Monday, July 30, 2007

Rex Libris

We really are living in the golden age of fantasy stories about my chosen profession, librarians. James Turner's Rex Libris is possibly my favorite of these to date. It's got alien snowmen with compound eyes, world conquering sparrows, and librarians with arsenals. But more importantly Turner shows that he has an deep understanding of just what makes librarians tick, even if most of the time that simply a good danish, or the desire to turn a particularly unruly patron into swine (Circe at a circulation desk is just brilliant). Oh and this is a beautifully illustrated comic to boot.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Yes I jumped on the Harry Potter bandwagon too, I didn't go to the midnight release, but I was there at 7am when Wal-Mart opened (even though it compromised my principles a bit to do so). I even stopped reading a book I was half way through (Michael Flynn's Eifelheim) in order to get through this before I heard too many spoilers.

And man was I glad I went out of my way to read this thing, it is a great book. The series comes to an incredibly satisfying conclusion, with every character, hero and villain, given a chance to shine (in many cases right before they die). The book is a bloodbath, which I was not expecting at all, but only once in the book did it ever feel excessive to me. After 7 books Rowling has earned her apocalyptic battle between the forces of good and evil, and she does not disappoint her readers in its telling.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets!

This is a book I picked up because Cory Doctorow said too. I knew nothing about it going in besides the glowing review I saw, and Gary Panter's description on the back referring to it as magic jellybeans, and for some reason that description seems very fitting to me.

The comics that comprise this book are a bizarre collection of brilliant garbage. Fletcher Hanks has no understanding of anatomy, can only draw villains if they look constipated, and has a strange fixation with people being levitated against their will. But instead of feeling hokey and contrived every page of this collection feels unique and full of energy.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Fourth World

I'm sorry it's been awhile since I've posted anything, but you can probably expect a whole slew of posts in the near future as I've been splitting my time amongst a few books (damn you Harry Potter). But the first of these I've actually managed to finish volume one of Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus.

With the exception of the Demon, I'm a late comer to Kirby's work for DC. But I'm now at the point thanks to Marvel's essenial reprints of his work on the Fantastic Four, Thor, and Captain America, that I will pretty much buy anything he drew, with the possible exception of Devil Dinosaur (I just can't get past Moonboy).

The Fourth World books are just plain great comics, even with all of their flaws. DC had every panel that featured Superman or Jimmy Olsen redrawn, the story never had the chance to conclude properly, and I have to repress a shudder whenever Flippa Dippa has a line of dialogue. But none of this gets in the way of the sheer energy and creativity that shines on every single page. Plus Kirby has to get credit for making a septuagenarian S&M fiend (Granny Goodness) into one of DC's better villains. The only problem now is waiting for the other 3 volumes.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Eyre Affair

I had started reading Jasper Fforde's Jack Sprat novels a while back, but it took me until now to try out the Thursday Next books he started with. I went in to the Eyre Affair expecting it to be a bit more straight forward, focusing on literary mysteries instead of fairy tale ones. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Fforde is just as willing to go off the deep end and have some fun while writing these books as well. Vampires, time travel, government conspiracies, and a 150 year long war all combine into a novel that is really about an attempt to improve the ending of Jane Eyre. Lots of fun, even if you don't know anything about the Bronte's going in.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Other Side

Jason Aaron is a new writer, and I've been resisting reading him because the last thing I need is another prolific author that I need to buy a book from every other month. But in the end I picked up the Other Side anyway because it had some of the best Cameron Stewart art I've seen. Long story short, this was a phenomenally well written Vietnam story, and inevitably I'm probably going to wind up picking up Aaron's ongoing book, Scalped.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Yiddish Policemen's Union

I finished Michael Chabon's latest novel at the beginning of last week. I was a little disappointed after hearing it compared to his masterpiece, the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. It was a decent mystery, but in the end it just felt a little too gimmicky to me. It seemed like the idea of infusing Dashiell Hammett dialog with bits of Yiddish overrode the actual plotting of the novel. It was certainly an enjoyable book, and I would recommend it to any hard boiled fans, but I just feel that it could have been a lot better.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Return

I'm finally back online after my move, and after my weekend at this year's Readercon. While there I had the chance to meet Karen Joy Fowler, Kelly Link, Peter Watts, John Crowley, Lucius Shepard, and a whole bunch of other great writers. I also added a few notches to my librarything account (I can finally read the Aegypt Cycle!). Anyway yes I did read a few things during this time (I had to do something while I didn't have an internet connection), but I think I'm going to drag those posts out a bit this week as I continue to unpack.