2008-12-30

Living in Motels

Hello,
Hope you all had an awesome holiday. I did. I cannot believe it is almost 2009. (That's just crazy! Where's the flying cars?) Good times ahead I hope. Cheers to you all. Happy New Years! I enjoyed Book Club tonight where we discussed Motel Life (see review below) and had a good time. If you want to have some fun and read interesting books we meet at Sam Weller's Books on the last Tuesday of every month at 6:30 pm. Come on by, it's a good time. Onward!

Reviews
What I Said and How I Lied
I first heard about this book after it won the National Book Award for YA titles. The title and cover were also intriquing. This book takes place in post-war America as Evie, a girl whose 15 going on 16, her mother and stepfather take a trip to Florida and gets caught up in mystery and romance. The first person narration is written in a snappy noir style that enjoyed immensely. It's written in a witty style that only emphasized the noir feel of the story. I was surprised to discover that this is more of a story about lost innocence rather than a clear cut mystery. Evie's slow discovery of the dysfunction in the adult world around her was heartbreaking. This is a great read which I enjoyed and highly reccommend.

Other Reviews
Becky's Book Reviews|YA New York|Ink Splot 26

The Motel Life
I had picked up this title upon the high reccommendation of a co-worker but I have been sitting on it for awhile. When it was announced as the book club choice for December I finally picked it up. Boy am I glad I did. Frank and Jerry Lee Flannigan have had a terrible of run of bad luck all their lives. Drifting along in Reno Nevada, the work lower class jobs in a rootless existence. When Jerry Lee commits a terrible crime it's Frank who is stuck cleaning up the mess. Reading this I noticed strong overtones of Steinbeck, Denis Johnson, and Kerouac. I loved the bond between the two main characters and it was devastating watching the effects of a life marked by failure. Like Of Mice and Men Frank is burdened by his need to take care of his brother. However, rather than become melodramatic Vlautin instead chooses a more detached ending that I don't think quite works. I guess I just wanted a little more story in my story. The main characters really don't change all that much. I think he easily could have delved more into the characters. Although it's a bleak story I did enjoy this story of flawed characters living desperate lives.

Other Reviews
New York Times|KQED|The Independent

The Reading List
Books
The Irregulars
Generation X


Comics
Trinity #29

Magazine
Newsweek

Check Out Count: Continues to Improve.

Comic Pull List: Batman #684, Batman Cacophony #2, Goon #31, Green Lantern #36, Incognito #1, Northlanders #13, Stand Captain Trips #4, Superman #683, Trinity #31, Wolverine #70

Happy New Years! Have a great week! See yeah in 2009! Book Slave.

2008-12-25

Christmas trees are magic.

Hey folks,
Merry Christmas! Happy Chrismukkah! I hope you all are having a great holiday. I enjoyed mine immensely. I gave out a lot of books. Hopefully the folks I gifted them to will enjoy them as much as I do. I actually received everything but books, which was actually good. I think the folks who know me realize that I have a massive TBR pile. I do a pretty good job adding onto the pile myself, without needing help from others. Anyway I was very lucky this year and am humbled by it. I hope you all were able to have a wonderful holiday. Enclosed are some pictures to enjoy.

Here's a picture of our family tree this morning. Isn't it cute. BTW that's my brother in the right corner. He was sick as a dog, poor guy.



And here is a picture of my own tree. It's adorned with some beautiful ornaments thanks to my mom. Also a few years ago we were able to track down some bubble lights which are magical. It's a cute tree. I believe in keeping it up till around New Years and then it's gotta come down.



Have a great holiday! Enjoy, Book Slave.

2008-12-23

Review me!

Hey folks,
Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you are all having a great holiday season. I am enjoying my time immensely. Having a few days off has been great! My gift to you folks is a massive helping of reviews. Onwards!

Reviews
Local
I have been waiting for this series to finish so I could read it altogether. It was worth the wait. This collection is gorgeous. Local, written by Brian Wood, follows a woman named Megan over the course of 13 years. Each issue follows her in a different city from Portland to Chicago to Halifax. Megan is a great human character who makes mistakes, goes through horrible situations, and tries to find her own identity. The main theme of identity is striking as we see her age from 17 to 30. Ryan Kelly does an amazing job in subtly showing her change and grow throughout the series. Also Kelly is great at portraying the details of each location. I particularly enjoyed the details in the Portland segment which is a city I find interesting. NPR named this collection their best graphic novel of 2008 and it deserves every bit of praise.

Other Reviews
PopMatters|PDX Comic Geek|NPR Top Book of 2008

In Search of the Far Side

I have always enjoyed the absurdism of The Far Side by Gary Larson. In fact it's one of very few comic strips that I read. Larson sees the world in a smart crazy way. In Search of the Far Side is his third collection and I think that here is where Larson really starts to hit his stride. I am always impressed with how he is able to convey so much in one panel. My favorite in particle shows four dogs playing on a front lawn. In the background in a house window one dog looks forlornly with a violin in hand. All in one image he captures absurdism (dog playing a violin!) and poignancy (dog is sad he can't play with the others). I miss The Far Side.

Other Links: The Far Side

Re-Gifters
This was a cute tale that is aimed directly at teenage girls. The main character is a Korean girl named Jen Dixson who is mainly interested in martial arts and boys. Specifically a boy named Adam who is ridiculously uninteresting. I always have problems with these kindof stories because the boy that the main character has a crush on is so unworthy of her. Jen is an interesting person without being boy-crazy. Her desperation to be liked by Adam drives her to do silly things. Hijinks ensue. I was much more interested in the segments about her family and the martial arts tournament. Now that was cool. There was also some interesting commentary on the Korean community in LA and how they were effected by the Rodney King riots. Carey does a great job of layering these elements into the story without getting preachy. This is a good reccomendation for teenage girls.
Other Reviews
Blogcritics|Comics Worth Reading
|Girls Read Comics

Three Shadows
I picked this up on the reccomendation of a co-worker but it's taken me awhile to pick it up. It's too bad I took so long, because this was a good book. It focuses on a family that lives in the country that is menaced by three shadows. Ultimately the father decides to take his son away to his old homeland in an effort to keep him safe. It was this middle section that I got caught up in. Pedrosa paints a harrowing, difficult portrait of their boat passage. This is clearly meant to comment on the immigrant experience. I was also impressed with the relationship of this family. The mother and father are willing to do anything to keep their son safe. In the end I became emotionally connected to this family. So I found myself a bit torn when the story moved away from them to other supernatural elements. The Deux Ex Machina that Pedrosa introduces in the end is a bit cheap. However I found this story worked and had some great characterizations.

Other Reviews
Comic Mix|School Library Journal|moonshine

Kin
I just want to start with this: I'm not big on fairies. I'm not against them, it's just not my thing. So I picked this up solely based on the reccomendation of a co-worker (shout out to Alex!). I found this tale interesting, however I'm still not big on fairies. With that in mind I thought this tale was interesting but I won't be continuing. While I did get caught up in the mystery aspect I was underwhelmed by the art. Sometimes the faces were a bit too vague. I think the majority of the human characters were gender ambiguous. An interesting choice by the artist but it through me off. Also the Deux Ex Machina ending was a bit too easy.

Other Reviews
Book Reviews and More|nineseveneight|Oops wrong cookie

The Reading List
Books
Motel Life
What I Saw and How I Lied


Magazine
Newsweek

Comic
Batman and the Outsiders #14

Check Out Count: Much Improved.

Comic Pull List: Batman #683, Daredevil #114, New Avengers #48, Runaways 3 #5, Trinity #30, Umbrella Academy Dallas #2, Wonder Woman #27

And in the end folks, Have a great Holiday! Enjoy the madness and prepare for a bright new year. Book Slave.

2008-12-21

Some reflection and some best of picks

Hey y'all,
The holidays are coming...hell look at the snow outside man! The holidays are here! I have had a good time this year. Good family, good friends, very little retail hell. Actually the low economic expectations this year have made things less hectic. Where I work business is a bit down but they economized beforehand so the hit isn't so bad. I still refrain, not to be a nag, but you still have time to buy a book for christmas. Books can give a lifetime of enjoyment. They don't need an upgrade. They don't become obsolete in a few years. Even the cheapest paperback at our store is $3. That's the same as a cup of coffee, less than a hamburger. Just do it, it's better for everyone.

Anyway we're nearing the end of the year. This is the first year that I've been able to really track what I've read over the course of a year. It's a gift to be able to reflect back and see what I think. So with much fanfare I'm throwing out some Best of 2008.

