Reading Round-Up: January 2021

We have gone through the first month of this new year and as usual, I spent it reading. Also making a comeback this year is a revamped version of What I'm Listening To. Starting this year, I'm putting together monthly playlists. These are the songs I've been listening to during the month. They could have been on a movie I watched, a new song I discovered, or a favorite song that I still have on repeat. My music app of choice is Spotify, so I've embedded my January 2021 playlist here: 

Now back to the usual business....

Here's what I read to kick off 2021: 

Twelfth NightThe Girl Who Chased Away SorrowRaw Desserts The Kill Order The Fever Code The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi Coyote: Seeking the Hunter in Our Midst
Darth Vader 2015 Volume One The 101 Dalmatians Understanding Comics: The Invisible Arc Freaky Friday Chris Claremont Anniversary Special #1 New Exiles Volume 1: New Life, New Gambit The Union #1
The Union #2 Wonder Woman: Earth One Wonder Woman, Volume Two: Year One Infinity Gauntlet The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #1 The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #2 Shang-Chi Master of Kung Fu #1
Iron Fist: Heart of the DragonThe Immortal Hulk Vol. 1 Deadpool #1 (2019) Deadpool #2 Deadpool #3 Deadpool #4 Deadpool #5
Deadpool #6 Deadpool #7 Deadpool #8 Deadpool #9 Deadpool #10 Start Late, Finish Rich Danger in the Darkest Hour
Legion of Super-Heroes (2019) #12 X-Men #17 Immortal Hulk Volume 2

The List:

  • Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
  • The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow: The Diary of Sarah Nita, a Navajo Girl by Ann Turner
  • Raw Desserts: Mouthwatering Recipes for Cookies, Cakes, Pastries, Pies, and More by Erica Aziz & Irmela Lilja
  • The Maze Runner #4: The Kill Order by James Dashner
  • The Maze Runner #5: The Fever Code by James Dashner
  • The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi by Phil Szostak
  • Coyote: Seeking the Hunter in Our Midst by Catherine Reid
  • Darth Vader (2015), Volume One by Marvel (Gillen, Larroca, Delgado)
  • The 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith
  • Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud
  • Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
  • Chris Claremont Anniversary Special #1 (Marvel)
  • New Exiles - Volume 1: New Life, New Gambit by Chris Claremont & Todd Grummett 
  • The Union #1 by Paul Grist & Andrea Di Vito
  • The Union #2 by Paul Grist & Andrea Di Vito
  • Wonder Woman: Earth One, Volume 1 by Grant Morrison
  • Wonder Woman, Volume 2: Year One by Greg Rucka
  • Infinity Gauntlet 
  • The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #1 & #2
  • Shang-Chi Master of Kung Fu #1
  • Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon #1
  • The Immortal Hulk Vol. 1
  • Deadpool (2019) #1-10
  • Start Late, Finish Rich by David Bach
  • Magic Tree House Super Edition #1: Danger in the Darkest Hour by Mary Pope Osborne
  • Legion of Super-Heroes #12 (2019-)
  • X-Men #17 (2019-) 
  • Immortal Hulk Vol. 2

Twelfth Night is a comedy play written by William Shakespeare involving cross dressing and mistaken identity. I reviewed it for my Shakespeare Saturday post this past month. You can check that out here: 

The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow: The Diary of Sarah Nita, a Navajo Girl is a Dear America book that focuses on a Navajo girl alive during the Long Walk of the Navajo in 1864. This is a very interesting book. It isn't the best book I have read and at times the voice of the character is a bit off, but it was very informative and I enjoyed reading it. This is the first Dear America book that I have read in many years. 

Raw Desserts is a recipe book that focuses on providing sweets while keeping nutritional value. All the recipes are naturally free of white sugar, gluten, eggs, and lactose. If you have to maintain a special diet, this is a pretty good book. I won't talk too much about it, since I don't review cookbooks on this blog and also don't have access to fresh fruits and vegetables right now, unfortunately. 

