September Wrap Up | ’19

Wrap Up

Happy end of September! This past month was weird, as far as my reading went. If you remember, I made a post announcing that I would be participating in Space Opera September – well, I kinda did, and then my mood went ‘I’m done!’ and then I read whatever I felt like. So I got like… 35% into the readathon. My b.

Anyways:

Books

Wild Ones, Vol. 1 (Wild Ones, #1)

Wild Ones vols 1-10 by Kiyo Fujiwara – I read this entire series this month, and I very much enjoyed it. It follows a high school student whose mother dies. Right as she’s realizing she has nowhere to go, her estranged grandfather shows up at the funeral and offers her a place to stay. When she gets to his house, she realizes he’s a yakuza boss, and all of the people now living with her are members of his clan. It takes off from there, as she navigates the new environment. This series is a shojo one, so it was no surprised when it turned out to essentially be a rom-com, exactly what I wanted. I borrowed this series from the library, but I think I want to get my own copies. I can definitely see myself re-reading it. It’s out of print though, so I’ll have to find used ones. But yes, if you’re looking for a fluffy romance, this would be it.

All volumes between 3-4 stars

O Maidens in Your Savage Season 1

O Maidens in Your Savage Season vols 1-3 by Mari Okada – I think this is one of my new favorite series – It got my third five star rating of the year! It’s ongoing, with vol 4 coming out later in October, so for now I’m caught up. This is a slice of life manga following a group of fifteen year old girls in a literature club who are beginning to get feelings towards boys and just have absolutely no idea how to handle that. It makes for a lot of comedy, awkwardness, and relatable mindsets. Reading it reminded me of being fifteen, but I don’t think I was as uh… comedic about it, ahaha. I did write a full spoiler-free blabber on vol 1 if you’re interested, but man, I love this series and can’t wait to get more.

5, 4.5 and 4.5 stars respectively

Binti (Binti, #1)

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor – This is the one book I managed to finish towards Space Opera September. I did start another one, but I didn’t get to finishing it yet. It was too big, aha. But this novella, I’ve heard a lot about for ages, and I was very keen on reading it. It follows Binti, who is accepted into a prestigious school across space, and now has to find a way there from her own planet. For such a short book, it deals with a lot of topics: prejudice, linguistics, mathematics, all sorts of things. A lot of things packed into here, and it made for a really good read.

3.5 stars

Land of the Lustrous, Vol. 1 (Land of the Lustrous, #1)

Land of the Lustrous vols 1-5 by Haruko Ichikawa – The first two volumes of this were rereads for me, but it had been so long since I’d read them, I needed to in order to read the next three. This series follows a set of humanoid creatures called the Lustrous. Gem-based things, they live on the land that humans once did, and are constantly battling and running from the Lunarians, these creepy looking things from the moon that are constantly attacking them and using their bodies as the jewels instead of the living creatures they are. I gotta say, this series took me a bit to get into – it was in volume 3 really that I got hooked. The lore to this I think is more than we know so far, and it’s really intriguing. I’m looking forward to learning more. I have vols 6-8 borrowed from a friend, and I plan on continuing them soon.

3-4 stars each

Song of the Hanging Sky, Volume 1

Song of the Hanging Sky vol 1 by Toriko Gin – This was definitely an interesting start to a series. It follows a combat medic who has run from the battlefield and hidden in the wilderness, where he finds a bird-child – a boy with feathers and wings. The bird child doesn’t speak his language, but the medic takes him in anyways, nursing him back to health. The story goes from there, introducing this bird-humanoid culture, and the prejudices between them and humans. I borrowed this first volume from a friend and if she has any more, I’ll likely pick those up too.

3 stars

Hotel Africa, Volume 1

Hotel Africa vol 1 by Hee Jung Park – Man, I was not expecting to love this as much as I did. This manga follows a young man named Elvis, and goes back and forth between different times in his life. One timeline is him as an adult, struggling like we all do, to make it. The other timeline is back when he was four years old, living at Hotel Africa, a hotel his mother started out in the middle of the desert in I believe Nevada. This story is a slow one, very character driven, and full of almost nostalgia-like heartstring tugs. I adored this – it made me happy, it made me sad. It explored the things that people go through in their lives, unfortunate events, and how people cope with them. I really love this. At the time I rated it a 4.5 but upon a reread if I ever get there I could easily see it going up to a 5.

4.5 stars

And that’s it for books! I consider any month where I don’t rate anything under a 3 to be a really good month. I even had a 5 this month! I’m so pumped about it!


Other Things

  • Nothing! September was very status quo.

Reading Goals

  • Read 50 books – 85/50 – Complete!
  • Finish the 10 in 2019 list – 7/10
  • Keep book purchases around 4-5 books per month
    • J – 5 | F – 6 | M – 7 | A – 0 | M – 0 | J – 3 | J – 5 | A – 5 | S – 4| O | N | D
  • Go on a 2 to 3 month buying ban – Complete!
  • Reduce physical TBR to 250 books – Currently 248 – Complete (now maintaining)
  • Finish the r/Fantasy Book Bingo Challenge by Mar 31, 2019 – Complete!
  • Post monthly book hauls
    • J | F | M | A (on ban) | M(on ban) | J | J | A | S | O | N | D
  • Maintain a S-W-S posting schedule
    • J | F | M | A | M | J | J | A | S | O | N | D
  • Keep track of statistics
    • J | F | M | A | M | J | J | A | S | O | N | D

O Maidens in Your Savage Season vol 1 by Mari Okada | Blabber

O Maidens in Your Savage Season 1

O Maidens in Your Savage Season vol 1 by Mari Okada
Nao Emoto, Illustrator
Sawa Matsueda Savage, Translator

Manga
Slice-of-Life/Comedy
208 pages
Rating: OT (16+)
Read Sept 1, 2019
Spoiler-free blabber

Of the 76 books I’ve read this year, this is the third one to get a solid five stars from me. I absolutely adored this manga. It was funny, it was cringe-levels of relatable, it was cute. It was great.

This manga follows a group of high school girls in a literature club. Part of the activities of this club include reading passages from books out loud to each other. The manga opens on them doing just that… but they’re reading a sex scene. Immediately the awkward tone hits as you see these girls’ inner thoughts circulate, taking in exactly what they’re hearing. It. Is. Hilarious.

Now as the synopsis states, this manga follows this group of girls as they start to become aware of and think about sex in that way that we all did when we had no idea what all it entailed, how to go about it, or how to even look at someone of the opposite (or same, or any) gender and think of them in that way. Keeping the subject matter in mind, in this manga you’ll see mild nudity and some awkward scenes surrounding it, but nothing explicit. This is rated OT after all, not M.

Reading this just really hit home. They’re all struggling in their own way to take this whole new thought process and incorporate it into their own established world construct – the idea that these thoughts exist, the idea that they have them, the idea that others have them – childhood friends, parents, strangers. Seeing how each girl goes about this process is absolutely adorable and cringey and hilarious, but most of all, it’s completely relatable. I think the author did a fantastic job of capturing how a bunch of naive teenage girls with minimal information might react to this huge change in mindset. Some take it in stride, others have a much harder time doing so.

Now I’ve mentioned a few times that I thought this was funny. But I’m not kidding – I laughed out loud (like actually laughed out loud) multiple times during this single volume. The author takes this subject and makes it both lighthearted and endearing, but is also able to convey how entirely awkward these girls feel when thinking about how their childhood friend might think of boobs, or how their classmates might be or are sexually active already.

Each of the characters, while trying to confide in each other through all of this, also find that awkward, so you see them struggle internally with what they feel they can share and what they don’t want to. It’s a very real situation that I’m sure most of us have been through at one point or another. It explores the vulnerability ones feels during this stage in a way that makes the reader just really relate to what they’re going through. And these attempted half-confessions to each other result in some very funny situations. It was definitely entertaining.

So overall – I highly recommend this manga. As I’ve said, it’s funny, it’s relatable, it’s endearing, and my gosh did it send me back to fifteen year old me’s poor little brain when it had no idea what was going on.

Absolutely fantastic manga – volume 1 has become an all-time favorite, and I plan on getting volumes 2 and 3 here quickly, as they’re out as this post goes up. 4 and 5 aren’t far behind either. This has also been adapted to an anime that’s currently debuting right now, and while I haven’t seen it yet, I’ve heard it’s just as fantastic as the manga, and I plan on watching it, too.

5 stars