February 2024 books

It's been a slow month in terms of number of books finished this month but the quality has been high so it's been a good month for reading.

Dune, Frank Herbert

My friend bought me this book some time last year after hearing I'd never read it. I'd just seen Dune: Part One so part of me was excited to read it but as I started reading, I struggled because I was already treading familiar ground so I decided to leave it for a while, about a year.

Due to the arrival of Dune: Part Two in cinemas in March, I figured February would be a good month to finally get the book read so I could watch the second film having read the book beforehand. This is a book I just kept on reading. Enough time had elapsed that I didn't feel the struggle with the first half, general plot details were familiar but there were elements I'd forgotten about and also plenty of stuff omitted from the film completely so there was enough to keep me going, especially as I reached the point in the book which they chose to end Part One. From that point, I was in unknown territory which just lead me to read faster and more often.

Without giving details of the ending, all I'll say is it definitely feels like there was an intention to follow up the book with another. There's a conclusion to the story but elements are left open for further exploration. I've heard things get a little weird in the later books in the series but I'll give Dune Messiah a go at some point and decide if I want to keep reading them.

You Do You: Essays on being creative, Danny Gregory

I've written before about Danny Gregory's YouTube channel and how it's encouraged me to explore different ways to express myself creatively so when I heard about this book, I felt it might help me further on my quest.

There's not much in the way of practical art tips in this book but that's not the overall aim. As the title suggests, it's a series of essays which talk about creativity and process in a more general way with the intention of giving you some tools to help you overcome many difficulties artists face. Self-criticism, chasing likes, imposter syndrome, creative block... lots of topics covered.

It's the kind of book which now I've read it cover-to-cover, I'll pick it up periodically and read one or two essays as a pick-me-up when I need it. For a tenner, it's well worth a read.

Untold Stories of I Hate Fairyland, Skottie Young & Friends

This is the only trade paperback comic I read this month. This is a collection of spin-off stories which relate or tie-in to Skottie Young's I Hate Fairyland series. Skottie writes a few of the stories but most are written and drawn by some of his other artist buddies so you get a really interesting mix of styles as well as a broad range of ideas being explored.

This trade collects the single issues which were released last year which in turn are collected from posts on Skottie's Substack, so if you want to just read them for nowt, you can do. I've got the single issues but the collector in me wanted the trade too.

If you haven't read I Hate Fairyland, naturally you're better off reading the first 20 issues in order for any of these to make sense. If you are familiar and like the IHF source material, there's a good chance you don't need telling about this book anyway but if you've missed this particular run, give it a go.

That's it for February. We're at the beginning of March and I'm making slow progress on a couple of books but I've also got some pockets of time off during the month so maybe I'll get a bit more reading done.