Scardust” [South Africa, Sweden]
Yōko Ogawa “The Housekeeper and the Professor” (博士の愛した数式) [Japan]
武内 直子 『美少女戦士セーラームーン』 vol. 10 (Naoko Takeuchi “Sailor Moon” vol. 10) [Japan]
Мария Людвика Крюгер “Голубая бусинка” (Maria Krüger “Karolcia”) [Poland]
Karoliina Korhonen “Finnish Nightmares. A Different Kind of Social Guide to Finland” [Finland]
Maria Autio “Varjopuutarha” [Finland]
Octavia E. Butler “Fledgling” [USA]
A short story:
N.K. Jemisin “The Brides of Heaven” [USA]
“Dead Rock, Texas, 2037
Raleigh Williams made a promise to his brother before he died, that he’d scatter his ashes on Mars. Desperate to leave a life of bad memories behind and start over in the Martian colony, Raleigh fully intends to keep that promise. But his plans are thwarted when a meteor near-misses him in the desert, and Raleigh finds in its crater not debris or even a spacecraft, but a man covered in swirling scars and with no memory of who he is. At least he looks like a man—a man Raleigh can’t seem to keep his eyes off of—but whenever they touch it ignites a memory swap between them.”
This book made me realise how much I'm drawn to the stories of growth and healing, of positive change. Raleigh Williams has been through a lot (and will go through A LOT in this book, because writers like to make their characters and readers suffer! ;p), and the path to healing isn't easy. Scardust is packed with awesome. Every page is soaked in exciting plot twists and swoon-worthy characters. There's a cute dog, there are many Dune references, and omg what a gorgeous cover! Go buy it already. ;)
(Pssst, I drew a fanart for Scardust, check it here.)
The Housekeeper and the Professor
“He is a brilliant math Professor with a peculiar problem - ever since a traumatic head injury, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory. She is an astute young Housekeeper, with a ten-year-old son, who is hired to care for him. And every morning, as the Professor and the Housekeeper are introduced to each other anew, a strange and beautiful relationship blossoms between them. Though he cannot hold memories for long (his brain is like a tape that begins to erase itself every eighty minutes), the Professor’s mind is still alive with elegant equations from the past. And the numbers, in all of their articulate order, reveal a sheltering and poetic world to both the Housekeeper and her young son. The Professor is capable of discovering connections between the simplest of quantities - like the Housekeeper’s shoe size - and the universe at large, drawing their lives ever closer and more profoundly together, even as his memory slips away. The Housekeeper and the Professor is an enchanting story about what it means to live in the present, and about the curious equations that can create a family.”
A short but beautiful Japanese novel that might make you fall in love with mathematics. I enjoyed watching these characters become a family. And the Professor's 80-minutes memory span was quite fascinating to read about.
“I'd always thought that human beings invented numbers.”
“No, not at all. If that were the case, they wouldn't be so difficult to understand and there'd be no need for mathematicians. No one actually witnessed the first numbers come into being—when we first became aware of them, they'd already been around for a long time.”
Sailor Moon vol. 10
The final volume! :T Now I have Sailor V vol.2 to read and that's it. The story here was so different from the final season of the 90's anime! Not sure which one I like more. The manga story is quite epic and beautifully drawn but most of the characters don't get much development here. The anime had so many episodes that you got to know everyone really well.
A Polish children's book, the kind that is not really enjoyable for grown-ups. It felt too preachy, “good kids do this” kind of thing. Cute illustrations though!
“When they have to promote themselves. When an acquaintance says hello by kissing them on a cheek. When they owe a favour. When they wait for a bus in pouring rain, but there´s already someone under the pentice. When they run out of coffee.
That's when it happens. A Finnish awkward moment.
The character of Karoliina Korhonen´s comic strips is Finnish Matti, who loves silence and personal space. If someone gets angry or is behaving badly, he wonders what he has done wrong.
Finnish Nightmares is a book about what it is like to be a Finn in social occasions. For a foreigner the book opens implied codes that can be difficult to understand but are shared with all Finns.”
This was cute! As an introvert, I could relate to many of the comics, which by the way you can find here.
“Lukiota käyvä, lievästi autistinen Pihla joutuu kohtaamaan menneisyytensä, kun alakoulun erityisluokalta tuttu Matja palaa hänen elämäänsä. Pihla tapaa Matjan koulun lähistöllä sijaitsevassa pusikoituneessa barokkipuutarhassa, josta on tullut Pihlalle tärkeä paikka. Matja pysyy Pihlalle pitkään arvoituksellisena, mutta vähitellen kaikki kerrokset paljastuvat. Vaaratilanne puutarhassa pakottaa Pihlan kohtaamaan pelkonsa. Aina ei voi turvautua äitiin. On pakko itsenäistyä. Monitasoinen tarina luotaa autistisen tytön todellisuutta poikkeuksellisen herkällä tavalla. Millaista on elää ns. normaalien maailmassa, jos meteli ja kosketus aiheuttavat kipua tai jos oma olemus on aina muiden silmissä kummallinen? Jos ei ymmärrä ajan kulkua tai löydä perille? Maria Aution vakavan mutta toivorikkaan kirjan keskiössä on Pihlan ja hänen äitinsä lämmin suhde, joka antaa voimaa molemmille.”
A Finnish YA novel with an autistic protagonist. It's a quiet story of growing up different from other kids and finding strength and independence. This year I'm trying to read a lot in Finnish, to better understand this lovely country and its people and of course to improve my Finnish. Varjopuutarha was a pleasant book for me as a language learner – not too hard, not too easy. It's a standalone, otherwise I would happily read more about Pihla!
“Fledgling is the story of an apparently young, amnesiac girl whose alarmingly unhuman needs and abilities lead her to a startling conclusion: She is in fact a genetically modified, 53-year-old vampire. Forced to discover what she can about her stolen former life, she must at the same time learn who wanted—and still wants—to destroy her and those she cares for and how she can save herself.”
Octavia Butler's last novel. :'( A creepy tale about vampires that made me uncomfortable sometimes. Quite infodump-y but thought-provoking. As usual with her works, very diverse cast of characters which is always a yay for me.