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coprime

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coprime: animated icon of a boy reading intensely and then shouting "But I don't want it to be over!!" (books)
Sunday, August 5th, 2012 10:42 pm
I always enjoy writing up my thoughts about the books I've read, but I never seem to stick to it long-term. So here goes try number three at making it stick.

Ladies of Lantern Street #1: Crystal Gardens - Amanda Quick*
I wanted so much to like this book but in the end there were too many things that left me rolling my eyes for it to be more than okay. All of the dialogue, but especially Evangeline's, came across as affected and unrealistic to my ear. The constant use of the twee word "psychical" didn't help either. The romance between Evangeline and Lucas lacked any sort of tension. Lucas very quickly realized that he wanted to marry her and then that was it for his romantic plot arc, while Evangeline said the relationship would end after the danger was taken care of but then acted exactly the opposite. There were several plot points that just felt like they were never explored as fully as they should have been so that when they got wrapped up at the end, it all felt too neat - the final confrontation between Lucas and Judith, the confrontation with the murderer that included six pages of dialogue explaining the murderer's motivation, and the really cute secondary romance that got one scene devoted to it before the couple ended up happily engaged offscreen. The last was especially disappointing because I would have liked to see more of them. They seemed surprisingly well-suited to each other, but all I got was that one scene.

There were good bits - the different suspense plots were interesting, and I always enjoy seeing family and friends work together and help each other - but so many things threw me out of the story that I couldn't immerse myself like I normally do and that significantly decreased my enjoyment of this book. I really did want to like it too.

Flight v3 - Kazu Kibuishi, ed.
This is a collection of short comics by about twenty-five different artists spanning a variety of styles, genres, and emotional tones. I was very surprised by the quality in this volume; I thoroughly enjoyed around two-thirds of the stories. The other third mostly had the problem (for me) of me either not understanding the comic or finding it a bit dark for my taste. And there was one comic I vehemently disagreed with. (I don't care what a stranger looks like, if I find them with their hand inside my purse, I am assuming they're stealing from me and I really don't think I should be faulted for that.) I would definitely enjoy reading the other Flight collections.

Hereville v1: How Mirka Got Her Sword - Barry Deutsch
I originally read the 57-page webcomic version of this (that has since disappeared off the internet) and enjoyed it so much that I knew I wanted to get it in dead tree form as well, especially since the book was over twice as long. I have a feeling that one can read the book's subtitle ("Yet Another Troll-Fighting 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl") and pretty much know whether this is the sort of thing one wants to read or not. I loved everything about it: the art, Mirka and her stubbornness, her family, the look at Orthodox Judaism (something I know little about), and especially how Mirka finally won her sword.

Sector General #1-3: Beginning Operations - James White
This is an omnibus of the first three Sector General novels, and after reading this I am eager to get the rest of the series. The Sector General novels are science fiction stories set aboard a gigantic hospital in space. The first novel was a bunch of independent short stories while the other two were more of a novel being presented through linked short stories. I loved the imagination shown in the different types of aliens and in the mysteries presented by their symptoms. I never once felt that these medical mysteries were getting repetitive or predictable.

The only annoying bits were a fair amount of repetitive descriptions (Everything was originally written as short stories that got independently published and then gathered into novel-length format. So explanations regarding the hospital in general and some of its tech and the more common aliens just gets repeated nearly word-for-word.) and a really jarring bit of sexism. The first short story written was written in the 1950s, and I know a lot of older science fiction really doesn't do too well on the "female characters are people too" test. Sector General surprised me by feeling like it could have been written within the last twenty years. Until I got to the bit where Earth-human females can't use this one particular bit of important technology because our brains are too emotional and using it would drive us insane. So there's like five hundred pages of awesome alien medical mysteries, twenty pages of repeated descriptions, and one page of sexist crap.

I dealt with it by just ignoring that one page, but other people's mileage may vary.

Life Behind the Mask: Memoir of a Youth Baseball Umpire - Michael Schafer*
I'm not sure why LibraryThing matched me with this book (I don't have many sports-related books or memoirs in my library.), but I'm really glad it did. I took my time reading it, enjoying it leisurely, and letting the author's love for the game sink in. The author explains many of baseball's more complicated rules and uses those rules as an excuse to tell stories about some of the more memorable games he's umpired for. I'm only a casual baseball fan, but I never had problems understanding the author's explanations. I came away from this book with a greater appreciation of the game of baseball as well as a greater understanding of the game.



