cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Novels/prose books:

Mystery:

Stout, Rex:
--The Doorbell Rang (NW. The best caper they ever pulled),
--Champagne for One (NW),
--Fer-de-Lance (you'd never guess that this was the first Wolfe story ever, if you didn't know. Except that Archie keeps saying, "As Saul Panzer would say, 'lovin' babe!'" and we know now that he wouldn't. And neither would Archie. There's a bit of slang from the 30s that didn't have legs...),
--Death of a Dude (all I'm gonna say is notice how Stout never once makes any reference to the sleeping arrangements of Archie and Lily while they're on vacation in Montana. Which says it all),
--Curtains for Three: A Nero Wolfe Threesome (a short story collection containing The Gun with Wings, Bullet for One, and Disguise for Murder),
--Five of a Kind: The Third Nero Wolfe Omnibus (containing The Rubber Band, In the Best Families, and Three Doors to Death. The first two are either novels or novellas, I believe published independently, and the last is a short story collection itself, containing Man Alive, Omit Flowers, and Door to Death. In the Best Families is my favorite, as it is the notorious book in which Archie and Wolfe are split up for an extended period of time, and we get to see how Archie does on his own. Pretty well, as you might imagine. It's also the conclusion of the sort of mini-Arnold Zeck arc. There's generally no harm in reading these all out of order, but I wouldn't have minded reading all the Zeck stories together, or at least in order...I've still not read their second encounter with him).

Stout, Rex: The Broken Vase
(a Tecumsah Fox mystery).


Manga:


Takaya Natsuki: Fruits Basket vol. 23
(I seem to have skipped vol. 22. Oops).

Urasawa Naoki: 20th Century Boys vols. 2-3, Pluto vol. 3.

Yazawa Ai: Nana vol. 17.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Graphic novels:

Slade, Christian: Korgi v. 2
(Sadly, not as compelling as volume 1, although I don't think it's precisely a crafting issue. And it's still about fire-breathing giant corgis and their human pals, which is wonderful.

Sprout, for the record, looks exactly like my parents' red-and-white Pembroke Welsh Corgi, whom I raised from a pup and helped to train).



Manga:

Yoshinaga Fumi: Flower of Life v. 4
(I recall hearing, prior to reading this myself, comments from people that this seemed like an odd left turn in the series, or a strange way to end it. I suppose I can see why people might feel that way, but it neither surprised me, nor seemed strange or inappropriate to me. The series kicked off with a shockingly upbeat introduction to a kid whose life had been derailed by a life-threatening illness; it occasionally revisited some of the consequences of the illness--light-heartedly, but sincerely. Thematically, it makes perfect sense to go back to that, and touch at some of the things we were happy to ignore at the beginning; that's also pretty standard for Yoshinaga, who loves to make you rethink your assumptions. I dig that kind of thing in storytelling, which is part of why I love her, and come to think of it, may be an aspect of what I like in mystery.

Incidentally, I'm still the only person I know who actually liked the ending of the Planetes manga just as it was, and thought it was perfectly appropriate for the material, although I won't claim I liked it better than the ending of the Planetes anime, which I adore without reserve).


Kawakami Junko: Galaxy Girl, Panda Boy
(josei manga from Tokyopop's defunct Passion Fruit line, under which they published also Mari Okazaki's Sweat and Honey, which I liked much better than this. The whole time I was reading this, I was absolutely convinced I must have read other work by Kawakami--her linework, particularly in the lines of her mouths, feels incredibly familiar to me--but I have subsequently been unable to find the name of any title by her, licensed or scanlated, that I know I've read. I went and flipped through all of my josei manga to see if maybe I was just confusing another artist's work for hers, but nothing. It's a mystery).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Archival post: The Hooded Utilitarian blog post #2: Suburban Girl: Love and Work. Originally posted at The Hooded Utilitarian by Cerusee on 6-17-2009.

Suburban Girl: Love and Work )
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).



