cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (woman with hamster)

Quinn, Julia: Romancing Mister Bridgerton
(this was off my friend's A shelf. It's not what I would think of as an "A" book, but it was certainly better than the last one).


Smith, Alexander McCall, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
('twas ok. Unless they get plottier after this, I don't know how much I'd want to read--the love letter to Africa is nice, but not on the level of say, Kipling's Kim, which fits probably into the same sort of cultural framework and also has slightly rambling narrative, but is such genius that I always forget the qualifiers).

Graphic novels/comics

Dickens, Charles, writer, and Rick Geary, artist/adapter: Great Expectations
(abridged, but I got the plot, and Geary is always worth it.

Someday, I will do right by Dickens and read at least one of his actual original short stories or novels, instead of some adaptation or pastiche, I swear).

DeMatteis, J.M. and Mark Badger: Greenberg the Vampire
(nice art, silly story.

A) The next time I read some ooh-aren't-we-transgressive "reworking" of the vampire legend that kicks off with "Bram Stoker had it all wrong! Let me, a real vampire, tell it to you right," I will commit murder, perhaps in some suitably blood-draining thematic fashion. It's not that I'm particularly attached to Stoker or his book--I've never even made it through the novel, and I'm not a devotee of vampire lore--but it's a meta framing device that's never worked for me, like, at all. Vampires are fictional to begin with, dude; you're not bound to defend your reworking of vampire lore--and by the way, you are not transgressive, and you are not original, you are about the seventeen thousandth person to rework vampire lore since Stoker came up with the prototype to begin with, and it's all tired and hokey. Get over it! You were the one who wanted to work with vampires. If your vampires aren't like Dracula, whatever; just don't write 'em like Dracula. Change whatever you like. This whole demythologizing a fiction to serve a different fiction thing is stupid. Stoker created a popular image to bounce off of, so did Anne Rice,* and we've had "Rice had it all wrong! I'm a vampire, I should know" since, probably other steps, too, in the vampire chain, that I don't fucking care about. It's how you know an work's really carved its way into the popular consciousness, when other authors can't seem to tackle similar material without inserting meta disclaimers into the narrative. Jesus. It's so wussy.

Personally, I can't wait for the Twilight references to start popping up in future fictional works. "Meyer had it all wrong, buddy: I'm a vampire, I should know! Here's my super-original story! Vampires don't sparkle! They do glow in the dark, though. And they can't live on animal blood, but they can live on fish blood."

I am asking all future writers of vampire stories to shut the fuck up. Shut the fuck up in the future. Just write your fucking vampire story. You are allowed to pretend no one else ever wrote a vampire story before. It's okay. No one will mind.

B) Why is Lilith so interested in this dweeb? She's a fucking demon goddess. I'm not into the dweeb character enough to not be bothered that this is a sadly transparent personal fantasy of being the random super-special guy who attracts multiple hot supernatural lovers who are into him because it's Destiny. And it's not a funny enough book to make up for the wincing bits. Whatever).

Foglio, Phil: Buck Godot, Zap Gun for Hire 2: PSmith
(oh thank god, a good book).

Carlton, Bronwyn: The Big Book of Death
(Paradox Press. Kept me up at night. Not a good book to relax with. *shudder* But as always, the Big Book of n is fun.

Um. About spontaneous human combustion. Really? I can't quite bring myself to believe it. Since this is a controversial topic, it's one of those things Wikipedia is useless on).

*You know something neat about Rice? She didn't waste a lot of time on worrying about how her vampires looked next to Stoker's; she just wrote out her crazy-ass sexy vision, no holds barred. She's nuts, but her work has a powerful kick because she's good with prose and she has these vivid ideas and images, and she puts them down on paper. You can say a lot of stuff about Rice, but at least she had the courage to work with her own vision without playing apologist. Rice is self indulgent, sure, but it's a self indulgence that entertained millions, and that is frankly an impressive thing. Come to think of it, the same thing can be said about Meyer.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (books)
Novels/prose books:

Mann, Thomas: The Oxford Guide to Library Research
(not the novelist, the Library of Congress reference librarian and former private detective. He's a cranky sort, and I love him for it. This is basically a reference work, and much of text is devoted to enumerating many of the valuable and important resources still not available in digital formats, or only available through paid subscription databases--or, Why The Internet Has NOT Replaced Libraries, and Why Google Print Won't Either. Enough money and interest could make a lot of the non-digital stuff available digitally, but he's dead right about how keyword searching and ranking algorithms are no replacement for subject classification, subject headings, and value-added descriptors. A nice supplement, yes, but not a replacement for the expensive mental labor of catalogers.

