I’m back on the book tag wagon, thanks to a well-timed post on Book Princess Reviews and a little encouragement from Bionic Book Worm. This one coincides nicely with the release of the Justice League movie.
Many thanks to The Book Cover Girls for the original tag and graphics:
If you want to know more about book tags, check out my post for the Fall Book Tag.
- Copy these rules onto your post
- Mention creators of the tag: Angelica and Rosie @TheBookCoverGirls and link to the original post
- Mention and thank the person who tagged you and link to their post
- Answer all the questions
- Since there were originally seven members in the Justice League, tag 7 people
- Also, you can use the images provided, but don’t have to if you don’t want to
- Have fun with it!
I’ll add my own personal house rule here. As usual I’ll be restricting my answers to books that fit the Histories Unfolding mandate (wow I make that sound like it’s written in stone or something!)
Batman: Your favourite antihero
the Jackal from The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth. Although the novel is more of a thriller than a historical, it was set ten years prior to publication and was defined by its meticulous research.
The Jackal, a mysterious and deadly effective assassin, lacks the complex emotions and motivations that define most anti-heroes. In fact, he seems to lack any emotions and is motivated only by a professional compulsion to finish his job. That is a large part of his appeal for me. He is an enigma, with a completely fluid personality that morphs to suit whatever his current professional requirement happens to be. He is defined only by his actions and you can imprint whatever you like on him. He may not a typical anti-hero, but I’m happy to skip all the usual brooding.
Aquaman: A book or character that turned out to be better than you expected
The novel Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse. It’s not that I had low expectations for this. While at first glance a celebrity “vanity project,” knowing what I know about Abdul-Jabbar’s life beyond his legendary basketball career, I actually had high hopes for this novel. But after the early low-stakes, slowly moving chapters, along with an interaction between the protagonist and his more famous brother that seemed cribbed from the TV show, I was a bit worried where things were headed. I needn’t have feared. This novel rapidly ascended to one height and then the next and blew me away with its twists and turns and Holmesian deductions. Look for a review soon!
Wonder Woman: Most badass female character (not necessarily in a physical sense)
Although her story has been the basis for several novels (shameless plug time: my upcoming novel Sparrow Squadron was partly inspired by her) I’m going with the real life person of Lydia Litvyak. Our society has a tendency to think of badass historical women as a product of recent revisionist fiction. But these women have always existed, their stories just needed to be uncovered.
Flying for the Soviet Union during World War II, Litvyak became, and remains, the world’s foremost female fighter ace, shooting down at least 12 Nazi aircraft. Wounded twice in battle, on her final mission she shot down two German fighters before being killed herself, just weeks shy of her 22nd birthday. If you want to learn more about Lydia Litvyak and her fellow female combat pilots, read Wings, Women and War by Reina Pennington.
Cyborg: Favourite science fiction novel
Ironically, my house rules restricting this to historical and history-adjacent (can I trademark that?) books actually opened up this category for me. Without that rule, I would have chosen Neuromancer by William Gibson, though admittedly that’s based on memories of my high school self.
From my multitude of other choices, I decided to pick the book most representative of my current steampunk obsession: Airborn by Kenneth Oppel. This novel does steampunk right, avoiding common pitfalls like obsessing with gadgetry and excessive historical Easter Eggs. The protagonist, Matt Cruse, is one of my favourites. He’s an ordinary person in extraordinary circumstances. That’s a big reason why the Matt Cruse series remains as one of my favourite YA series of all time.
The Flash: A book you sped through
Animal Farm by George Orwell. It’s true that this is a pretty slim read (about 30,000 words.) But even by that standard, I think I sped through this book in about an hour. The amount of tension, narrative and big ideas crammed into such a small package was simply incredible. It remains a hugely relevant story of the dangers of being seduced by charismatic leaders and the corrupting effects of power.
Superman: Saddest character death (although we all know there’s no way Superman is going to stay dead)
I’m not sure how much you can “spoil” a telling of historical events, but just in case, be warned. My pick is from the graphic novel Laika by Nick Abadzis.
The book thinly fictionalizes the story of Laika, the first dog in space. She was sent up as part of the Soviet Sputnik program in 1957. Abadzis focuses on Laika’s relationship with the head of the space program, Korolev, and the dog trainer, Yelena, as they prepare her for what was always going to be a one-way journey. Laika died from overheating after 4 hours in orbit for a mission that was ultimately more about propaganda than scientific research.
Those last pages, when Laika bravely meets her fate while Korolev and Yelena deal with their mixed emotions… whew! I’m tearing up just thinking about it 😭
Tag, You’re It!
That was fun! Now I’m going to use this tag as an opportunity to give a shout out to seven of my favourite book bloggers (you guys can figure out among yourselves which one is the Green Lantern of this group 😄):