The Kill Order is the first prequel novel in James Dashner's The Maze Runner series. This book takes place thirteen years before Thomas first enters the Maze. It follows a different group of characters who are living in the real world during the outbreak after the Flare. I reviewed this book this past month; you can check that out here: 

The Fever Code is the second prequel novel in James Dashner's The Maze Runner series. It takes place between The Kill Order and The Maze Runner. This book focuses on how Thomas and Teresa were involved with WICKED leading up to them entering the Maze. I reviewed this book this past month; you can check that out here: 

The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a book that presents concept art and talks about the development of Star Wars Ep. VIII: The Last Jedi. I really enjoy reading art and development books for different movies. Last year I read The Art of Rogue One and The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In past years I've read The Art of Finding Dory, The Art of The Incredibles, The Art of Toy Story, and I own The Art of Pocahontas and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Chronicles - Art & Design. These books are very interesting to me and I love seeing the artwork that helped create the stories and worlds inside films.  

Coyote: Seeking the Hunter in Our Midst is a non-fiction memoir type book. I won't get too into this one because I have a review scheduled for it this month. Be sure to check that out when it goes up (you can see when it goes up by checking out the Calendar.

Darth Vader (2015) Vol. 1. collects the first six issues of this comic series published by Marvel. This series introduced fan favorite comic character, Doctor Aphra. I reviewed this last month, so you can check that out here: 

The 101 Dalmatians is the original novel that inspired the two Walt Disney films of the same title. It tells the story of Pongo and Mrs. Pongo, and their search for their stolen puppies. I reviewed this book last month to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the animated film. You can check that Cinematic Words/Magic Monday post here: 

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art is a graphic novel work of non-fiction. McCloud discusses the history of comics and what makes them up. I read this book as a means of professional development. I want to talk more about comics more effectively on this blog and I was also preparing for a writing position with ScreenRant as a Comic News contributor. This book is highly informative and I definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about this particular medium. 

Freaky Friday is a children's novel from the 1970s. This story inspired four Walt Disney Company movies. I reviewed this book and the movie already, you can check those out here: Later this year I will also review some of the other movies so keep an eye out for those if you're interested. 

Chris Claremont Anniversary Special #1 is a special comic issue published by Marvel. It focuses on Dani Moonstar, who is becoming a Valkyrie, and her interactions with several other characters that comic writer Chris Claremont has created over the last fifty years. I read this for work.

New Exiles - Volume 1: New Life, New Gambit is a comic volume collecting the first six issues of Chris Claremont's New Exiles run from 2008. I read this for work, to write an article about the version of Gambit that appears within it. He was briefly featured in the Chris Claremont special issue. 

The Union #1 & #2 are the first two issues of the new Marvel team from Great Britain, The Union. These two issues are tie-ins to the new, ongoing King in Black comic event. I read these two to write an article for work. 

Wonder Woman: Earth One Volume One is a graphic novel from the Earth One series done by DC. I stumbled across this one while digging around through DC Universe Infinite and decided to give it a try. Definitely not my favorite Wonder Woman story, but it is interesting to see different takes on iconic characters. 

Wonder Woman, Volume Two: Year One is a trade paperback collection that brings together the DC Rebirth origin story of Wonder Woman. It collects issues #2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, & 14. Rucka was doing alternate storylines which is why the numbering is every other issue instead of a continuous flow. I really liked this one. So far, this is my favorite Wonder Woman origin comic, of the two versions I've read (this one and Earth One, mentioned above). 

Infinity Gauntlet is a trade paperback that collects issues #1-6 of the Infinity Gauntlet series that the Marvel film Infinity War was based on. It brings together a bunch of superheroes to try and defeat Thanos after he brings death and destruction to the universe. This is a classic comic story and I had to read it to see what happened. 

The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #1 and #2 are the first issues of this comic series from the 1970s. I read these to see the origin of Shang-Chi for my new job. 