I wish he was less blase about the copyright bit--he's pretty dismissive about the idea that authorship could function without strict copyright control, since we're greedy sots who want our money. That's arguably just realism, but it follows on the heels of a long discussion of the value of Government Documents, and, hello, LIBRARIES, which would be violating fucking copyright out the wazoo if not for the grace of First Sale Doctrine. Never mind that libraries predate copyright. But all that is an argument for another post).

Stout, Rex: Plot it Yourself and Murder by the Book
(Speaking of libraries, these are from my school library's pet "Bibliomystery" collection--a collection of mystery novels prominently featuring books or libraries. They're my first Nero Wolfe mysteries, and I dug them muchly, although they're definitely more along the lines of Agatha Christie, "read once, then toss," rather than Tey or Sayers, where you would keep and reread the books for their brilliant writing and characterization, not just for the mystery).

Wittlinger, Ellen: Hard Love
(A Printz-winning YA novel a friend pressed on me, about zines, first love, and a Boston-area teenage boy who falls in love with his lesbian friend. I was surprised at how engaged I was by this book--it's been a long time since I read a YA book with the power to grab my emotions this way. Recommended if you like good YA, zines, books featuring well-written gay people, or Boston. Me, I fucking love Boston, and everything else was a nice extra).

Graphic novels:

Geary, Rick: The Murder of Lincoln
(how does Geary create an atmosphere of suspense about one of the best-documented murders in American history? Incredible. It's like watching 1776, where historical knowledge does not diminish the power of the storytelling, or reduce the emotional impact--in contrast, the weight of history increases it many times over. I read with a lump in my throat that never went away).

Ka, Oliver, writer, and Alfred, artist: Why I Killed Peter
(I had a feeling disturbingly early on where this was going, but it didn't diminish the impact as it unfolded. This is Ka's autobiographical account of having been molested as a child by the titular Peter, a priest and beloved family friend. It includes Ka's blissful childhood up to that point, and, briefly, his subsequent, troubled teen and adult years. It gets pretty meta at the end, with an account of the adult Ka telling his friend and creative collaborator Alfred about the experience, and the two of them planning the book and visiting Peter. The whole thing was powerful and unsettling, but I can't tell you how much the last part got to me--it didn't feel gimmicky in the slightest, but instead very brave and honest and sad. Some of the last sequence appears in photos of Ka and Alfred, and there's always something about that technique, and the way it strips the sense of fiction away from the cartoon images of real people that really digs into the gut.

NBM ComicsLit).

Straczynski, J. Michael, writer, and Gary Frank, pencils: J. Michael Straczynski's Midnight Nation
(a friend lent this to me, hoping to amend my very negative impression of Straczynski as a writer based on the clusterfuck that was his run on Spider-Man, back when I still gave a crap about superhero comics.

It didn't work. It's so laughably silly and bad. Straczynzki's ponderous explanation of the conceit as having sprung from certain deeply dramatic events in his youth washed out any potential dignity the thing could have had for me--I know he didn't mean it that way, but god, it read as so very silly and flailing a connection--and the horrible, stiff, inappropriately oversexed, unimaginative art killed the rest. I know I liked Frank's pencils on Supergirl, but for whatever reason--because this is not a cape book, and I expect decent anatomy and clothing from non-cape books, or maybe because the inker and colorists failed or something, I don't know--his work is just hideous and lame here. I un-recommend this book).


Yazawa Ai: Nana, vol. 14

I've really come to love Hachi, who's gradually growing into a much more mature, centered person than one would have initially anticipated. I wish we saw more of her. But I might have to take back everything I said about only caring about other characters as they pertain to the Nanas--I found myself with my heart in my throat for all the major characters, this time around.

And, oh, Nana O).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Graphic novels:

Ward, Lynd: God's Man: A Novel in Woodcuts, Madman's Drum: A Novel in Woodcuts
(the first I found overly simplistic. There is a special level of hell for men who date prostitutes and then whine and mope because the prostitutes continue to earn their living by having sex with other men for money, instead of being Redeemed By The Love of a Good Man and giving it all up to live in even deeper poverty as they cook and clean and keep house for the virtuous starving artist who redeemed them with his pure artistic love. In this level of hell, men who do this are smacked in the face with reality shovels for all eternity, or until they stop being such fucking nitwits.

The second I found overly confusing, but all in all, I'm impressed with the art and the ambition of the books, just not the trite morality play of the innocent male artist seduced and betrayed by the big city and its fatcats and whores, etc, etc, until he throws himself off a cliff and is nursed back to health by The Love of a Pure Woman Who Definitely Does Not Sleep With Other Men For Money, Although If She Did, You Can Bet She'd Only Do It Out Of Love To Support The Virtuous Starving Artist While He Pursued His Art, And She'd Feel Really Bad About It.

Fuck, but the Madonna/Whore complex gets on my nerves).

Gipi: Notes for a War Story
(creepy as hell. Has a really excellent afterword that gives a bit of nice political and artistic context).

