cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (shoukei the formerly divine)
As it happens.

YA:

Jones, Diana Wynne: Enchanted Glass
(solid work.

It's really sad to think its probably her last, but she's put out several (good) books in the last few years, so what the fuck could I have to complain about. I have had literally my whole lifetime of Diana Wynne Jones's books; I count my blessings, and find them to be numerous and lovely. This woman has brought so very much joy and wisdom into my life: I reveled in her books alongside my older and younger sisters even when I didn't get along very well with those sisters; we all still love her books today. I have gone back to her stories dozens of times and not found them wanting, not ever. I love her, I love her works, I love everything she brought to my life.

I'm really sad, but I have a lot to be thankful for).

Romance:

Brockman, Suzanne: Over the Edge
(Man, I wanted to like this; I bet I never again run across a military romance author so pleasantly enlightened about feminism and homosexuality. And hey, it didn't suck; she can write a decent sentence, at least. But the sex was never all that sexy, and I only liked the A-plot, not the B, C, or D-plots. Brockman seems like a good person; I wish she was a better writer).

Beverly, Jo: The Devil's Heiress.

Balogh, Mary: A Summer to Remember
(I liked it more as a book than a romance. There are worse complaints, I guess).


Manga:

Azuma Kiyohiko: Yotsuba& vol. 8.

CLAMP: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle vol. 26
(Well, damn).

Nakamura Yoshiki: Skip*Beat vols. 16-20
(Oh, I had so much to say about these volumes! But I didn't write it down, and I kinda forgot most of it. I think it was ranting along the lines of how amazing this manga is for allowing Kyoko to remain the focus of the manga even in a storyline where she'd normally be sidelined--I mean, in what other shoujo manga do you expect a storyline nominally dedicated to mending fences between the delectable leading man Ren and his estranged dad to end up focused on said dad's budding mentoring of/hilarious feuding with Kyoko? (God, that was cool.) I love Nakamura and her genius for writing Kyoko. I could read this for a hundred more years; given the glacially slow development of plot, it would only generate ten years or so of actual story...).

Urasawa Naoki: Pluto vol. 8

Yoshinaga Fumi: Ooku vol. 3.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (my world is CRUSHED but okay)
This series!...I just finished reading volumes 18-21 in one sitting (and I would have kept going if I had more to hand).

Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle volume 18: aww, this whole major-plot-development-from-volume17-thing is hard on everyone, isn't it...
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle volume 19: ...OH MY GOD
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle volume 20: ...OH MY GOD
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle volume 21: ...OH MY GOD

On a side note, I see that nearly the entire cast has an entry ready for the Annals of Maiming.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Novels/prose books:

Romance:

Bourne, Joanna: My Lord and Spymaster
(This was definitely not as good as The Spymaster's Lady. I liked Jess enormously, and whatsisname, Hawke? But I never warmed to the male lead. And the idea that Jess, who was in every way a full partner in her father's business, would actually give up her very successful career there--I mean, she basically built the accounting system--to marry that prick left me with a sour taste in my mouth. It was quite the let-down after Spymaster's Lady).


Fantasy:

Turner, Megan Whalen: A Conspiracy of Kings
(GOD I was not expecting that ending. I can't really discuss it without massive spoilers but...wow, is this ever not how I was expecting things to turn out, not after The Thief, not even after Queen of Attolia, not even after King of Attolia. And yet...it feels like less of a stretch than it might have; it is in some ways a very organic development from things that happened in Queen.

Though I haven't heard anything about another book, I am expecting at least one more. I get a very strong feeling that Turner isn't done with this story).


Manga:

Anno Moyoco: Sugar Sugar Rune vol. 3
(Anno? You have a genius).

CLAMP: Wish vols. 1-2
(To be continued! Except not, I think? It somehow reminded me of a You Higuri manga, but nicer, because this is fluffy CLAMP, not horribly bloody death CLAMP. Anyway, it's toothless enough that I don't really care whether or not there's any more story, and whether I ever get to read it if there is).

CLAMP: RG Veda vol. 1
(I totally only picked this up in the library because of the storyline in Tsubasa with Yasha and Ashura, but reading it just made me more confused. Horrible bloody death CLAMP, obviously. I really liked the bit where they stand around casually arguing while the five-year-old gazes thirty feet up at where a dead woman has been impaled on the wall by a spear, her blood running in a great swath down onto the floor, then reaches out and puts his hand into her blood, tastes it, smiles, and has another bout of evil-spirit possession. At which point the adults start paying attention again. See? This is what happens when you leave children around the corpses of people who've been horribly murdered.