Best of 2008

Best Graphic Novel: Starman Omnibus Vol. 1
Past Review: The Good and the Bad
One of the greatest gifts this year for me was the discovery of writer James Robinson. Starman is a great combination of the edgy and the classic. Jack Knight really wants to be a hero, but he can't admit it to himself. He'd rather be hipster ironic. By rejecting everything his father is, Jack can be his own version of a hero. Robinson captures the difficult relationship between this father and son. Again it's what they can't say to each other that keeps them from having a relationship. The "David" issue was also very effective visually as well as emotionally. The use of black and white signifying nostalgia as well as death. I can't wait for Vol. 2.

Best Book Not a Graphic Novel: Quiet Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian
Past Review: Hot Time! Summer in the City!

If you've been paying attention then you know that I work as an assistant at a public library. (This is in addition to my work as a book seller. Sorry it's confusing.) I've worked in libraries for about 3 years now. However my mom has worked as a public librarian for nearly 40 years now, so I grew up in libraries. Quiet Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian written by Scott Douglas tells the story of a young man who starts out as a lowly page in the Anaheim Public library system. He decides reluctantly to become a librarian and the book chronicles his journey through 6 years of service. I found myself deeply affected by one chapter where he's confronted by another librarian. The librarian reminds Scott that he is a public servant and to never put himself above the public. This stayed with me and has become a new motto. Douglas's raw, honest, portrayal of public service was a book that I took to heart.

Best Comic Book: Fables #71
Past Review: If only I could teleport away...

This awesome issue was a complete surprise. The Good Prince story arc had just wrapped up and there were supposed to a few filler issues before the final war against the Adversary. Filler issues are usually such a waste of time. However I loved this issue which featured Cinderella as a super spy on a secret mission. It was great to see Cinderella kick ass, which she has not really done in the past. It took me back to one of my fave TV series Alias. Also the cover is amazingly cool. I love it.


So there you are. Have a great weekend! Book Slave.

2008-12-16

Did Jane Have a Christmas Tree?

Hello,
Happy holidays y'all! The end of the year approaches quickly don't it. Tomorrow I'll be putting up my own tree. Only a real tree for this girl. And Christmas lights! Oh I can't wait, it's very exciting. Anyway Onward!

Shout Out
BTW Today is Jane Austen's Birthday. She would be 233 years old today. So Cheers to you Jane, I raise a glass in your honor.

My Posts about Jane: Teach Me Jane I'm Willing to Learn, Austen and Socrates, Critic Proof.

Review
More Information Than You Require
I love John Hodgman. Ever since I saw him on The Daily Show to promote his first book Areas of My Expertise I knew that we were kindred spirits. His new book More Information is an expert sequel to Areas. Hodgman has a unique absurdity to his comedy which can be exhausting, but produces endless cackles of laughter. Who else could give us 700 mole man names? Hodgman is great at satirizing the pursuit of useless arcane trivia. He also makes a great swipe at celebrity as he talks about his status as a MINOR TELEVISION CELEBRITY (yes he puts it in All Caps). Highly Enjoyable and definitely re-readable.

Author Link: John Hodgman

Other Reviews
AV Club|Student Voice|jesterjournal

The Reading List
Books
Local
Mrs. Dalloway


Comics
Secret Six #4

Magazine
Newsweek

Checkout Count: Varied

Comic Pull List: Batgirl #6, Batman And The Outsiders #14, Buffy The Vampire Slayer #20, Deadpool #5, Fables #79, Trinity #29

Have a great week! Book Slave.

2008-12-13

Fantasies and Dreams

Hello,
Today here in the SLC we experienced the first major blizzard of the winter. And yep it's December. About time weather gods. Anyway I wished that I could've holed myself up with a stack of books and hot chocolate. Unfortunately I had to work. As my co-worker Naomi pointed out the other day I guess you can tell a book person by what their fantasy day would be. I guess I am totally a book person.

Someday I will have my book-reading nook which will look like this:



Yes the sliding ladder is a must. Sigh someday folks, someday. Well I've got some days off coming to me during this month. So I hope to get some quality book time in. With Hot Chocolate of course.

Have a great weekend! Book Slave.

2008-12-09

Christmas is a coming!

Hey folks,
Howse it hanging? Extra special fine I hope. As we head towards Christmas I can proudly say that all my holiday shopping is done. Yes folks, done. And I managed to buy all local, as well. I guess I feel like giving myself a gold star. Just another reminder to y'all. Buy Local. Help a small business. Your local economy will thank you. Well Onward!

Shout Outs and Announcements
Just thought I would throw your attention to the side bar once again. I have joined Twitter. Please feel free to join in on the fun and follow me or just read my postings here. Also I'd like to point out that this post contains review 100, which is double what my goal was initially. It's kinda crazy to think that I have written 100 reviews this year. I guess it's possible to reach for that high bar. Thanks folks for following along.

Reviews
PostSecret
A few years back Frank Warren hit upon a new idea. He began a website and urged people to send in post cards, anonymously, that contains a "secret." Warren was interested in the idea of art therapy and he posts new postcards every week. This book is a collection of those postcards. These postcards range from silly to tragic to moving. As a coffee table book I think this was better than your average pretty picture books. I think these postcards present a great microcosm of our society. It's pretty amazing how effective it is to share in other people's thoughts and needs. I highly recommend checking it out.

Other Reviews
Series of (Un)Fortunate Reviews|tdaxp|Books For Breakfast

In Our Time
I've read a few Hemingway novels and I enjoy his clear-cut prose. So I decided to pick up his first collection of short stories which I haven't ever read. In this collection I can clearly see an emergent talent in some of these vignettes. Even though some of the pieces here are only 2 pages long Hemingway is able to develop interesting realistic characters. The "Nick Adams" stories are clearly biographical. My favorites of these is the combination of "The End of Something" and "The Three-Day Blow." However, the best story of the collection is "Soldier's Home." I was incredibly moved by this story of soldier's inability to rejoin society, and his parents faith in him. In these times with two wars going on, and no end in sight, this story was strikingly relevant. Otherwise I found some of the stories a little too slight. I was less interested in the ex-patriat tales; these ideas are much better developed in The Sun Also Rises.

Author Biography
Ernest Hemingway

JLA: Salvation Run
It's a popular idea to develop series around villains. JLA: Salvation Run takes this idea and runs with it pretty well . The plot is that Suicide Squad is scooping up villians in the DC Universe and sending them all to a "hell" planet. These villians start to create teams and try to find a way to survive. I enjoyed how the series explored a conflict in leadership styles between Lex Luthor and the Joker. Luthor is the machevellian politician, while Joker is the crazy "Idi Amin" dictator. It was alot of fun to watch these guys go at it. Writer Matt Sturges nailed these characters and was not afraid to take the story to crazy extremes. Unfortunately I think that the story fall apart in the end. Where was this story supposed to go? The DC Universe can't do without it's villains. The story becomes anti-climactic and unsatisfying. Ultimately here we have a good set-up but no real ending.

Other Reviews
Occasional Superheroine|Funnybook Babylon

Loser's Guide to Life and Love
After seeing Ann Cannon at the Utah Humanities Book Festival in October I decided to pick up this book. This young adult novel contains all the expected tropes of the genre: unrequited love, mistaken identity, and an overt emphasis on the effects of the moon. I mean let's be honest these devices were old when Shakespeare pulled them out for Midsummer Night's Dream. However Cannon does manage to construct a fun story using a multiple narrator structure as a frame. In this way each character is given it's own unique voice. It's similar to the structure of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, which I enjoyed immensely. Unfortunately while fun, I felt that the story once it got going lacked any sense of realism and spark. I never got a sense that I would know any of these characters in real life. I was really captured by the mystery of Ellie's past and secrets. Ultimately I was disappointed when it turned out to be very conventional. I was expecting something more scandalous I guess. Also I'm extremely annoyed by the inclusion of "script" format in order to express dialogue. I saw it last year in Shannon Hale's Austenland and I hated it then. If you want to write a script, then write a script, otherwise let's put this device to rest. I began to enjoy this book more towards the end as the main characters actually started telling each other the truth. Cannon is very good at pulling together a happy ending, I just wish it reflected reality a bit more.

Other Reviews
Laura's Book and Movie Reviews|Books Are King

The Reading List
Magazine
Newsweek

Comic
Umbrella Academy 2 #1

Books
More Information Than You Require
Mrs. Dalloway


Check Out Count: Being Brought Under Control.

