January 2, 2017

Recent Reads

191. Lazarus, Vol. 2: Lift
This volume collects issues #5-9.

I liked that this installment of this graphic novel series introduces us to some of the "waste" - people who are of no value to the ruling families. As one might imagine, life is not pleasant for these people, but again, there is no new ground trod here. I continue to like how the Lazarus story unfolds, but the author does not push beyond cliched stories and scenes in the telling of this tale. Let's see what happens next. Rating: 3 stars.

192. Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery": The Authorized Graphic Adaptation
I love the original short story, and I knew better, but was intrigued. The author is Shirely Jackson's grandson, and the introduction where he talks about the family traditions was an interesting read. However. I really liked the art in this, the colors, the ambiance, were all good, but somehow it did not work in toto. It might be because it lacks the punch of the original story, and something is lost in the adaptation. If you have yet to read the original, skip this and read that. Rating: 2 stars.

193. Lazarus: The Second Collection
This omnibus edition collects Volumes 3 (Conclave) and 4 (Poison), so issues #10-21.

I continue to love the backstory of Eve, the Carlyle Lazarus, and getting to understand her childhood makes one appreciate even more the internal conflict she is struggling with. What do you do when you are not who you think you are? Tough questions for most of us, but when you are a Lazarus, the stakes are that much bigger.

I enjoyed meeting the the members of the other families, especially the Lazarii (is that the right word?). The diversity is appreciated, and watching the power struggles both inside the family, and the world at large is a fun read. My complaint with this collection is the same one I've had all along, namely, there is nothing really new explored here, and there is so much potential material! While I'm a fan of strong kick-ass women, and there are loads in this series, that's just not enough to warrant a higher rating. A fun, fast read, and I thought I was done with the series, and then was hit with that ending. What?! When does Volume 5 come out again? Rating: 3 stars.

194. Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous
I love Kamala Khan, I do, but I might be the only one who is not thrilled with the company she keeps - and by that I mean the Avengers! I know she's reached the big leagues, and her glee and pinch-myself-feelings about being allowed to join the As is all well and good, but I for one am conflicted about it.

There are really two stories going on here. The one I'm not really loving is the Avengers/battling various bad guys/frogs bits. It's fun, but that alone would only get a 3 star rating. The parts I adore deal with the struggles of being a young, Pakistani Muslim girl trying her best to fit in, make her family happy, being a typical teen and getting mad at Bruno for dating Mike, etc. Kamala's brother has his eyes on a girl, and the family scenes around this just warmed my heart. Where were books like these when I was a kid? Better late than never. That story line gets 5 stars. So, I'll average this out to 4. I'm so much more interested in the family drama in this series, and love that it explores new, uncharted ground in the comics genre. Rating: 4 stars.

195. In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs
In a world that rarely celebrates women, especially women who choose to follow unconventional career paths, this book is a breath of fresh air.

I really liked the diversity of the women in this collection, and the photographs showing each woman in her space are beautiful. However, this is not an in-depth interview with each of the 100 women, but a short Q&A with each. So on the one hand, we quickly get their insights, but on the other, the reading becomes rather rote, and I found myself skimming those towards the end. I did not know the majority of these women, and maybe this is a book better dipped in and out of, rather than being read in a couple of sittings.

I would recommend this to young women starting out, or even more mature ones looking to make a switch. There is comfort in being the company of women who are also following their passions. Rating: 3 stars.

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