December 11th, 2016


How to Pass as Human, by Nic Kelman

How to Pass as Human, by Nic Kelman, is the 'Non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years' selection for my 2016 (Blended) Reading Challenge.

How to Pass as Human

This graphic novel as a great premise: a how-to book for other androids, interspersed with narrative about Android Zero/Zach's life. It started off strong, with great insights worked into a fun story, but it devolved fairly quickly and ended up being a chore to finish and a disappointment overall. I'm sad that what I first thought would be a four star book ends up getting two stars from me.

At some point, all of the graphs, pictures, and android anecdotes about humans go from being funny and right-on to random and often preachy. I started seriously skimming those sections in search of the story...which started off strong but ultimately feels rushed, forced, and often ridiculous.

I really wanted to like this. And I really did for the first third of the book or so. After that...meh. It was too bogged down, dull, and sanctimonious to look forward to continuing, and the ending wasn't worth the effort.

Shamans Through Time, by Jeremy Narby & Francis Huxley

Shamans Through Time, by Jeremy Narby & Francis Huxley, is the 'About an Indigenous culture/Non-western history' selection for my 2016 (Blended) Reading Challenge.

Shamans Through Time

There are tons of glowing 4- and 5-star reviews on this one, and I guess I'm the odd one out, because I (to my surprise) did not enjoy this much at all.

It's a collection of essays throughout the ages about shamanism – but all from outsiders' points of view. It was an especially hard read because it goes chronologically, and essays from the 1500s right up to about the 1950s or so all denigrate the topic and approach it with such disdain and cluelessness. It taught me nothing except how assholish and self-aggrandizing people can be.

We actually start to learn and gain some great insight once we see essays from people who actually respected the topic and/or participated in shamanic practices themselves. Unfortunately, we don't see any of that until nearly the end of the book.

This might be great for historians or academics, but if you're actually interested in insight into shamanic practices, there are better books out there.