Lemire, Jeff: Tales of Essex County vol. 2: Ghost Stories
(equally creepy, and just as dark, in its own way. It's the art; this art would be completely at home in a horror story, and it tinges a story that is essentially peaceful and melancholy with a kind of gnawing fear, like waking up in the middle of the night suddenly realizing that life is hollow and empty and there's nothing after you die).

Geary, Rick: A Treasury of Victorian Murder: The Fatal Bullet
(aww, man. I barely knew anything about James Garfield before reading this, but now I feel truly sad for him and his family).

Aragones, Sergio, and Mark Evanier: Groo and Rufferto
(the endless idiocy of Groo never ceases to make me LOL).

Sfar, Joann: Klezmer vol. 1: Tales of the Wild East
(this does pair well with The Rabbi's Cat! And now I can't stop imagining Yaacov as the cat. I did like The Rabbi's Cat better, because it's a warmer, happier place to be, but this is good in a different way).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Graphic novels:

Talbot, Brian: The Tale of One Bad Rat.

Hernandez, Gilbert: Luba: Three Daughters
(I was initially freaked out by the big boobs, but eventually I realized that it was a deliberate choice of character designs, and the boob size is thematically meaningful. Stop laughing at me, you fucker, it is!

I've put off reading any of the Hernandez brothers' work because I knew it was going to be like jumping into the deep end of a pool: you shouldn't do it unless you're prepared to swim. Like swimming in the deep end, though, it's a lot of fun if you're ready. I look forward to more).

Richardson, Mike, and Rick Geary, authors, Rick Geary, artist: Cravan: Mystery Man of the the Twentieth Century
(Rick Geary work is fun even when there are no horrible murders!).

Eisner, Will: The Name of the Game.

Van Lente, Fred, author, Ryan Dunlavery, artist: Action Philosophers vol. 3
(I've nothing at all against popularizations of complicated subjects, but some of these feel uncomfortably pat. Maybe I just don't entirely agree with some of the characterizations of the persons under discussion).


Otomo Katsuhiro: Akira vol. 2.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Graphic novels:

Geary, Rick: A Treasury of Victorian Murder: The Beast of Chicago
(I kinda wanna read Devil in the White City now).

Maitena: Women on the Edge vol. 2
(That's right! Normalize those sexist double standards you hold for your male and female children, Maitena! It's so edgy).

Watson, Andi: Slow News Day
(Everybody in this book is a jerk, and the improbable level of mutual cultural ignorance and intolerance displayed by people who are supposed to be intelligent and literate is more than I am willing to suspend my disbelief for. Did I mention they're all jerks? Ignorant, intolerant jerks? I didn't try to finish it).

Jason: I Killed Adolf Hitler
(I'm glad to have come so late to the Jason party, because there's a ton of books by this guy I can look forward to reading).

Eisner, Will: The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion
(I'm not going to argue that the world doesn't need another expose of the Protocols as a virulent anti-semitic fraud; it certainly can use as many exposes as there are revivals of it. However, I didn't learn anything new from this book, and it wasn't as powerful as Eisner work usually is, probably because it's more of a historical recap than an actual story.

There's something weird about the afterword by Stephen Bronner, and the discussion of bigotry and anti-semitism and scapegoating, something maybe about the way that the argument is constructed, not as: anti-semitism is bigotry and scapegoating--which it is--but as: bigotry and scapegoating are anti-semitism. I assume that's not what was intended. But I read Deogratias yesterday morning, and this afterword yesterday evening, and...it's just...please don't let's frame anti-semitism as the only kind of murderous bigotry in history. Tolerance is not a zero-sum game).

Moore, Alan, writer, and various: Swamp Thing: Love and Death.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Novels/prose books:

Klein, Naomi: The Shock Doctrine
(when my dad recommended this to me, he said, "I'm sure you don't have much time for reading these days." Honesty compelled me to reply, "I have nothing BUT time for reading these days."

This book chillingly and persuasively draws the lines between the dots of torture, mental and economic shock, and the radical end of the ideology of the totally unregulated free market. I wouldn't have drawn the line myself, but when I see it, I believe it. Generally, I have no interest in bringing politics into this blog, but I will say this: I have no use for social liberalism if it's coupled with economic conservatism, or: it means nothing to blandly smile on people's right to be gay and alive and not jailed, be anything other than white, and alive and not jailed, or to be a woman, and alive and not jailedl, if you don't also believe in the rights of human beings to be able to have food, shelter, and employment. Economics are politics. Wealth and poverty are political. I've noticed that there is a remarkable consistency on this: it's not considered impolite to talk about money unless you have it when other people don't.

The Dispossessed is still radical when The Left Hand of Darkness has come within hailing distance of the norm. That means a great deal).