Comic Pull List:Action Comics #872, Captain Britain And Mi 13 #8, Detective Comics #851, Final Crisis #5, Green Arrow Black Canary #15, Secret Six #4, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane Season 2 #5, Terry Moores Echo #8, Trinity #28.

Have a great week! Book Slave.

2008-12-04

Vamps

Hello folks,
A happy first week of December to y'all. I hope that you are doing well. I can tell you that I love hot chocolate and some good Christmas lights, but Xmas is hard on your book slave. Too many great books out there! And then the best of lists start appearing, like the New York Times. Pain, ripping open my bleeding wallet. And then I have to find books for other people. Geez! Life is hard. Also just a gentle reminder to please be nice to your retail representative. Chances are that woman/man who is ringing up your books is actually a person with feelings.

Shout Outs
I just wanted to point out that on the sidebar I've added a new feature. Thanks to those magicians at Google we all can become "followers." While I'm not completely happy with the Orwellian sounding terminology I think it might be fun to interconnect. So become a follower, gentle reader.
And now for something different.

Literary Commentary: Vampires
Tonight I saw the amazing Swedish film Let the Right One In and it was great. I know that vampire stories are all the rage at the moment. I have never been a fan of the genre. Actively avoiding Twilight is incredibly easy when I have wikipedia to fill me in if anyone has questions. I'm not a total vampire snob, I have read Dracula. Here's the thing what I dislike about the genre is when vampirism is played as moody romanticism. Pale, wan, grayish male vampires still need to kill things to survive. That's right vampires are killers. Eternally youthful, yet still killers.

I am more intrigued by vampirism as symbolic of sexual desire. The undertones of sex, blood, and death that are apparent in Stoker are far more interesting. My favorite scene involving the Count is his seduction of Wilhemina Murray. He captures her and bites her. However he decides to create a connection by having her drink his blood. This reappears in Anne Rice's series where vampires are created in the same way.
In any place where there is repression of normal sexuality, than a natural regression occurs. In vampiric lore this took the form of sadism, in particular oral sadism. The act of bloodsucking is linked to sex and creation. No moony teenagers here. Let's put it this way I don't want my vamps Twilight-style.

Have a great weekend! Book Slave.

2008-12-02

Vikings and Essex County

Hey folks,
How are you? It's been a very family oriented week as we kick off the holidays. Gentle readers I'm throwing out a small plea: Don't trample people in the name of cheap buys. Instead head down to your local bookstore and buy some books this year. Reading is good. Books can last a lifetime. Can you say the same thing about a $100 HDTV? Not necessarily. I'm just saying. Anyway Onward!

Reviews
Northlanders Vol. 1
This book is awesome. I never thought that writer Brian Wood, known for DMZ and Local, would do a series about Vikings. So I hesitated taking this series on but now I wish I'd been reading it since the beginning. This series begins with Sven returning to his kingdom which he's been exiled from to take on his evil Uncle. This isn't a new premise, but Wood throws us a curve. Sven actually accepts the idea that he has to earn the right to rule. Sven is obviously meant to be on a "heroes journey" but with a medieval brutality. This series is incredibly violent and the art reflects that. Artist Davide Gianfelice lends an original look and page layout to this series. The coloring and violence is very in-your-face. That exactly reflects the subject matter and tone that Wood writes in. These vikings are brutal and visceral. I can't wait for the next volume.

Other Reviews
i love rob liefeld|Comics Should Be Good|Pop Syndicate

Essex County 2 & 3
After reading Vol. 1 I had to check out the rest of the trilogy. Writer/Artist Jeff Lemire finished up the last of the series this fall so I read vol. 2 & 3 back to back. These books feature interlocking characters in the fictional world of Essex County, Canada. Each book features stories full of loss and regret. I have this to say: If these books don't effect you then you don't have a soul. Lemire creates an amazing group of realistic human characters who will break your heart. In my opinion the best book of the trilogy is Volume 2 subtitled Ghost Stories. It begins with 2 brothers, Lou and Vincent who end up playing hockey in Toronto. Lou, the older brother, loves Toronto and playing hockey, whereas his brother Vincent is intent on going back to the family farm. Is Lou selfish for wanting his independence? Perhaps, but it's realistic and creates a wedge between the brothers that lasts 30 years. This story is juxtaposed with Lou's present story where he is isolated and lost. He has gone deaf but his mind is still just as sharp. Lemire blurs the past and the present storyline in such a way that the reader can become as unsure as Lou is. These books should not be missed. They are masterpieces of the original graphic novel genre.

Past Review
Essex County 1


The Reading List
Magazines
Newsweek

Comics
Trinity #26

Books
In Our Time
Loser's Guide to Life and Love

Check Out Count: Heavy Loaded.

Comic Pull List:Batman #682, Criminal 2 #7, New Avengers #47, Secret Invasion #8, Trinity #27

Have a great week! Book Slave.

2008-11-27

Giving Thanks

Hello y'all,
Well here we are at Thanksgiving (at least here in America anyway). As is customary we start to reflect on what we have to be grateful for. Here's a list of things that I am currently thankful for in no particular order:

*My mom.

*My jobs. Although they may not pay much I count myself as very lucky to be able to be involved with something I love.

*Books. Really must I explain?

*Movies. Well the really great ones anyway. And new ones to be discovered.

*Podcasts. Never enough time y'know.

*Sunday Brunch at Fiddler's Elbow.

*Steven Gerrard, Liverpool.

*Lost. Enuf said.

*Anyone that reads this blog. Yeah that means you Constant Reader.

I think that we will leave it at that. Have a great Thanksgiving! Book Slave.

2008-11-25

Some Challenging Lit

Hello folks.
I hope you are enjoying this Thanksgiving week. I am thankful for the wonderful 3 days off that I've been granted. I hope you all are just as lucky! Well Onward!

Reviews
In Persuasion Nation
This is a book I definitely wouldn't have picked up on my own. I ended up picking it up as part of my book club and it's definitely unique. Using a mixture of satire and Pynchon-esque storytelling in this collection Saunders makes pointed social commentaries. In several of his stories Saunders focuses in on the corrosive effects of advertising and materialism. While I found some of his stories very funny, such as "Samish-Sex Marriage," I also think that the writing is very dense. It took a discussion with some other readers for me to understand Saunders better. Some of his stories I found to be emotionally detached and I'm not sure whether that was on purpose or not. So if you are interested in "something different" perhaps give this a shot.

Other reviews
curled up|Entertainment Weekly|Blue Rectangle

Selected Poems William Carlos Williams
"I think some people just read poetry to seem smart"
"I don't really like poetry. Most of the time I just don't get it."
--Overhead on the train from some folks sitting next to me

I like poetry. In college I actually spent more time studying poetry then prose. I think that because of that I'm pretty good at understanding it. I especially enjoy modern non-form poetry which is why I picked up this collection of William Carlos Williams. Now I will admit that WCW is not for the weak. He doesn't give it to you on a silver platter. However I also don't think that human existence, love, death, et al. are easily explained. It is as complex as WCW makes it. This is a great collection of his "greatest hits." I enjoyed it immensely.

Biographical Info
William Carlos Williams

The Reading List
Books
In Our Time
Loser's Guide to Life and Love

Comic
Dynamo #18

Magazine
Newsweek

Check Out Count: A Bit Overloaded.
Comic Pull List:Batman #681, Buffy The Vampire Slayer #19, Daredevil #113, Garth Ennis Battlefields Night Witches #2, Northlanders #12, Runaways 3 #4, Superman #682, Trinity #26, Umbrella Academy Dallas #1, Wonder Woman #26

Well Have a Great Thanksgiving y'all! Book Slave.

2008-11-22

A Day Without Computers

Hello folks,
Howse it going? Good I hope, I'm doing well. I had a fascinating day at the old bibliotech (that a fancy schmancy way of saying library folks). It's been awhile since I've thrown down here with some library talk. Yes to remind y'all I do spend time working as a librarian in a fabulous facility known for it's architecture. And I love it for many reasons.

The main reason is that it combines my love of books with the emotional wonderfulness of helping people. I won't lie, some days it can be trying. Crazy homeless people or teenage kids that forget you are a human being with feelings take time to get used to. Worse are when people lie to your face and then accuse you of doing wrong. There are some diamond hard-hearted librarians out there who don't care about books. I've worked really hard to stay positive and cling to the good experiences. Nothing beats putting a patron together with a great book.

