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Book Notes: Ocean's Godori

I am not the biggest sci-fi reader. I did adore Becky Chamber’s Monk and Robot novellas (Psalm for the Wild-Built and Prayer for the Crown-Shy), though I have yet to try her full-length novels. I have a soft spot in my heart for all things Star Wars. I do my best when people ask for recommendations, but I have much more knowledge (and opinions) in fantasy. So here are the features that initially sold me on Ocean’s Godori by Elaine U. Cho:

The gorgeous cover.

A misfit crew.

The promise of humor.

When I then found out the author of this debut novel is also Pacific Northwesterner and a former bookseller at Elliott Bay Book Company, I was even more interested to give it a try. I am so glad I did.

Ocean Yoon is a disgraced pilot who is part of a crew in the lower echelons of the Alliance space program. She’s Korean, and from a long line of the famed female free divers of Jeju, but she’s never felt truly a part of the culture she comes from. When a job her captain takes on goes sideways, and Ocean’s best friend Teo is accused of murder, the stakes suddenly climb very high. Ocean is torn between loyalty to her friend or obedience to her captain. With a diverse cast of characters and a plot packed both with action and quiet pockets of introspection, this was one fantastically wild ride.

Summer Book Bingo 2024

Even though the weather can’t seem to make up its mind in the Pacific Northwest, we are at the very end of May, tipping into June, and that means that Seattle Arts & Lectures and the Seattle Public Library has put out their Summer Book Bingo cards for this year!

Every summer I grab a Book Bingo and start off with great enthusiasm. I look over the categories and imagine the variety added into my reading life. Doing Book Bingo will push me out of comfort reads or get me to pick up a book from my TBR I keep meaning to start. But to be honest, after about a month I begin to struggle. I have more and more internal resistance to the books I have self-assigned to my summer reading. I can't resist all the new romance or YA or fantasy that catches my eye as I'm shelving. Then my library books are nearly due, and I read those. I'm still reading, I'm just not reading to fill Bingo squares.

Section Revival: Manga

Some of you may have noticed a lower shelf tucked away near the mysteries; many of you haven’t. Walk past the fiction, take a left at the games, and get low to browse an assortment of books read from right to left, with the cover on the "back" and the description on the "front". This is our little collection of Japanese graphic novels, known as manga. Reviving and curating this section has been high on my personal project list for two years now, and I’ve finally been able to tackle it. With the Netflix release of the live-action One Piece (a kid who wants to become King of the Pirates assembles a ragtag crew), an adaptation of one of the biggest and longest-running manga and anime (Japanese animation) series in existence, we’ve had countless kids (and their parents) beginning their journey into the world of manga.

I stumbled upon manga and anime when I was in high school with Fruits Basket. Here was an animated show, based on a beloved manga, that told of a quiet girl without much confidence who found her place in an odd and rambunctious family that just so happened to turn into the animals of the Zodiac when hugged by the opposite gender. A wild premise? Maybe. But it was also so engaging and sweet and entertaining. Fruits Basket was something my sister and I could share, and we began to find other manga that we could read together and discuss. This was our introduction to an abundance of stories that had been previously unknown to us.


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