May 16, 2016

Recent Reads

51. The Great Showdowns
Calling all movie buffs. This one is for you.

There is no great story that does not have a conflict or struggle that needs resolution, and this little book showcases some of the great showdowns in movies. This book has no text. The showdowns are represented by lovely, whimsical watercolors, and you really have to be a movie buff to get all the references. There are quite a few I did not get. This is a fun art book that would make a perfect gift for movie fans. Rating: 3 stars.

52. Liō: Happiness is a Squishy Cephalopod (Liō #1)
Book Blurb: LIO is a pantomime strip featuring a curious young boy whose daydreams embark from reality destined for the dark chasm where wit and sarcasm collide.

Some boys might be made of snips & snails & puppy dogs tails, but Lio is a different kind of boy. Some of his interests include science, space and experimentation. To say more is to give away some of what makes this a fun read. This is a collection of comic strips, and if you are a Calvin and Hobbes fan, give this one a try. But be forewarned, this one is much darker. The mostly black and white art is really expressive, and most of the panels need no text at all. I read it in two sittings, and I liked the first half of this book better than the second, maybe because I was used to Lio's antics by then. Rating: 3 stars.

53. A Glance Backward
This is a strange and surreal graphic novel, and reminds me of what nightmares might look like if captured with watercolors.

The premise of the story is that Joey, who is 11 years old, finds himself trapped inside the walls of his home. The entire book then follows along as Joey tries to find his way out. Do not be fooled by that premise into thinking this is book for kids. I think it's too dark for little ones; older teens maybe.

When I got to the end of the book, I realized that it was about an allegorical journey that we all make, namely that of growing up. The journey is full of danger and wrong turns, and thankfully, a little kindness, and while I think the watercolor art is creepily good, this was not a story that pulled me in. Rating: 2 stars.

54.Amulet: Firelight (Amulet #7)
This graphic novel is a quick, fun read targeted at middle grade readers. In this installment, Emily and her sidekicks make it to Algos Island. Why are they there? Well, to access lost memories so they can understand the events of Trellis's childhood, and what happened between him and his father, of course. Things do not go smoothly, but then when do they ever in a quest?

Emily is center stage in volume, and could it really be true that the Amulet chose her for her weaknesses rather than her strengths?

The art continues to be lovely, but I do think that this series is dragging on longer than necessary. In this volume the story only moves forward a couple of inches, and I hear that there might be another two volumes still to come. I'm hoping that the next one is tighter and starts to bring this fun series to a satisfying close. Rating: 3 stars.

55. The New Yorker Book of Literary Cartoons
This anthology collects 104 cartoons from the New Yorker that pertain in some manner to all things literary. Some are fantastic, others not so much. Some of my fave ones had to do with how books are arranged on shelves in bookstores and libraries. For example:

Option 1. Sorted by attention span - Short/Medium/Long.
Option 2. Sorted by book size - Small/Medium/Large.

This is a quick fun read for bibliophiles. You know who you are. Rating: 3 stars.

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