It doesn't really make any more sense than Wish--the events of the first half of the book could have taken all of ten minutes, for all the textual and visual clues as I had with regards to pacing and the passage of time--but it certainly is more interesting to look at. And Gigei was cool. Too bad she's also dead (like about 70% of all the characters, male and female, who appeared in this volume). Man, this thing has already exceeded the entire body count of Hamlet, and this is just volume 1).


CLAMP: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle vols. 1-17
(as I already said. God, I mean, this thing is captivating. I stand in great peril of it eating my brain).

Ishikawa Masayuki: Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture vol. 1
(I thought the germs would like, have personalities. I'm actually kind of glad that they don't; the personalities of the actual humans are interesting enough).

Mizushiro Setona: After School Nightmare vol. 10
(Okay, that was weird. But why not? It's not like the initial premise made a lot of sense anyway).

Ono Natsume: Ristorante Paradiso.

Tanaka Masashi: Gon vol. 6.

Unita Yumi: Bunny Drop vol. 1.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (HOMG pineapple in mah bath?)
I just spent about four hours blowing through fourteen volumes of Tsubasa (right through volume 17). I SHOULD have been doing schoolwork.

and AAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH I need more NOW.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (books)
Higuri You: Angel's Coffin
(I bought this without even bothering to flip through it, because it's You Higuri! And I love her! I have to remember not to do that any more).


Higuri You: Cantarella vol. 10
(annnnny time you feel like finishing this, Higuri...

Please?).


Tezuka Osamu: Dororo vol. 3
(not much of finish to the series, but the ride is entirely too enjoyable to for me to want to complain).


Urasawa Naoki: 20th Century Boys vol. 7
(C'mon, what the fuck happened to Kenji, man? AAAARGH I need the rest of this series yesterday).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (...okay then)
Mystery:

Christie, Agatha: The Mysterious Affair at Styles
(Oh, Christie, you racist, xenophobic, conservative twit. You will just keep on doing your racist, xenophobic, conservative thing, won't you? But you wrote a lot, and you sold a lot, and now you're dead, and no one ever expected better of you, so no one ever bothers to call you on it. Sometimes I hate you for that.

Also, you are only okay as a writer, and for all your work, you really only wrote a tiny handful of books that are truly standouts in your preferred genre. Bite me, Agatha Christie).


Fantasy/romance:

Bujold, Lois McMaster: The Sharing Knife: Horizon
(I was in the shower when I had this sudden thought that oh hey, Bujold set up this world where the local predators atop the food chain, malices, subsist and thrive on birth-energies, and the only known method of destroying a malice requires the harnessing of death-energy. I find this quite fascinating, given both Bujold's general interest in reproductive issues as they pertain to both women's health and the construction of self-identity, and her regular thematic revisiting of parenthood, with its ability to exalt or to destroy the parent.

She probably covered this in the first book, but I read that years ago and don't remember.

I liked this, and I think the preceding volume of The Sharing Knife, more than I've liked any of Bujold's other fantasy novels excepting only The Curse of Chalion. Wow, did this series ever grow on me!

I adore Arkady, who would have been a jerk in anyone else's books, and I ended up unduly fond of Barr, probably because he was a jerk who outgrew it, and that trope appeals to me more than it has any right to).


Manga:

Ariyoshi Kyoko: Swan, vol. 3
(Every time I read a volume of the classic ballet manga, Swan, I have to fight the urge to run out and buy the entire series so I can finish it tomorrow. Then I forget about it for six months).

Midorikawa Yuki: Natsume's Book of Friends, vol. 1.

Ono Natsume: not simple
(the art IS simple, but not the plot! Stuff like this is why, when I was ranting about the potential glories of that Matt Thorn/Fantagraphics manga line thing, I couldn't quite bring myself to claim that they'd bring over stuff we'd never seen before and would never see otherwise. I mean, have you seen the stuff that Viz puts in its Signature line? Quality. It's totally one of those high-end scanlation groups run by hardcore manga geeks with superb taste, except that it's legit. It's stuff like this that made it reeeaal easy for me to pretty much give up on fansubs and scanlations. And that they also have a line that picks up lovely titles like Natsume's Book of Friends, i.e. the Shoujo Beat line).

Otsuka Eiji, story, and Yamazaki Housui, art: The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, vol. 10
(Dark Horse and Carl Gustav Horn also helped).

Toriko Gin: Song of the Hanging Sky, vol. 2
(this, too. The reason I fangirl all this stuff so hard, btw, is that manga is one of the only things I tend to buy instead of renting or borrowing, and I am presently fiscally unable to venture past titles that I think are just totally the shit to titles that are actual shit*).


