I've been a fan of Dale Peck's work since Law of Enclosures, and I've been waiting for him to deliver a book with the narrative playfulness and thematI've been a fan of Dale Peck's work since Law of Enclosures, and I've been waiting for him to deliver a book with the narrative playfulness and thematic punch of his older work. Maybe that happened in this book, but I couldn't really find the meat for all the bric-a-brac.
And that may be the point. After all, much of this book centers around a crumbling shop filled with antique curiosities. Maybe as the characters sift through the odd objects, the reader is meant to poke and prod through the pages as well.
I wasn't sure what kind of book I was reading most of the time - is this a post-modern take on young adult fantasy? Is this gritty urban drama with a twist of C.S. Lewis? Is this gay fiction for people who hate gay fiction? I felt like a sense of wonderment was implied throughout the book, but at the same time I never felt oohed or aahed. Mysterious overtones wafted through the book, but the big reveals always end up feeling more sobering than awe-inspiring.
That said, this book is strong on character. I truly got a feeling of who the main characters in this book were, even if I couldn't relate to any of them. I'm always a fan of richly developed personalities in fiction, and in this regard the book did not disappoint.
Overall, I feel more as if I have survived this book than thoroughly enjoyed it. Clearly the story held my attention enough for me to get to the end, and there were some stops along the way that I found sincerely clever (throughout the story, Peck rewards fans of his work with sly references to his other books). I'm not sure if I'd put myself through reading this again, not because I think it's such a horrible book - it's certainly not - but because the shelves of this curiosity shop are simply too cluttered with ambiguous intent for this shopper....more
An already dark series goes way into the bleak. I'm not sure how many of the events from the comic series will end up on television, but if this bookAn already dark series goes way into the bleak. I'm not sure how many of the events from the comic series will end up on television, but if this book is in any way faithfully translated, it's going to get pretty intensely dreary. I'll say no more, other than to say "enjoy" isn't the right word, but I was certainly captivated by this collection of Walking Dead comics....more
I bought this book at the same time as the wonderful "Bowie in Berlin", which tracks Bowie's trek through the late '70s and serves up fascinating commI bought this book at the same time as the wonderful "Bowie in Berlin", which tracks Bowie's trek through the late '70s and serves up fascinating commentary on the making of some of his most adventurous music. Maybe it's unfair to compare Stevenson's book of pop culture criticism to such an indulgent tome of Bowie fan nirvana, but this book of pop culture criticism pales. Reading like an admirably obsessive senior thesis project, Stevenson's book of essays on Bowie are at best academic and at worst idiosynchratic. The insights on Bowie gleaned by the author are questionable and at times painfully obvious, though every now and then he throws readers a ponderous bone to gnaw on. If you're a hardcore Bowie fanatic, this is one for the bookshelf - I can't stop you from buying this - but at best, this is one to save for a rainy day when you're seriously jonesing for some Bowie lit and don't really care about the quality. Hey, it happens!...more
Hooray for my local library for having all the collected volumes of Astro City in circulation! I'd heard of this series for years, but never took theHooray for my local library for having all the collected volumes of Astro City in circulation! I'd heard of this series for years, but never took the time to give it a shot. In the case of Astro City, I was better late than never. I'd recommend this book to anyone, comic geek or not. It's an original series, so readers don't have to worry about years of continuity or if you're supposed to know who so-and-so's secret identity is. With this volume, you start from square one. So out of the gate, you're in a good place with this series. Secondly, Astro City is a series about the city as much as it is about the characters who inhabit the city. Busiek takes you on a tour of each part of the city, from the shining skyscrapers of downtown Astro City, to the spooky supernatural part of town, to the sketchier parts of Astro City and beyond. The more you read the series, the more you're able to piece together a mental map of the city, which adds great dimension to the stories. As if that's not enough, the series may be about a city filled with superheroes, but Astro City is as much about telling the stories of non-costumed characters as it is about capes and masks. It tells the stories of families and romances, hard-luck sad sacks and lost souls, as much as it focuses on WHAM! BOOM! BAM! action sequences. Astro City could easily be called a Comic Opera the same way Star Wars is called a Space Opera. The commitment to the characters and setting runs deep through this series, and readers are constantly rewarded for their attention to detail. If your local library carries these volumes, do yourself a favor and reserve a big stack of Astro City and lose yourself in the big city. Better yet, splurge and buy this first volume and see if you aren't hooked by the time you hit the back cover....more
If you enjoyed the Narnia books, the Wrinkle In Time books, or even Lloyd Alexander's Prydain books, you're going to love this one. At 816 pages, it'sIf you enjoyed the Narnia books, the Wrinkle In Time books, or even Lloyd Alexander's Prydain books, you're going to love this one. At 816 pages, it's a little on the meandering side, but when you surrender yourself to its heft, you'll be rewarded with a very well thought-out imaginary world inhabited by tons of charming (and not so charming) creatures. If I had a kid just starting to sniff out more challenging literary adventures, I'd give her this book to tackle. The architecture of plot is sophisticated enough to stretch out a young mind, but the characterizations and the basic story are charming enough for readers of all ages. Good stuff....more