December 12, 2016

Recent Reads

176. Angel Catbird, Vol. 1
I'm a fan of both Margaret Atwood and cats, so was really looking forward to lapping this up (pun intended). Alas, it is so bad that I wonder if it is this bad on purpose.

Atwood is also a fan of birds, and this graphic novel is a rather heavy handed PSA about why letting a cat range free is bad for both cats and birds. Now, I'll admit to being surprised by the sheer number of bird deaths attributed to cats, but this message could have just as easily been conveyed in a short pamphlet, blog or Facebook post.

This ludircous story is how Strig Feleedus is accidentally mutated when his DNA merges with that of his cat and an owl. Catbird. Get it? The puns are lame, the art is mediocre, and there is nothing about this one I enjoyed. As for that cliff hanger? I could care less. Rating: 1 star.

177. Hot Milk
At 25% : Oy veh, but the angst of a twenty-something immature woman can be mind numbingly boring. Almost quit on this one, then the image of an octopus at the pearly gates made me laugh out loud. Not sure I'll make it to the end of this one ....

I've not had a good run with books shortlisted for prizes this year, and this one is no exception. The fact that this made the Booker shortlist, makes me leery of all the others in that category, so someone please let me know if there are any on that list I should try.

This is my first exposure to this author, and it's not her writing I have an issue with, it's what she writes about that doesn't work for me. Her writing is clear, simple, and descriptive, but the story, the pacing, the narrative are all rather boring. And don't get me started on the dialog. Who talks like that?

This premise should have worked. Who cannot relate to a young woman coping with her difficult mother, who might or might not be a hypochondriac? But to be so emotionally stunted in your mid twenties means there is little for the reader to latch on to. I felt like picking Sophia up by the scruff of her neck and giving her a good shake.

Metaphors and puns abound, and while some of them are clever, I was bored through most of this one, and at about 30% in, I'm dumping it on my DNF pile. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Romola Garai, who seemed to capture this twenty-something angst perfectly. Rating: 1 star.

178. Beloved Dog
There is no doubt that the author adores dogs, and I think most dog lovers will enjoy this book. I however, was expecting something else. I'm a fan of the author's work, but did not know going in that this was an anthology of sorts - showcasing dogs that have appeared in her previous books. As usual I love the art, but I was not captivated with this one as I usually am with her books. Rating: 2 stars.

179. Dark Matter
2.5 stars rounded up.

I tried this one in print form a while ago, but the writing did not seem good enough for a sit-down-with-a-mug-of-tea read, so I put it aside. A couple of months later I listened to the audiobook, which is well narrated by Jon Lindstrom.

A guy walks into a bar, is abducted, stripped off his clothes, drugged, and wakes up in an unfamiliar place surrounded by strangers who seem to know him intimately. What the what?

This one should have been right up my alley. Quantum Mechanics and the exploration of what that entails? Count me in. I'm familiar with the physics, though my brain does not fully understand what the heck it all means, so I was looking forward to a deep dive into these themes, and while this was an fast ride, it does not deliver on the promise of the premise. It's a fast, thrillery sort of read, with zero character development, that lightly touches on the themes of regret, paths not taken, and lives not lead. It did seem rather preachy in parts, and that surprised me. You know what else surprised me? The notion that in this hi-tech science fiction thriller, we have good old fashioned guns and knives. Really? The entire time I was listening to the book, it felt like a movie was playing out in my mind, and that's what this felt like - a movie script - so I'm not surprised to see that it's been optioned to be one.

If you are interested in the subject matter, check out the 2004 docudrama What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? It's a much more satisfying and mind blowing use of your time. Rating: 3 stars.

180. Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future
Remember reading big, brightly colored books as a kid and being completely immersed in the experience? Reading this book felt like that.

It's a little hard to describe this one. It's non-fiction, but not really a graphic novel, as there's no narrative per se. It's really a science art book. Yes, I'll go with that. The author breaks up Weather into various chapters, and includes some fascinating and quirky tidbits accompanied by folk-artsy illustrations. One chapter, titled Sky, has no words at all, just paintings.

If you are looking for an adultish scientific book on weather, this is not it, but if you are in the mood to explore the topic in a manner you did as a kid, pick this one up. It's a fun, colorful, and educational read. Rating: 4 stars.

No comments: