Books I Read in September 2020

Actually read not-a-graphic novel this month! It was a collection of scary stories for kids, but still. YAY!

Get Jiro!

Get Jiro! by Anthony Bourdain

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This reminded me a lot of Transmetropolitan, Vol. 1: Back on the Street – maybe because of the art style, but I think mostly because of the attitude. The wacky, messed up future, where chef’s RULE THE WORLD! I mean, on the opening pages, Jiro beheads someone for dipping their rice into the (wasabi filled) soy sauce first, rather than the sushi. Pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the story. Frantic and weird, but perfect for fans of Transmet and other twisted and darkly comedic visions of the future.

When Stars Are Scattered

When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jamieson’s retelling of Omar Mohamed’s life growing up in a refugee camp is another book I would like to get into the hands of so many children growing up in comfort right now. For any child that has never been displaced and has always had everything provided for them. To be put into the shoes of young Omar as he learned to live on a small amount of food each day, to care for his younger brother who was traumatized by their mother’s disappearance and has seizures. The desire to go to school and how much competition their was to continue that schooling.

Omar’s story opened my eyes to the refugee experience in a way I hadn’t been before. I think most of the books I had read before were either someone trying to get into a country (Illegal) or someone trying to assimilate after already arriving. But reading about the waiting, being trapped in a camp with no real place to call home…it is an important story and I am really glad that it is in a format that is engaging for younger readers and perhaps even reluctant readers.

I hope kids that are fans of Jamieson’s other books pick this one up, even though it is completely unlike anything else she has done before. Actually, I guess that is not true because both of her other books are about growing up and finding your place. This story is just a lot more urgent since it deals with the world crisis of refugees trying to find a way to live a normal life again.

Fever Year: The Killer Flu of 1918

Fever Year: The Killer Flu of 1918 by Don Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was published in JULY of 2019 as part of the 100 year anniversary of the 1918 pandemic…who could have guessed that just a few months later, the world would yet again be thrown into chaos. It also means you can’t say this book is “political” or “pushing an agenda” when it comes to the parallels of the 1918 influenza and the 2019 coronavirus.

They say that those that don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. This book shows that 2020 was a bit too on the nose. Reading through the start of the pandemic and seeing the drawings of a shut down movie theater and closed public school…yikes. Quotes from government officials saying it wasn’t a big deal, that the best thing to do was not panic..

This is a very quick read, a brief synopsis of this pandemic in history, which, with everything else going on, is about all I could really handle.

Department of Mind-Blowing Theories

Department of Mind-Blowing Theories by Tom Gauld

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This collection of science themed comics from Gauld are just as quirky and dry in their humor as his other collections. I believe most of these were written for different science publications which means sometimes the jokes felt very niche or similar to one another as he poked fun at the science community. I still found myself chuckling though and it was fun to flip through this on a quiet afternoon.

Don’t Turn Out the Lights: A Tribute to Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Don’t Turn Out the Lights: A Tribute to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Jonathan Maberry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Getting in the mood for the spooky season, I picked up this colletion of short scary stories for middle grade readers. I was a BIG fan of the ‘Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark’ trilogy as a kid. This collection is just as creepy and terrifying as those stories were. Ghosts in the woods, monsters in the closet, and other creepy creatures lurk on every page. I’m not going to lie – I went to bed after reading a few stories and found myself genuinely spooked as I sat in the dark!

If you or your kid is a fan of the horror genre, this is a great set of stories for the Halloween season. Just know that after you finish reading these stories, you might be saying “Don’t turn out the lights!” to your family!

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