2018 Favorite Things

Books:

I read a lot of non-fiction this year. I’m not done with my reading list either because I have several books in progress including one cozy mystery that I should have breezed through (it’s about art heists!) but for some reason, it’s taken me half the year and I’m still not done. Of the totally completed books, it’s equally divided between non-fiction and fiction. 

books

Non-Fiction

Magic Resistance Michael Hughes
I Can’t believe it’s not Buddha Bodhipaksa
Enchantments Mya Spalter
The Yoga Mentor Celeste Pereira
Everyday Zen Joko
Chair Yoga Kristin McGee
Shrill Lindy West
Shinrin-Yoku: The Japanese Art of Forest Bathing Yoshifumi Miyazaki
Engineering for Cats Mac Delaney
The Inner Tradition of Yoga Michael Stone
Mudras for Beginners Advait
Ohpikiihaakan-Ohpihmeh (Raised Somewhere Else): A 60s Scoop Adoptee’s Story of Coming Home Colleen Cardinal

The above list is not any particular order. I can tell you that Engineering for Cats is a fun book if you have access to a wood shop and need some clever catification projects. Ohpikiihaakan-Ohpihmeh was eye-opening about how the indigenous people of Canada, particularly women, are treated. If you happen to teach history classes, I suggest make this one mandatory even if you’re in the US because our treatment of the indigenous people is the same or worse. Enchantments and Magic Resistance are both books that I would highly recommend for anyone looking to practice spellcasting in modern times. Magic Resistance is specifically about political spellcasting, but it also gives a great history into socio-political witchcraft if you’re simply curious. 

Chair Yoga by Kristin McGee is a book that I would recommend for anyone not even just yoga teachers. The people in my social circles are artists and writers and they absolutely need the options for how to move their spines and limbs during the work day. This one is high on my list of recommendations. I use it as reference a lot when teaching. 

Fiction

Elementary, She Read Vicki Delany
Diva’s Last Curtain Call Angela Henry
Elementary, She Read Vicki Delany
Schooled in Lies Angela Henry
Death in D Minor Alexia Gordon
Believe Me JP Delaney
Private Eye Cats Stan Bronstein
Moonshine & Magic Bella Falls
Code Pink Rachel O’Day
Psych’s Guide to Crime Fighting for the Totally Unqualified Shawn Spencer and Chad Gervich

Angela Henry and Alexia Gordon, both women of color crime fiction authors, remain on my top of the list for favorites. I hope Henry will add more books to the Kendra Clayton series because she immediately became my favorite protagonist when I read the first book of the series. Alexia Gordon adds a little supernatural flair to her cozies about Gethsamane Brown, an ex-pat musician in Ireland. 

I read Bella Falls and Vicki Delany for the first time this year and will definitely be keeping them on my list of favorite authors.

Comics:

Nutmeg vol 2,3 Jackie Crofts, James Wright Action Lab fun yet edgier than I expected; YA; kids get addicted to brownies with no drugs and they don’t affect little kids or adults; love the art and colors a lot
Twelve Devils Dancing Erica Schultz, Dave Acosta Action Lab loved it; violent if you need a warning on that.
Jupiter Jet Jason Inman, Ashley Victoria Robinson, Ben Matsuya Action Lab fun
Calexit Matteo Pizzolo,Amancay Nahuelpan, Tyler Boss Black Mask Studio ok but wasn’t desperately eager to keep reading
Black AF: America’s Sweetheart Kwanza Osajyefo, Jennifer Johnson, Tim Smith 3, David Sharpe, Sho Murase Black Mask Studio fantastic art with minimal outlines; bright palette to match the young teen’s hopefulness; emphasis on doing the right thing even if people don’t like you;
The Wilds Vita Ayala, Emily Pearson, Marissa Louise Black Mask Studio like zombies but with floral plague; interesting art style
Roots Tara O’Connor Comixology sweet slice of life comic about traveling to Ireland to research ancestry but falling in love became more important
Elsewhere vol 1 Jay Faerber, Sumeyye Kesgin Image Amelia Earhart goes through a time wormhole to a fantasy realm
Bingo Love Tee Franklin, Jenn St.Onge Image loved it
Crowded #1-4 Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artist / Cover: Ro Stein, Ted Brandt
Colors: Triona Farrell
Image very clever and inclusive; my favorite comic of the year
Black Magick vol 2 Greg Rucka, Nicola Scott, Chiara Arean (color assists), Jodi Wynne (l), Eric Trautmann Image Loved this second volume even more than the first.
Blackbird 1-3 Sam Humphries (w), Jen Bartel (a), Paul Weinwand (layout), Triona Farrell (c), Jodi Wynne (l), Todd Dylan (designer), (ed) Jim Gibbons Image love the magic and the artwork. Latinx family at the center. Sisterly competition and love. Sharpie the cat is awesome
Bitter Root Created by: David Walker, Chuck Brown, Sanford Green. Rico Renzi & Sanford Green (colors), Clayton Cowles (letter & production), Green & Jarreau Wimberly (cover), Heather Antos (ed) Image perfect afro-futurism comic with a strong and wise grandmother who knows all the rootwork needed to make serums to calm shape-shifters from their monster forms; they’re opposed by scientists using chemicals in a lab setting which shows how historically herbal remedies and magic where replaced by western science.
Jook Joint Tee Franklin (w), Alitha E Martinez (a), Shari Chakhamma (c), Tayor Esposito (l) Image love this; though violent, it’s empowering as a revenge fantasy for women, gay men, and PoC who have been abused and suffered from violence. Issue 1 is a great hook; issue 2 fills in a lot of gaps about Mahalia and her “girls” who are immortal and feed on men they’ve killed. Readers are introduced to Heloise, a mother who needs to protect herself and her daughter from her husband.
Man-Eaters Chelsea Cain (w), Kate Niemczyk (a), Rachelle Rosenberg (c), Joe Caramagna (l), Lia Miternique (creative prod), Stella Greenvoss (additional int art), Kyle Scanlon (additional int art), Eliza Fantastic Mohan (short story), Katie Lane (swagger) Image a perfect YA comic for those perhaps missing or too young for Bitch Planet which hasn’t had a new issue in a long time; brilliant premise about menstruation which empowers adolescents in a patriarchal world where they are forced to drink hormone laced water to keep from menstruating (which can turn people into savage man-eating panthers)
Dead Weight: Murder at Camp Bloom Terry Blas, Molly Muldoon, Matthew Seely (art), Fred Stresing (let) Oni surprising violent twist at the end considering how kid-friendly the art appeared to be
The Tea Dragon Society Katie O’Neill Oni Press So adorable! I want a backyard full of happy tea dragons!
Altered History of Willow Sparks Tara O’Connor Oni pretty good
A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson Oni helpful and not preachy
The Long Con #1 Dylan Meconis, Ben Coleman, Emilee Denich, M. Victoria Robado, Aditya Bidikar Oni enjoyed the first issue but missed #2 so never caught up
Ninja-K #5 Christos Gage (w), Tomas Giorello (a), Diego Rodriguez (c), A Larger World Studio (l) Valiant back story of Ninja-G and would rather see more of her than Ninja-K
Valiant High Daniel Kibblesmith, Derek Charm Valiant nice that Livewire (woc) is the main character; if you love her, she gets her own new series!
Faith: Dreamside Jody Houser (w), MJ Kim (a), Jordie Bellaire (c), Dave Sharpe (l) Valiant Faith knows when there’s a problem she can’t handle herself; to help a young girl, she goes to Dr. Mirage

I think if I have to pick a number one favorite comic for 2018, it’s Crowded. I love this premise about a girl who lives a superficial, shallow life in a world where crowdfunding assassinations is so popular through the dark web, that it becomes new reality entertainment and law enforcement looks the other way; there are defenders through an app called DFND that will work for hire to keep the target alive as long as the campaign is active. 

cover

Jook Joint, Bitter Root, Faith: Dreamside, and Man-Eaters are all so unique and welcome that I would recommend them based on age appropriateness. I specify that only because Jook Joint shows a lot of empowering female nudity and violence. Man-Eaters has a lot of what I refer to as “monster violence” meaning not quite horrific but the art shows plenty of blood. It’s so damn brilliant in concept. I want to recommend all of these specifically for the diverse, strong-in-different-ways female characters.

tampon cover of Man-Eaters issue 2

TV:

My regulars have been Supergirl, The Good Place, Superstore, Grace & Frankie, Bosch, Bob’s Burgers, VEEP, and Brooklyn 99. I’ve stuck with Gotham because it still tends to have equal amount of good production with bad writing. The Angel’s Flight season of Bosch was probably the best one so far, imo. Supergirl had a couple major cast changes. They got rid of Maggie which I don’t think anyone was happy about. They got rid of Winn who I liked, but apparently everyone else hated. They added Brainiac who is an utter delight.  Plus we enjoyed new episodes of Death in Paradise.

Good Place gif

New shows that I’ve added include Kim’s Convenience, The Rookie and The Good Doctor. The Rookie is a new Nathan Fillion drama which I had such low expectations for, I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised in how compelling his character, John Nolan, is. 

I’m not alone in being incredibly disappointed that AMC canceled Dietland after only one season. The show moved quickly compared to Sarai Walker’s novel. I loved Joy Nash’s portrayal of Plum Kettle. 

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