Today was a real test. See when I got in this morning all the computers were down. No catalog, no internet, no computers at all. Yes it was back to old school brothers and sisters. Rather than be daunted by the lack of technology, however I loved it. It was a great challenge. Do you know your shelves? How well do you know books and authors? I enjoyed the test. Sometimes I fear that I'm chained to my desk. It's a problem in modern librarianship that people are stuck to their computer screens. So today there was no excuse whatsoever to be stuck at the desk. I wandered around, filled displays, even shelved some books. It was awesome. In fact, and this may be heresy, but I think we should do it every three months.

Have a great weekend! Book Slave.

2008-11-18

It can be a long road...

Hey folks,
Having a great week? I'd have to say things here in the City of Salt are going pretty great. Onward baby yeah!

Reviews
Dark Tower: Long Road Home
I've been looking forward to this sequel since I enjoyed the first series Dark Tower: Gunslinger Born. The story depicts the title character of Roland Deschain as he returns to Gilead from Mejis with his katet. He ends up engaging in psychological warfare in the End-World with Martin Broadcloak. Meanwhile his ka-tet, Alain Johns and Cuthbert Allgood, are on the run from the Hambry posse. While I still am not really clear as to what is going on, I love the art in this series. Illustrators Jae Lee and Richard Isanove are incredible and the colors are so vibrant. I also love the sarcastic tone of the storyteller narrator. This is a great series that I will continue to read in trades, because I think that it's easier to keep track of the story all at once.

Other Reviews
Comic Book Resources | Comic Critique

Dispatches From the Edge
Since 2005 I've been meaning to pick this book up. Anderson Cooper is not only my favorite newsman but until this book came out I had no idea what a fascinating story he has. For those who don't know Cooper is the son of Gloria Vanderbilt and writer Wyatt Cooper. His father died when he was 10 and his brother Carter committed suicide when he was 22. This autobiography juxtaposes those life changing events with his experiences in crazy places such as Somalia, Sarajevo, Hurricane Katrina, etc. Rather than a chronicle of life events this book is more of an emotional examination. I was more interested in the segments that were about his father and brother, but I also understand that he is a journalist. As a journalist he wants to tell personal stories that we may not have heard, particularly in these insane places. Ultimately I connected with his battle between jaded cynicism and emotional connection. As a naturally cynical person I can have a tough time dealing with some of the horrible things that happen in this world. This is a great read.

Other Reviews
USA Today| Blog Critics | Book Addiction

The Reading List
Books
In Persuasion Nation
William Carlos Williams:Selected Poems

Magazine
Four Four Two

Comic
Trinity #23

Check Out Count: Highly Coveted.

Comic Pull List: Batgirl #5, Batman And The Outsiders #13, Deadpool #4, Goon #30, Trinity #25

Have a great week! Book Slave.

2008-11-15

Some Masterful Dickens

Hey folks out there,
Y'all doing good? I hope so. Today was a great capper to a fun week. The weather was awesome, people were protesting inequality en masse, and there was beer to be drunk. Good times ahead it seems.

Announcement
This week the series Masterpiece Theater announced their new group of programs for early next year. I loved their Jane Austen series from last year, which was followed by the amazing Cranford. If you haven't seen the new 3 hour Sense and Sensibility they put out here's a preview.



I highly reccomend it. It was spiffy.

Anyway they are going to be following it up with a Dicken's series. Here's a rundown:

Little Dorrit- 8 hour mini-series. Stars Matthew Macfadyen, Tom Courtenay and Alun Armstrong. Adapted by Andrew Davies.

The Old Curiosity Shop- 90 minute single. Stars Sir Derek Jacobi, Gina McKee and Toby Jones.

Oliver Twist- 3 hour mini-series. Stars Timothy Spall, Tom Hardy and Sophie Okonedo.

David Copperfield- 3 hour mini-series. Stars Daniel Radcliffe, Maggie Smith and Ian McKellen.

After the brilliant adaptation of Bleak House a few years back color me excited. The Brits are incredibly adept at creating quality top shelf lit adaptations. One part of it is that they are willing to take as long as they need to tell a story right. ITV and BBC don't blink at the idea of spending 3 hours minimum, whereas in the US we freak out over expanded sitcoms. The other element that the Brits have is writer Andrew Davies. The man is the best writer working today. Yeah I said it!
Here's a list of his triumphs: Pride and Prejudice (1994), Bridget Jones's Diary, Tipping the Velvet, Wives and Daughters, etc. For these anglophilic reasons I have complete confidence and can't wait for this coming January 2009.

This got me to thinking what other authors would I like to see adaptations of their works. Here's a list.
1. Wallace Stegner
2. Willa Cather
3. S.E. Hinton
4. Kurt Vonnegut
5. Sherwood Anderson

It would be great to see these authors get "The Complete" treatment. It would be awesome if the American public could pull it together intellectually and demand an upgrade in our standards. No instead we'll be excited for Dancing with the Stars.
Oh well.

Have a great weekend! Book Slave.

2008-11-12

Baby Baby Baby We're out of time...

Hello Y'all,
How are you doing? Awesome I hope. Apologies for the lateness, but this gal had a big day yesterday. After such a success I felt compelled to go out and howl at the moon. Good things seem to be following this gentle writer around these days. Let's see how long it lasts eh?

Reviews
Super Spy
I had read Matt Kindt's Two Sisters a few years ago. I somewhat enjoyed it due to the art style and subject, but found the story confused. With this in mind I picked up the sorta-sequel Super Spy. This graphic novel follows a group of spies during World War 2 which includes the main character Elle, who was featured in Two Sisters. It is difficult to describe the non-linear narrative style employed here but I loved it. The reader is as confused as the main characters are; Kindt is using the narrative style to reflect the crazy world of these spies. It is also the little details and spycraft that Kindt slips in that was wonderful. Highly reccommend checking this out.

Other Reviews
shuffleboil | ComicMix | Daily Cross Hatch

Scalped Vol. 3
This is volume 3 of this amazing series written by Jason Aaron. Quite frankly I think that this is one of the best comic series being written today. Dashell Badhorse is confronted by his troubled relationship with his mother when he finds out she's dead. Using flashback and parallels Aaron fleshes out these complex characters in a realistic way. These characters are so damaged. Again if you love human stories, why are you not reading this?

Past Reviews
Scalped Vol.1 | Scalped Vol. 2

All Star Superman Vol. 1
My tear through the canon of Grant Morrison continues with this volume. I was surprised by how faithful and earnest Morrison's take on the iconography of Superman. He portrays Clark Kent/Superman as someone with a solid morality. Then Morrison challenges the fact that Superman cannot save everyone. Having that weight on his shoulders is the backbone of Superman's inner conflict. It is amazing that Morrison sees this so clearly and does not engage in his general anarchy. I was shocked by Morrison's traditional and conventional take.

Other Reviews
Specusphere | blogcritics| BookLove

The Reading List
Books
Dispatches from the Edge
Dark Tower: Long Road Home

Magazine
Four Four Two

Comics
Trinity

Comic Pull List: Batman Cacophony #1, Captain Britain And Mi 13 #7, Detective Comics #850, Fables #78, Green Arrow Black Canary #14, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane Season 2 #4, Stand Captain Trips #3, Trinity #24, Wolverine #69

Check Out Count: Hold Heavy.

Have a great week! Book Slave.

2008-11-06

Some Small Bits

Hey world,
What an awesome couple of days eh? I don't know why but all of a sudden I feel a little bit happier. A little more hope. A little more cheerful. I can't explain why. What could it be? Well enough sarcasm and snark.

It's been a couple of sleepless nights for this gal, so tonight I'm just going throw some little bites at you.

*I just got my copy of In Persuasion Nation by George Saunders for the Hard Boiled Book Club. Looking forward to reading it.

*Saw the film version of Appaloosa based on a novel by Robert B. Parker. I loved the film and instantly went out and picked up the book.

*While I am tragically bummed that the film adaptation of The Road has been pushed to next year, I was instantly captured by the trailer for The Reader based on a book by Bernhard Schlink *sigh* Another book to pick up.

*RIP Michael Crichton and Tony Hillerman.

*I have finally cleaned my front room so that it's livable. But really I just shifted my piles of books and comics to other places.

Have a great week folks! Book Slave.

2008-11-04

Hope and Anarchy

Hello
What a night! Being a cynical person most of the time I am always surprised when a people decides that it's time to accept hope and optimism. Yes We Can!

Reviews
Kill Your Boyfriend
This was a book that I have been interested in, but it's been out of print. When I found out that a reprint was coming out I jumped for it. Grant Morrison is a writer for the future, he writes outside the box. I loved the happy anarchy of this book. It follows a young couple of murdering punks who decide to cut a path across England. Morrison clearly mocks this psuedo-rebellion that is seen in teenage culture. His antagonists are laughingly obscene. I can clearly see the influence this book must have had on Millar's Wanted and Ellis's Preacher. Highly enjoyable, but not for the weak.

The Reading List
Books
Scalped
All Star Superman Vol. 1

Comic
Battlefield: Night of the Witch

Magazine
Four Four Two

Check Out Count: Improving
Comic Pull List:Gemini #3, Secret Six #3, Trinity #23

Have a great week in America! Book Slave.

2008-10-30

I raise a toast to you Edgar.

Hey Y'all,
Yes, tomorrow is Halloween. It's candy and costume time for the kids, and well for adults...we like to scare the hell out of each other. I've spent a lot of time talking about Stephen King this month. He is considered the King of Modern Horror literature. Some of his books like It, The Shining, and Salem's Lot are legitimately frightening. However King wouldn't be around without Edgar Allen Poe. I'm a real poetry gal, I love the stuff. The first poetry that I clearly understood, as much as an 11 year old can anyway, was his works The Raven and Annabel Lee.

The Raven and Annabel Lee are each about undying devotion. Also the narrator suffers from the contradiction of wanting to remember and at the same time wanting to forget. Memory is cruel reminder which Poe anthropomorphises in the form of the raven. Annabel Lee also embodies this sad feeling of loss. Even as a tween I recognized the dark romanticism that made Poe appealing to me. Sometimes I enjoy a little mist on them moors.

But none of that is any scary. I didn't really understand that Poe was scary until I began to dig into his short stories. The Tell-tale Heart, Masque of the Red Death, etc. are ghoulishly terrifying. Poe willingly exploits the darkness of his characters. The psychological effects of murder and death are scary because they are universal. Everyone, I don't care who you are, finds themselves tested morally and Poe shows the consequences of going the wrong way. It's great and compelling stuff.

One last Poe story. I have always loved the story of The Poe Toaster. I first heard about the Poe Toaster when I was in 6th grade. In our elementary school library I started reading Life Magazine because of the great pictures. I would read it rather than sit with other girls reading Cosmo. I guess I've always been strange. Anyway it was in Life Magazine that I read an article about the Poe Toaster. Every January 19, Poe's birthday, at his grave in Baltimore an unseen black clad figure visits the grave in the early hours of the morning. The figure raises a toast of cognac and leaves three roses at the grave. The Poe Toaster is rarely photographed or identified. Read more about it here. How cool is that eh? I personally hope they never reveal who it is. The coolness is in the mystery and tradition. Long Live Edgar Allen Poe!

Have a great weekend! Book Slave.

2008-10-28

Lit Times Are Good For This Gal

Hello,
How are y'all? I've had a great week! It was full of many highs of the literary kind. On Sunday I attended a matinee of a production of Frankenstein done in the radio show style. The production was really awesome with 4 actors reading all the parts. From what I know it was faithful to the plot line of the original book. I've never read Frankenstein, perhaps I'll give it a shot.

On Saturday was the Utah Humanities Book Festival and I was able to see some author panels. It was fun seeing Ann Cannon, who is a local author. I highly enjoyed a panel with Sara Zarr and Paul Fleischman where they questioned each other. If you want to read Zarr's fine blog, click here. Zarr is the author of Story of a Girl, which was nominated last year for the Newberry. She is also very nice. I was shocked that she remembered my name. Anyway it was fun, although still very low-key. I hope next year there's more that I'm interested.

Tonight I went to another meeting of the Hard Boiled Book Club. I've mentioned it before, to read that click here. Again it was another fun evening of discussion moderated by the mysterious Zach Sampinos. Our discussion centered around the book In the Miso Soup, which is reviewed below. This is a book I would never pick up on my own. Sampinos has thus far done an excellent job finding books that are off the beaten path. It was good times.

Well enough about how awesome my life has been lately. Onward! To the Reviews!

Reviews
Apocalypse Handbook
I picked this up because it looked amusing and is written by a writer from The Daily Show. I found this book very funny in a black humor sort of way. It's very easy to go broad when talking about a subject as crazy as the end of days. While not really highly substantive and serious, I wanted a silly book. This fit the bill.

Ultimate Spiderman Vol. 2
Bendis continues his reboot of Spiderman starting from the beginning. In this story arc young Peter Parker fights the Kingpin and starts work for the Daily Bugle. I love the humor and characterization that Bendis brings to this story. In this volume he makes mistakes and then beats himself up for it. This reminds us again that Parker is just a teenager and he's still learning. Also Bagley continues to bring amazing art to the panels. I love his splash pages.

In the Miso Soup
As mentioned above this is a book I would never pick up on my own. The story revolves around the relationship between Kenji, a japanese guide, and Frank, a strange American. Kenji is hired by Frank to help him traverse the Japanese sex industry. Slowly tension builds as Kenji starts to believe that Frank is a serial killer. There's a lot of interesting ideas and themes, which are not really followed through on. Murakami seems intent on commenting on the objectifying of women in the sex industry, yet does not really stick to any clear statement. On top of all this is an unreliable narrator which makes you waiting for some kind of twist. That twist never comes. This is a book that I think climaxes about half-way through but then slows up to an ambiguous ending. So a great first half is squandered by a ponderous second half.

What's In My Bag
Books
TBA

Magazines
Out

Comic
Spiderman Loves Mary Jane #3

Check Out Count: Fluctuating

Comic Pull List: Northlanders #11, Superman #681, Trinity #22

Have a Great Week! Book Slave.

2008-10-24

Festival-going 2008

Hello,
How are you? Good I hope. A short little entry tonight kids because this girl needs her sleep. Tomorrow I'll be at the Utah Humanities Book Festival at the Main Library, where I also work. If you've never been to my library well here's a picture for you.


Yep it's a pretty spiffy place to work. Anyway if you want to see the schedule and more info here's a link. I have been going to this event for at least 7 years strong. I even went to festival back when they were hosting it at Westminster College. In those days the event was a lot more local and academic. There were seminar sessions in classrooms and the main events were staged at the auditorium. I remember that I would go over the schedule the moment it came out and circle the sessions that I wanted to go to. Try to calculate travel time and find soda/junk food machines for snacks in between. I miss those days.

I think that when the new SLCPL library opened it became pretty obvious that every major event, no matter how dubiously literary, had to be staged there. Can't blame them really. It's a great space and very showy. Starting with the move to SLCPL this book festival got massive. In the last few years I've been incredible lucky to see such fine authors as Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Shannon Hale, Lois Lowry, Douglas Brinkley, and listen to Molly Ivins. It's due to the fact that they've had such big names that this year I am somewhat disappointed. There just isn't any one all that interesting this year. Well no BIG names as it were. Unfortunately I have to work during most of the day, but I have finagled some off desk time to check things out. I'm gonna be focusing on YA authors and sessions since that's a big part of my job.

So maybe I'll see you there. I'll definitely let you know if anything cool goes down. Well have a great weekend! Book Slave.

2008-10-22

It's late kids.

Hey folks,
Excuse the late hour, the internet is being a bit difficult tonight. But really I don't think y'all are chompin' at the bit eh? Anyway Onward!

Review
Invincible Vol. 1
Been meaning to pick this up for quite awhile. I was finally spurred on by fellow co-worker Justin and thank god I did. This book was awesome. I highly enjoyed it's blend of the traditional hero story with a meta-ironic sensibility. It actually really reminded me of Astonishing X-Men/Joss Whedon. This story starts out with teenager Mark finding out he has super-powers like his father. Mark decides to become a superhero and christens himself Invincible. Throughout this first two arcs he works on his superheroics with his dad. The last few issues when he finds out that there is a superhero murderer were incredible. Kirkman is great at dialogue and humor. I'll be picking this up.

What's In My Bag
Books
In the Miso Soup
Aha-pocalypse Handbook

Magazine
Paste

Comic
Echo #6

Check Out Count: Changing all the time.

Comic Pull List:Criminal 2 #6, Daredevil #112, Final Crisis #4, New Avengers #46, Runaways 3 #3, Secret Invasion #7, Superman New Krypton Special #1, Terry Moores Echo #7, Trinity #21

Have a great week! Book Slave.

