Another month has come and gone, and with it more reading! As you know, I am always consuming books, whether they’re physical, digital or audio. Every month, I like to share a breakdown of everything I read, including the books I abandoned. I do this because it gives me an opportunity to introduce you to books you might not have had an opportunity to read while practicing the art of writing concise book reviews.
In June, I didn’t finish a whole lot. Partly because I started an audiobook that was about 30 hours long. And then I travelled a lot so my commute time disappeared. Even so, I managed to read 7 books to completion. Here’s what I read:
- Conversational Intelligence by Judith E. Glaser
- Dark Days: The Road to Metal by Scott Snyder
- Bug! The Adventures of Forager by Lee Allred, Michael Allread, and Laura Allred
- Dark Nights: Metal by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
- The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert E. Coleman
- Justice League, Vol. 2: Outbreak by Bryan Hitch
- The Flash, Volume 4: Running Scared by Joshua Williamson
In other words, this was a comic book heavy month. So let’s start with the not comics.
Conversations, intelligence, and evangelism
Conversational Intelligence was a very helpful read on developing and maintaining trust in conversations. This is a leadership oriented book, but it got on my radar because of some helpful takeaways that another blogger applied to marketing (how our language triggers people’s fight or flight responses). Much of marketing lives in a low-trust sphere of “try/buy” (or “tell/ask” in the author’s words). This is easy to do, but also the least effective. Instead, we need to move our conversation from this low trust point toward a sharing/discovering dynamic, which is a high-trust one. This is the most effective, but takes a lot of time. Like many leadership books, this one ultimately is a reminder of the importance of situational leadership—knowing how to lead different people appropriately, both based on context and personality. Ultimately we are required to earn the trust of our customers, partners, and coworkers.
It took me a few tries to get into The Master Plan of Evangelism. I had a hard time engaging, whether it was because of timing or something else I’m not sure. This is one of the “classic” evangelism books out there that I know a lot of people swear by. I found some aspects helpful, particularly the reality that disciple making takes care and time (in both quantity and quality).
Books with pictures: the bold and the bizarre
A little while back, I realized that I hadn’t actually been keeping my Goodreads up to date with my graphic novel reading when a few volumes from The Flash and Justice League fell through the cracks. These two volumes were re-reads to catch me up on these two series. Hitch’s Justice League got a lot of flak on initial release, and I can understand why, especially in this volume. From a storytelling perspective, Hitch’s writing tends to be reminiscent of the decompressed style of the early 2000s (where the plot of what would have been 2-3 issues was stretched over six). The ideas are fun, and the dialogue is fine, but the plot’s a bit thin. Even so, reading the book as a whole is an enjoyable experience.
If there’s one negative I have about Williamson’s The Flash series, it’s that the art is a bit jarring (lots of change, conflicting styles, and so forth). The storytelling is great, and this volume is no exception, but it continues the book’s heavy rotation of artists. Williamson does a great job with the Reverse Flash here, and creates some solid drama between Barry Allen and Iris West. And if you understood what any of that meant, you get a gold star.
Bug! was fun, goofy nonsense from the Allreds, who were responsible for the excellent Madman series in the early 1990s. The art is bright and poppy, and the story itself is sufficiently weird (a must for the imprint it’s published under). In other words, it reads like the kind of book Jack Kirby wanted his Fourth World creations to be (even if he didn’t get them there himself).
Then there’s the beginning of the Metal series, DC’s big epic event. Dark Days contains the two lead-in specials that set up the events of the main series, as well as several books published in the last 10 years that inspired the series in some way. Honestly, this is a volume that came across like a cash grab. The opening specials were interesting and worth reading, but they made up the first 60-70 pages of the book. The rest is the “other.” It’s all good stuff, but it’s an incoherent collection.
Metal itself, though, is completely bonkers. And I mean that in the best way. This book is delightfully weird, throwing Batman and the Justice League into a new and kicks off the next phase of the DCU in style. I can’t actually say much else about this book without giving anything away. It is just so delightfully weird. Do yourself a favor and get it.
That’s it for this month’s round-up. Do you find these posts helpful? Do you have a suggestion for a book for me or someone else to read or want to share what you’ve read? Connect with me on Twitter or Facebook and let me know!
Here’s a look at what I read in: