3.5 instead of 4. I was a little conflicted on how to rate this new entry in the Sandman series. I'm happy that Gaiman will be re-exploring the lives...more3.5 instead of 4. I was a little conflicted on how to rate this new entry in the Sandman series. I'm happy that Gaiman will be re-exploring the lives of the Endless and the worlds they touch. This first entry is a very promising beginning, especially seeing all of Dream's incarnations gathering. (Gaiman himself mentions he was a little bit in love with the artist's illustration of Dream as a plant. I loved the fold-out center.) The drawback is that this is just a beginning, a very spare beginning. Having just finished the original series run this year, I was disoriented by small, crucial details. Example: when Death warns Destiny that she has "just taken" Dream to her kingdom despite being in the timeline before his initial capture or the presence of the original incarnation of the Corinthian. This beginning bends and echoes the ending of The Sandman, Vol. 10: The Wake in interesting ways, but I felt unsure as to exactly where we were beginning. Then again, that may very well be Gaiman's intention. I look forward to reading this run of stories in the original comic form as opposed to being gathered in a graphic novel. This will be a different type of reading experience for me, so any uncertainty on my part is, for now, outweighed with the anticipation of the next issue.(less)
Of the three big "demonic children" movies: The Exorcist, The Omen and Rosemary's Baby, I've always enjoyed the last. There's a quietness to it that t...moreOf the three big "demonic children" movies: The Exorcist, The Omen and Rosemary's Baby, I've always enjoyed the last. There's a quietness to it that the other two don't have & it's equally amusing that the Satanists aren't glamorous or immediately sinister--they're your nosy old neighbors. (Which, in hindsight, makes Polanski's The Ninth Gate even more unintentionally hilarious.) So, when I finally read Rosemary's Baby, I was pleased to see that Polanski followed the text pretty directly. If you enjoy the movie, you'll enjoy the book & you won't be able to see Minnie Castevet as anyone other than Ruth Gordon. The edge that the novel does have over the movie, however, is that the ending scene makes the different approaches between Rosemary & Roman a bit clearer. Roman comes off like any modern fundamentalist and Rosemary isn't a broken doll of a woman: she's still clinging to a notion of faith, that her child can't be all evil. Levin is clearly having fun goosing the reader with the horrific baby, but there also seems to be an undercurrent of mourning over the mid-60s and the turmoil that it ultimately brought about. In any case, RB is a great Halloween read, so enjoy it on a dark & stormy night relatively soon.(less)
3.5 instead of 4. Max's bio is thoroughly researched and restrained about its topic--an author who has become sainted and mythologized among "readers...more3.5 instead of 4. Max's bio is thoroughly researched and restrained about its topic--an author who has become sainted and mythologized among "readers in the know." Anne Fadiman says in her quote for the bio that the "pages allow us to know rather than to worship" Wallace and I agree with her whole-heartedly. Max gives us the mundane, petty and manipulative sides of Wallace as well as tracing the influences that created his articulate, moral and compassionate persona. "Every Love Story" is a compact fair read that should please the die-hards and give newbies a taste of what this Wallace guy was all about.(less)
Let me start off by saying that I'm not really sure how to rate this book. First, I don't read a lot of graphic novels, but I know that they are a dif...moreLet me start off by saying that I'm not really sure how to rate this book. First, I don't read a lot of graphic novels, but I know that they are a different enough medium that I won't compare one to a written narrative. Second, my rating won't really reflect how conflicted my opinion is.
Taken as just a story, The Crow is ok. This revenge tale is an interesting clash between the metaphysical & urban life. Some of the lines are too ornate or stilted. Take for example the words: "Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of all children." Reading the words by themselves is awkward: the structure of the sentence is a little wonky; the sentiment is so poetic that some readers might but offput. Add the sentence to the panel it's actually written over, where the Crow's harsh profile is balanced beside the rumpled addicted woman's he's addressing. O'Barr's stark illustration of the two ragged faces gives the words another resonance.
When I consider what O'Barr's graphics do to his words, though, I'd have to say that The Crow is a finely balanced text. Just as one can miss Salvador Dali's technical skill hidden beneath his surrealistic subjects, the same mistake can be made with O'Barr's work. Beneath the violence & despair depicted in The Crow is a remarkable talent for rendering the human form or nuances of light. I was prepared for the graphic wounds & death detailed on the pages. What unnerved me was the vulnerability & longing that was present in the forms of the characters. I found myself choking up at how forlornly a dead thug & his victim leaned against one another on a basement wall; outright crying as the Crow looks into Sherrie's filthy hungry face & apologizes to her for the inevitable shittiness of life.
Having watched an interview with O'Barr on the DVD of the movie adaptation, I knew that this graphic novel was about more than expressing the grief of violently losing a loved one. The Crow is life as seen by a guy who didn't have a lot to begin with, clearly valued the few good things life did give him, & found he still had to live after he lost those things. There is emotional substance in every panel that will get under your skin & make you consider the flimsy protections you've built around yourself. The introduction invites readers to consider what they have to lose in their life. I would agree; The Crow is a lesson in loss to take to heart.(less)
A weird f.ing little book. Wouldn't be surprised if there is some link between this & David Milch's Luck. Both writers show similar sensibilities...moreA weird f.ing little book. Wouldn't be surprised if there is some link between this & David Milch's Luck. Both writers show similar sensibilities of language, relationships of power, and hierarchies.(less)
2.5 instead of 2. Brockmeier's premise is interesting & there are some lyrical, melancholy moments. However, that doesn't overcome the plot holes...more2.5 instead of 2. Brockmeier's premise is interesting & there are some lyrical, melancholy moments. However, that doesn't overcome the plot holes or the strained connections between certain characters. Still a good try & worth an afternoon if you have one to waste.
Also, I commented on a friend's choice many months earlier when she put this book on her to-read by saying that I hadn't enjoyed it. Perhaps time has made me a little more forgiving or perhaps the section I read from The Illumination has clouded my previous dislike.(less)
3.5 instead of 3. Not as funny as Hope: A Tragedy, but moving, insightful & interesting. I would recommend Lament to those who enjoy writers like...more3.5 instead of 3. Not as funny as Hope: A Tragedy, but moving, insightful & interesting. I would recommend Lament to those who enjoy writers like David Sedaris or Jonathan Ames. The same dark humor & odd marriage of naivete & cynicism are at work here. I think anyone who has ever felt completely exiled from their upbringing would enjoy Lament & my mind likes playing with the idea of conversations Auslander could have with Thomas Wolfe. Lament has such a strong specific voice that it makes me wonder at the person underneath the persona Auslander creates for this memoir. I don't doubt that everything written in the book is true to the author's experience, but I get the distinct feeling he's holding back. Or maybe I just want to see his tattoos & piercings.(less)