2008-10-16

Stephen King and his It

Hey world,
So you knew it was coming and it is the proper season. As I've mentioned before I picked up It in 8th grade, to read about that click here. As I was blazing through Stephen King's canon this magnum opus became one of my faves. I think it emphasizes what King as a writer does best.

King as a storyteller has two major strengths. He is able to take the fears that we all have and give them a physicality. His monsters are really metaphors for those things that we cannot control in the world and our own selves. I think that King also excels at building a world. In It that world is Derry Maine. Derry is not a real place, but King manages to give it a rich history that goes back 300 years. Whether it is The Barrens or the Black Spot King fills this place with a physical geography that is Tolkienesque. BTW Derry also appears in Insomnia, Dreamcatcher, and Lisey's Story, among others.

Admittedly I fell away from King's writing after The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. I think that I either grew out of the genre and Stephen started needing an editor. Yes, the man can churn out the books. I think that he peaked creatively around the mid-80s with The Stand and It. I haven't really seen anything that interested me enough to pick up in his latest offerings. We'll see what comes up in the future. Apparently Stephen's going to die at the typewriter with over a 1000 novels to his name.

So hold on to your seats kids because it's another edition of:

Lessons from Literature: It written by Stephen King


1. Adults cannot be counted on. Each of the members of Loser's Club have either been abandoned by their parents, or their parents are harmful to them. Beverly's father is flat out abusive, while Eddie's mother is overprotective. Ben's single mother tries to overcompensate with food and guilt. In a powerful scene Beverly is being attacked by hoodlums and she watches as multiple adults turn a blind eye. However, ultimately Bev is saved by an elderly woman who stops her car and scares off the boys. In the world of Derry it is the kids who have to step up and fight the monsters.

2. Kids are stronger than we think. King sets up each of his characters with a weakness which makes them a social outcast. Bill is a stutterer, Bev is poor, Mike is black, etc. But also they have a strength which allows them to battle the monster that preys on other children.

3. Good will win over evil. These kids are able to battle unimaginable evil. Later on when they are called back as adults to finish the job some of them are filled with fear. However they rise to the occasion because this evil must be stopped. It's not cool to prey on children.

4. It's valuable to learn a town's history. Mike, the only man who stays behind in Derry, becomes a historian as a result. His research makes up The Interlude chapters in between each Month chapter. It's easy to skip these chapters but if you do so you are missing out. Again here's King doing his patently world-building which makes this story Epic. By knowing the over-arching history of his town, Mike is able to see the bigger picture. He is able to rally the Loser's Club by showing them what heroes they really are.

5. Your local bully may be a budding psychopathic/sociopathic killer. I'm just saying.

6. Being the lone girl in a group of social outcasts means they will all have a crush on you. Yep I'm looking at you Beverly Marsh.

7. Haiku's can be romantic. Ben is able to put all his longing into 17 syllabyls. Man some people can't do that in a hundred pages.

8. 7 is a magical number. Listen to Richie, he knows that you need seven members for The Losers Club: Bill, Richie, Ben, Stan, Eddie, Beverly, and Mike. These kids find friendship in each other over the course of a summer. When you're a kid that stuff can happen and it's awesome.

9. In a fight against evil there will always be noble sacrifices. Not telling who, but at least one loss was shocking.

10. Clowns are damn scary. Seriously folks.

Have a great week! Book Slave.

2008-10-14

Bliss=Hot Chocolate

Hello,
Having a great week? We had our first snow this week. I loved it! Got out the scarfs and had my first cups of hot chocolate. Oh! Maybe I'll make myself a cup right now! Anyway I'm looking forward to future! Screw all ironic cynicism, I'm going all post-ironic. Onward!

Reviews
Fell Vol. 1
I think this graphic novel was wonderfully smart and twisted. This crime procedural, written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Ben Templesmith, follows Detective Richard Fell as he solves the horrible messed up crimes of Snowtown. If you thought Sin City was bad, it's nothing compared to this. Templesmith has an amazingly minimalistic art style that I loved in 30 Days of Night. It's distinctive and perfect for the darkness of this book. Detective Fell, as written by Ellis, is a classic detective archetype. Why has he been exiled to Snowtown? What is his past? Why is he so good? I am desperate to know.

Announcements
If you look at the current webpage on the sidebar I've made a few changes. There's now a recent comments section, so please feel free to comment anytime. I'll always try to respond back. Also there is a new Blog Roll section that includes blogs from my fellow co-workers and friends. Please feel free to check those out, I think they're nifty.

What's In My Bag
Books
Bird Watching
Invincible Vol. 1

Magazines
Newsweek

Comic
Secret Six #2

Comic Pull List: Batgirl #4, Batman And The Outsiders #12, Captain Britain And Mi 13 #6, Dynamo 5 #17, Fables #77, Rasl #3, Trinity #20

Check Out Count: Getting Good.

Have an amazing week! Book Slave.

2008-10-09

Self-Indulgent Navel Gazing and Sarah Vowell

Hello folks,
I have to apologize for tonight's entry I've decided to engage in some solipsistic navel gazing. Don't worry I'll be back to books soon enough.

On the book front I'm going to throw a little nibble at you. A few months ago I read Assassination Vacation, you can read about it here. Sarah Vowell, the author of Vacation, has a new book out titled The Wordy Shipmates. To promote she has been doing the rounds and here is a magical clip. Enjoy!



Me, Me, Me
The other day I was sitting in a meeting and someone said the following about me
"I think she (me) has 3 lives."


How do I do all the things that I do? Well I think there are a few reasons:

1. I don't get nearly enough sleep. Yes it's true. Since I was a kid I have always had trouble sleeping. I've been diagnosed with a sleeping disorder which I struggle with. As a kid I started reading before I went to bed and it's a habit I've kept.

2. I am an incredible multi-tasker. This comes from my mom, who is also able to do multiple things at one time. She can't help herself and neither can I. Yes I can manage to read a book, listen to a podcast and watch a soccer game all at one time.

3. I like to keep myself busy. No joke, sometimes it's kind of insane. Not very good at relaxing I rarely go on vacation. I also have been employed full-time for the majority of my grown-up life while also going to school. Graduated from college with 2 BA's this way. Yes I am kind of insane.

4. When I get into something, I go all in. If I'm interested in a subject I want to know all there is to know about it. This makes me a jack of all trades, master of none I guess.

5. Really I have very little else. Don't drink, do drugs, play an instrument, and I will be single forever. A proud spinster am I. (Sorry Mom!)

Well I hope you've enjoyed a fascinating self-indulgent trip into my head. Have a great week! Book Slave.

2008-10-07

Debate This!

Hello Committed/Uncommitted Voters,
Yes another debate tonight. Did you watch? I hope so. I did and I was reminded how much I abhor the town hall format. I don't need to see more of candidates playing up to the crowd. Wandering around the stage, freaking out camera men and producers. Geez. Anyway It's October! Let's talk books, Onward!

Reviews
X saves the World
I picked up this book because as a Generation X-er I really dislike it when my generation is maligned. We're whiners, sulkers, lack imagination, and our music is terrible. In this book writer Jeff Gordinier makes the argument that while some of these things are true that Generation X has found many ways to make the world better. I enjoyed it. This book is also a fun trip through the last 20 years. Especially enjoyed the chapters on film where he discussed two of my faves Richard Linklater and Quentin Tarentino. An interesting and entertaining read.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
I decided to pick this up after having seen the movie that came out this weekend. Nick and Norah are both music-loving young adults who are getting over incredible heartache. They meet in a club where Nick's band is playing and decide to spend the night falling in love. As they travel throughout NYC these two strangers manage to heal each other. This teenage romance was written by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan in a format that I don't usually like. Each chapter alternates between the two main characters point of views. In this book it works because of the overlap of events is direct. I never worried about what was going on with Norah when Nick was narrating. The stream of consciousness monologues are written brilliantly. Cohn and Levithan captured every emotion from joyous ectasy to insecurity to pain and back again. I really loved this book and would love to see more of these characters. I laughed, I cried, it's better than Cats.

What's In My Bag
Magazine
Four Four Two

Comic
Powers #30

Books
Excelsior!
Bird Watching

Check Out Count: Much Coveted.

Comic Pull List: Deadpool #3, Detective Comics #849, Final Crisis Revelations #3, Goon #29, Green Arrow Black Canary #13, Green Lantern #35, Secret Six #2, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane Season 2 #3, Stand Captain Trips #2, Trinity #19, Wonder Woman #25

Have a great week! Book Slave.

