Ooof. I planned to keep a record of every book I read but I’m so far behind now, I’ll just quickly catch up with a few that I liked best.
The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
This was my first time reading Donna Tartt and, good grief, I’m glad I finally did. The Little Friend is her second novel, which is partially about the unsolved murder of a 9-year-old boy but mostly about the events over a decade later involving his little sister. Harriet (the sister) is an overly serious, smart, and gutsy 12-year old who decides to spend her summer finding her brother’s killer. Her top suspect is Danny, a former classmate of the deceased brother, and she is relentless in tracking him. In turn, Danny becomes increasingly paranoid about a kid following him around as he tries to move drugs. There are some really funny moments (shoulder pad snake bites!) and some really suspenseful moments, however, the magic of the book is in Tartt’s beautiful, gloomy descriptions. Her ability to construct flowery wording for everything from housework to meth-heads is nothing short of brilliant. The strength of her writing hits doubly hard when applied to Harriet’s losses and the general shittiness of adults.
Insatiable by Asa Akira
Moving on to a woman of very different acclaim, I picked up Asa Akira’s memoir, Insatiable: Porn – A Love Story. Akira opens with a description of an on-set sex scene that leaves nothing to the imagination and moves breezily around her early thieving days as a prep school kid in Manhattan, to a dominatrix, to an award-winning porn actor. I think anyone looking for gritty insight into sex culture would be disappointed but I found her positive perspective in the porn industry very refreshing. And very, very funny. There are countless laugh-out-loud parts of the book (‘there’s no ‘i’ in gangbang’), and her rad sense of humor helps maintain an enjoyable tone while never glossing over hardships such as marital issues and jail time. I wish I heard from more Asian American women in other entertainment fields who were this cool and confident.
S.F. #3 by Ryan Cecil Smith
Ah, yet another cartoonist I’m getting into late. The good guys, Space Fleet Scientific Foundation Special Forces (S.F.S.F.S.F.), are at war with the bad guys, the Pirate Nation. There is so much goofiness and awesomeness crammed into this space adventure I don’t even know what else to say except that it is delightful. Highly recommended for sci-fi nerds and comics readers of all ages.