Shang-Chi Master of Kung Fu #1 is a comic I read to try and find out more about Shang-Chi for an article I was writing. It features Deadpool, but this one was honestly a waste of time. Don't bother reading this one. It isn't funny, it doesn't really showcase Shang-Chi at all...honestly, just skip it. 

Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon #1 is the newest Iron Fist comic series being published by Marvel. I read this one to write an article. This was my first experience with Iron Fist and I definitely want to read more involving this character. This will be a character I dig into some older runs for. I'm really curious to see where this series goes.

The Immortal Hulk Volume 1 is a trade paperback collecting issues #1-5 of the Marvel comic. This is an ongoing series that I am reading for work, so I'm doing a lot of catch up reading. It has a bit of a slow start, but the premise thus far is interesting and I am looking forward to getting to some of the later story arcs. I haven't read many Hulk comics, so I'm enjoying spending more time with the character. 

Deadpool (2019) is an ongoing comic series being published by Marvel. I've also written about this one for work and read it to get caught up before writing my articles. In this series, Deadpool becomes the King of the Monsters after a bunch of monsters have taken up residence on Staten Island. It's kinda silly, it's kinda fun, and I love Jeff the land shark, so right now, I'm liking it. I've read issues #1-10. Not sure when there will be another issue, or if there will be one, since there aren't any upcoming solicitations for it, but I've liked it thus far.  

Start Late, Finish Rich is a non-fiction self-help book about money management and getting ahead financially. It mostly deals with how to increase your retirement money, but the principles can be applied much sooner. The book feels lightly outdated at times, but it is still very applicable for most of the components. It has a lot of good advice and I'll probably apply some of its principles as I go forward in life. This is the last financial book that I have checked out right now. 

Danger in the Darkest Hour is the first Super Edition of the Magic Tree House series. Jack and Annie are sent back to World War II to find their friend Kathleen and take her from France to England. It is the newest Magic Tree House book and it is also one of the more serious books in the series. It feels very weighty, but it keeps all the magic that the series has had for years.

Legion of Super-Heroes #12 (2019-) is a comic issue from DC that I read to write an article for work. It features the Legion of Super-Heroes team in the 31st century. This team is made up of teenage superheroes from across the galaxy, including Superboy and Brainiac-5.  

X-Men #17 is another comic issue I read to write an article for work. This one features Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, and Smasher as they try to find a Shi'ar Empire princess that has gone missing.

Immortal Hulk Volume 2 collects issues #6-10 of the ongoing series. This one has a lot of horror elements and I have been really intrigued by the alters of Bruce Banner and the darker turns that this one is taking the character down. Again, I haven't read very many Hulk-centric comics, but I do like this one and am looking forward to reading more of it. I've read more comics where he is working with the Avengers than doing his own thing.

I also read the following picture books to continue the festive season (Three Kings Day/Candlemas) and have a winter season reading fest. My family owns all of these and we have had several of them since I was a little kid, back in the 90s and early 2000s: 

If You Were a PenguinFrozen: Big Golden BookMax and Ruby: Snow Bunny TalesMickey's Christmas Skunks! Go To Bed! Santa has the Sniffles!
The Christmas Sled The Christmas Cookies The Snowman Postman Marla's Toyshop Adventure

  • If You Were a Penguin by Wendell Minor and Florence Minor
  • Frozen: A Big Golden Book by Walt Disney Company
  • Max & Ruby: Snow Bunny Tales 
  • Mickey's Christmas by Walt Disney Company
  • "Skunks! Go to Bed!" by Ted Bailey
  • Santa Has the Sniffles by Diane Stortz and Rocky Katz
  • The Christmas Sled by Carol North and Terri Super
  • The Christmas Cookies by Andy Rector and Andy Stiles
  • The Snowman Postman by Andrew M. Rector
  • Marla's Toyshop Adventure by Andrew M. Rector and Tim Bowers
This concludes the first Reading Round-Up for 2021. I hope I see you back for another at the end of this month, as well as for all the reviews in between. Happy reading!