Graphic novels:

Geary, Rick: A Treasury of Victorian Murder: The Case of Madeleine Smith
(This reminded me rather of Strong Poison. I suppose it's not out of the realm of possibility that Sayers could have been referencing it, although considering how many people must have been murdered with poison over the course of history, and how many of those cases might have been reported and covered in newspapers, there's no particular reason to think that she would have been referencing this one.

This is a less mysterious sort of mystery than most of the books in the Treasury, since it's clearly rather unlikely that Smith didn't murder her lover, but very interesting anyway, as Smith went on to become part of the social sphere of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood).

Van Meter, Jen, author, Christie Norrie and Ross Campbell, artists: Hopeless Savages vol. 3.


Oda Eiichiro: One Piece vols. 1-2
(I can see the appeal, but I really don't love it).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Graphic novels:

Geary, Rick: A Treasury of Victorian Murder: The Saga of the Bloody Benders
(Little House on the Prairie meets...shit, I don't know, Procrustes, or any horror film where the murderer is not a possessed doll).

Various: Rosebud Graphic Classics: Arthur Conan Doyle
(ACD is the sort of classic author you were happier not knowing anything about, because he was kind of a gullible twit who makes you want to slap him silly, and who stubbornly championed the veracity of obvious frauds).

Crane, Walter S.: Sheba Volume 1: The Sands of Seth
(I was prepared to roll my eyes until they fell out of my head, but Crane knows his mythological pantheons. It's pretty cute. What noise does a mummified cat make when she's thumping across the sands of Egypt? Ba-dong! I gotta get more of this).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Graphic novels:

Rolston, Steve: One Bad Day
(note: this is Oni Press; as was Past Lies. I've noticed their logo on a lot of titles I've never heard of, and I'm attempting to read through as much of their catalog as I can borrow from libraries; I am interested in their niche and have theories.

It's not a terribly ambitious story, and almost jarring in how it just stops, but it's pretty well told otherwise, with the art supporting the story. I kind of like the cigarette subplot).

Geary, Rick: J. Edgar Hoover
(Man, Geary's good at this graphic biography/graphic NF stuff. He makes it so very readable. Great art, great sense of pacing. I would read his artistic adaptation of his grocery list, if he drew one; I'm sure it would end up being an insightful portrait of his home and his inner life).

Murphy, Sean: Off Road
(another Oni Press. This book is probably not more than a hundred pages, but I gave up after ten. The art is excellent--cartoony, expressive, dynamic and sharp--but the story revolves around testosterone-drenched twenty-something guys Having An Adventure with their Badass Jeep. Worse, the story kicks off with the artist protagonist getting dumped by his girlfriend because she's dissatisfied with their relationship. He calls her a whore. Shortly thereafter, she "returns" a pair of boxers to him with another man's name written on the label, which is possibly what the author had in mind when our hero called his girlfriend a whore for dumping him, but since that's not the actual sequence, it makes me just think that she broke up with him and revealed/pretended she'd been cheating on him because he's the kind of self-satisfied asshole who tells women they're whores when they do things he doesn't like. I have twenty-nine books out from three different libraries right now, and I think I could be making better use of my time).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
This everything I can remember reading since...oh, March or maybe a little before? Probably no earlier than February. I jogged my memory by looking at my bookshelves; if it was from a library, or elsewhere borrowed, I may have forgotten about it. I borrow more novels/prose/nonfiction than I buy, so this list is a little slanted towards comics and graphic novels, which I buy more often, because less of what I want to read is available from the library in a regular and timely fashion.

It's also slanted towards comics and graphic novels because I read a lot more of them.

School-related/academic reading: uncounted multitudes.
Poetry: like you care.

Novels/prose books:

Kipling, Rudyard: Kim (reread), The Jungle Book.

Eddings, David & Leigh: The Belgariad, The Mallorean (rereads).

Stephenson, Neal The Diamond Age, Zodiac.

Can't remember the author: Keturah and Lord Death.

Alexander, Llyod: The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio.

Comic strip collections/comic book collections/graphic novels:

Various: The Big Book of Hoaxes.

Eisner, Will: The Spirit Archives vol 1, The Building.

Ishida Tatsuya: Sinfest, Sinfest: Life is My Bitch (all the Sinfest is technically a reread, since I read the strip online).

Warren, Adam: Empowered vol. 3 (damn! just...damn. Adam Warren's obscenely talented. I am interested in his ideas, and would like to subscribe to his newsletter).

Buja's Diary.

Geary, Rick: I cannot remember their damn names, but the Jack the Ripper book, and the Lizzie Borden book. Which reminds me,

Graphic Classics: the O Henry, the Lovecraft, and the Stoker.

Moore, Alan and Rick Veitch, Swamp Thing (whatever that first Moore volume is titled).

Manga. This is where it gets long. )

And yes, this is typical.

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