*I would never, for instance, actually buy any of Agatha Christie's racist, sexist, xenophobic, conservative books except for the tiny handful that are genuinely innovative and clever. I mean, it's not like she's an actual master of genre writing like Stout or Heyer. The woman wrote fucking literary tissue paper stamped with her usual ugly nationalism and not even saved by a nice period denunciation of fascism. I cannot, I just cannot get over a book where a major character turns out to be a German Jew spying for Nazi Germany. That is so Agatha Christie. I fucking hate that woman.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (SHOCK DISMAY WHAT WHAT)
~EDIT~
Okay, this is a much better link: the fuller Journalista announcement by Dirk Deppey, who is in great part responsible for this. And the shorter original announcement. And Matt Thorn himself would be good, too right? Yeah.

It is for things like this that I love Dirk Deppey so much. I 'specially enjoyed Dirk's little history on the making of that spectacular shoujo issue for the Comics Journal, a few years back. (I still treasure my copy.)
~EDIT~

~EDIT EDIT~ Aaaand, my write-up in the manga_talk community, here. Man, The last time I unintentionally repeated the word "work" that many times in close succession, I was writing a paper about Richard Smiraglia ("Smiraglia has done wonderful work on this near-comprehensive work on the nature of the work").
~EDIT EDIT~


Matt Thorn has a manga line! Or he will soon, anyway. Matt Thorn is apparently going to curate and edit a line of manga for Fantagraphics--is the meeting of a scholar I respect and admire with a publisher I respect and admire, and anticipate I'll be giving a lot more money in coming months.

I actually got a little hysterical with glee when I read the bit about Moto Hagio. I woke my cat up with all the weird noises I made, and he was asleep two rooms over.

By the way, I think I've read some of that Shimura Takako manga mentioned farther down in the article, and if it's the one I'm thinking of, it's pretty fantastic, and cause for celebration all by itself.



Aaaaand I'm going to go lie down until the spasms of joy have passed. I think the last time I was this thrilled was when I heard that VIZ was preparing to publish both 20th Century Boys AND Pluto (at the same time! So I wouldn't have to wait two or three years! Again!).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (why is there spring in this winter?)
Non fiction:

Skloot, Rebecca, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

(Everybody should read this book. Especially if they work in medicine, or any life science, or for that matter, any social science, but even if they don't; everybody should read this book. Everyone, bar none, has a stake or a potential stake in what the material of this book covers.

Rebecca Skloot pretty much now a personal heroine of mine for this work--for doing it, for doing it right, for taking the time to do it right, and to do right by Henrietta and her family. I feel that this is almost a case study in how to write about an important medical subject and to decently represent the human interests involved--in this case, the woman, her life and her death, her circumstances, and her family, past and present. Henrietta Lacks is one of the most important people ever born in the world. I'm not exaggerating. She deserves nothing less than this book, and probably much more.

I come from a social sciences background to begin with, plus we just covered ethics in that silly mandatory information evaluation class I'm taking right now, so ethics was kind of on the brain anyway; I am practically humming with the importance of treating human beings like human beings in your work, whatever your work may be. I hope this book ends up as mandatory reading in a million college classes, maybe high school classes, too, and teaches people about the intersection of science and humanity and ethics, and the right way to deal with the human beings you'll be working with if you do science. Or, you know, anything at all in your entire life).


Novels/prose books:

Mystery:

Stout, Rex: Trio for Blunt Instruments.


Comics/graphic novels:

Foglio, Phil and Kaja: Girl Genius, book five: Agatha Heterodyne and the Clockwork Princess.


Manga:

Urasawa Naoki: Pluto vol 7.
(sob sob sob. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I just, I knew this was coming but oh man I hoped and pretended and looked askance because this is an adaptation, and Urasawa can do whatever he wants! He didn't have to! Oh gosh. I have to go lie down now.

By the way, I read this volume in ten minutes flat, standing next to my bookcase with its stacks of unread manga, fist jammed into my mouth, barely breathing. Hoping I was wrong.

sob.)
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (autumn travels)
Romance:

Beverley, Jo: The Rogue's Return
(Better than Dangerous Joy; not as good as The Secret Wedding).


Mystery:

Stout, Rex: Three for the Chair
(includes "A Window for Death," "Immune to Murder," and "Too Many Detectives").


Graphic novels/comics:

Cooke, Darwyn: Parker: The Hunter (based on Richard Stark's prose novel)
(Umm. Great art. Icky, kinda misogynistic story).

Barnes, Bill, and Gene Ambaum: Reader's Advisory : Unshelved 7
(I bought this at ALA Midwinter, along with a truly fabulous "What Would Dewey Do?" shirt. It's autographed by Bill and Gene! The book, not the shirt, that is.

The forecast: scattered humor).


Manga/Manwha:

Azuma Kiyohiko: Yotsuba vol. 7.

KookHwa Huh, writer, and Sujin Kim, artist, Pig Bride vol. 1.

Urasawa Naoki: 20th Century Boys vol. 6.

Yazawa Ai, Nana vol. 20
(Aaaand there's that spoiler omg).

Yoshinaga Fumi, All My Darling Daughters.

Yoshinaga Fumi, Ooku vol. 2
(sob. ...sorry, I can't help it. For some reasons, the stories in this series make me want to cry my eyes out and keep me from sleeping at night. Frickin' Yoshinaga).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Novels/prose books:

Mystery:

Heyer, Georgette: Detection Unlimited.


Romance:

Beverley, Jo:
The Secret Wedding
An Unsuitable Man
Dangerous Joy
(After reading The Secret Wedding, I waxed ecstatic to several people about how the newly-discovered-for-me Beverly is the closest thing to reading Georgette Heyer Regencies I'd found yet. After reading An Unsuitable Man and Dangerous Joy, then going to visit my parents in Austin and reading a couple more Heyer romances and mysteries, I have to take back the comparison--Beverly's one of the better romance novelists I've run across, but Heyer's pedestal sits higher still, and Beverly's really not close at all.

The Secret Wedding was pretty awesome in terms of plotting, pacing, prose, sexiness and characterization, and I was impressed by her ability to address modern feminist perspectives and concerns--rape, women's general lack of independence, agency, and financial power in 19th century England, etc--in a way that was not jarring or ahistorical. She did what I thought was an pretty good job of balancing romantic fantasy and historical reality. I could have lived without the cute magic animal, but it was also less intrusive and ridiculous here than in Dangerous Joy.

Dangerous Joy and An Unsuitable Man are among the better genre romances I've read--I haven't read that many, except for Heyer, who really is in a class by herself--but didn't live up to the high expectations I had of Beverly after The Secret Wedding. C'est la vie. I'll continue to look for books by her to read, since if a lesser book by Beverly isn't necessarily better than 90% of everything else out there, it's still a decent read, and her better books are pretty damn good.)


Heyer, Georgette: These Old Shades
(the best part about reading this was how my mother, who probably hasn't read it in years, could still remember the names and roles of all the characters in it, and could recall the context of every little bit that I read aloud. I know I can't do that for many prolific genre authors who primarily write stand-alone works with no carryover characters. I can't even remember the names of most of the protagonists unless they're in the title).



Comics/Graphic novels:

Kafka, Franz, author, Peter Kuper, artist/adaptor: The Metamorphosis

Lutes, Jason: Berlin: City of Stones: Book One.

Geary, Rick: The Adventures of Blanche
(Geary has never seemed so weird to me).



Manga:

Asano Inio: What a Wonderful World vol. 2.

Ito Junji: Flesh Colored Horror.

Hatsu Akiko: Devil in the Water.

Mori, Kaoru: Emma vol. 10.

Urasawa Naoki: 20th Century Boys vol. 5.

Urushibara Yuki: Mushishi vol. 6.

Yasuhiko Yoshikazu: Joan.

Yoshinaga Fumi: Ooku vol. 1
(words cannot express how much I adore the Shogun. Holy shit, man. I like Yoshinaga's male characters just fine, but if she decided to write nothing but female characters from now on, I would have no complaints).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (books)
I have to do this now because library books are due, and it got cold and snowed and the heat came on, so I can't keep piling these suckers up on the radiator.


Non-fiction:

Tyler, Royall, ed.: Japanese Tales
(this is an anthology of medieval Japanese stories--not folk lore, but rather stories written by upper-class members of the imperial court. I started reading this sucker back when I worked at the bookstore, some three years ago. It's a slow read, although an interesting and worthwhile read for people who are a) interested in Japanese history and culture, b) folklore and fairy tales, or c) Shinto and Buddhism. I'd heard for years about how Shinto and Buddhism harmoniously co-exist in Japan, but until I read this book, I never fully understood how that worked--I'd imagined peaceful mutual tolerance, but it's really more like a deep blending. You read about things like travelers going down some dangerous, haunted path, running into danger in the form of a powerful kami, and praying to a Buddhist figure. The menacing kami, however, sees that the traveler is a devout Buddhist, and, being a devout Buddhist his/her/itself, spares the traveler. It's a little bit like the way that various kinds of Western supernatural lore--vampire and werewolf myths--intermingle with Catholic imagery and Catholic beliefs--holy water, crosses, prayers, consecrated ground and whatnot).



