For quite a few years, I loved Jeanette Winterson. I bought every book. I wrote quotes in notebooks, on my walls. Then sometime around Gut Symmetries...moreFor quite a few years, I loved Jeanette Winterson. I bought every book. I wrote quotes in notebooks, on my walls. Then sometime around Gut Symmetries (which I should have loved the most, involving quantum physics as it did), I stopped. They all started to feel like the same book, and it wasn't a book I wanted to read anymore, so I walked away.
Then I went to the bookstore to buy used copies of books I'd loved to give away at Books, Beer, & Pizza. In addition to a few Winterson books I had loved (I bought a copy of The Passion), there was this. I've always loved retellings of myths and fairy tales, so I had to take a chance on it.
The story is very Winterson, and also very Greek myth -- with a somewhat disturbing amount of rapes and eternal torture and bodily fluids. But it's a very good story. About fate and free will and what futures we're capable of envisioning for ourselves. I read the whole thing in one night, unable to put it down.
I am very curious to check out more books in the Canongate Myths series. (less)
In the last volume, Jet's continued existence, such as it was, seemed questionable. In this volume, I'm happy to see her reanimated and pushing back o...moreIn the last volume, Jet's continued existence, such as it was, seemed questionable. In this volume, I'm happy to see her reanimated and pushing back on some creepier aspects of the man who was protecting her body when she was "dead."
Somehow this book gets a little darker, and has a nice balance between giving you moments to actually cheer for some of the villains, but then quickly repulse you from them. But not, you know, Walking Dead dark. More like, Joss Whedon dark.
Now I'm actually caught up and have to wait for the next TPB. Drat. (less)
I was at the bookstore on a quest for a classic science fiction anthology I had seen once before. Thwarted (temporarily, sf anthologies turned out to...moreI was at the bookstore on a quest for a classic science fiction anthology I had seen once before. Thwarted (temporarily, sf anthologies turned out to be in a slightly stupid place), I drifted about, scanning for Melville House books, like I do. This was similar enough to the novella series design to stop me, and when I saw it was Bulgakov, I was in.
I did not realize that this was one of the stories from A Country Doctor's Notebook until after I read it. Meh. That just means I can give this copy away once I get a copy of Notebook. (But will I? This copy is so small and lovely!)
I really loved the opening -- Dr. Bromgard's relief at moving to a small city with a hospital with departments in which he is merely one cogged wheel after being a country doctor -- on call 24/7 -- the only thing between any resident of his district and death. Or so he felt. This is nicely contrasted with Dr. Polyakov's notebook, another doctor in a country post. Isolated, recently heartbroken, certainly depressed. One night he suffers severe and unexplained pain, and is given a shot of morphine. The rest of the diary is a descent into addiction and depravity. Sometimes desperate, sometimes lucid except for his insistence in those moments that everything is fine... At times directly indicting the way we treat people with mental illness and addiction, always indicting, if indirectly, and society in which people are expected to bear all their burdens on their own shoulders.
Many words for such a short book, but Bulgakov is a master. (less)
I had a lot of reasons to read this book. I love the Green brothers on youtube. This book is soon to be a movie. I wanted to have an opinion in the de...moreI had a lot of reasons to read this book. I love the Green brothers on youtube. This book is soon to be a movie. I wanted to have an opinion in the debate on whether John Green is really the most brilliant YA author of our time or if he is just benefitting from a lot of unearned privilege being a white male in a genre predominantly written by women.
Plus, it amused me to put a hold on a library book and be the 78th in line.
It will surprise no one to know that I cried and cried and cried. And while I'm generally very suspicious of Emotional Manipulation and I'm really still very angry about Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, I didn't feel like this book was manipulative for its own sake. I didn't feel like it was the profoundest book that explained Life, The Universe, and Everything, either. I feel fairly middle of the road about it, though reading 2 and 3 star reviews to see if anyone else has been able to explain my ambivalence, I mostly felt irritated at the criticisms and got more and more defensive of the book.
