Dude, Matt farts a lot. Almost as much as a Jim Carrey movie character. But sometimes his gas can be really funny, like when Jen is sucked into the voDude, Matt farts a lot. Almost as much as a Jim Carrey movie character. But sometimes his gas can be really funny, like when Jen is sucked into the vortex of a Firefly episode and he gives his loudest burp ever. And she didn't hear it, sitting next to him.
I liked this mostly because we got to see the artistic quality evolve quite a bit. And we got to get to know characters in a seemingly unobtrusive way living their lives, making nothing (and everything) of it. I mean, who doesn't have friends like Nev, the onion-monkey guy? Or parents that whose buttons you know how to push? Or a boyfriend who looks like Big Bird, who plays video games all day. Ok, not all day.
I'm going to count this read as TWO books, since the second volume of Square Cat I actually read first, but is no where to be found on Good Reads or Amazon. So here it is. I liked the second book better, since I really do feel like Ormand finally got the hang of the drawing thing, and has honed her sarcasm. Just the smooth stories. Like the one where Jen and Matt rock out with the pedestrian on the side of the road. Moments we would not remember if not for these comics.
I really hope she continues to make more of these. So easy to read....more
This extremely ambitious and dense book takes place in an alternate America, where corruption rapidly lead to an age of moral decline. And masked vigiThis extremely ambitious and dense book takes place in an alternate America, where corruption rapidly lead to an age of moral decline. And masked vigilantes, once lauded, were outlawed. It's October 1985.
Loaded with overlapping stories juxtaposed such that the overall read is imbued with even more depth and symbolism. The writing is deft, unfalteringly moving from the New York streets and its characters to diary entries to book excerpts, each voice singular and perfect. The artwork shares equal weight in the telling of this richly layered story, with effective use of panels that seem to stop and expand time and an ability to give emotion to even the most unfeeling of characters.
That this is a visionary book, especially for its time is commendable. What was topical then feels a tad dated now. There is no longer a Russian scare, and Nixon no longer has influence. But it's an easy suspension of disbelief. The only other thing keeping this from a 5-star rating is that about 1/2 way through the book, it becomes quite obvious that this series was originally published in 12 single-issue formats. Each section with the same format. It's okay. But had it been conceived as a full volume book, how much further could the creators have pushed the envelope?
Oh, and I do not suggest skipping over the blocks of text at the end of each section--this is what gives the story its novelistic sweep....more
**spoiler alert** I'm the sort of person who will give a book 100 pages before I throw it across the room in disgust. Because this reading was for Boo**spoiler alert** I'm the sort of person who will give a book 100 pages before I throw it across the room in disgust. Because this reading was for Book Group, I gave it 262 pages. I didn't throw it across the room--it wasn't worthy enough. Instead, it was quietly buried beneath other bedside reading.
Although I was intrigued by Death's narration, and thought that his particular style was telling of a more complex character than I got, I think he was not the best narrator for this story. I want to trust him, but I don't. He foretells too much of the essential actions, such that further reading is redundant. His news-flash-y bulletins are sometimes very effective, but mostly as annoying as a news flash bulletin. As far as I could tell, they served no literary purpose.
There are great parts of a book here, bound in a conceited, tiring narrative. Liesel's "story" altogether is great. Her friendships and heartache. All that about family and loss and survival is wonderfully believable.
But Death got in the way for me. It was a time of great business for him, so HOW ON EARTH could he have been on the sidelines, watching, knowing everything about Liesel. Or did he read about it all in Liesel's book? (which I admittedly did not encounter in my reading. I'm sure it comes later--way later.) Or is this some intrinsic quality of Death, that it knows all of our stories?
Our narrator admits that he does not understand all the ways of humans and even so, they fascinate him. Perhaps the bulletins in the narrative are a way for him to relay information that he himself does not understand, or feels unable to communicate to human readers. That is my only explanation for their use.
And because he seems to have a central role in this story, I greatly wanted to come to a better understanding of Death, through his telling of it. Until the point I stopped, I learned that Death synthesizes his experiences as moments of color (and sometimes texture). And that he is haunted by this story.
WHY? Why does he speak of "The Book Thief" as if she were "Billy the Kidd" or some other notorious gangster? How can a thief who steals only three books (I think) be called "prolific"? If he is the one and only Death, why choose this story to tell us, when so many other courageous and illuminating lifestories have also been untold?
