For the love of superheroes and free alcohol.

Hello folks,
I hope you are all having a great week. Where I am the weather keeps messing with us all. One moment it's sunny, the next it's snowing. What the hell man? Again I just want to know what's coming, that's all I ask.

Book Club tonight was another lively discussion. This was also fueled by free alcohol, for which I was very grateful. Thanks Zach! I was very glad to see some old friends and also meet some cool new people. I've been going to this club for six months and it's always been fun. I know that soon the club will have to move to a new space sometime within the next few months. I hope that it's still in reasonable proximity, so I can go. We'll just have to see.

Also I wanted to remind folks that PBS has started airing BBC's Little Dorrit. I watched Part One last weekend and found it very intriquing. There are a lot of different characters and threads, but man it's going to be 5 parts long. I can't wait to see how all the threads come together. If you missed it PBS is airing Part One online this week. I'd suggest checking it out, here.

Anyway Onward!

Astro City Vol. 1
I highly enjoyed this first trade. Kurt Busiek loves superheroes. That comes out loud and clear in this series which is a deconstruction/celebration of the comic mythos. Like Alan Moore's Watchmen, Astro City showcases a world where superheroes exist. Each issue tells a stand alone story from one POV. However Busiek rather than showing the dark side focuses on the positive, paying homage to the comics of the silver age. This is a great companion to Marvels, which was also written/drawn by the team of Busiek & Ross. As much as I love the grim reality of Watchmen it is great to soar in the world of Astro City.

Other Reviews
Mervi's Book Reviews

Bodega Dreams
This was my book club book this month. I definitely wouldn't have picked it up myself. It took me about half-way thru the book for me to understand what Quinonez is getting at. This book is clearly meant to be a microcosm of the two groups trying to take over Spanish Harlem. On one side you have the rigidness of the Pentecostal/christian religious influence of Blanca's church and on the other side the evil capitalism of Willie Bodega. Chino, the protagonist, is caught in the middle of the two sides. He believes in Bodega's dream of the rise of a Puerto-Rican professional class, but knows that Bodega is far from altruistic. Chino sees the world as a place where nothing is completely free. There is always a catch or a favor owed for any good deed. I was impressed by Quinonez's ability to capture the world of Spanish Harlem. There is a clear distinct use of language that is necessary to understand the educational hierarchy. The more "street" that you are the more the dialogue becomes colloquial, where as professionals like Nazarrio speak in clear English. If there is a fault with this book is that it is very traditional in it's narrative. I think it would have benefited from more experimentation like South by South Bronx. Perhaps a use of First person, instead of flashback, would have lended the story more urgency. As it is I thought the ending was quite a good twist and felt it was well set up all along. I'm interested to see where Quinonez goes next.

Other Reviews
Salon Books | Entertainment Weekly

All Star Superman Vol. 2
Grant Morrison defies definition. In one book he can write one of the craziest stories you've ever read, see Kill Your Boyfriend and the Invisibles series, and then in another he can write the most traditional superhero book ever. In this series he writes the clearest, best version of Superman I've read on the page. In the All-Star Superman series Kal-el is not interested in dominating the human race, he believes in all the good that we are capable of. It's pure classic silver age comics. I particularly loved the Bizarro style issue, where Superman desperately tries to co-opt the most infuriating comic race ever. One should also take notice of the amazing art by Frank Quitely. Check out this series, it will fill you with joy.

Past Reviews: All Star Superman Vol. 1

Other Reviews
Ifanboy | blogcritics

The Reading List
The 12 Caesars

Trinity #43


Check Out Count: Far too High.

Comic Pull List: Buffy The Vampire Slayer #24, Deadpool #9, Flash Rebirth #1, Trinity #44

Have a great week! Book Slave.


Fun Book Meme Quiz or More about Me.

Well I generally stay away from meme's on principle but I am bored and this is kinda fun. I got tagged by fellowette over at The Egalitarian Bookworm which if you're not reading it you should. She runs a great lit blog. Anyway here we go:

1) What author do you own the most books by? Looks like a mix between Jane Austen, Will Shakespeare, Terry Moore, and Stephen King right now.

