January 18, 2016

Recent Reads

167. Supreme: Blue Rose
This volume collects Issues #1-7.

I'll be the first to admit that most of the time I was reading this graphic novel I was clueless as to what was going on. There seemed to be stories within stories, and multiverses, but somehow I simply got lost, and could not find my bearings. Is that what the authors intended? So, not one I'd recommend, though I did find the art interesting. Rating: 2 stars.

168. The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition
Stephen King's novels are something of a tradition for me. I start and end each sailing season by listening to one of his novels, and they bookend my favorite seasons of the year. So, here we are at the end of the November, and I'm another King down.

I've heard about The Stand for ages, and have been saving it. What for? I sure as heck do not know, but clearly it was the right book right now. I decided to go with the audiobook of The Complete and Uncut Edition - might as get the full King effect right? The book is narrated by Grover Gardner, and he gets five stars for this one, which clocked in at just under fifty hours.

What's it about? A super flu wipes out most of the people in the United States, and probably the world. The survivors in the US are gathering into two large groups, and a show-down of sorts is in the cards.

I love how King writes. He is a natural yarn spinner, and he skillfully creates people and situations that grab a hold of you, and don't let go. I love how he weaves supernatural events into the natural world order so seamlessly, that he makes the hairs rise on the back of your neck. The ancient story of Good versus Evil gets the King treatment here.

You know what I did not love? The lack of developed women characters. Every single woman was somehow defined by how fuckable she was to the men around her. What about Mother Abigail you ask? Do not get me started on the "magical negro" trope. So, no interesting women characters, but as least there were women survivors. The same cannot be said for people of color. Sigh.

Clearly I had issues with this one, and it is particularly annoying because King has written wonderful women characters in novels like Dolores Claiborne and Misery. If you have yet to read those, do. Still, this has been a really fun ride, and I enjoyed every minute I was not annoyed with Mr. King, and that is why it gets as high a rating as it does.  Rating: 4 stars.

169. What We See When We Read
Book blurb: A gorgeously unique, fully illustrated exploration into the phenomenology of reading - how we visualize images from reading works of literature. What do we see when we read? Did Tolstoy really describe Anna Karenina? Did Melville ever really tell us what, exactly, Ishmael looked like?

This book clocks in at 425 pages, but don't let that scare you away, and is a must read for anyone who loves to read. It explores what happens in our brains when we read novels, especially as it relates to the characters on the page. How much does the author really tell us, and how is it that we feel like we know certain characters so intimately?

The book itself is chock-full of drawings, maps, diagrams, and images to help illustrate the point the text is making, and it can be read in a couple of sittings, though I took my time with it to let things really sink in.

This book made me really think about, and examine how it is that I create worlds and characters in my head, and I have no doubt that this is one that I'll read again once I've had time to marinate on this first reading. Rating: 4 stars.

Marvel 1602

Book Blurb: Neil Gaiman presents a unique vision of the Marvel Universe set four hundred years in the past. Classic Marvel icons such as the X-Men, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and Daredevil appear in this intriguing world of 17th-century science and sorcery, instantly familiar to readers, yest subtly different in this new time. Collects issues #1-8.

Holy Molly, but this is such a fun read. I love both historical fiction and graphic novels, and this combines them in such a creative way. Not only do we meet some of the superheros before they they arrived in the Americas, but the story is set in Elizabethan England, and the art is wonderful. 

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Neil Gaiman rocks the graphic novel genre. Rating: 4 stars.

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