Mystery:

Matsumoto Seicho: The Voice: Short stories by Japan's leading mystery writer
(In some other decade, I guess. It took me a few stories to adjust to the fact that in every story, the twist was signaled in about the first quarter of the story, and the rest of the story would be dedicated to following events to some logical end. I kept wanting some second twist closer to the end of a story, and it kept not happening).


Stout, Rex: Too Many Cooks
(Um, yeah, as [livejournal.com profile] snarp said, for a white guy writing in 1938, he didn't do too bad. And the story is Stout's usual strong stuff. But if the n-word or any of several other racial or ethnic slurs are dealbreakers for you, I would not read this.

I think Stout's racist like he is sexist--his is the worldview of an intelligent, thoughtful, sophisticated, creative, permissive and rather generous personality who is not, like, spectacularly socially enlightened for his era--I think he fits into his zeitgeist; he doesn't push the boundaries of his world. As a white chick who like snappy writing and vintage mystery, I find it easy and worthwhile to forgive him, but he does sometimes write things that need forgiving).



YA fiction:

Gaiman, Neil: The Graveyard Book
(I try to avoid Gaiman's prose books, because I don't enjoy them, but this was pressed on me by someone who knows my taste, and knows I adore Kipling. And, well, I finished it, which for me is pretty good when it comes to a Gaiman prose work, but I wish I hadn't known that it was a riff on Kipling's The Jungle Book before I read it, because then I would have been pleasantly surprised, instead of disappointed that it wasn't more like it. I love Kipling something ungodly fierce, and although Kim edges ahead by a hair as one of the most beautiful, loving, dream-like tributes to a real lost homeland I've ever read (the racial politics are actually really interesting, and not just massively depressing like, say, Heart of Darkness), The Jungle Book is nearly my favorite Kipling work. Gaiman's social politics are certainly easier to navigate than Kipling's (I mean, he did actually mean well, and he loved, loved, loved India, but boy was he racist), but if I was going to put them up next to each other, that's the only place where Gaiman would win for me.

Okay, will someone please tell Gaiman, for the love of god, that giving characters names like "Shadow" and "Door" and "Nobody" is fine when you're writing for comics--although it's still godawful cutesy--and the name is not the main signifier, but that when you're writing straight prose work, giving characters hideously unsubtle names like that is like slamming the readers in the head with a giant fucking brick over and over and over every single page? And to please stop it. Stop stop stop.

Alternatively, if people would stop trying to make me read Gaiman's prose work, he could continue to write books about people with BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS SYMBOLIC NAMES and using other textual tricks that so work better in a visual medium than in prose, and people who like that kind of thing could enjoy them, and I could ignore them in peace).



Graphic novels/comics:

Beaton, Kate: Never Learn Anything From History
(the only complaint whatsoever I have about this fabulous collection of Beaton's comics is that I had read them all recently enough to be able to remember them pretty well).


Hinds, Gareth: Beowulf
(hmm).



Manga:

Akino Matsuri: Petshop of Horrors: Tokyo vol. 6.


Asano Inio: What a Wonderful World! vol. 1
(okay, I remember these. I was so thrown, because I was sure I'd read some of these stories before when I heard they were licensed, but I started with volume 2 and didn't recognize any of them.

If you like Asano, you'll probably enjoy these. If you don't, you probably won't).


Azuma Kiyihiko: Yotsuba vol. 6
(the translation in this volume felt weirdly stiff--it's all still funny, and god knows, the art is expressive enough, but I know this could be better. Not the work, but the translation. Bummer. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm sorry ADV isn't publishing this anymore, because they were doing it better than Yen Press).


Tanaka Masashi: Gon vol. 3.

Urasawa Naoki: 20th Century Boys vol. 5

Urasawa Naoki: Pluto vol. 6
(bawl).

Yasuko Aoike: From Eroica With Love vol. 4.


Yazawa Ai: Nana vol. 18-19
(bawl.

My love for Nana K. continues to grow in a way I never envisioned when I picked up volume 1 of this book, lo those three or four years ago. There is something profoundly satisfying about watching a callow youth mature into real adulthood, and I think Nana K. has experienced more genuine positive growth as a person than any other character in this entire series. Some of her decisions are kind of anxiety-inducing, but they're decisions she made thoughtfully and even selflessly, and she follows though on them in a steady way that's kind of unimaginable for the person she used to be).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Novels/prose books:
Bierce, Ambrose: Fantastic Fables
(hmm. Lots to be said. Aesop's Fables, as written by a sophisticated late 19th century cynic; cynicism palls really, really fast. It's interesting, but at least from my perspective, not entertaining).