Manga:

Yazawa Ai: Nana, vol. 14
(GOD.

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 (woman with hamster)
Novels/prose books:

Heyer, Georgette: Envious Casca, The Unfinished Clue
(Heyer's Handy Tips!, aka, Things I Have Learned from Georgette Heyer's Mystery Novels:
--Never throw a house party if you're a mean old bastard; you're sure to be murdered within a hundred pages.
--But! If you're an attractive, clever, forthright, and self-possessed single woman, the police investigations following these inevitable murders are a great place to pick up a worthwhile spouse).


Graphic novels:

Ware, Chris: Jimmy Corrigan, or, The Smartest Kid on Earth.

Appollo, writer, and Lewis Trondheim, writer and artist: Bourbon Island 1730.


Cooke, Darwyn, et al: Will Eisner's The Spirit vol. 2
(No, I'm not planning to see the Miller film adaptation. Yes, Kyle Baker was very funny on that subject. No, it didn't change my mind about Frank Miller being a poor match for the material.

Recent movie adaptations of comic books I haven't seen and have no interest in: The Spirit, The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Hellboy 2, The Hulk.

Forthcoming movie adaptations of graphic novels/comics I will have no interest in when they come out: Astro Boy, Captain America, The Avengers, Watchmen, Wonder Woman, Wolverine, Thor, any further entries in the Superman, Spider-Man and Batman franchises, any adaptation that falls short of the standard set by, say, Persepolis.

The best film adaptations of comic books tend to be no better than okay, and the worst are painful or outright insulting. I'm done with them, and I'm at peace with that).



Manga:

Ninomiya Tomoko: Nodame Cantabile vols. 13-14
(speaking of adaptations, I curse Hollywood's evil and unscrupulous money-grubbing use of DRM to create and enforce regional coding, which makes it impractical for me to import DVDs of the brilliant, hilarious live-action adaptations of this comic, even though no one in North America has any financial investment in or motivation to distribute it in this market, and this rarity, a truly worthy adaptation, is thus almost totally inaccessible to me in any legally sanctioned format. Stupid fuckers).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Graphic novels/comics:

Lutes, Jason: Jar of Fools part 1
(my first Jason Lutes work, and I like his style a lot. He's of the cartoony black-and-white style, with everything really clear and cleanly rendered; lots of detail lines, but little grey color. It's a style that lends itself very well to liveliness and expressiveness, and it's easy to read, and to become engaged with the story. The story features a young magician struggling with a lot of personal issues--a stalled career, a breakup from an intense relationship, a beloved mentor who is going senile, and the bizarre and tragic death of his older brother, which may or may not have been suicide. Kind of unsettlingly weird. I would definitely like to read more of this).

Lasko-Grass, Miss (she's credited as "Miss Lasko-Grass; I'm not entirely sure, but I think that "Miss" is a nickname for "Melissa" and not meant to be a title; that's how WorldCat treats it, at any rate. God love super-prentious creator credits--the bane of catalogers everywhere): Escape from "Special"
(really not what I was expecting, and more interesting to me for it--it's sort of a not-very-strict chronicle of growing up as a creative person in environs that were not always prepared to handle the intensity and sometimes shocking manifestations of her creativity. It's not at all whiny, or snobbishly dismissive of the people who didn't quite get her as a kid, which makes it very approachable--Lasko-Gross clearly understands both how it feels on the inside and what it can look like on the outside to people who are not on your wavelength. Mucho cool).

Schrag, Ariel, editor: Stuck in the Middle
(is there anything more cheerful than people's tales of middle school hell? Although the specific experiences don't match up to mine, I appreciate this collection for acknowledging the horror of middle school--the horror of high school gets a lot more press, but I remember high school as the point when the sickeningly intense cruelty of my classmates eased up a bit, and I began to find friends again for the first time in about five years. High school was unpleasant, but middle school was pure hell).

Tyler, C: Late Bloomer.


