What we’re reading: Meg Medina, Ibi Zoboi & Brian K. Vaughan
Each week we bring you a sample of the books we’re reading, the films and TV shows we’re watching, and the music we’re listening to.
Tuareg musician Bombino has a new album out and it’s a beauty. Similar in style to other desert blues bands like Tinariwen, Bombino has a heavier guitar sound and likes to riff and rock out a bit more than most. This album features songs about love and his embattled culture. The tracks that feature his fantastic acoustic picking over traditional percussion are hauntingly beautiful. Highly recommended.
Leanne Hall is reading American Street by Ibi Zoboi
I was drawn to Ibi Zoboi’s American Street because its themes of migration and government detention are, sadly, all too pertinent in the current political climate. Fabiola and her mother fly from Port-Au-Prince, Haiti to America to start afresh, but when they land, only Fabiola is allowed into the country, while her mother is whisked away by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Fabiola has to pursue her new life alone in Detroit, along with her aunt, and her cousins, Pri, Donna and Chantal.
This is a fantastic depiction of a young woman who is naïve, but also brave and resilient. Zoboi does a brilliant job showing Fabiola as she assimilates some aspects of American culture and resists others, artlessly flirts with danger, and finds a way to stay in comforting contact with Haitian beliefs. Fabiola views the rough streets of Detroit through a lens of vodou, endowing the people around her with the characteristics of Haitian lwas or spirits. As Fabiola becomes entangled in a web of crime, drugs, police, and family, her strong perspective gives the tragic events that follow an ominous and fated feel.
Paul Goodman is reading Saga by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
The Saga comics have been compared to Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and Romeo & Juliet, but having now caught up with this incredible series, all I can do is beg everyone to read this singular work.
The tale of two soldiers from opposing armies and different species falling in love and protecting their daughter from the ensuing fallout is such an accomplished and imaginative world that it appeals across the board – managing to be the best of genre with its spacefaring swashbuckling plot, while the literary flourishes dotted throughout are enough for even the most sophisticated tastes. The story and dialogue by Brian K. Vaughan is complex but not convoluted, and the artwork by Fiona Staples has made me cry as much as it has made me laugh and feel thoroughly great about myself. Enter the ruthless war between Wreath and Landfall and learn how we all have the capacity for great beauty, charity and revenge. Bloody, bloody revenge.
Bronte Coates is reading Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina
I’ve had this historical YA novel on my to-read list for several months now and finally picked it up over the weekend. Burn Baby Burn is set during New York’s infamous summer of 1977 – when the city was besieged by arson, a massive blackout and a serial killer named Son of Sam. The story centres on seventeen-year-old Nora as she deals with not only the heady tension and fear in the city, but also her own strained family situation, financial struggles, the challenges of deciding what to do after high school, and the arrival of a complicated (and far too cute) new boy on the scene. This is a richly imagined, fast-paced story that will grip you from page one.