2008-10-02

How Stephen King saved my teenage years

Hello
Here we are folks. I hope y'all watched the debate tonight. I did and I thought moderator Gwen Ifill did a great job. So I attended The Hard Boiled Book Club on Tuesday night and had a good time. There is a smart core group there and a very thoughtful moderator/leader in Zach Sampinos. I'll be attending again next month. To find out more about it, click here.

Let's walk again down memory lane with a theme that I think fits the month of October.

Life Changing Reads: Stephen King Edition

1. Carrie-Beginning in seventh grade I was thrust into a social situation that was akin to the horrible treatment of Carrie White. It's no shock then that I devoured this book after picking it up at Sprague library. I had heard of the movie before, but I'm not really a horror fan, so I had not seen it. I think it was the cover with it's drawing of a brown hair teen against a black background. That cover and the name Stephen King drew me in and I was hooked. I'm sure it didn't help my social identity to be sitting by myself reading Carrie, again, but I did not care. I was so enamoured with the book that I sought out all the different editions at book sales.

2. It-I picked this up when I was in 8th grade. At first I was daunted by the size (over a thousand pages!) but I became caught up in the challenge. I could take this on! And I did. Finished the book in 10 days, basically ignoring the rest of the world. It was the outsider characters that captured me in this book. I saw a little piece of myself in every member of the Loser's Club. And I'm afraid of clowns.

3. The Talisman-This story is more fantastical than I usually go for. However at it's center is a great heroes journey tale that I enjoyed immensely. Again another long one but in this case I think that it's all about the picaresque characters along the way. Especially Wolf. I read this the summer after 8th grade. I had read the first chapter sitting in the Barnes and Nobel out in Sugar House. Now this was the old school B & N that was in the same complex as Shopko and the dollar movie theater. This was the first B & N store in our area. I would wander around looking at books and mags but I had no money. After reading the first chapter I had to have that paperback. I begged my mom for 10 bucks so I could get it and she caved.

Have a great weekend! Book Slave.

2008-09-30

"Don't go shooting all the dogs, just because one has flees"

Hello Blogosphere,
How are you this week? I am doing well. Starting a new schedule this week and it's a little weird, but ultimately I can nothing but good things coming my way. (Of course now a little voice inside me is shouting Look Out! Bad times are coming. But I will shut that kind of negativity out with thoughts of rainbows and flowers.) I know that you all were saddened and shocked not to see an entry on Sunday but I will make up for it I assure it. Sometimes the Internet leaves you all of sudden. No note, no call. Just dissappears and you are left cold and alone. But then it reappears and says "See I'm back" and you forgive the Internet. Because it gives you entertainment and porn.
Anyway Onward!

Review
Twilight of the Superheroes
This was my first read for the new book club I've joined. It is a collection of short stories from a first time author Deborah Eisenberg. The stories center around disconnection in a post-9/11 world. The main characters in these stories all live more internally although they are surrounded by family and friends. I found that some of the stories were more successful then others. My favorite was the opening story, which the book is named after, was the most effective. Particularly the juxtaposition of different characters and events were very impactful. Unfortunately not all the stories reach that same quality.

What's In My Bag
Books
X Saves the World
Bel Canto

Magazines
Four Four Two

Comics
Northlanders

Comic Pull List: Batman #680, Tor #6, Trinity #18

Check Out Count: Shameful.

Remembrance
Paul Newman died this weekend at 83. Now I know this is a book blog but he did star in two of my favorite literary adaptations Hud (based on the book Horseman Pass By) and Nobody's Fool from a book by Richard Russo.

Here's a great clip from Hud:



Have a great week! Look for another entry this week. Book Slave.

2008-09-23

Opportunity Knocks.

Hello world,
Is it wrong that I love the fact that this morning it was a little nippy? I cannot wait for scarves, gloves, and thick socks. It may shock some but fall here in the City of Salt is actually kind of awesome. Sure by December and January I'll be cursing snow, ice, and frigid cold, but now I am waiting in anticipation. Fall! Onward!

This week some life happened. Some opportunities have come around and I'm pretty stoked. Because of this I had to change some of my reading plans. So no reviews this week but definitely there will be next week.

Announcements
Hey so because of a change in schedule I finally have the chance to join a book club. One of my co-workers the mysterious Zach Sampinos started the Hard Boiled Book Club. You can read about it here. Sampinos is a pretty interesting fellow, here's an interview with him here. Anyway because of scheduling I'm now able to join. It has been awhile since I've been in a book group and I've missed it. So we'll see how this works out.

What's In My Bag
Books
Twilight of the Superheroes
X Saves the World

Magazines
Four Four Two

Comic
Deadpool #1

Checkout Count: 2 steps forward, 3 steps back.

Comic Pull List:Daredevil #111, Deadpool #2, Fables #76, New Avengers #45, Powers #30, Runaways 3 #2, Superman #680, Trinity #17

Have a great week! Peace Out Y'All! Book Slave.

2008-09-21

Television can occasionally be good for you.

Hello Blogosphere,
Tonight you get a short entry because it's late and I'se got some work to do tonight. For television watchers and award show junkies (like myself) tonight was the Emmy Awards. The show actually wasn't bad although I think 5 hosts was a bit much. I am an enormous fan of Tina Fey, 30 Rock, and Mad Men, so it all works out for me.

Well this isn't a TV blog, but there were some literary adaptations that won awards tonight. Now I enjoy lit adaptations. I talked about it here. The best of course can usually found on PBS which airs major Brit adaptations through Masterpiece Theater. This year Masterpiece has not disappointed and Emmy did through some recognition there way. The magnificent series Cranford, which is based on a series written by Elizabeth Gaskell, won an award tonight for supporting actress Dame Eileen Atkins. I found this series to be amazing and delightful and I will be checking out the books. I highly recommend it and here's a trailer to whet your appetites.



The other big winner tonight was an HBO series John Adams, which is based on the book by David McCullough. Again this was a great mini-series and really delivers. I think television is the perfect medium for shedding light on historical events and figures. At 7 hours the audience is allowed to see the complete picture of a man and his times. Bravo to writer Kirk Ellis, who won an Emmy for screenplay, for making history relevant and human. Here's a trailer for John Adams.



(BTW Total Tangent: After watching Adams I am convinced that Laura Linney is the perfect actress for a remake of Little House on the Prairie. Seriously think about it.)

Anyway both of these programs are available on DVD or they'll get rerun soon I'm sure. Check them out. It's much better than reality television.

Have an excellent week! Goodnight and Good Luck. Bookslave.

2008-09-17

Beer vs. this blog entry

Hello gentle readers,
Late entry this week, but that's what happens when one chooses to drink beer and go to bed early. (Hey Don't you judge me!) Such things make sense when you miraculously have time off. So there! Anyway, let's see what I've got cooked up for you.

Reviews
Books
I've previously mentioned my love for Larry McMurtry, (you can read about it here) but I had no idea that he is a book seller. Being a bookseller myself I found this book about books to be fascinating. The man knows a great more than I do, so I learned quite a bit. However I'm afraid that unless you're a bibliophile this book may not catch your fancy. Short chapters make this a very short read. I also enjoyed the conversational tone of the work and self deprecating humor. The book world is full of some eccentric people and stories. I was also very happy to see the bookstore I work at in his list at the end. An enjoyable read for the bibliophilic heart.

Shout Out
In my last entry I discussed the tragic death of David Foster Wallace. There have been several great articles and video posts this week but here's a post that I thought was great. To read it click here.

What's in My Bag

Books
X Saves the World
Bel Canto

Magazine
Four Four Two

Comic
Dynamo 5 #16

Check Out Count: Back to Old Tricks.

Comic Pull List: Batgirl #3, Batman And The Outsiders #11, Captain Britain And Mi 13 #5, Echo #6, Trinity #16

Enjoy your week! Book Slave.

2008-09-14

This is the end, This is the end.

Hello,
I am doing well. I had a working weekend, but it was great to catch up with some old friends. So it wasn't a complete loss.

Today we are going to get a little heavy and contemplative. I was checking the news online this morning when I learned about the death of David Foster Wallace. He had committed suicide on Friday night at age 46 leaving a wife and family. For a link to the article I read click here. Of course this is tragic news but it wasn't like I was a big fan of his work.