It's about cancer, okay? And it's about kids who have cancer. Kids who have been staring down a death sentence for years. So of course it's about what life is and what death is and mostly avoids easy answers, even as it alternatively mocks and empathizes with those who cling to aphorisms and Positive Truths. There is some meta-playfulness as the two main characters obsess over a book with a character who also has cancer, and even meet the author. There are good moments and a lot of shitty moments. There is black gallows humor. And somehow, after Green blows the entire world apart, he sets it together again.
That alone, I'd call a worthy accomplishment. (less)
I know, I'm starting to get a little antsy about how many of the books on my list are graphic novels, but I saw new Moomins on the shelf at the librar...moreI know, I'm starting to get a little antsy about how many of the books on my list are graphic novels, but I saw new Moomins on the shelf at the library and had to get them.
Solomon demanded I read this one to him and I didn't think he'd have the attention span, but he did! Brief, but delightful,, with the introduction of the Moomin ancestors, the Snork Maiden falls for pirates, who are (temporarily) tamed by Moominmamma...
The story is fun, but there is no Little My (boo!), and it lacks the introspection of the short stories and novels, of which I am so fond. So, good, but I prefer the longer forms. (less)
This isn't just Captain Marvel as a part of the Avengers, it is a full-on Avengers/Captain Marvel crossover. As I've missed a bit of Captain Marvel, I...moreThis isn't just Captain Marvel as a part of the Avengers, it is a full-on Avengers/Captain Marvel crossover. As I've missed a bit of Captain Marvel, I came to the party feeling a bit behind, but very quickly it didn't seem to matter. Because, you know, there is Spider-Woman being snarky, Thor talking about how much he likes hitting things with his hammer, and Captain Marvel harnessing a dinosaur. So, okay, I'm on board.
I mean, some of this plot seems a bit cribbed together. You've got your supervillian uses hero's own powers against her. (I guess it's still relatively fresh that it's a her.) Superhero proves its not your powers, it's how you use them. Plus, a new supervillain is born. Then there's an "I am Spartacus!" moment. But somehow, I never tire of Carol's "Screw you, I'm an Avenger!" moments. Plus, there is this really sweet bit at the end with a little girl Carol is friends with. And lots of brief but satisfying appearances from other Avengers. (I relish every moment Spider-Woman and Hulk are teamed up.)
So, you know, not as perfect as Science Bros. Still thoroughly enjoyable.(less)
Oh, my God. This book. The next book in the series after Aurororama, it is a little bit less bewildering than the first, but maybe only because now it...moreOh, my God. This book. The next book in the series after Aurororama, it is a little bit less bewildering than the first, but maybe only because now it starts to feel familiar?
Basically, Brentford & Gabriel have been out-maneuvered in their attempt to reform New Venice. They, and a team of "supporting experts" have been sent on a diplomatic mission to Paris in an extremely disreputable transport known as a psychomotive that seems likely to have been intended to kill them. But instead sends them back in time to witness and perhaps participate in the birth of the idea of the city that will be New Venice.
Oh, there is a lot of mystery and snake oil! Occult figures, "medical" devices that affect the mind with magnets and electricity. Wax museums, poetry readings, and "therapeutic" drinking of animal blood. Wise-cracking child prostitutes and a severed head kept alive by complicated machinery.
As usual, I feel like I'm missing every other reference, especially to turn of the century French poets and philosophers. Female characters have more autonomy here, but they still sometimes feel like what a man's "sexy" idea of what a strong woman should be. But some neat ideas on do you really die if a version of you is still alive in another timeline? Is it better to remember or be wiped clean? And the one-step forward, one-step back nature of revolutions.
Another book coming, I think? Still definitely on board until the end. (less)
As Jefferson is studying Chinese, I keep an eye out for books with Chinese characters, stories, and traditions that are appropriate for his age level...moreAs Jefferson is studying Chinese, I keep an eye out for books with Chinese characters, stories, and traditions that are appropriate for his age level and go beyond Orientalist stereotypes. Given my love of graphic novels, I bought this as soon as I knew about it. I read it mostly just to determine at what age I should shift it from my bookshelves to his, but I found it very enjoyable myself. I think it will be quite a few years before I shift it, however, not because anything in the book is inappropriate, but I think he will relate to it better in middle school or so.
There are three main storylines, woven together in such a way that the relationships between them aren't obvious until a reveal near the end. Two of the stories are "realistic," and the third, a legend of The Monkey King, is fantastic. Ultimately, it is all about identity, and being who you are.
Lovely, I think, even if you aren't interested in Chinese culture in particular.(less)
Then we got into this whole recursive bit where we see the same story again from a different point of view.
Then th...moreOkay, I started out liking this one.
Then we got into this whole recursive bit where we see the same story again from a different point of view.
Then there's this bit with a clown assassin why says he comes from hell. And I reread stretches of that a few times, and I'm still not sure just what all that was about.
Then there's this bit from Pizza Dog's point of view that should be really cute except kind of major things happen in this bit, and really, WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED, and I have now crossed the line into irritated.
Still love the characters, but I'm very glad I requested this at the library and didn't buy my own copy.(less)
This was a lovely book that took me forever to read for two primary reasons: 1) It took me a little bit to let go of my Moomin expectations and apprec...moreThis was a lovely book that took me forever to read for two primary reasons: 1) It took me a little bit to let go of my Moomin expectations and appreciate the realism in this book. 2) This was a used copy that had been heavily underlined.
Now, when this book arrived underlined from paperbackswap, I could have returned it -- it would have been fully justified as underlining in paperbackswap is fully forbidden. But then I would have had to wait for another copy to turn up in the system, which I didn't want to do. I should have returned it. Am currently contemplating buying a new copy, even though I've finished it and am unlikely to reread. But seriously, why are the people who underline and write in books so overwhelmingly insipid? Of course, not all of them, I've seen some of the books my sister has written in (because she was going to review them or otherwise write about them in an article or book), and it was almost enough to make me want to take up the practice for some books. But the notes and underlines in this are so shallow that they're irritating. I mean, they're not as insipid as the notes in the copy of Sons and Lovers I am also currently reading, that sometimes make me want to throw the book across the room. But they were still pretty distracting.
All that aside, I loved this book for most of the reasons I love the Moomin books. This is an author who gets childhood, in a way that is almost enough for a person so advanced in age as me to remember. Also, I love the relationships the characters have. These are not characters who try to manipulate each other into learning life lessons. These are characters who meet each other where they are, and give each other space to process, lick their wounds, change their minds with as much grace as they can muster.
Recommended to Moomin fans and those who live in relationship with children. (less)
Maybe I needed something a bit less serious? Of course, this is also about evil and suffering, but more fantastically metaphorical.
This second volume...moreMaybe I needed something a bit less serious? Of course, this is also about evil and suffering, but more fantastically metaphorical.
This second volume reveals what we should have been suspecting: whatever supernatural spookiness that is going on is someone wanting revenge for that massive witch hunt 300 years ago. Of course, it's a little bit more complicated that that.It turns out there are two main players at work: one who wants to destroy the town of Manson, and one who wants to use Manson to destroy the entire world.
And now Rachel is on the case. I need to order the next installation!(less)
I continue to love this series. A lot happens in this collection. We meet Marko's parents and his ex. We learn how Marko and Alana met in the first pl...moreI continue to love this series. A lot happens in this collection. We meet Marko's parents and his ex. We learn how Marko and Alana met in the first place, and meet the author of the book that Alana is obsessed with and which sort of brought Marko and Alana together in the first place.
This volume also contains the infamous gay porn scene involving Prince Robot IV.
I love this volume for its insistence that books can change the world, its boundary-pushing art, and complex characters. As always, impatient for the story to continue. (less)