A very enjoyable graphic novel, and one of my favorites that I've read. It tells the story of Didier Lefevre, a photographer who accompanies a DoctorsA very enjoyable graphic novel, and one of my favorites that I've read. It tells the story of Didier Lefevre, a photographer who accompanies a Doctors Without Borders team into 1980s Afghanistan to set up a hospital during the Soviet-Afghan War. It's filled with interesting cultural observations and anecdotes and beautiful mountain shots. I was not overly impressed by the photography, to be honest, but I know very little about photography.
It suffers a little from being about the least interesting member of the party. That feels like a mean way to phrase it - sorry, Didier!. The photographer himself is a perfectly interesting, but he's surrounded by a fascinating team of doctors who have spent large swaths of their lives in an out of Afghanistan. It's hard not to want a bit more of that, especially about the woman who led the team despite a being in a heavily patriarchal area of the world. Didier can also be a bit frustrating at times, particularly due to one choice made near the story's end.
Still, a really interesting read that illuminates Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan War and the admirable work done by Doctors without Borders....more
Pratchett continues to be a total delight for me. We are getting to the point that I wound fight someone who said something bad about him.
Mort is thePratchett continues to be a total delight for me. We are getting to the point that I wound fight someone who said something bad about him.
Mort is the first starring role for Death, who got cameos in The Color of Magic, The Light Fantastic, and Equal Rites. He's a lovely character: distant but sensitive, (mostly) immovable, a big fan of cats. He's been on the job for quite a while at this point and he's starting to suffer from some understandable ennui. As a potential solution he picks up young Mortimer (please, call him Mort) at a job fair and suddenly we're off on an adventure with Death's gangling teenage apprentice. Mort messes things up over a pretty girl almost immediately and the rest of the plot loosely centers around him trying to pick up the pieces. The plot can be a little jolting and disjointed at times, but overall it's a really well-crafted and funny read. I've also read enough Pratchett by now that I'm delighted to spot some cameos (hey, Rincewind!) and am enjoying the process of watching how his characters veer off from stock stereotypes in slightly different ways.
I also really enjoyed Pratchett's conception of Death (thanks to Wastrel for prompting me to think about it a bit more). On one hand there's a sense of rigid inevitability surrounding it, and the insistence that fairness has nothing at all to do with it. But it's never painted as something frightening or ghoulish. There's the sense that it's something best met with a smile and a shrug, and a sense that personal autonomy is retained (or even cemented). It's firm but hopeful and I really enjoyed it a lot. Excited to see him pop up more in future books....more
This is two stars according to the official Goodreads "it was okay" standard. I always feel like it's a bit of a knock to give something two stars - iThis is two stars according to the official Goodreads "it was okay" standard. I always feel like it's a bit of a knock to give something two stars - it feels so harsh! But in this case I think it's warranted. It's not a bad graphic novel by any means. It essentially reads like a lower-tier episode of Firefly. It's fun to revisit the characters (who on the whole are very well drawn, Wash the possible exception) and you can read the whole thing in about half an hour. But it really just doesn't add much to the universe. There's a lack of the energy and imagination that characterized the best Firefly episodes, and everyone pretty much does what you think. Book makes cryptic references to his backstory! Inara wants Mal to be more respectful of her schedule and profession! Jayne wants to kill more people and get more money! It's all perfectly fine, but never manages to really be special. ...more
What-If Superman story that imagines the man of steel crashing into a Ukrainian commune instead of a small Kansas farm, then going full alt-history frWhat-If Superman story that imagines the man of steel crashing into a Ukrainian commune instead of a small Kansas farm, then going full alt-history from there.
There were all sorts of reasons I shouldn't have liked this: the dialogue isn't great, the plotting and pacing is all over the map, the female character are all terribly crafted. But... I still kind of enjoyed it? There's an energy and verve to this comic that wound up kind of winning me over despite its flaws. It's helped along by some very fun, propaganda-inspired art and Batman in a ushanka.
It introduced a lot of interesting issues but then failed to really explore them in much depth, though it's very possible that I missed some of the nuance along the way since I only have a superficial understanding of the Superman mythos. I do wish that the comic either decided to really explore Superman as a character (in a nice nature/nurture case study, as a friend pointed out) or decided to really delve into the politics. It dances around both, but never fully commit enough to make it really special. There several moments that are probably fun for DC fans - Lois Lane is married to Lex Luthor?!? - but they're lazily done. I mean, why is Lois married to him? He's a total dick to her, and she seems entirely indifferent to him? Jimmy Olsen is there; he doesn't really do anything. Wonder Woman is great for a couple of panels and then the writers are mean to her, then forget about her for no particular reason.
Still, despite all of this, I can't say I didn't enjoy it. How can you not like this:
This is a beautiful book: an immigrant leaves his family and embarks to a new land, where he knows no one and doesn't speak the language. Tan paints t
This is a beautiful book: an immigrant leaves his family and embarks to a new land, where he knows no one and doesn't speak the language. Tan paints this as a beautiful, strange, and fearful experience, filled with jarring moments and acts of kindness. The book is wordless, to mirror the protagonist's experience, so I'm going to follow suit. The beauty of of this book is in the images, so I'll let them speak for themselves: