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the terror of whatever

My life in Goodreads exile

Currently reading

Ex Machina, Vol. 1: The First Hundred Days
Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris
The World Without Us
Alan Weisman
Ex Machina, Vol. 3: Fact v. Fiction - Brian K. Vaughan, Tom Feister I don't know! I read these and then the next day I found them lying on my floor and I was like "Wait, did I read those yet?" They're fine! Just wasn't super up my alley at the moment. This is about me, not the book. Things have been crazy lately. We're moving? It's just stressful, you know?
Spire - William Golding Read this in college and then a few times since, although I totally forgot about it until Steve added it to his shelf. I remember really liking it and being wowed by Golding's language, but it's very dense in places, to the point where I wasn't 100% sure what exactly was happening. But the central idea, about a man so consumed with the idea of doing something for the glory of god, that it maybe takes him all the way back around in the other direction, is great and 100% up my alley.
Child of the Hunt - Christopher Golden, Nancy Holder, Joss Whedon After about 100 page I gave up, I'm sorry to say. I just couldn't vibe with it and I'm bummed because I bought this at a tag sale from a guy who was SO INTO BUFFY BOOKS. He had a whole pile of them so I dug through and picked this one and another one that looked interesting and he was like "Yes those are good ones!" I want to revisit this down the road but for now it just wasn't doing it for me. The writers clearly know the characters very well but there was so much internal character brain exposition it was like watching a very slow episode of Buffy where the characters all said all their thoughts aloud. Not that this in and of itself but I already know the characters so well I would have liked to cut some of the personality establishing in favor of moving the plot along faster. That's about me, not the book. That said there is interesting stuff happening here--Buffy kills a child vampire whose mom thinks he's just missing, hoping he'll come back soon, and the human side being shaped by the after-effects of Buffy's "work" is a really interesting thing to explore. Like I say, I'll revisit.
Saga, Volume 1 - Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples I find it very annoying how many good ideas Brian K. Vaughn has.
Fledgling - Octavia E. Butler This was intense. Scary and sexually creepy but thrilling and fun and weird. I am predisposed to loving Butler's work and this book fits right in with the themes of her other books--a woman set apart from society (however that's being defined) in search of knowledge and understanding and a community. Butler strips the vampire mythology down to its essentials (blood, sex, the night) and then builds something new and interesting with it to come around at issues of race, prejudice, genetics, and history (being beholden to, letting go of).

SO creepy but so good.
Stumptown, Vol. 1 - Matthew Southworth, Greg Rucka Casey gave me this book to read. I really loved the art. The story is a little by-the-numbers. Down on her luck PI faces various setbacks as she tries to unravel a mystery about a missing girl. It's not too terribly much of a mystery, and none of the characters really "stuck" for me: there are a dozen or so characters in the story but you don't really learn much about any of them, so they mainly just exist. Also the main character has a brother with Down Syndrome (she refers to him as mentally retarded?) but you don't learn much about him or their history so the pathos sort of drops like an anchor on the page. Made me more interested to read Queen & Country, a story by the same writer that a lot of people on Goodreads seem to prefer. I shall add that to the list.
To Be or Not To Be: A Chooseable-Path Adventure - William Shakespeare, Ryan North Kickstarter books are always a gamble. That's part of the fun? Maybe? There's the whole "Is this book even going to get written and published like the author promised" thing NEVER EVEN MIND the "Will I even like it" thing.

Well this book got kickstarted and it really happened, right on schedule, and I really like it, it is the one of the most fun books in existence.

I don't know what exactly I was expecting. You hear Hamlet Choose Your Own Adventure and you think: A Fun New Take On Shakespeare. But really Ryan just used the bones of Shakespeares Hamlet to write a whole new bunch of stories. The plot points are there, but all the text is new. Ryan didn't reinterpret Shakespeare, he just wrote his ass off.

I've only played? read? through a few times, (you can be 3 different characters). Once I ended up leading a ghost battle? One time I left Denmark to fight terrorists? One time I was in a relationship sim?

This is a whole new, unique thing, that is Very Ryan North. The love of science and logic that you see every day in his Dinosaur Comics is here, on every page. And the strongly feminist approach he takes to reinterpreting the character of Ophelia in particular is not just fun, but kind of loving? It's really great, just read it.

