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 (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 (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
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)
Novels/prose books:

There is a host of fascinating books I've been reading for Subject Cataloging I was gonna list, but I've forgotten the names. Sorry.

Romance:

Burke, Joanna, The Spymaster's Lady
(Absolutely the best damn romance novel I've read since whatever that last Heyer thing would have been. The friend who recommended it said it was basically a retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel, which I read when I was...well, much younger, god knows how long ago that was; I apparently don't remember the plot. Anyway, this thing fucking kicked ass: great characterization, great plotting, sexy, sexy romance. Wow. Highly recommended if you like romance; moderately recommended if you don't really go for romance but don't mind it).

James, Elosia, Duchess By Night
(this was from the "B" shelf of the person who recommended the above awesome Burke. Sadly, it was there for good reason. It was lame-o).


Manga:

Urushibara Yuki, Mushishi vol. 6
(continuing the ongoing awesome. I dunno, I read it like, last month, the details escape me).

Yazawa Ai: Nana vol. 15
(see above).

Hiramoto Akira, Me and the Devil Blues vols. 1-2
(Jesus, this is weird. Robert Johnson meets the Devil, or possibly just the blues, and gets super awesome at the blues, but! Tragedy. And then Bonnie and Clyde show up. And die. And then we go back in time again.

Hiramoto can really draw, and this is extremely neat. Wow).


Urasawa Naoki: Pluto vols. 1-2
(this is like the culmination of about five years of longing for one of the coolest comics I ever had a chance to see. what do you want from me? I'm happy. Oh my god, I love this man, and I love this comic).

Urasawa Naoki, Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys vol. 1
(Wow, I don't remember much of the plot. But five years or so has really gone a ways towards improving my eye for sequential art! Be patient with me, Amelia; I will eventually catch up with you and we can have many a discussionfest on this again. Which reminds me, I should haul Fantastic Children out again as soon as the semester's over, so I can hit that again with you).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (moonlight)
I know I said this already, but...

PLUTO. GOD.

I had this whole evening planned out, and it did not involve recreational reading. In fact, it involved Patrick Wilson, an annotation, and constructing many practice Dewey Decimal Classification numbers.

Once again, Naoki Urasawa has derailed me. Curses!
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (nana at the window)
I've whined before about the lack of good manga reviewing, which is tangentially related to a lack of serious criticism, so it behooves me to link to a few of the fantastic pieces of manga criticism I've read in the last week or so. This was originally one post with the YKK thing to follow, but it was getting long, so I split 'em.


The House Next Door: Comics Column #5: Pluto, Scott Pilgrim, Watchmen
Link from Journalista. The comments on Watchmen and Scott Pilgrim (one I've read, one I know only from reading snippets and the ravings of fans, although I've read other O'Malley work, and liked it) are definitely worth reading, but if you want, you can just scroll down for the Pluto segment. I really shouldn't have read it, because I still haven't been able to get my hands on a copy of Pluto yet, curses, but I couldn't help it.

A little tangential bit that made me smile, because the process and product of adaptation in fiction and media fascinates me (which I credit to having read a lot of mythology as a child--as in, multiple versions of the same story, and sometimes, I wondered why they weren't the same):

I've kept far away from "spoilers" for the volumes of Pluto to follow, something I rarely do when it comes to comics (Scott Pilgrim is another notable exception). For me, personally, it's one of the most exciting comics in ages. And part of that comes back to the reaction to seeing the human-looking Atom. I know how the story "ends," as I've read the original Astro Boy tale. And this is, of course, why people still get excited by film adaptations of comics, by remakes, by re-imaginings and retcons, dissections and distillations. We want to see what they're going to do with these ideas, what they're going to bring to the original.

Apropos of that, I've been dying to read Pluto for YEARS, ever since I first encountered it, as it combines four of my great loves in one--Tezuka, Urasawa, manga, and adapted work. I'd be in a tizzy over it being backordered, were I not also mostly unconcerned with spoilers.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (woman with hamster)
This song is kinda cool.

Books:

Miller, Edward: Prince of Librarians
(Plus a subtitle I forget. It's The Life and Times of Antonio Panizzi, or Sir Anthony Panizzi, or something like that. This was a school-related reading, a biography of Antonio Panizzi, and the only copy available to me is on reserve at the school library, so I had to read it in bits there. I know you aren't, but it you DID happen to be interested in the history of the British Museum, cataloging, or librarianship in general, this is fun. Aside from being, as Miller terms is, "Prince of Librarians," the Italian lawyer/patriot-cum-British-Librarian's-Librarian was also a a strong influence in the Whig party in mid-19th century Britain, particularly in the cause of Italian freedom. And, going by that smokin' wax bust and his reputation for being well-liked by women, he was also quite the hottie. He was a stubborn bastard and a good lawyer, and he kept getting into feuds with people--I could not help but translate many of the kerfuffles into otf_wank posts in my head--which he usually won, since he could out-argue anybody).


Graphic novels:

Warren, Adam: Empowered, vol. 4
(this is simultaneously a journey further into the horrific (two words: Willy Pete! Another word: canapes! And one more: boots! Stay good, Thugboy! Warren's psyche frightens me as often as it entertains) and a journey into pure awesome. I no longer miss the short, scattered stories of the first volume, because this is an excellent, coherent arc plot that really builds on all the storylines Warren's been slowly alluding to, as well as adding a few new interesting twists. I never thought I'd find myself wanting to ship someone with the name"Mindfuck"... And oh, Emp, you perpetual underdog, you are so glorious in your irregular moments of triumph).


Manga:

Hidaka Banri: I Hate You More Than Anyone vol. 1
(I think I bought this for the simple reason that I heard someone asking for it by name, and I wanted to find out what it's about. I should be a little more careful about that kind of thing. It's vaguely cute, but lacks any bright spark, and in a world full of really good shoujo, you need more than vaguely cute to be worth the time).

Urasawa Naoki, artist, and Kudo Kazuya, writer: Pineapple Army
(I always dig Urasawa art, but I miss his writing. This is tedious and formulaic, and one of Urasawa's great strengths as a writer is to be able to enliven formula to the extent that you forget that it's been done to death. I suppose there's a reason this never popped up on anybody's list of "awesome manga you've never heard of").

Asano Inio: Solanin
(in what is probably a slight exagerration, I described this in a comment at MangaBlog as being my favorite manga of 2008. 2008 has been a manga-tastic year for me, so there's probably something else that better deserves the title, but what the hell. I dig the 20-something trying to figure out her place in the larger world, and yeah, this, too, shall pass, but it's got resonance when you're there. Anyway, Asano's art would be worth the time even if the story didn't get to me a little).
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (so badass)
Announced at ComicCon--VIZ will be publishing both Urasawa's 20th Century Boys (welcome news, but not a surprise; fans have known they were planning to do this years ago, but published Monster first at Urasawa's request) and--hooray!--Pluto, Urasawa's suspenseful retelling of the Pluto arc from Tezuka's Astro Boy (I have hoped they would do this ever since I got a peek at some scans of Pluto a year or two back. As an act of faith, I have not gone looking for scanlations for either series. Spoil me and I'll kick your head in. Urasawa is a master of suspense! I like suspense. Don't un-suspend me).

I swear, I am so happy, I could vomit up flowers and butterflies.

Although it seems unlikely that anyone is going to license and publish older Urasawa works like Happy, Yawara, and Master Keaton, every step I can take towards my dream of completing an Urasawa dead-tree English language library is a good step.

woo woo!

Jun. 17th, 2008 08:29 pm
cerusee: a white black-haired man with glasses leaning out of a train window with the caption "YO" next to him (YO)
I can only sit around my apartment reading library graphic novels so long before my butt starts to hurt and I go stir-crazy, so one of the ways I fill my copious free time this summer is by wandering around Boston (or Cambridge and Somerville) and window shopping and developing massive and disgusting blisters all over my feet. Harvard Square is particularly awesome for this sort of thing (although it often leads to me buying things like frozen yogurt or falafel sandwiches or books, which defeats the purpose of wandering around Boston as a cheap, calorie-burning form of entertainment).