Romance:
Heyer, Georgette: The Talisman Ring
(I liked it! As I generally do with Heyer. She's very good, you know).

Sutherland, Peg: Queen of the Dixie Drive-In
(When [livejournal.com profile] telophase shipped this to me lo those many months ago, I meant to do an in-depth snarky review of it in lieu of payment. But I never got around to it, and then school happened. I think it was mostly okay? The prose didn't send me screaming and it wasn't hugely misogynistic or anything).


YA:
Jones, Diana Wynne:
The Game (way too short, but a good read. Loved the bit with the pork chop, and also how well the reveal worked with the prior characterizations; Jones always does that kind of thing well. There's a little part of me that keeps waiting for her to do some kind of truly pan-mythic story, but maybe that's not fair, especially at this point; she's a basically Western Civ gal, and I know that. And she does pretty good stuff with Greco-Roman/Western European/British Isles mythology; it's not as if she's stagnated with it).
The Spellcoats (reread),
Conrad's Fate (reread),
House of Many Ways (reread),
--totally meant to go on in more detail about all these rereads, but, as I said, school happened.


Light novels:
Ono Fuyumi:
The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow
(I wanted to love this, and Yoko, as much as [livejournal.com profile] bookelfe did, but I didn't. I felt better about that after I went back and reread her post on it, and her comments about why she identified so strongly with Yoko--identifying with a character is always YMMV, and I'm not that person. But I totally get the bit about it subverting fantasy tropes. It's fascinating for that, and the more I go back and look at it, the more I like the structure and plot. The prose of the translation is unimpressive, but the story is good).

The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Wind
(awww baby kirin. And, while reading this book, I found myself suddenly hugely in love with the entire universe--reading the second book made me love the first more, and made me desperately want more of the entire world, and all the characters. I begin to get used to Ono's mind, and I like it).


Graphic novels:
Foglio, Phil and Kaja: Girl Genius book four: Agatha Heterodyne and the Circus of Dreams (holds up well on a reread).

Warren, Adam: Empowered vol. 5 (awwwwww fuckity.
But I'm relieved. I expected to cry a hell of a lot more than I did. I am simply grateful that I didn't cry more than I did. I think this series will eventually rip my beating heart from my chest and set it on fire, because that's what Adam Warren does to your heart. And you then say, "thank you sir, may I have another? Because I adore your clever writing, even though you obviously want to hurt me.")


Manga:

Akino Matsuri:
Genju no Seiza vols. 6-7 (was that another PSOH ref with the kirin? Say it's so, Akino!).
Petshop of Horrors: Tokyo vol. 5

Mori Kaoru: Emma vols. 8-9 (oh shit the Meredith bedroom scene was so hot! There is no sex, although there is sexiness, but the intimacy--emotional and physical--is so pure and tangible I kept having to put the book down and go oof).

Ninomiya Tomoko: Nodame Cantabile vols. 15-16.

Otsuka Eiji, writer, Yamazaki Housui, artist: Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service vol. 9

Takaya Natsuki: Fruits Basket vol. 22

Umino Chica: Honey & Clover vol. 4.

Urasawa Naoki: Pluto vol. 5 (and here I'd just boasted to my LCS guy that I knew everything that was gonna happen because I didn't see Urasawa deviating from the basic structure of the plot as outlined in Tezuka's The Greatest Robot on Earth. So far, he hasn't, but this is fucking Urasawa, man. He's a master of suspense. He will surprise you, and he will make you hang. And he'll do it well. It's why he's awesome and we love him.

Urasawa Naoki: 20th Century Boys vol. 4

Watanabe Taeko;
Kaze Hikaru vol. 11

Twin Spica

Sep. 28th, 2009 08:48 am
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (moonlight)
I know I never post about manga anymore, but a few things at Manga Blog caught my eye. Among the new licenses announced at NYAF 09 was Twin Spica, which has been picked up by Vertical (yay Vertical's discriminating taste). I've quietly longed to get a chance to read Twin Spica ever since the abrupt non-ending of the anime, lo those many years ago. (Twin Spica has one of the absolute worst non-endings I've ever seen, seriously. I'm 99% positive it was a case of the funding getting cancelled or someone getting fired or something, but it was so poorly done, I still resent it.) I'm so psyched! I never thought anybody would pick this one up, but the market for manga in the US has really changed in the last six years, and the enduring critical/cult popularity of Yotsuba& is a pretty good indicator that there is an audience for this brand of seinen in the States (i.e. smart, tasteful, character-driven drama and/or humor; slice-of-life).

