La Perdida, The Woman Who Died A Lot, Good Eggs, Pound Foolish, Southland.
La Perdida is a graphic novel about a young Mexican-American woman who goes to Mexico to discover her heritage and escape from her life. The novel is gorgeous, but was hard to read, as almost none of the characters are sympathetic. It also feeds into tropes related to American fears of Mexico at the same time that it dismisses the main character’s fear, which presented a very odd back-and-forth. Perhaps this is meant to be a more accurate picture but I’m not really sure, and had a lot of trouble reconciling the world of the graphic novel with any understanding of Mexican culture.
The Woman Who Died A Lot is the latest Thursday Next novel. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the previous one, which centered on the fictional Thursday Next. I do like how the series changes, and I applaud Fforde for actually letting his characters age and grow, but the focus on Thursday’s disabilities often got in the way of keeping the plot moving and allowing for things to happen. As much as it pains me to say, it may be time for this series to be over.
Good Eggs is a graphic novel that reads as an autobiography, focusing on the author’s struggles with religion, fertility and depression. I imagine there’s many people who would find this book impactful, and it would resonate with them. I was not one of them. Discussions about fertility treatments - not currently a thing I care about.
I enjoyed Pound Foolish, a takedown of the modern consumer financial industry, even as I learned about all of the terrible things that financial advisors do to people (and their money). Pound Foolish reads as an expose starting with the author’s naiveté when she got into personal finance journalism and walking through the history of stock market tips and personal finance gurus. I’m sure it’s not the full picture, but worth picking up nonetheless.
Southland is an awesome exploration of the immigrant narrative and what it means to be part of a culture in the United States. It explores tensions between the Japanese and African-American communities in Los Angeles, and reflects on the Watts Riot of the 1980s and Japanese internment of the 1940s. I really enjoyed this book - there are some elements that are overwrought, and the main same sex relationship has some terrible cliches, but I thought that the author created great characters and a fascinating look at a family’s interaction with both Los Angeles and the United States in general.