I particularly like to hit up the Harvard Book Store, because they have a nice selection of used books and remainders in their basement. I've been there about four times before and never bought anything, but fifth time's the charm--this time, I found used copies of Secret Comics Japan, the old, large-size printing of Shirow's Dominion (it was marginally cheaper for half the price of the original printing than the full price for the new printing), and--this is the one that made me cackle with glee as I stepped out into the street, the proud new owner of it--a copy of Pineapple Army, which is story by some other guy, but art by Urasawa Naoki (I didn't even know it had ever been published in English)! I am one step closer to owning the complete works of Urasawa! Now I just need all of Happy, the rest of Monster, all of 20th Century Boys, all of Pluto, all of Master Keaton, and all of Yawara.

There was also a copy of an old Viz magazine with a Nishi Keiko story--I think it was called Promise?--translated and with an introduction by Matt Thorn, which I stupidly did not buy on the assumption that it would surely duplicate material in my recent acquisition of Love Song. Now that I'm home and have checked, I think it actually didn't. I'll read Love Song tonight and go check again tomorrow.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Wow. It's not hard to see why this was so popular in its day--Yawara may have been Urasawa's first series, but it's got the same energy and excellent art as his later works. The man oozes talent. And where is my dead tree English language version of Monster, Viz? Seriously. Cough it up.

But ye gods, it's been awhile since I've read any sequential art except shoujo manga--barring only Eden: It's an Endless World! and one chapter of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, which are both fairly relaxed in pace and atmosphere--and it's almost a shock to see half or dozen or more panels on a page, in tight, square, busy boxes; speech ballons tucked into corners and filled with text. The whole sense of it is as different from Othello as different can be, the art aims in a completely different direction from the art of Tramps Like Us.

Mmm, I was going somewhere with that, but I'm too tired to remember what it was.


On a hilarious side note, from David Welsh's latest Flipped column, which discusses adult-oriented manga and the Florida Peach Girl story:

This would be the moment to cast a stern eye in the direction of CMX over the whole Tenjho Tenge reverse-panty raid, a dubious one over whether the edits actually made it appropriate for its intended audience, and a speculative one over what editorial depths they’ll reach as the book becomes more violent and sexual, but I don’t have that many eyes. Plus, their books are still getting shelved under “C” most of the time, so they have bigger problems.

It's so true. I work in a bookstore, and I can't get the retards people I work with to put CMX lines away in the right place, even though manga has the simplest organization protocol in the entire store--alphabetical by series title. I've taken to re-shelving Land of the Blindfolded properly every time I see it, just because I care about that one.

Happy

May. 10th, 2005 05:38 pm
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Reading the first volume of Happy has confirmed for me that the addictive qualities of Monster and 20th Century Boys are due as much to the storytelling as the drama of the premises. Monster has serial killers, wronged men, and espionage in East Europe. 20th Century Boys has rock 'n' roll, autocrats, plagues, and giant robots (sort of). Happy has...tennis. Okay, and yakuza and insane matriarchs and headhunting brothels.

What they all have in common is protagonists you can genuinely root for, complex and sympathetic characterization for both heroes and villains, and the sort of storytelling that makes you want to sit down and read the whole 18 or 23 volume saga in one afternoon. It's not that there are no natural breaks in the pacing, but when you do stop, you're constantly haunted by the question, "What happens next?"

Monster and 20th Century Boys have been licensed, which pleases me no end, both because they deserve a wider audience, and because I want them in my dead tree library. If they do well, I hope someone will also bring Happy over here--Happy should appeal to anyone who likes Urasawa, sports stories, or teenage girls who try their hardest!--'cause the scanlations only cover the first 6 volumes.

And I want to know what happens next!
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Someone asked me for a description of the manga 20th Century Boys, and I was so taken with the cuteness of my answer that I felt compelled to share it with y'all:

Oh. Hmm. What it's about. That's a toughie. It's about bunch of kids who have a secret hiding place out in a cornfield, where they fantasize about saving the world from a giant robot and listen to rock 'n' roll. Then they grow up, and the things they imagined start coming true. Conspiricies abound, people die horribly from contact blood diseases, and much is made of the ability to bend spoons with your mind.

Vol. 1 available from Viz in April or May. Totally worth your hard-earned cash, I assure you. Remember how Naoki Urusawa's other epic series, Monster was so awesome? What? You didn't read Monster? Too bad Viz didn't give a release date for that, isn't? WTF, Viz. WTF.

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