I wish I could post a link to the pretty scan of a page someone made, many years ago, to show what the artwork was like, but the blog I saw it on is long gone, alas. But there's a scan of the first cover image on its Wikipedia page, here. Yes, yes, Asumi is too short to be an astronaut, but that's sort of the point. She's going to do it anyway, dammit, because her lifelong dream, first articulated in early childhood, is to be a rocket driver!

There's a ghost of a guy with a lion's head who appears to Asumi and gives her advice and comforts her on family trauma--I don't really remember what the trauma was, just that she has one; a dead parent, I think), and counsels her on becoming an astronaut. And just plays with her, keeps her company. It reminds me a little bit of Calvin and Hobbes, although Asumi is much nicer than Calvin.

So anyway, Twin Spica is pretty much, Asumi wants to become an astronaut, hangs out with her maybe-not-imaginary friend Lion-san, works her way into the Tokyo Space Academy, deals with new student drama, makes friends, begins training to become an astronaut, la la la, I don't know what happens much after that, because that's where the anime dropped it, and at least at the time, no one was scanlating the manga. It's all very sweet, and low-key, very slice-of-life, but very serious, too. Asumi's as nice as they come, but she really means it about becoming an astronaut. It's not just a pipe dream, or a vague fantasy, and her level of commitment and effort in the service of her goal felt very inspirational to me. I love a good career goal, dammit.


Twin Spica the anime was made at the same time as Planetes (I watched them simultaneously--oh, what a lovely year 2003 was for me in terms of introducing me to new kinds of anime); I just now learned from the Wikipedia page that they shared a production staff. Badass. I bet that would save on a lot of research time--once you've gone to all the trouble of figuring out how to portray the finicky details of astronaut training and stuff, I bet it's nice to be able to use it again.


I also noticed there's another Kaori Yuki license by VIZ (Grand Guignol Orchestra); that should thrill large portions of my flist.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Love this. Girlamatic on Mihara Mitsukazu: Part 1, Part 2. More to follow later, I hope. I am a huge fan of Mihara, both for her art style, which I dig--it's not the Gothic Lolita aesthetic specifically, although she's apparently kind of like a Gothic Lolita deity; she's just got this unique and distinctive style that works extremely well with her writing, to my eyes--and because, as I've commented before, and Shupe observes, Mihara is an interesting science fiction writer. Science fiction in its classic speculative, probing function, the kind that burrows into uncomfortable, unsettling questions about human existence, rather than the purely entertaining set dressing. Which I also like.
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 Golden Spiders
Gambit
The Father Hunt
Some Buried Caesar
(Lily Rowan's introductory novel. Long rambling on Lily Rowan and Stout's women.) )


Manga:

Urasawa Naoki: Pluto vol. 4.

Tanaka Masashi: Gon vol. 2.
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)
Mystery:

Stout, Rex: And Be a Villain (Wolfe),
Before Midnight (Wolfe),
Black Mountain (Wolfe's little Roman Holiday. Eastern European holiday, that is, and a follow-up of sorts to Over My Dead Body),
Three at Wolfe's Door (Wolfe),
The Final Deduction (Wolfe),
Bad for Business (Tecumsah Fox. Fox is like a blend of Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe, and although he is as awesome as neither, he's still pretty entertaining),
Double for Death (more Fox),
Alphabet Hicks (Neither a Wolfe or a Fox mystery, and in the feel of the reading, just a little nastier than normal Stout. Prior to the events of the book, Hicks, the protagonist, actually suffered permanent consequences of the sort Cramer is constantly threatening Archie with, and he's bitter, and so is the book),
A Family Affair (Nero Wolfe, and the darkest Stout I have ever read. The introduction claims it's Stout's Nixon novel, which I believe. Nixon comes up in the book, but I think what that really refers to is not Nixon, but the jarring, unexpected, and upsetting betrayal that the plot hinges on. This reminded me of reading Georgette Heyer's Penhallow--it's a disturbing work from a writer who is normally fun and comfortable. It also has what I think might be the single most romantic scene I've ever read in a Stout book, when Archie goes to visit Lily. They're both so self-possessed and capable, and their non-exclusive relationship so relentlessly casual that to see Archie, feeling vulnerable, go to Lily is impossibly affecting).


Graphic novels/bandes dessines:

Larcenet, Manu: Ordinary Victories: What is Precious.

Rodriguez, Jason, editor: Postcards: True Stories that Never Happened
(Jesus, this was boring).


Manga:

Azuma Hideo: Disappearance Diary
(also boring).
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 (Default)
Manga/manwha


Tezuka Osamu: Phoenix vol. 3: Yamato/Space, and Phoenix vol. 5: Resurrection
(the latter in particular is kind of sticking with me. The former was surprisingly creepy.