2) What book do you own the most copies of? Don't really own multiple copies of books. I do have different editions of The Outsiders and Carrie. As a tween I became obsessed with finding the different covers.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions? Grammar's evil. If I ignore it, it doesn't exist.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with? Augustus McCrae from Lonesome Dove.
4a) What fictional character would you most like to be? Clara Allen from Lonesome Dove.

4b) What fictional character do you think most resembles you? I'm so Bridget Jones without the boyfriends and crazy parents.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life? Don't really re-read. School has forced me to read Hamlet too many times.

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old? Can't remember.

7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year? The Somnabulist by Jonathan Barnes.

8) What is the best book you've read in the past year? That's a tough choice. Brideshead Revisited, Paper Towns, and Essex County Trilogy.

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be? Just one book? 1984 by George Orwell.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for literature? Who cares? Oh yeah nobody.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie? Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marissa Pessl, and Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie? On the Road, only because I don't think it would ever work.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character. Don't remember any at the moment. I leave the dreams in the dreamworld.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult? Depends on your definition of lowbrow. I guess I did read a Jennifer Cusie book once.

15) What is the most difficult book you've ever read? I did read John Nash's papers on Game Theory. That took me forever.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen? Winter's Tale.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians? The Russians. But probably because I've read more Russian Lit than French.

18) Roth or Updike? Really? I'll take esoteric authors that people say they read, but they really don't.

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers? Sedaris. Hilarious wonderful writer.

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer? William Shakespeare.

21) Austen or Eliot? Jane Austen all day long.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading? Lack of African American Literature. It's incredibly shameful.

23) What is your favorite novel? Really can't pick just one. Pride and Prejudice, Lonesome Dove, 1984, To Kill a Mockingbird, Slaughterhouse five, Less Than Zero, My Antonia, Winesburg Ohio.

24) Play? Long Day's Journey Into Night.

25) Poem? Howl by Allen Ginsburg. Eliot's Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

26) Essay? Woolf's "Room of One's Own."
27) Short story? The Dead by James Joyce.
28) Work of non-fiction? Quiet Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian by Scott Douglas.
29) Who is your favorite writer? Jane Austen.

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today? Stephanie Meyer. Really she's not a good writer at all.

31) What is your desert island book? Complete Works of Shakespeare. I could take the time to dissect it all I want.

32) And ... what are you reading right now? Well you could always check here. Right now it's Bodega Dreams and All Star Superman Vol. 2.

Hope you all enjoyed that. Have a great weekend! Book Pusher.


Consistency, If only.

Hello folks,
How are you all? Good I hope. Unfortunately I am really getting sick of being messed with by the weather gods. Will you please decide on snow or sun? I'm not asking much I just want consistency. I've had a tough time getting used to my new schedule and way of life. More sleep, more time to read, yet I still find myself buried. Need to find structure again, or let myself accept a more spontaneous life. Am I too old to change? God I hope not. We'll just have to see I guess. Onward!

Uncanny X-Men: From the Ashes
I decided to pick this up because I like occasionally to delve into old-school comics. Sure they are a bit dated, wordy, and painfully expositional, however it's good for me as a comic fan to read the landmark story lines. This set of issues has a lot of classic stories in it. There's the introduction of Madeleine Pryor, the bizarre Jean Grey look-a-like. If you think about it a little her relationship with Scott Summers is actually kinda twisted. But I liked how they dealt with it. Scott just told her his issues, and they got over it. DONE. This also has the storyline of Wolverine getting married in Japan, and the awesome re-imagining of Storm as a punk with mohawk. It's great. The big difference here for me is that writer Claremont tones down his maddening expositional dialogue. Oh trust me it's sometimes still painful, but it's an improvement. There was a lot of great action and twists. Good comic booking.

Biographical Info: Uncanny X-Men
Related Reviews: X-Men and Relevancy, Sublime Baby Sublime

It's Complicated
Photojournalist Robin Bowman began in 2002 a project to document the American Teenager. She wrote a questionaire but didn't try to steer their statements in any way. The result is this book which includes portraits and interviews with over 400 teens from all across the country. I was amazed by the diversity of her generational sampling. Very much like Robert Frank, Bowman captures America in an honest, truthful way. As a teenager our lives are manipulated and powerless. Bowman never seems to be exploiting her subject matter. Both triumphant and heartbreaking, I loved it.

Other Reviews
Wausua Daily Herald | NPR | Josh's YA Reviews

French Milk
I had heard a lot of great things about this little independent book so when I finally had the chance to pick it up I did. I enjoyed this little slice of life, autobiographical journal. Cartoon artist Lucy Knisley chronicles her month spent in Paris with her mom during the holidays. I will contend that enjoyment of the book is contigent on whether you like Knisley or not. I happen to enjoy her spunky personality so I liked the book. Her art style is also very cartoony which adds to the humor of the book. She also includes the photographs that she took during the trip , which is fun. Is the story deep? Not really, but I recommend it to anyone who wants an enjoyable

Other Reviews
Comic Mix | Pinot and Prose | Seattle Literature Examiner

The Reading List
Bodega Dreams
All Star Superman Vol. 2

Fables #82


Check Out Count: Exploded.

Comic Pull List: Daredevil #117, Garth Ennis Battlefields Dear Billy #3, New Avengers #51, Oracle #1, Runaways 3 #8, Superman #686, Umbrella Academy Dallas #5, Wonder Woman #30

Have a great week! Book Slave.


10 Word Experiment

Hello All,
It's been awhile since I've done a review post. I assure you I haven't stopped reading that's for sure. On Monday I and the esteemed Brooke Young did my presentation on Young Adult Literature for my peers. I've been prepping for it for 1 month and a half. It means that I've been steeped in YA novels, although not like Kerry at Windmill Watching. (A truly hilarious blog, check it out.) But enough that I am glad to get back to sequential art.

So this week I thought I would try an experiment. I'm gonna try to review these books in 10 words or less. Can I do it? Let's see.

Paper Towns
Read it now. True Love lost will always be found.

Other Reviews
Teen Book Review | Viewpoints | Orlando Sentinel

Fat Girl, Skinny Girl. Body issues. Sweet Revenge. Heartbreakingly Real.

Other Reviews
Teen Book Review | slayground

Brothers seek out abusive father. Lacks Punctuation. Grim, emotional, real.

Author's Website: David Hernandez

Other Reviews
LA Times

Samurais, Sci-Fi. 10 panel pages. Frank Miller is crazy. Completely unexpected.

Author Bio: Frank Miller

The Reading List
French Milk
Uncanny X-Men: From the Ashes


Trinity #41

Check Out Count: Strangely Increasing.

Comic Pull List: Outsiders #16, Trinity #42, Wolverine #71

Have a great weekend! Book Slave.


Teach Me Mr. Joyce, I'm willing to Learn...

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all! How are you all? Good I hope. Lately I've seen a lot of change, it's a little hard to get used to. More time on my hands lately, which is not something I am used to at all. We'll see if I manage to thrive or drive myself mad.

So driven by the holiday today, I'm pushing my usual reviews post a few days. I have a big place in my heart for Irish literature. Every year around this time I try to take some time and reread The Dead by James Joyce. The Dubliners is the only work of his that I have made my way through. Give me time, someday I will tackle Ulysses. Someday. Joyce was the first writer to take stream-of-consciousness writing to it's full potential. His genius lies in the realization that literature can be more than what it was. Joyce gave literature the kick in the pants it needed. I am always amazed by those who realize the next evolution in an art form. In his short story The Dead Joyce sees the potential of post-modernism.

Lessons from Classic Literature: The Dead

1. Human Beings by nature are selfish. Gabriel spends nearly the entire night caught up in his own selfish needs and desires. He worries so much about himself that he is myopic to everyone around him.

