The 2021 Reading List: July

Since one of my writing goals was to read more, I thought it would help to keep track of what I knocked off Mount Tsundoku. Here’s as good a place as any to post what I’ve read and what I thought of each book immediately after finishing.

Back in 2020 I decided to be a little more systematic about my reading plans. I started putting an actual to-read pile to stack on the nightstand and limited the stack to five books, which seemed doable for the month. Occasionally comics and graphic novels or roleplaying games jump the queue, but I typically tried to get through the pile in the order I stacked them. I also used this strategy to try and diversify my reading. The goal was for each to-read pile to contain at least one book by a BIPOC or LGBTQ2S+ author, one book by a woman, one non-fiction book, and one book by an author I know personally.

Creating these piles is getting a little trickier, as I’m having a bit of trouble filling all if my criteria from stack to stack, and I’m never precisely sure when a library book will arrive. Despite all of the library reading I’ve been doing I still plan on trying to read through the books on my own shelves as much as possible and reading beyond my typical fantasy proclivities.

An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire: The third book in the October Daye series, and probably my favourite of the bunch during my first read through. This was the book that gave the series momentum for me. After I read it, I was hooked. No different this time around.

The Immortal Hulk Volume 6: We Believe in Bruce Banner by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Tom Reilly, and Matías Bergara:

The Immortal Hulk Volume 7: Hulk is Hulk by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Butch Guice, and Mike Hawthorne:

This is still one of my favourite takes on Hulk in a long time. The number of pencilers to say nothing of the inkers, and colourists is making the series feel a little less coherent for me than the earlier volumes. It references a lot of the Marvel universe, but so far seems to be existing outside of Marvel’s big events. So long as that continues, I’ll likely keep reading.

The Coffin Maker’s Garden by Stuart MacBride: MacBride is a fantastic crime writer. It’s been a while since I’ve read anything by him. I devoured the first Ash Henderson novel, but found this one a little slower to get into. Probably because I missed the intervening novels in the series. Once I got into it though, I couldn’t put it down. Like a lot of MacBride’s work, it is fucking bleak.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley: A vampire novel I’ve been meaning to read for ages. So glad it was so much more than just that, and entirely unexpected.

Captain America Vol. 3 The Legend of Steve by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jason Masters, Sean Izaakse, Niko Walter, Bob Quinn, and Lucas Werneck: I still really enjoy Coates’ take on Captain America. I’ll definitely check out more of his comic work. Izaakse’s art is probably my favourite in the collection.

Disappearing Nightly by Laura Resnick: The first Esther Diamond urban fantasy rereleased by the series’ current publisher. Really enjoyed the longer introduction to Esther’s world and cast despite knowing how it turned out from reading Doppelgangster.

Vamparazzi by Laura Resnick: I think this might end up being my favourite in the series. We finally learn what is up with Max and Lithuanians. An interesting take on vampires too.

Polterheist by Laura Resnick: A holiday themed adventure with Esther stuck working as an elf in a huge department store. It really tickled me as someone who has endlessly toiled in the holiday retail mines, even if I never had to dress up as an elf.

Curses, Boiled Again by Shari Randall: Returning to the Lobster Shack series and reading the first book in Allie Larkin’s adventures. A fun read.

Outlaw Justice by Adam Knight: Book 2 in the Overdrive series. Two-fisted action in this urban fantasy series set in Winnipeg continues. Knight is growing the world from the first book. More powers. More mysteries. The great voice for his protagonist Joe is still very evident. Gut punch of an ending.

The Misfortune Cookie by Laura Resnick: Another Esther Diamond urban fantasy. This one didn’t work as well for me as some of the others, and I find the series most successful when it doesn’t hew too closely to one culture’s folklore and concentrates on Resnick’s original worldbuilding. Still a fun read for me.

Abracadaver by Laura Resnick: Another Esther Diamond urban fantasy novel. It follows almost immediately on the heel of The Misfortune Cookie. I enjoyed it a little bit more, and am still excited for the next volume in the series.

The Immortal Hulk Volume 8 The Keeper of the Door by Al Ewing and Joe Bennett: Still loving this series.

Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones: An absolutely fantastic werewolf novel. Stephen Graham Jones has a wonderful authoria0 voice, and I highly recommend it to any werewolf or horror fan, or even to an urban fantasy lover looking for a stretch.

Against the Claw by Shari Randall: Book 2 in Randall’s Lobster Shack series. A fun cozy mystery series despite my dislike of seafood.

Haunted Heroine by Sarah Kuhn: The third of Kuhn’s superhero flavoured urban fantasy series. Evie is back as narrator facing ghosts literal and metaphorical at her old alma mater. A very enjoyable volume in a fun series.

Cobra Clutch by A.J. Devlin: The first “Hammerhead Jed” mystery. I really dug the voice in this one. A retired professional wrestler turned bouncer/amateur sleuth. Will definitely check out the next volume in the series.

American Hippo by Sarah Gailey: Lots of fun in this collection of two novellas and two short stories imagining a hippopotamus filled American south (which wildly could’ve happened!). The first novella, River of Teeth was my favourite piece, but Taste of Marrow was still very enjoyable. The short stories “Worth Her Weight in Gold” and “Nine and a Half” work best if you’re already invested in the world and characters (which I was) in my opinion. Hard to say what my thoughts would be if I’d read them in isolation. The world Gailey created here is weird, and I enjoyed reading it, but wish I could inhabit it…like I’d love to see a roleplaying game set in this universe.

Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga: This was a really tough read, but should be read by every settler Canadian.

Here’s what I read in January.

Here’s what I read in February

Here’s what I read in March.

Here’s what I read in April.

Here’s what I read in May.

Here’s what I read in June.

Also, check out the roundup of my 2020 reading here.