Tangent: one of the two and a half panels I attended at Anime Boston was The Absolute Worst of Osamu Tezuka, which featured some entertainingly bad stuff, and some stuff that was actually really good. The intro to Phoenix 27somethingsomething, for instance: the female robot who turns into all sorts of random mecha shit in a sexually charged sequence--it's certainly weird as hell and laden with all kinds of...of...things, but it's gorgeously choreographed and animated, and there's a real sense of intent there; I'd love to see it unpacked. Or the massive box-office flop that was Cleopatra--I'd love, love, love to see it with some decent subtitles, by the way--yes, the rotoscoping was hideous and ill-concieved, but the opening past sequence was one of the most lush, colorful, energized pieces of 70s animation I've seen in awhile. And, so, Caesar was blue and there were anachronistic bathroom jokes. This is Tezuka. You're surprised? That was how Tezuka rolled, bitch).


Tezuka Osamu: Black Jack vols. 2-3
(dingos did not eat his kidneys!).


Yamamoto Naoki: Dance Till Tomorrow vols. 3-5
(fuck, VIZ did great work way back in the day; this is such a cool title, the likes of which you don't see anymore--silly, sexy, adult characters with a peculiar blend of cleverness and manipulativeness and heart that always makes me think of the 80s, and that surprising undercurrent genuine emotion that makes it as affectingly romantic as the sweetest, sincerest shoujo. The translation in this thing thrills me--it's so very funny and clever and engrossing. It reminds me of the experience of reading Ranma 1/2 and Maison Ikkoku; witty language to match the witty art. I miss that. I wish it wasn't so unfashionable now to actually fucking adapt a translation so that it can convey the spirit of the material along with the literal meaning. Speaking of which,)


Otsuka Eiji, writer, Yamazaki Housui, artist: Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service vol. 8
(I don't want to downplay the fundamental merits of this title, which are numerous, but it occurred to me during the con, as I pawed through the library's thousand+ books, more than half of which I'd probably hand-picked, that one of the great pleasures of Kurosagi is the quality of the translation: it's witty and lively and the English is the natural, conversational English of fluent native speakers. That's so uncommon as to really stand out, and I think that's a large part of its appeal. Dark Horse, Carl Gustav Horn, I love your work).


Yozaburo Kanari, story, Sato Fumiya, art: The Kindaichi Case Files: The Mummy's Curse
(OMG [livejournal.com profile] retsuko, you're right, this is the most absurd revenge plot imaginable. Just...just shoot them, Jesus Christ, stab them, poison them, garrote them. Hell, hack them up with an ax; it'd be more straightforward.

By the way, at the Edogawa Ranpo panel at Anime Boston, the panelist, who clearly knew his stuff otherwise, thought the Kindaichi Case Files were actually adaptations of Kosuke Kindaichi stories. Presumably, he hadn't read them, since I think they have even more tenuous a connection to the original Kindaichi than The Beekeeper's Apprentice has to Sherlock Holmes. Not that this matters in the slightest. It was a decent panel, although I knew the subject well enough that I didn't learn much that was new to me, and the audience--a particularly stereotypical crowd of male otaku, all six of them, one of whom repeatedly derailed the panel by sharing his obsession with Nazis--were a little creepy. And dammit, they stank. I felt genuinely uncomfortable in the room because of them).


Nakamura: Skip*Beat vols. 16-17
(I already gushed in [livejournal.com profile] meganbmoore's journal about these. You know, the art in these things is nothing to write home about, and the pacing is too slow--less happens in a whole volume than in a single chapter of Nana--but by god, Kyoko is one of the best female characters I've ever run across in manga. The author permits her a really unique kind of inner strength, something I'm just not used to seeing in manga--a sharpness that, once exposed, isn't dulled for anything, not even for the object of admiration).


Yazawa Ai: Nana vol. 16
(but, thanks to an overly enthusiastic scanlations-reading fan, I am now spoiled for a certain major event beyond this volume. Dammit. Oh well, I can't claim I saw it coming, but I can't claim to be surprised, either.

Speculate in the comments on what that spoiler might be, and I will eat your kidneys like a ravenous dingo.

I'm also spoiled for every major character death in Naruto in the last twenty volumes, which also ticks me off, but I admit that being 20 volumes behind the English adaptation and all, I haven't got much grounds for complaint there).


Kye Young Chon: DVD vol. 1
(I hadn't realized this was only volume 1. I'd been meaning to get around to it ever since I bought it for the library last year...a year and a half of the build-up of anticipation did not serve it well. It's okay, I guess? Not my favorite manwha of the year).

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