2. Traditions are important. I love the aunt's and their family holiday party. When I was a young child my grandmother would have a similiar party every year. Everybody in the family would attend, even extended relatives that I would never know. These sortof get-togethers are essential.

3. When it comes to toasts keep it simple. Gabriel chooses to focus on the hosts of the evening: his aunts. By letting go of "the quote" he puts the focus on them and not himself. It is his first generous act of story.

4. We all need friends like Freddy Malins. Freddy is an easy moral scapegoat, but he's not so bad. Every group needs it's black sheep though.

5. All you need is love. Like the Beatles said Gabriel's epiphany at the end of the story is that love supercedes death. It is a link between the living and the dead.

Have a great couple of days! Book Slave.


Yep I'm still here folks.

So I haven't died, disappeared, or ended up on a crazy island. Life just decided to throw me a curve and I didn't feel like writing about books. Let's just say that now I've got some time on my hands. With plenty to read, watch, and listen I assure you I'll find a way to keep myself busy.

On Monday I've got a big presentation on young adult books in 2009. This isn't the first presentation I've done for my peers but I am a little nervous. My partner and I have decided on a real loosey, goosey approach. If there's something I don't lack it's personality. Too much some would say. Either way it should be fun.

At the moment I've got to get some major reading done. The good news is that you guys will get a review-a-palooza next week. Stay Tuned.

Have a fun weekend! Book Slave.

PS For the love of god, the written word, and the staving off of armageddon, buy your books from your local bookseller. Book Stores are hurting, they need your dollars. And when a book store fails, trust me you are letting loose a group of crazy book sellers into your midst.


Poetry and Plays

It's been an interesting week. Unfortunately I've spent a lot of it down with a headache, but I'm better now. Still I've got many books to read in the next two weeks. We'll see how that goes. Ships Ahoy Gentleman & Ladies!

Complete Poems of Robert Graves, as Chosen by Himself
I've actually known the work of Robert Graves for some time. In high school I fell in love with I, Claudius having seen the TV series, I read the book. However this was the first time I've picked up his poetry. In his work I saw a man full of contradictions. In several works he expands and comments on mythography. Graves writes unconventional interpretations of classical stories like Leda and the Swan, still using traditional forms. There are also poems that are full of modernesque flourishes. His personal life was messy and some of his poems reflect that. In some works he is angry, scared, and full of passion. These non-traditional poems are in direct contrast to his "mythological" subject manner. This collection is packed, largely due to the fact that Graves works are very short. Since he picked the works in this collection I'm not sure whether it's arranged chronologically or by subject matter. I will say that it is a bit exhausting. I almost wish he had picked less works to include, making the one's he did pick stand out more. Either way you definitely get your money's worth. Worth checking out if you are a fan.

Biographical Info: Robert Graves

Doubt: A Parable
I read this after I had seen the movie adaptation, however I had heard of the play back in 2005 when it debuted. I've wanted to see it performed before I read it on the page. (To read more about this, check this out here.) This play is very spare. There are only four characters on stage, usually two people to a scene. Very much an actor's showcase, it is meant to divide the audience. Who is right? Who is wrong? Nothing about the conflict between these character's is black and white. I've come to the belief that Sister Aloysius, as much as I dislike her, is the hero of this play. She is relentless even though as she states "In the pursuit of wrongdoing, one steps away from God...Of course, there's a price." She is risking her soul to protect the kids in her school. She has no actual physical proof but even the possibility of a threat and she is on the case. I also loved the relationship between Sister James and Sister Aloysius. Sister James is the perfect depiction of a young innocent who so desperately needs the older sister's approval. She wants to be loved by her students but she also wants their respect. Unfortunately you can't always have both, she will have to find a way to have both. Shanley is amazing for creating such drama out of so little.

Performance Reviews
New York Times | CurtainUp

The Reading List

Trinity #38


Comic Pull List: Buffy The Vampire Slayer #23, Daredevil #116, Deadpool #8, Goon #32, Secret Six #7, Terry Moores Echo #10, Trinity #40

Check Out Count: Holding Steady.

Have a great week! Book Slave.