Skip to content

What We’re Reading: December Round-Up

2016 December 1

What We're ReadingToday’s What We’re Reading features our staff picks for December. Perhaps you’re looking for gift ideas for a reader in your life, or maybe you’re looking for unique inspiration for your own holiday wish list. Whatever your gift desires, there is something here for many different types of readers. We’ve gathered a superhero comic book collection, a unique handmade, letterpressed book of poems, a thriller featuring a potential female psychopath, and a collection of over 40 writers and artists from Minneapolis. Happy reading and gift-giving, folks.

young-avengersYoung Avengers by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and friends (Marvel Comics, 2013-2014)
Reviewed by Aaron

Young Avengers is every teen self-discovery road movie. There’s the rich kid (Hawkeye), the transfer student (Marvel Boy), the orphan (Hulkling), the surprisingly normal one (Wiccan), the rough one (Ms. America Chavez), the nerd (Prodigy), and the troublemaker (Loki). There are pop culture references, smooching, and vengeful exes. There is a pounding drive to keep away from parents. But it’s not ’cause parents just don’t understand. No, it’s because parents are A COSMIC HORROR INVADING FROM A FASCISTLY PURE PRISON DIMENSION.

Young Avengers is every superhero vs. cosmic horror comic. There is an evil dystopia dimension. There is a beautiful utopia dimension. One would not exist without the other. Everyone has a chance to see what they’d become if they gave in to their base impulses, but they’re equally haunted by their good and selfless actions. Their travel is literally powered by imagination, and love literally saves the day. Also: aliens, time travel, magic, lasers.

Young Avengers is a dance mix with 16 tracks. It’s not subtle, and it revels in its lack of subtlety. It runs from lo-fi to hi-fi and back again, and it mixes oldies with pop chart-toppers. It’s a karaoke cover of Marvel Comics, and it’s better than the original version.

(Young Avengers came out as 15 individual issues and has been collected in three trade paperbacks: Style > Substance, Alternative Cultures, and Mic-Drop at the Edge of Time and Space.)

heidevery-blest-thing-seeing-eye by Heid E. Erdrich (MN Center for Book Arts, Winter 2016)
Previewed by Wren

If you’re looking for a unique holiday gift for an art and/or poetry fan in your life, this is a great option. The Minnesota Center for Book Arts annually selects a Winter Book, and every-blest-thing-seeing-eye by Erdrich is this year’s 2016 pick. It’s a new collection of poems, focusing on art and the viewing of artespecially from the perspective of an Ojibwe poet as a curator. The book itself is a work of art, being handmade and letterpress printed. It was designed by Jeff Rathermel and Todd Thyberg, with illustrations by Jim Denomie, Aza Erdrich, Eric Gansworth, Dyani Whitehawk, Louise Erdrich, Andrea Carlson and Jonathan Thunder.

If you’d like to see the book in person (and get it signed by Erdrich), there is a Winter Book celebration at 7 p.m. on Dec. 10 at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.

mysisterrosacoverMy Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier (Soho Teen, November 2016)
Reviewed by Cassidy

I pre-ordered this book way back in May, after hearing Larbalestier speak on a panel about “writing killer women” at a feminist sci-fi and fantasy convention. Larbalestier mentioned the extensive research she had done on female psychopaths and serial killers for her upcoming book, and I was instantly hooked. My Sister Rosa focuses on seventeen-year-old Che Taylor, who is convinced that his ten-year-old sister is a dangerous psychopath. In between calculus, boxing classes, and maybe getting his first-ever girlfriend, Che must figure out how to stop Rosa before she gets someone hurt—or worse. A hybrid thriller and coming-of-age story, this book draws its power from scares that look inward, not outward. It’s an intensely psychological book that will leave you reeling for days after.

intoInto: Minneapolis  (Into Quarterly, December 2016)
Previewed by Wren

As a bit of a disclaimer, I’ve been working with the creators of Into Quarterly through my day job at The Loft Literary Center. The Loft and Into Quarterly are co-hosting the launch party for Into: Minneapolis on Fri, Dec 9 at 7 pm (at the Loft). That said, I am falling madly in love with this publication and its work. Into Quarterly is a “city-inspired literary and arts journal.” The founders visit different cities, search out writers and artists to contribute work that serves as a time-capsule portrait of their city, and publish this diverse work in a sleek, beautifully designed book. The Minneapolis edition is full of top-notch writers: Danez Smith, Hieu Minh Nguyen, Bao Phi, Matt Rasmussen, Kao Kalia Yang, Sarah Stonich, and so many more. The launch event will feature readings from the book, and a panel discussion between selected writers and visual artists about how the idea of “home” affects their work and identity. Consider it another unique gift idea for those who love Minneapolis, art, and words.

Comments are closed.