Beware the Thought Police

Hello All,
It's been a crazy week for me. Myself and two other fine gentlemen did a presentation about Graphic Novels and it went smashingly. Of course me being me, I had to put a massive amount of work into it. Sometimes I really wish I was one of those people who settle for the mediocre at work. Put no, I have to be the best. So I didn't really get any reading done this week. However I do have something to rant about so feel free to sit back and enjoy.

Anyone who follows the book blogs knows that it's Banned Books Week. As a public librarian I know that this is a big deal. Year after year it becomes one of those things that folks shake their fists at and shout "How dare you?" whenever the idea of banned literature is mentioned. Librarians, booksellers, and readers in general pat themselves on the back. Displays are set up so readers can shake their heads and say "I didn't think this was still done."

Here's where I'm going to say something that may stir the small readership of this blog. For all the individuals who I hear all the time who rail against the idea of banned books, I think that are an equal amount of folks who are perfectly fine with the idea. This must be true because the ALA faces book challenges all the time. Of course these challenges are always made in order to either 1) protect the children, or 2) protect the morals of the community. Now public libraries are run by government funding, hence citizens feel that they have a free say in what a library carries. This is worthy of debate. How much obligation does the common citizen have on the morality of it's community? I say none. The only obligation that I have is to my own moral code. It's the actions that I decide to take, not what I think in my mind.

Then there's the Law. Here in the U.S. we as a citizenry have decided that there are certain actions that an individual cannot do in order for us all to live together. I'm down with that, as long as none of that involves telling me how to think. I'm okay with crossing the street when the light is green, as long as a world of extreme anarchy can exist in my head.

Now I can tell you from experience that librarians take their jobs seriously. Collection development is not a joke. If a book contains material that is illegal ie. child pornography then it doesn't make it to the shelf. Why? Because as a society we have decided that child pornography is illegal. You also won't find pornographic magazines in the library I work for because they just end up getting stolen. And because in my state it is the law that pornography has to be kept out of view of kids. Again it's the law. At my library we take this very seriously.

I still cannot figure out why there are groups of people who believe they have a greater right to decide what I can read. Have they forgotten that the word "public" involves all of us? I may think that Twilight is tripe, however I would not tell someone that they have no right to read it. The great thing about a public library is that it is open to everyone. Yep that means "everyone." Until we as a community decide differently then every book has value. From Mein Kampf to the Bible to Huckleberry Finn. I would never tell anyone that they have no right to read a certain book. Why do others feel they have the right to tell me? Because in the end they feel they are morally superior. I wish they would stop. And then there would be no Banned Books Week and we'd all be better off.

Reading List
Arkham Asylum


Gotham Sirens #4

Check Out Count: Lower than it's been in forever.

Comic Pull List:Amazing Spider-Man #607, Gotham City Sirens #4, Green Lantern #46, Runaways 3 #14, Superman #692, Wonder Woman #36

Have a great week! Book Slave.


Trials and Tribulations of Being Me

Hello All,
It's going to be a very busy week for this girl. Why do I do this to myself? Oh yeah I like to work, impress, and do the best job I can. Sometimes I just wish I could be one those people who don't care or can get by on their looks. No such luck.

Any of you guys watch the Emmy's last weekend? I was very happy to see Little Dorrit get all the love it deserved. I don't know if you recall but I loved the mini-series when it aired last spring. Here's my wrap up review. It's unfortunate that it seems that the mini-series is a dying story form, however I will say that I believe that the cream does rise to the top. PBS & HBO put out very solid product when it comes to long form storytelling. I'd rather have that then nothing at all. Either way there are certain stories that cannot be told effectively in a 2 hour feature film. Little Dorrit definitely fits into that category. In fact I think the same goes for the majority of Dickens work, as well as Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and McMurtry. So I hope PBS/BBC/HBO continue doing long form work. Little Dorrit deserved every award it received.

Anyway onward!

Y the Last Man Vol. 3
I've been slowly rereading this series. I know that I can take my time because there's an end to it. No need to rush. With Vol. 3 the series starts to develop sub plots that go beyond the usual "keep Yorick safe" paradigm. Here Team Yorick collides with the Israelis when a Russian space ship is due to land with 2 male cosmonauts inside. Everyone wants to ensure that these men make it out alive, especially Yorick. His characterization is the key to this series. Clearly Yorick is still maturing as a man, however little-by-little Vaughn creates chances for him to man-up. In this chapter there is a small moment when he meets a woman dressed as a man while on the road. She assumes that he is doing the same. The implication is that she works as a prostitute, which shows how gender issues continue to flip. Anyway Yorick doesn't freak out, he's actually full of acceptance. Yorick may not be a hero like a cosmonaut but he is a good person at his core. It is his humanity in a messed up world that makes him interesting. Well and 355 is pretty kick ass. Good story arc.

The Reading List
How to Read Comic Books
Batman: Arkham Asylum

Four Four Two

Spider Woman #1

Check Out Count: Fluctuating

Comic Pull List: Amazing Spider-Man #606, Blackest Night Superman #2, Detective Comics #857, Fantastic Four #571, New Avengers #57, Spider-Woman #1, Superman Secret Origin #1, Terry Moores Echo #15, Wednesday Comics #12, Wolverine Giant-Size Old Man Logan #1

Have a great week! Book Slave.


Back on a Familiar Path

Hello All,
It's been a busy week folks. We also took a detour so after some winding roads, and short cuts through lawns, we're headed back down Review Lane. I got a lot to cover so this week we're bringing back an oldie but goodie...Reviews in 10 Words or Less!

Superman For Tomorrow Vol. 1 & 2
Read for Book Club. Weird series. Gets lost. Great Art.

Mouseguard Vol. 2: Winter 1152
Still Great. Amazing Art. Jackrabbits, Owls, Bats, Soldier Mice. Don't Miss.

Dark Entries
Dry Wit. Constantine. Rankin. Obvious Satire becomes smart supernatural thriller.

Astro City Vol. 2: Confession
Loved it. Better than the first. Familiar archetypes made fresh.

Other Volumes: Astro City Vol. 1
Video Podcast Overview: Ifanboy

Queen & Country Vol. 1 Definitive Edition
Rucka is God. Great espionage bureacratic Drama. Clancy-like. Read Now.

The Reading List
Filthy Rich
Y the Last Man vol. 4

Four Four Two

Amazing Spider-Man #605

Check Out Count: Stabilizing

Comic Pull List: Action Comics #881, Amazing Spider-Man #605, Batgirl #2, Batman And Robin #4, Batman Streets Of Gotham #4, Blackest Night #3, Dark Wolverine #78, Fables #88, Green Arrow Black Canary #24, Outsiders #22, Wednesday Comics #11

Have a great week! Book Slave.


It's Elizabeth Bennett's world, we just live here.

Hello All,
Yes I am back! I took a week off, blame it on the fall weather. Either way the fates have brought us here tonight. I think we're going to turn to the left. (Don't worry we'll return to Review Lane soon.) Let's see where it takes us eh?

One place to consider: 19th century Austen England. I finally caught the BBC series Lost in Austen where a modern day woman switches places with Elizabeth Bennett. Lately I've been drawn to the heavily metatextual. (Loved Inglourious Basterds for the same reason.) And Lost in Austen draws upon it's fair share of the post-modern. Lead character Amanda Price finds herself stuck between maintaining the story she loves, Pride & Prejudice, and facing the fact that her very presence creates an alternate reality. In this alternate reality the fictional characters are able to realize their own strengths.

Here's some examples:
-Mr. Bennett leaves the library!
-Bingley finds an individual strength & really fights for Jane.
-Jane stands up for herself & tells the truth to Mr. Collins. And it's not nice.
-Mrs. Bennett shows that she can be a ball buster!

I could go on but I think you see the point. I think that there is definitely some Lacan at work here. How much of Pride & Prejudice, or any other work, is a representation of what the reader brings to it? I subscribe to the idea that once an author sends there writings out into the world then their interpretation becomes moot. It's up to the reader to interpret what's on the page in their own way. So if Amanda Price knows this fictional world as one way, Elizabeth Bennett-centric, then of course it's going to be different if you remove Elizabeth Bennett! Price finds herself trying desperately to maintain the storyline of P&P, but she can't. Maintaining her own expectations of the fictional world she now inhabits only causes frustration. Price has to let those expectations go & accept the new world being created in front of her.

To me the most interesting idea presented by Lost in Austen is that all the characters are better off without Elizabeth Bennett. However the trade off is that they gain Amanda Price. It could be argued that Amanda Price derives her strength from the fictional Elizabeth Bennett. Does your head hurt yet? My apologies. Apparently Elizabeth Bennett, whether fictional or actual, as presented here is the representation of feminine potential. Elizabeth Bennett influences those around her to look for their own personal happiness. While Elizabeth finds it in the modern world, Amanda Price finds it in Austen's fictional world.

So in the end do I recommend Lost in Austen? Yeah. Anything that can lead me to vomit up this much thought can't be too bad. If you're an Austenite, well I'm surprised you haven't see it already.

The Reading List
25 Scripts
Astro City Vol. 2

Four Four Two

Flash Rebirth #4

Check Out Count: Shockingly Getting Lower.

Comic Pull List: Adventure Comics #2, Amazing Spider-Man #604, Blackest Night Batman #2, Bprd 1947 #3, Red Robin #4, Secret Six #13, Superman World Of New Krypton #7, Wednesday Comics #10

Have a great week! Book Slave.