I’m a sucker for these blogging-meme games; you may have seen some of my Let’s Talk Bookish posts, and I’ve signed up for Bloganuary this year and encourage you to do the same. (Side-note, the social aspect of blogger-culture and the WordPress community’s hospitality and good nature is something I hadn’t even considered when starting my site, and has been a huge factor in continuing to blog here.)
So needless to say, I saw this shit and said ‘Yes, I will win this list that quantifies something I’m supposed to be doing for fun, a thing that is both possible to do and normal to want’. I am, at least, proud that I managed to resist my urge to design and implement and Experience Point system where you could get a multiplier based on whether you’d already tagged an entry in a given category and a bonus for titles that hit more than one category, etc.; that’s probably a little much, he said, hoping someone would jump into the comments and ask him to do that.
Birdie was pretty clear that there are no real rules per se, and at commenters’ requests clarified a few things like re-reads being perfectly valid for list-hits as long as you read them in ’23, comics being valid (GUESS WHO ASKED THAT ONE), that you can count a given book for multiple categories if you like, and that a fun thing to do might be trying to ‘lap’ the list by completing it more than once, stuff like that. For my part, I’m going to try to keep it to as few comics as possible, and try to only count one tag per book.
Join in, and add whatever rules and modifications would make it for fun for you!
1. Animal Sidekick
1.15: How To Invent Everything: A Survival Guide For The Stranded Time-Traveler – Ryan North
The animal sidekick in question is North’s beloved and, sadly, only just recently departed doggo Noam Chompsky, and if you find yourself asking “Can an author’s real-life pet really count as an ‘animal sidekick’ for the purposes of a scavenger hunt?”, I will rebut:
-1. What are you, a cop, and
-2. At one point in the book, Chompsky appears and has a Socratic dialogue with another speaker about whether water wheels are superior to windmills as a source of steady, renewable energy. The winner gets belly-rubs, and you’ll have to read it to find out.
This book is rad and I recommend it for anyone who, like myself, loves to learn but doesn’t actively read a lot of nonfiction, because it’s laid out very intuitively, the explanations are detailed and chunky enough to leave you satisfied and pulling bits out of your teeth later but not enough to overwhelm or bore (and extensive further reading notes are included), and it is hilarious, in case the bit where the author’s dog–who once stole a live fish out of a fisherman’s bucket and fucking hightailed it for Ottowa–engages in one of the oldest forms of rhetorical education didn’t clue you in. This book taught me that my pinky finger is just about six centimeters long! And also how to make lye, set a broken bone in what seems like the most painful way possible, and eventually build a computer!
2. Inspired By A Culture OTHER Than Any In Western Europe
4. Merlin Character
5. Green Cover
6. Female Villain
7. Time Travel
8. Final Book In A Series
9. Sword On The Cover
10. Found Family
11. Title __ Of __
12. New To You Author
14. YA Book
15. Set On A Space Ship
16. Magic House
17. Urban Fantasy
18. More Than Two Women
19. First Person POV
20. Hugo Winner
21. LGBTQ+ Main Character
23. 2023 Release (A Fun Coincidence!)
24. POC Author
25. Space Opera
1.3: The Nightmare Stacks (The Laundry Files, #7) – Charles Stross
Cold-blooded, murderous elves from the earth next door finally run out of reasons not to invade ours and murder us all! Did I mention the murder part. Also, one of them wants to date our main character, a wampire on a government leash! Will she show up to meet his parents for dinner on one of their brontosaurian basilisk-dragons?! What if they ask what she does for a living, she can’t just say “Genocide-Princess”! It’s frowned upon!
The basilisk-dragons in question, BTW, do turn people to stone, as long as you agree that “converting 1/10th of all carbon molecules in anything organic into silicon molecules, causing instant petrification and the release of horrific heats and energies” meets the definition.
1.24: A Journal Of My Father – Jiro Taniguchi (Comic Selection For January)
This is not a “true story” in that it didn’t, how you say, “happen”, but it’s a true story in that “shut up”, it “made me cry”.
Set in 1950’s Japan, AJOMF deals with a barber and his family in the waning days of the post-WWII American occupation of Japan–oh, were you not taught about that in school? Me neither!–and how a man struggles to provide for his family, who in turn feel distanced from and ignored by him for it, not in an ungrateful way, but in the way that it’s hard to love and appreciate someone you never see, and as his son grows older throughout the story he has to deal with that and its consequences.
The son–now a grown Tokyo salaryman–returns home for the first time in more than a decade when his father dies, and in handling the funeral learns that his father was much more than the workaholic he remembered, as he is loved and eulogized by people who knew him in the life he had before and after his son.
This was an extremely rough read for me, just because I found it very relatable and guilt-inducing not because it’s a mean book interested in guilting you, but because I am also a bad son whose relationship with his father could be best described as ‘complicated’ unless you’ve got three fucking hours for me to map out my very biased, one-sided perspective on it.