*I won a copy of this through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.
coprime: animated icon of a boy reading intensely and then shouting "But I don't want it to be over!!" (books)
Wednesday, March 4th, 2009 07:51 pm
Is it wrong that I always get incredibly excited whenever I find a Firefox extension that fixes some niggly behavior to how I like it? Today, it's the ability to permanently sort my bookmarks -- and I can specify which folders I want to sort and how! -- thanks to SortPlaces. Now if only there was an extension so I could easily create duplicate bookmarks (ideally with also telling me when I was about to do so), my day would be made.

The Best of the Spirit - Will Eisner
I figured something labelled "The Best of" would make for a good introduction to one of the most influential comics ever, and I was right! This was amazing. Just incredibly innovating and imaginative and good even when compared to current-day stuff. Not that everything today is good, but The Spirit manages to be unique even when compared to sixty years worth of comics. My favorite thing about The Spirit is the same thing I love about Mushishi. All the stories are focused on people in them, rather than on Eisner's cool idea or neat art or some other bell and whistle that exists to show off and doesn't actually help tell the story. (Something that is, sadly, not as common as I would like.)

God Save the Queen - Mike Carey
This was a gift from a friend, and she got it for me because I really like Lucifer, a different title by Mike Carey. And those sorts of reads are always a bit of a crapshoot, so it was nice that I did enjoy this, mostly because of the art. (Drug use, which isn't something I like to read about generally, features heavily, and I found the heroine unlikable until about two-thirds of the way into the story.) All the pages are painted by John Bolton and are surprisingly realistic yet pretty. I have a feeling that his art is an example of photo referencing done right, but I can't find anything to confirm that he does that. In any case, the art has a slight static quality due to the fact that it's painted and referenced, but it grew on me quickly as I read.

Mushishi v6 - Yuki Urushibara
Finally, a volume with stories that weren't made into episodes for the anime! Because, okay, I adored revisiting the stories as each volume came out, but having completely new material to read is wonderful. "The Chirping Shell" I found charming, and I dare others to find the idea of seashells chirping like birds anything other than charming. "The Hand that Pets the Night" was a surprisingly creepy horror story (surprising because I rarely classify Mushishi stories as horror). "Under the Snow" was nicely uplifting even as it dealt with sibling grief, although I had to reread a few scenes because I didn't realize they were flashbacks the first time. And "Banquet in the Farthest Field" was a neat exploration of the lives of mushishi.
coprime: animated icon of a boy reading intensely and then shouting "But I don't want it to be over!!" (books)
Sunday, June 29th, 2008 02:48 am
Haha, this has been the month of comic books for me. It's been great.

Scary Godmother: Ghoul's Out for Summer, by Jill Thompson: The art makes this comic. Story-wise, it's not bad. It's fun and it's cute, but I wouldn't love this book like I do if the art was only half as fantastic as it is. It's expressive and detailed without being cluttered, and Jill Thompson makes her characters come alive in her drawings. I want to watch the movie based on this series now. I've seen it before, but the CG characters in it failed to be even slightly interesting for me. I think, now that I can fill in the blanks from the comic, I'd like the movie if I were to see it again.

Blue Beetle v1: Shellshocked, by Keith Giffen (writer) and Cully Hammer (artist): I wish all superhero comics were like this, with family and friends and other interpersonal relationships being just as important in the story as whatever evil plot our hero has to foil.

PS238 v1-4, by Aaron Williams: Dude, I read all four volumes in two days and am now sad that I didn't buy volume five last time I was in the comic shop. This series is great! It's about an elementary school for metahuman children. And, oh, it's adorable and funny and occasionally heart-wrenching. Also, volume three makes much more sense when I've gotten to read the two books before it.
coprime: animated icon of a boy reading intensely and then shouting "But I don't want it to be over!!" (books)
Thursday, April 24th, 2008 10:20 pm
Caste Waiting V1: The Lucky Road, by Linda Medley: This was just utterly delightful to read. The story's a fairy tale, and it's one of those where I read it quickly because it's fun but it didn't feel rushed. I like the art and the expressiveness of the faces. I'm going to go on a search tomorrow for the hardcover, which (I believe) collects volumes 1 and 2, since volume 2 is out of print.

How I Proposed to My Wife: An Alien Sex Story, by John Scalzi: This is a short story that Scalzi's offering as shareware. It's a very funny story and totally lives up to the awesomeness promised by its title. Also, I like the idea of shareware fiction.