AAaargh! The best parts in my reading for me, were two: when Liesel promised not to tell. And when the man with feathers for hair makes a book for her. ...more
This slim, but packed book benefits from a great premise--Missed Connections ads. We who read those ads are half-desparate lonley hearts and closetedThis slim, but packed book benefits from a great premise--Missed Connections ads. We who read those ads are half-desparate lonley hearts and closeted voyeurs. These ads explored and reimagined in a stylistically diverse collection from very talented artists and writers (some of whom I know!). Includes the likes of Peter Bagge, Jeffrey Brown, Daniel Barlow, Jesse Reklaw, Megan Baehr, Ken Dahl,Linda Park, etc.
Thanks to editor Julia Wertz, the book is elevated from the random selection of ads as printed in the weeklies, into a study of the types of connections people seek. Section headings like "Coffee-Shop Crushes" and "Just One More Chance..." accurately distill these needs.
This would make a great all-purpose gift, as I cannot imagine anyone who would not enjoy this. Check it out....more
Again, picked up at the library book sale. Third Christie book I've read and I'm understanding already why it's one of the most popular ones--a greatAgain, picked up at the library book sale. Third Christie book I've read and I'm understanding already why it's one of the most popular ones--a great premise, great characters and the almost unbelievable skills of deduction from our hero, M. Poirot.
Snowbound, a murder improvised under the circumstances, all suspects lying--to protect whom? How mnay killers? When did it happen?
As usual, a pretty fast read. I guess I'm not the sort of person who pauses in mysteries to come to conclusions for myself. I prefer to be led along by the narrative. I suppose it might have taken me forever to read if it were an other way.
I enjoyed the setting, the characters and the impossibility of it all.
I am now getting a little tired of the "wrap up sessions" at the end of these books, where Poirot asks for everyone to gather round, and he presents his findings and his conclusions--in front of all the accused. And the fact that everyone is suspect, in a confined space, and mostly just through interview and deductive reasoning that the mystery is solved. Oh well.
I hear that the movie is very good, and I will try to find it on DVD....more
Finishing this book took much longer than other books I’d been reading recently, which is a testament to the density of material presented here. ThougFinishing this book took much longer than other books I’d been reading recently, which is a testament to the density of material presented here. Though Thomas Hauser is listed as the author of this book, I’d argue that it’s co-written by everyone interviewed for this massive tome.
Hauser presents his narrative Studs Terkel style, often with lengthy monologues on his subject. The story is presented chronologically, with chapter titles such as “Origins” and “The Birth of Ali”. I enjoyed getting to know characters such as Don King, Bundini Brown and Howard Bingham, scurrilous, outrageous, steadfast. The spectrum of people that Ali surrounded himself with was Technicolor. But what this book offers most of and does best for the leisurely reader is a fuller portrait of a man coming of age in his times.
We’re presented with a man who entered the public spectrum as a boxer, a gold medal Olympian, someone who has grown into a myth, an icon, an important historical figure. The narrative is thorough in filling in the details left out of this mythic story, such as the politics behind the stripping of his world championship title after his draft dodging conviction and what he did in the three year interim. Who knew that he traveled the college lecture circuit and that he surrounded himself with mooches that took advantage of him every chance they got? I had no idea how deep and true the rivalry between Joe Frazier and Ali was, nor how in financial strait’s the champ was, despite good-hearted and competent intervention.
To help tell this story, Hauser relies on extensive testimony from a strange variety of sources: Angelo Dundee (Ali’s trainer) to James Michener (who met him once), Arthur Ashe (a fellow African-American sports figure paving the way) to Ted Kennedy. There are personalities that have nothing to do with boxing, and who are not part of Ali’s inner circle (Bryant Gumble, for example) who talk at length about Ali’s influence and persona. When reading these, I often think they got put in the book because they were black.
Which highlights the point that Hauser is a white journalist even more. Though I haven’t read his previous books (which include Black Lights, about boxing), I take it into consideration because a majority of this book is focused on race, the Black Muslim movement and many of its key players are of a different race than the author. How does this play out? The chapter on Ali’s conversion into the Nation of Islam (“The Birth of Ali”) is awfully unedited, going into length about the belief system. Both Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad are quoted for pages on end. Jeremiah Shabazz gets four-plus pages, uninterrupted. If Hauser had been more familiar with the subject matter, he would have been able to edit it into a more readable primer. It was the only part I skimmed over. Why not write it with the same cursory hand that wrote Frazier’s backstory?
The strategy is echoed once more later on in the book, in exploring Ali’s current diagnosis of Parkinsonism. The medical records are very detailed and unnecessary. Again, it feels as if the author erred on the side of TMI. This bit of info the modern reader is more likely to know about anyway.
Often times Hauser over indulges in his adulation, but I suppose one can’t help it. Even though there are the Joe Fraziers in the world, who will always have quarrel with Ali (and who could blame him?), by the final pages, the reader is left to think that Muhammad Ali is one of the best loved personalities on the face of this planet.