Manga:

Aoi Hana: Love for Dessert
(LuvLuv. My god, what a total waste of 11 dollars. The plots were entirely banal, the art dull, the sex scenes formulaic, repetitive, and unsexy.).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Novels/prose books:

Spink, Reginald, translator and collector: Alexander and the Golden Bird and Other Danish Folk Tales
(not much new to me here, since Danish folklore was part of the regional folklore collected by the Grimm Brothers. It was kind of interesting how England kept popping up as a figure in these though--Danish princes going off to marry English princesses and so forth).


Manga:

Gin Toriko: Song of the Hanging Sky vol. 1
(I picked this up based on Brigid Alverson's review at MangaBlog, and I'm happy to say that I agree with her review absolutely. It's a beautifully drawn, understated, moody book about cultural clash, conflict, and growing up. It's the most interesting title Go!Comi has licensed in awhile, and I recommend it).

Sugiura Shiho: Silver Diamond vol. 1
(this is how you do world-building for a fantasy world if you're a decent storyteller--slowly, in pieces, at moments naturally occurring in the flow of the story. In fantasy stories where characters from the fantasy world interact with characters from our world, there's often a temptation to have them do an infodump in the guise of explaining things to the characters from our world. Sugiura resists the temptation, and writes the protagonist from our world, Rakan as already knowing there's something abnormal about his own past, and hesitant to ask questions of his strange visitor because he's afraid the answers will destroy his sense of normalcy. The result of this is that we still don't know what's going at the end of this volume, but I at least am very interested in reading more to find out.

The sucker-punch is that Tokyopop will probably cancel this title and I'll never know. It's a pity, because it's the best new thing I've seen from them recently, not counting Petshop of Horrors: Tokyo, which is already a known quantity).


Umino Chico: Honey and Clover vol. 1
(Honey and Clover, like Nodame Cantabile, is a josei series I already know I like, and will follow in any format--manga, movie, animation, live-action television. It impresses me that this is the third time I've seen this story unfold, but this is my favorite rendition of it; the original material still feels fresh and exciting to me.

If anybody cares: no, I do not think there is anything skeevy or pedophiliac in Umino's depiction of Hagu as a very girlish woman. It's never felt that way to me at all. There is a significant difference between an adult who looks young and has childish qualities and a prepubescent child adopting sexually adult mannerisms. Other characters are shocked by Hagu's smallness and cuteness, but it's primarily her talent and artistic vision that they respond to, and what makes her interesting as a character is the way her adult persona is gradually revealed through suffering and struggles, through the articulation of her desires and goals and affections. She's not a jailbait character with an age arbitrary legal age slapped on top of her; she's a genuinely complex college-age adult).


Yazawa Ai: Nana vol. 12
(I wanted Nana and Hachi's reunion to be more emotional, but I suppose it makes sense that it's not; it's just a meeting between them, and after all, the separation has never really been about physical distance, but rather emotional distance. The emotional distance is still unbridged between them, and they do not yet understand how important they are to each other. It's so heartbreaking).

Fujisawa Yuki: Metro Survive vol. 2
(this was far less interesting than the first volume, but since the story concludes here, I suppose that's okay. It's nothing spectacular, just a solid take on the disaster survivor plot, and worth reading if you like those).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Novels/prose books:

Kirino Natsuo: Out
(eww ewww ewwww. This is well-written, but the ratio of suspense to vivid descriptions of torture, murder, and dismemberment is too low for me. She has other books translated into English, but I'll stop here).

Heyer, Georgette: No Wind of Blame
(relatively low suspense content, but also a low torture/dismemberment content, and lots of wit).

Riccardi, Victoria Abbott: Untangling My Chopsticks: A Culinary Sojourn in Kyoto
(Riccardi's memoir of her years spent in Kyoto in the late 1980s, studying tea kaiseki, which is a meal eaten by guests before a tea ceremony, prepared and served by the host. Riccardi is better at describing food than she is creating a sense of herself--her occasional segues to describe memories not directly related to food and her relationships with people are the weakest bits in the book--but since I picked this up because I was interested in reading about the food, this is perfectly fine with me and doesn't detract from the book. It's a fast, pleasant read, and not at all one of those travel memoirs that makes you want to punch the writer in the face for being a xenophobic, racist jerk--or for blindly cheerleading the virtues of foreign cultures without recognizing their faults, either. Riccardi's portrait of Japan from the perspective of a gaijin is affectionate, nuanced, and mature. Plus, nifty recipes! As soon as the weather cools down, I'm going to make beef-and-potato hot-pot and the drippy-sweet daikon wheels).



Manga:

Tanaka Meca: Pearl Pink vols. 3-4
(what an awesome acting debut. XD).

Anno Moyoco: Happy Mania vol. 9
(this volume seems a little unfocused even for Happy Mania, which is typically insane. Or maybe it was just me, since I was exhausted and struggling to stay awake when I read it).

Yamazaki Housui: Mail vols. 1-3
(I've been telling people that I read volume 1 of this while sitting around immediately after a massage, waiting for my sister to be done with hers, and I undid all of the masseuse's good work by shriveling up in terror. Jesus, this is creepy. Same artist as on Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, although that series has a different writer. It's a tad formulaic, and I was surprised at how consistently people survived their haunting experiences, but very enjoyable, in that terrifying way.).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
I've not been reading much this month, first because I was in Austin, visiting my parents and hanging out with no-longer-expat Mikke, and more recently because I've been catching up on six months worth of All My Children via YouTube. Rebecca Budig is like my cocaine, man; I got hooked on Greenlee by reading soap mags way back in 2000, and I've never been able to kick my addiction to her feisty, self-absorbed shenanigans for more than three months since. She is more entertaining than...really, most things.


Novels/prose books:

Heyer, Georgette: The Foundling
(barely a romance. It's more about 20-something Gilly, the Duke of Sale, breaking out of the protective shell of his overbearing family and having an adventure that helps him cross the line into adulthood. This is not a complaint! Gilly's just adorable in his vulnerability and growing sense of confidence. It never entirely gelled for me as a book, but I laughed a lot and wibbled a lot and really enjoyed it).

Ranpo Edogawa: Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination
(oh boy, I dig it. And I love short stories in general. But for the love of god, don't read this while eating. When will I learn never to read gritty detective fiction while eating?).


Manga:

Okazaki Mari: Suppli vols. 2-3
(Tokyopop has probably already axed this, although it looks like it could be years before we actually know for sure that they've axed and what they're still planning to publish. I was more okay with the thought of this being dropped until I read these volumes, because I am falling in love with this work-romance soap josei manga. The josei niche in America is so, so tiny; I can't abide the thought of it shrinking before it's ever been able to grow. I want to read comics about women my age struggling to balance their professional and personal lives! I want to read comics about Japanese women who want real careers! I want comics with genuinely post-adolescent soap opera! And this is so beautifully, wistfully, illustrated. God, I'm getting depressed).

Watanabe Taeko: Kaze Hikaru vol. 9
(speaking of soap romance, lol@the guys' obsession with the status of Sei and Soji's relationship).

Nishi Keiko: Promise and Love Song
(man, shoujo comics can be dark sometimes. I wonder at what point that realization no longer surprised me?).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Novels/prose books:

Heyer, Georgette: The Masqueraders
(extra cross-dressing action, done in the perfect Heyer style. I love how Heyer protagonists never suffer through the sorts of horrible humiliation scenes that are the staple of sit-coms, no matter how many wacky compromising situations they get tangled up in. Heyer's sense of humor is wicked but inherently pleasant and dignified,and I think that's part of her appeal).

Miyabe Miyuki: All She Was Worth
(part of my Japanese mystery reading! I really enjoyed this, and I'll look for more of her books in translation).