So you ask if I wasn't a big fan then how do I know this writer? Here's Some Background: As I've mentioned before, I work as a book seller. I remember when Wallace's debut novel Infinite Jest came out mainly because of it's size. If you haven't seen it, the book is massive. At 1000+ pages the book is tough to display on a shelf and intimidating to try reading. This is one of the main reasons that I have not tried it, although people have recommended it to me multiple times.

All the facts have not yet come to light so I'll try not to judge. Though I cannot help that I feel a certain amount of anger and disappointment when a writer/musician/artist chooses to take their own life. I admit that my feelings are motivated by selfishness because it means that there will be no new work. The door is shut, the machine closed down for the night so to speak.

Despite this I also try to understand that in order to reach that point emotionally a human being is beyond any rationality. The sense of despair must be immense. It's sad that no one saw the signs and tried to help David Foster Wallace. But I guess the same can be said for Kurt Cobain, Sylvia Plath, or Robert E. Howard, as well as many others. It's even harder when a family is left behind. I feel sorry for his kids.

In the end I guess perhaps there isn't much one can say. I think that this will finally motivate me to tackle one of his books, although I think it will be one of the shorter ones.

Well sorry about the morbidity this week. I hope you all have a great week.
Book Slave.

2008-09-10

Rainy weather makes me thoughtful

Hey world,
It's me, I'm here to say hello. I find myself oddly loving the cloudy drizzle outside. I'm not usually a fan of rainy weather, yet I guess I can't wait for fall. I'm sure I'll be cursing the weather gods soon enough. It's been an odd couple of days. Not sure what the future holds. But don't worry I won't abandon you gentle reader. Let's move precariously forward shall we?

Reviews
Astonishing X-Men Vol. 3 & 4
Yes, I finished up this great series from Joss Whedon. The X-Men is generally known as a superhero soap opera. I think that the reason why this series is so awesome is because it maintains it's focus on the characters rather than melodrama. In Vol. 3 each X-Man is led to their darkest psychological places and it is genuinely intense. I found myself caring about Scott Summers aka Cyclops. Cyclops is usually written as really boring when compared to the flashier Wolverine. Whedon brings out the awesome in Cyclops and shows us why he is the leader. This is strengthened by his relationship with femme fatale Emma Frost. Is she really good? Is she faking? Whedon does more than make it a simple answer of yes or no. Emma Frost has her own twisted psychological problems that make her a real character. Emma Frost and Scott Summers are one of the best couples in comics because they both understand their imperfections. Also I have to say that the humor, especially in the scenes with Wolverine, is laugh out loud funny. A very enjoyable series.

What's In My Bag
Books
Bel Canto
Books

Comics
Justice Machine #1

Magazines
Sports Illustrated

Check Out Count: Things are looking up.

Comic Pull List: Criminal 2 #5, Deadpool #1, Dynamo 5 #16, Final Crisis Revelations #2, Goon #28, Green Arrow Black Canary #12, Secret Invasion #6, Secret Invasion Runaways Young Avengers #3, Stand Captain Trips #1, Trinity #15, Wonder Woman #24.

Have an awesome week! Go England! Book Slave.

2008-09-07

Teach me Larry, I'm willing to learn...


Greetings and Salutations,
I hope y’all had an excellent weekend. My weekend has been pretty solitary. Sometimes things turn out that way. At least I will always have you, gentle reader, out there in cyber-land. You are out there right? Well I can only assume so. Onward with this month’s feature:

Lesson’s From Classic Lit: Lonesome Dove

First of all some background: As I’ve posted previously I read Lonesome Dove written by Larry McMurtry for the first time when I was 13. You can read about that here. I’ve read it a number of times since then, even read it aloud on a road trip once (to my family’s dismay, I’m sure). Dove is the tale of two old Texas Rangers Captain Woodrow Call and Captain Augustus McCrae who decide to leave their settled existence for one more adventure. Call and McCrae, as well as a whole group of characters, round up some cattle and drive them from Texas to Montana. Past and future collide as these two men see the end of the West as they know it. This book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1985 and is McMurtry’s masterpiece.

Here are some lessons I learned from this great epic:
1. You are never too old for an adventure. Call and McCrae are in their 60s. And they are tough MFers.
2. Men are complicated. Thus begins my love/hate relationship with Woodrow Call. I love his stoicism and toughness. But why can't he tell his son that he loves him? Why do we always want the men we can't have.
3. Whores/Prostitutes have dreams too. I love Lorena and her dream of going to San Francisco. It's unbelievably tragic when she loses it all. Again.
4. A real woman knows when to say No. Even if it hurts. Clara is the most awesome independent strong woman. "She'll cut your throat quicker than a comanche," McCrae says. She's also smart enough to know that Augustus McCrae is not a man to settle down with.
5. Nice guys do win out, eventually. For examples I give you Dish Boggett and Sheriff July Johnson. Poor bastards.
6. A promise is a promise. Even if its crazy. The amazing bond between Call and McCrae is to be admired. These are honorable men all the way to the end.
7. If you are in over your head, get out. Get out now. I'm looking at you Jake Spoon.
8. It's wonderful to be saved. Augustus McCrae's single handed rescue abilities are breath-taking.
9. Some people are not meant to leave Texas. Some are meant for adventures, others are fine just where they are.
10. You can quilt pants. I had no idea. Thank you Joshua Deets.

There are many more. The book is over 1000 pages after all. And worth every word. If you haven't read it check it out. This is so much more than just a western.

Have a great beginning of fall! Book Slave.

2008-09-02

Review-a-palooza!

Hello world-out-there,
It's gotten a bit colder, summer is biting the dust. Labor Day has come and gone, no more wearing white according to Emily Post. What I do know though is that there will always be books! Onwards!

Reviews
Blowing My Cover
I've been interested in this book for a long time. This memoir takes us through the CIA training/career of C.O. Lindsay Moran. I was fascinated by all the crazy training and psychological games Moran goes through The Farm, the CIA training facility. It's pretty shocking how revealing Moran is. It doesn't seem to have been vetted or censored at all. I was less interested in the latter half of the book which deals with Moran's dissatisfaction with her first assignment turning low level gangsters in Macedonia and Bulgaria. The deglamorization of the spy profession goes on for a bit too long. In the end I found this to be just another mediocre memoir about someone's crazy life experience.

Ultimate Fantastic Four Vol. 1
Seeking something fun I decided to venture into the FF universe. Marvel likes to use the Ultimate Universe to reboot their main characters without the drag of continuity. I enjoyed this almost as much as Ultimate Spider-Man because I could jump right in fresh. It was fun to see a young Reed Richards show his genius. The art was also great, Kubert's Mole monster was great. Highly Enjoyable.

Five Fists of Science
This book was a huge disappointment. I picked it up because I had heard good things about it and it's creator Matt Fraction. Unfortunately this turned out to be a rip off of the League of Extraordinary Gentleman. Now Fraction is a fine writer and their are some funny lines but he's no Alan Moore. And the art is terrible. While I know this is from Image and independent, that's still no excuse. Some panels were so badly sketched that I couldn't tell what was going on. A mighty disappointment.

Scalped Vol. 2
This book continues to be incredible. Jason Aaron finds the good and bad in every character involved in this dark tragic world. In this volume Aaron works more fleshing out the world of "the Rez" and its side characters. I was particularly taken with the issue that focused on Catcher, a man who sees more than anyone knows. Why aren't you reading this series?

Astonishing X-Men Vol. 2
Another enjoyable time although a tad bit too metaphysical for my liking. Whedon is able to catch the angsty voice of these mutants. He is able to make this a book about characters rather than action. I really love how he stays true to each character and stays consistent in their interactions. Cyclops is the heroic leader, Emma Frost the femme fatale. In this volume we do get to see the relationship between Peter and Kitty which comes to a head in an issue of talking head panels. Their dialogue makes clear how these two desperately want to communicate but can't. The art is also consistently amazing which isn't surprising. Cassaday is my favorite X-Men artist. Unfortunately Whedon gets a bit strange here in the end, but he does set up an interesting twist.

Announcements & Shout Outs
I've mentioned that I spend time peddling/pushing books to the masses, well now they've set up a blog page and asked me to contribute. Finally they've posted some of my entries and you can find those here. There I'll be posting some longer reviews and some other free-association musings. So check it out and enjoy some of the other writers there too.

What's In My Bag
Books
In the Woods
Birdwatching

Comic
Kill All Parents

Magazine
Four Four Two

Comic Pull List: TBA

Check Out Count: Improving.

Enjoy your week folks! See you on the interwebs. Bookslave.