Also, needs to be said: this is the ultimate bathroom book. Set aside your Extraordinary Book of Facts and your Endlessly Engrossing Bathroom Reader. This is really the only book you need in your bathroom. This isx it, the alpha and omega.
Bellweather Rhapsody - Kate Racculia I'll write my review closer to it's release date, for now I would just like to state that people better have this book on their radar.
Revival, Vol. 1: You're Among Friends - Mark Englert, Mike Norton, Tim Seeley Very fun & creepy, great set-up. One day in a small town in the mid-west, the dead come back to life. They're NOT ZOMBIES. They're just alive again. Well, it's complicated. And saying more would involve spoilers. But I really enjoyed it. It doesn't just rest on the set-up, it throws all kinds of interesting curve balls at you and the characters all interact in complicated ways. Especially loved that it's so heavy on female protagonists. Em in particular is one of my favorite characters ever. Thumbs up, definitely reading more.
New X-Men by Grant Morrison Ultimate Collection - Book 3 - Grant Morrison, Chris Bachalo, Phil Jimenez, Marc Silvestri There are spoilers in here if you're worried about things being spoiled from 10 years ago.

Starts off strong and fun with the Cyclops/Wolverine/Fantomex mission to The World, and I love how this sets up the later X-Force run. Wasn't especially impressed about Weapon XV, which is kind of a bummer, but fine. I just didn't really buy the Magneto reveal (I realize this is a controversial thing and my opinion is nothing new, so just add it to the pile), destroying all of NYC just seemed like a weird choice that made the whole thing even more unbelievable than a comic book about mutant superheroes already is. And then the jump forward to the future was interesting, although again it felt distant and there wasn't any way to connect with the characters, and then there was the Phoenix and I guess some people are really into the Phoenix but I'm not especially.

The artwork was very stellar in this one.

Cool ending to the run, but there just wasn't as much in this one for me to latch on to. Very impressive series over all though.
New X-Men by Grant Morrison Ultimate Collection - Book 2 - John Paul Leon (Artist),  Grant Morrison,  Phil Jimenez (Artist),  Frank Quitely (Artist),  Igor Kordey (Artist),  Ethan Van Sciver ( Probably my favorite volume of the Grant Morrison run. Introduces some of my all-time favorite characters, including Fantomex and Dust and the Stepford Cuckoos (who were technically introduced in the previous volume but get better time here).

The drug thing wasn't my favorite? But it was fine. And anyway I liked the focus on younger mutants, still trying to figure out who they were, and I like the way it all builds up to shatter Xavier's mission, send Cyclops away, etc. All the fun stuff that still echoes through the X-Men universe.

Also this volume focused less on the universe and more on the relationships, esp Jean & Emma, so I liked that.

To sum up, I really enjoy Fantomex.
New X-Men by Grant Morrison Ultimate Collection - Book 1 - Frank Quitely (Artist),  Grant Morrison,  Leinil Francis Yu (Artist),  Igor Kordey (Artist),  Ethan Van Sciver (Artist),  Tom Derenic Recently encouraged by a coworker to read Grant Morrison's run on X-Men and I'm glad I did! Holy cow! It's kind of mind-blowing how much ground he covers in 8-ish issues. He writes from a really distant perspective, almost like he's The Watcher, seeing all of X-Men history and timelines, pulling together the most crucial, interesting stuff. I didn't feel like the inter-character/motionvational/emotional stuff was necessarily his strong suit? focus? but the breadth of his storytelling and all the sweeping changes he made to the universe were just awesome (like the original definition of the world).

He writes SO MUCH, it's almost as though you can see the artists struggling to keep up with him, and I've enjoyed some of these artists' work elsewhere but never felt like the art here particularly clicked & hummed for me. The writing is always on top, and my most favorite comics are really 50/50 partnerships.

There's a lot to swallow at times, this volume in particular is pretty dark. Cassandra Nova is an interesting idea even though it's almost too silly for comic books (twins battling in the womb?). And I didn't ever care much for Beak and Angel, there was nothing I found emotionally engaging about them and . But Xorn I really liked. And the Scott/Jean/Emma stuff I loved.

Very fun though, so much life in what is more often than not a stale franchise, I was excited to keep reading.
Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones Man it has been a while since I have read anything. I read this with Kinnell. We finished it a few weeks ago. He was super into it. I was super into it. Neither of us had seen the movie NOR read any DWJ previously. Stylistically I was very into this book. It's kind of a mess? It's unclean, random things happen and people go in and out of moods. It was very fun and very original and mentally I got into this whole thing that made me depressed about how it seems like how everything is so narrowly defined in publishing these days. Would this get published as YA today? Probably not? Even if it did would it have had to go through a bunch more editing to smooth out some its randomness. I'm not making a lost of sense but I suppose I'm also not trying very hard. I enjoyed this book, thank you Meg for buying it for me. I am going to read more from this author.

A Gringo Like Me: Poems

A Gringo Like Me: Poems - Jennifer L. Knox Have been meaning to read this and other books by Knox for years, and then saw her books on the Bloof table at AWP and was LIKE YES LET ME BUY THESE.

Really fun stuff. Really wish I had read this in 2007 when they came out, where would my brain even be now if it had had these poems back then.

Favorites included:

"Mighty, Might Primate: Reconsidered"
Ladies and gentlemen, Mighty, Mighty Primate / is a great, great / movie.

"My Favorite Little Story"
The years had improved her English. Dramatically so.

"Waiting With The Dead"
One out of every 300 people has murdered someone, / so if you were at a baseball game / and the stadium held 18,000 people, / there would be 60 murderers in the crowd.

"Chicken Bucket"
Well that was a long time ago. / Rick and I got married

"Another Motive For Metaphor"
I love to masturbate, especially / after a poem of mine's accepted in / a literary magazine.

"The Best Thanksgiving Ever"
Somebody found a big bottle of vodka. We made a no-hugging rule.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré This book felt like the longest slog ever, where nothing ever happened, ever and then BAM FIVE AMAZING CHAPTERS AT THE END. It felt like we’d come the long way around but once we got there, dang. That’s the part of the book you take away, not the fact that someone turns pink or red on every blessed page, or that every single line of dialogue contains an adverb that describes exactly how you were already interpreting the sentence, not the GOD DAMNED HOUSE ELVES.

I think if I was just reading this to myself my brain wouldn’t register these annoyances as strongly, but becuase I’m reading it slowly & aloud to my son, the repetitive weight of all these writerly tics starts to become exhausting. Kinnell was ready to jump right into the next book but I need to take a break and read other things and besides I think we’re getting into territory that is maybe a bit too mature for him.

Other thoughts:
-Dumbledore is definitely my favorite.
-Enough hinting that there's something interesting going on with Snape, how about if something ACTUALLY interesting happens with Snape
-There were a few parts where I felt the movie ironed things out pretty elegantly compared to how they happened in the book
-BUT the ending of the book is stronger than the ending of the movie
-House elves are the worst, god bless the movie for stripping that out
-I'm fully aware I'm being a hater but I don't understand all the 5 star reviews for this book. How could anything with all that jar jar binks house elf dialogue get 5 stars.
Angel Bait: Book 1 of the Angel Assassins Series - Tricia Skinner This was really fun. I've known Tricia for years and years but this was the first time I ever got to read something she wrote, and it was such a thrill to see a friend totally on top of her game, kicking so much ass. It's not even fair to mention this in a book review but if you ever meet Tricia in person you'll see how much of her voice and character and passion are in this book. Seeing how much of herself she put into this book was an extra layer of fun for me.

The plot concerns group of half-angel assassins, and the reporter they are trying to find and protect before a renegade angel and his vampire henchman get to her. It sounds complicated, but it's not really. The pieces click together and the plot hums along. It's a solid read and hits all the notes it's supposed to.

Like most of the people reviewing the book here, I had not read a lot of paranormal romance before this but I was not super scandalized by the sex. QUITE THE OPPOSITE.

There were a few places where I wanted pieces of the background filled in a little more (why is Heaven more like an evil corporation than a bunch of angels and fluffy clouds; why do the half-angels all have super powers (and different super powers at that); why are we in a world with angels, half-angels, vampires, AND werewolves AND shapshifters? (feels kinda crowded?), but this is the first in a series, so I presume we'll get more info as the series progresses. Looking forward to it.