Manga:

Yoshinaga Fumi: Truly Kindly
(there's a lot more rape and non-consensual sex in this than I like in my romance fiction, and it really detracted from my enjoyment of the stories. To Yoshinaga's credit, though, I don't think the stories with non-con were really meant to be romantic, nor were the characters depicted as sympathetic or likable besides, and although Yoshinaga is normally very funny, what humor was in the stories with non-con was unusually black. It's not the first time I've picked upon dark undercurrents in Yoshinaga manga).

Yazawa Ai: Nana vols. 10-11
(it never works to hold off for months, waiting for more to come out so that when I read, I'll have a pile to read through and won't angst, wanting more. However much is in the pile, I always get to the bottom wanting more. I cannot be sated in my lust for Nana).

Tamaki Chihiro: Walkin' Butterfly vol. 3
(I am truly enjoying this. I know there was a time in my life when I would have scoffed at a story about the fashion industry and the struggle to become a model, but Paradise Kiss pretty much put an end to that).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Novels/prose books:

Christie, Agatha: The A.B.C. Murders: A Hercule Poirot Mystery
(I liked Roger Ackroyd better, but this was pretty good).


Graphic novels/comics/cartoon collections:

Barron's editors: Barron's Book of Cartoons.

Addams, Charles: The Groaning Board.


Spiegelman, Art: Maus I: My Father Bleeds History
(yes, it's everything it's cracked up to be. I am having an Eisner moment, where I have the rare experience of reading a classic work that has been so highly praised so universally that I've begun to doubt it can live up to my expectations...but it does.

Maus is such a personal, specific work about people with distinct personalities that it's in no danger of feeling generic, no matter how much other material exists on the same subject. It's both the story of Spiegelman's father, Vladek, a Holocaust survivor, and the story of Spiegelman hearing the story from Vladek. There's a bit early on, after Vladek has described an early love affair that predated his marriage to Spiegelman's mother, Anja, when Vladek asks Spiegelman not to put that part in his work. Spiegelman replies, no, that it's good material, and it will help to make the rest of the story more real.

He's absolutely right. It's the context of his parents' lives that make the story worth telling, and not just a stock rendering of historically recorded atrocities. Knowing about Vladek's textile business, his love affairs, the post-partum depression suffered by Anja after the birth of the elder brother that Spiegelman himself never met--this is the stuff makes them people.

Thinking about this helped me to finally make sense of something I'd read about while researching a paper on oral history for class this semester--the life narrative as a form of oral history. I'd dismissed it as being of little importance to my focus, which was the historical value of oral history as a source, but I realize now I made a mistake. Oral history as testimony on the recent past gives you focus on the historical events, which is useful and helps to bypass some of the issues with evaluation and reliability. But life narrative is about contextualizing history within individual people's lives. When you take any history, including historical atrocities, out of the context of people's lives, it loses power. Maus--which is, among other things, Vladek's life narrative as told to his son--has power because it places the overwhelming historical events of the Holocaust--events so massive and horrific they create a narrative that eats up everything else--within the context of Vladek's entire life. It is not the story of how Vladek survived the Holocaust, it is the story of Vladek. History is lived by people. That's important.)


Manga:

Kanari, Yozaburo, author, Fumiya Sato, artist: Kindaichi Case Files: The Legend of Lake Hiren
(Kindaichi Case Files are like popcorn--pre-popped popcorn from supermarket with the greasy bad cheese on it; not that good, but you keep eating it anyway).

Tamaki Chihiro: Walkin' Butterfly vol. 2.

Miki, Tori: Anywhere But Here
(I only wish I were smart enough to get these. I got maybe one out of ten, I think?)
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Bookblogging is a great way to procrastinate on finishing my Archives paper. FTW.

Novels/prose books:

Dodd, Christina: My Favorite Bride
(from the review blurbs on the back cover, I was hoping this would be better than it is. It's moderately entertaining, it's inoffensive, but I don't want to read romance novels that are just adequate; I want to read romance novels that are good. I'd go into detail about all the little details that keeps this stuck at "adequate," but it's not really worth it).


Graphic novels:

Dranger, Joanna Rubin: Miss Remarkable and Her Career
(It's, it's like someone put a tap into my brain. And I'm not even an overachiever. Damn).

Eisner, Will: A Contract With God
(the version or edition or printing that includes the other Dropsie Avenue stories. The Dropsie Avenue stories are new to me, but I'd read the Contract story before. It was worth reading again. In fact, I'm beginning to think it should be sort of a standard, to make Eisner your touchstone. Go off and read or write or draw comics for a year or three, then come back and read Eisner and realize what you've been missing that he figured out a long time ago.

Eisner draw the cohesive page before I was even ever born; he even explained it in the preface. Text/art/layout as a coherent whole, creating, forgive me, a visual synergy. He knew what he wanted to do, did it, published it, explained it. And it is good. Why hasn't the American comics industry learned from Eisner? They've had almost thirty years for this to sink in. How long is this going to take?).


Manga:

Ogawa: Tramps Like Us vol. 12
(hey, the plot's actually advancing. But am I ready, after a mere twelve volumes? And...cocaine poisoning? Oh fer crissakes. Was that necessary, Ogawa? Was it really? What is this ah, Bartleby shit?).

Takahashi: Musashi 9 vol. 1
(I've wanted to read this for a while, since it's early '90s, and manga from the '80s is generally so cool. Unfortunately, this isn't very good. But now I know, and knowing is half the battle).
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.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
I'd probably update more often if I did these for manga, but my wrists are too crap for my to type that much.


Still watching:

Lucky Star:

Never underestimate the power of an easy joke. And I love Lucky Channel more than my hypothetical future offspring. They never write!


Dropped:

Terra E:

Alas, the art and the voice-acting were not awesome enough to overcome my inability to sit still longer than twenty minutes if I already know the plot. (I'm running into the same problem with Rurouni Kenshin; I've already read the first three volumes of manga, and the anime does take its time...I'm only willing to sit it out for the latter because I know there's another twenty-five volumes worth of story material after the stuff I've seen. Oro!)

Kami-chama Karin:

Okay, it takes more than a cute chibi voiced by Nakahara Mai shouting, "I AM GOD!" to make me sit still for longer than twenty minutes, even when I don't know the scanty plot.


Kinda on hiatus:

Naruto Shippuuden:

An ill-fated back up-hard drive reboot ate most of this. I'll probably download a few dozen episodes and watch them all over the course of a week between semesters of grad school, if they're crazy enough to let me in.


Picked up:

Hataraki Man:

This anime is my new boyfriend. Or something. It hits the same sweet spot as Tramps Like Us, only with less fist-shaking because I like the status quo boyfriend, dammit; the status quo boyfriend might actually remain the boyfriend. And it's shorter. Moyoco Anno has been vaulted into the lofty realm of josei manga-ka that I sort of worship and why aren't there more comics available in English about career-oriented women in their twenties? I don't want chick-lit prose novels, dammit, I want comics. And an acceptance letter from grad school.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Remember when I said that after the first volumes of Nana and Paradise Kiss, I was close to throwing up my hands and saying that whatever it was that people loved about Ai Yazawa just wasn't for me? That I didn't like the way she drew eyes, and didn't care about fashion or the lives of the bohemian Tokyo youth?

Fuck all that. Ai Yazawa is the best thing since sliced bread.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Okay, I admit it. I am not Ai Yazawa's biggest fan. Fashion for fashion's sake doesn't interest me. Translucent irises in black-and-white art put me off. The bohemian lifestyles of the Tokyo youth are as likely to make me roll my eyes as to admire, and I do not feel the pull of the romances of Paradise Kiss.