So in all, I learned a great deal more than ever possible, had Hauser done a straightforward narrative, especially about the people involved in Ali’s life. It’s a lot to read thought and halfway through, I was ready to put the book down--but I hadn’t even reached the Rumble in the Jungle, much less the Thrilla in Manila.
I suppose if this wasn't Agatha Christie, I might not have finished it, yet, it's easier to read than most New Yorker stories and just as long, sI suppose if this wasn't Agatha Christie, I might not have finished it, yet, it's easier to read than most New Yorker stories and just as long, so it's actually not a wonder that i kept reading.
This was the only Christie novel for sale at this season's library sale. And I can see why: the plot was too contrived, the narrative was sexist and racist. And um, what about those of us who don't play Bridge? How are we supposed to figure all this out?
This is my second Poirot book, but I'm not sure actually where it stands in the series. Christie seems done with making this character interesting and now relies on reader loyalty to flesh him out personally. He speaks much more French in this than the previious book I read, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, the first of this series, when he was such an interesting and enigmatic character.
I'm thinking that I will try to read this book in order of publication. I will probably enjoy it better.
On the whole the best part of this book is the innuendo and the unspoken of backstories that I can envision as a much more intriguing longer novel. Like the two women who lived together, their relationship, the older socialite, the Major, etc.
It was most unbelieveable that the "suspects" were all conveniently corraled into one room before chapter three.
Researching Ali, picked up this book at the latest library sale. We used to carry it at the bookstore I worked at. Written by his daughter, who assumeResearching Ali, picked up this book at the latest library sale. We used to carry it at the bookstore I worked at. Written by his daughter, who assumes we know who Ali is, what boxing is (and how it differs from fighting in general) and why his life is so "inspiring".
This book is about as cardboard as the covers binding it. Illustrations, when modeled after photographs, are pale comparison, and when original are vague and half-hearted.
The most redeeming part of this book is the timeline at the end that detail Ali's life 1942-1975.
I would have loved a more personl story, including family photographs. Oh well.
This book was passed on to me from my boyfriend's mother, who read it for her bookgroup, so of course, I was reluctant to pick it up on my own. ThankThis book was passed on to me from my boyfriend's mother, who read it for her bookgroup, so of course, I was reluctant to pick it up on my own. Thank goodness for bookgroups. I read this in one sitting--that easy and interesting--in advance of my group's next meeting.
The narrative alternates between past and present, the geriatric home and the life on the road, with the circus, a good use of this method of telling. By the middle of this book, both narratives have melded together nicely, and it's ver easy to keep track of both stories and gain an appreciation for the greater story.
My favorite characters are Kinko, Rosemary, and Marlena. They are so fully rendered and so vital to the narrator's experience. I wished I'd known them.
In short, an informative, engaging story, full of drama, love and sorrow. A good summer read....more
If the middle book (How to Retire at 41, or Life Among the Routines and Pursuits and Other Problems) of this set was excluded, it likely would have goIf the middle book (How to Retire at 41, or Life Among the Routines and Pursuits and Other Problems) of this set was excluded, it likely would have gotten 4 stars.
This is my kind of book and Rust Hills is my kind of man, connesseur (sp?) of the little things ("How to Make and Eat Milk Toast") and the big things ("How to Develop 'Principles' When You Have None"). Insightful ("it's probably hard to find a sin that doesn't have a certain amount of tradition behind it, and then if there is, it wouldn't be worth perpetuating at all") and overbearing--see "How to Host a Dinner Party" with no less than 7 diagrams.
Mr. Hills would give Miss Manners a chuckle, which she would do while making as if to cough into her hankie, while he directed the dinner conversation elsewhere so she wouldn't suffer the scrutiny. Because, of course, these people are fussy and excruciatingly polite. How I'd like to be at the cocktail party those two give.
If you ever feel that "Everybody does everything wrong nowadays," this book will vindicate you and your surperiority....more
Once you finish this book, you'll want to flip right back through to piece the story together, or at least, that's what I did. Because it does seem, uOnce you finish this book, you'll want to flip right back through to piece the story together, or at least, that's what I did. Because it does seem, until the last part of the book, that the three stories, that of Jin's adolescence, of the Monkey King, and of Cousin Chin-Kee, are independent of each other.
The art is pretty straight-forward, nice heavy lines and in-the-lines coloring. No special effects to distract one from the story. The characters themselves are rendered so well, even as they change (the monkey into deity, the young boys into teenagers), their simple blank expressions convey a wealth of confusion and innnocence in a single panel.
In the end, a modern fairy tale for modern times, where wishes get fulfilled, hearts get broken and good souls are redeemed.