And that is why I didn't rush out and buy Nana vol. 2 as soon as it hit the shelves. I dragged my heels, actually, even though everybody and her cousin has sung the series' praises. Nevertheless, there was something about the cover that appealed to me--the way the second Nana suddenly appeared to light the negative space of the first cover...so despite my growing sense that Yazawa might not be for me, I gave in and bought it.

And it was worth it. Vol. 1 is like an extended, two-part prequel to the main story of Nana, and I'm still not sure I like it. But the minute the two Nanas met in vol. 2, the story picked up for me, and the girls' respective romantic relationships are much more interesting to me in their second phases than I found them in their beginnings. If Nana was the story of two radically different girls not getting along, I could leave it. It's much more interesting than that, though, developing a beautiful and surprisingly plausible friendship between them. Just a hint of shoujo-ai, as [livejournal.com profile] herongale said--but really, it's mostly just a friendship, and it's more special for it. And maybe it's because I'm young, hard-up for money, and searching for an apartment and a roommate of my own right now--but I'm with each of the girls every step of the way in their quests to sort out their lives. Today, this is a story that speaks to me.

I will happily go along for the 9+ volume ride on this one.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
--"Bluer" off of Over the Rhine's album Drunkard's Prayer is rapidly becoming my favorite song, or at least it would if "Drunkard's Prayer" and "Born" didn't already hold exalted status in my mind. But.

Bluer than the blue devil
Bluer than this pale blue angel
Bluer than all my troubles
Are we gonna part as strangers?


And, "love is never far from danger"--never a truer word was sung.


--Apparently, Tramps Like Us nee Kimi wa Petto is a josei manga, which would explain a lot about the tone and the subject matter. It's not an unusually mature shoujo manga; it's meant for people my age.

On a related note, maybe I should not go directly from reading Tramps to W Juliet, because doing so really highlights the inadequacy of the latter's art. Tramps has a style that I do not find especially attractive, but which is nevertheless deeply soulful and affecting. Juliet's facial expressions look flat and cartoony in comparison--like little smiley faces, not at all adequate to convey the emotional expressiveness that is one of shoujo manga's two great strengths. The other is of course the form's total lack of conscience or inhibition when it comes to concept. Juliet's pretty much flying by on cute and wacky anyway--but one volume in, I'm feeling like it'll never be more than that, which is kind of a letdown.


--Even cranky, old, manga-hating, comic book geek/god-like repository of book trivia Bill encouraged my tentatively-voiced plan to read Memoirs of a Geisha--first non-grouchy word we got out of him all day, actually; Bill really likes selling books--seeing as we have about three hundred copies of the store in anticipation of the already-critically-acclaimed movie release, people always ask "have you read this?" as if that mattered, and I've been a Japanophile since the age of five anyway (i.e., stick a paper fan in it somewhere, and I'm probably willing to read it). I did buy the non-movie-cover edition, and I feel that there is some small virtue in that, even though there isn't.


--Reading Edna St. Vincent Millay poetry is weird. There is this incredible resonance, because she was the poet I've always wanted to be--her style and subject matter are so like mine, except in all ways better. She's fantastic at writing a line that I read once and find myself reciting for a week.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
♥ to those of you on my flist who recommended Tramps Like Us (nee Kimi wa Petto). I'm halfway through volume 1, and it's utterly charming and unlike anything else I'm reading. In some weird, backwards sort of way, it reminds me of Maison Ikkoku, which of course is my favorite manga of all time, so this is all kinds of good.

dammit

Aug. 22nd, 2005 05:26 pm
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
I really like the manga column Flipped. It's smart, accessible, and unpretentious. David likes to read manga, he likes to talk about mana, and he can say why he likes or doesn't like something in ways that help you figure out whether or not you might feel the same way. He's really good at making titles I've always overlooked sound worth a shot. Too good at it, in fact.

Memo to the universe at large:

OKAY FINE I WILL READ PARADISE KISS ALREADY. GEEZ. ARE YOU HAPPY?

And Imadoki. I'd probably do that anyway, though.

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