Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Book Report: Feb 2011

I'm trying to encourage myself to read more this year.  I love books.  I've got a ton of them.  I need to read more of them.  Thankfully, since the booth came along, I do much less buying for myself, even when it comes to books.

I'm always telling Keith that I'm so glad I know how to read.  It's brought me great pleasure over the years.  I just wish I had more time to do it.

Here's what I read in February and what I thought about it.  I'm hoping that tracking them this way will encourage me to both read and blog more.  We'll see.  By the way, I totally stole this idea from ottermom.

Berlin: City of Smoke by Jason Lutes:  An old favorite.  I picked up this volume a couple of years ago when it first came out, but only got around to reading it just now.  Lutes' evolving story of the last days of the Weimar Republic in Germany remains as engrossing as ever.  His storytelling style is one of the most cinematic in modern comics.  After you read a page for content, you almost have to go back and reread it to study his technique.  Amazing.  I've got my doubts whether this one will finish or not--there are supposed to be nine volumes, but it's taken a decade or more to get the first two out--but I'll be there to enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts.

Age of Bronze: Betrayal by Eric Shanower:  Another volume from a favorite series that had been sitting on my shelves for too long.  Shanower's art is packed with exquisite detail and his re-telling of the TrojanWar saga is compelling reading.  There are seven volumes projected in the series.  After a decade of publishing, three are out, so I'm hopeful this one might finish.  The individual comics seem to come out a couple of times a year.

The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez:  "Intellectual" thriller and murder mystery that lays everything out in plain sight, but twists the reader's perceptions of events so that the finale comes as a complete surprise.  I loved this one.

Spider-Girl:  Avenging Allies by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz:  I thought the art was weak--too many distorted faces and distended torsos for my taste, but greatly enjoyed the story.  I had long since passed out of super-hero comics when this one came along, so I really didn't know the character, only the trials and tribulations of the book's publishing history.  But, this was fun!  Real fun!  Like reading comics used to be.  I'll be keeping an eye out for other volumes of this one that I can snag cheap.

The Authority Vol 1:  Relentless by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch:  The Authority has been around a while now, but this was my first exposure to them.  I like Ellis' work, but this book shows up one of his primary weaknesses--his inability to edit himself.  I know from being on his mailing list a while back that he's constantly coming up with one or two sentence ideas for story elements, then filing them away for future use.  This book reads like he just dumped hi idea drawer out and threw in whatever he could find, but didn't quite develop anything beyond his first thoughts.  Not to mention the repetition of certain plot elements between the stories in the book.  Did we really need to see the team fight off two back to back invasions of Los Angeles?

Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist by MC Beaton:  Most disappointing book I read in February.  I love Beaton's Hamish McBeth mysteries, so I had high hopes for this.  Agatha Raisin is spoiled and obnoxious and leves me cold.  Worse yet, the murder was pretty much incidental to the whole book.  I was kind of getting drawn into Agatha's issues with her ex-fiance by the end of the book, but I'm on the fence about whether or not I'll read anything else in this series.

The Book of Lost Souls by J Micheal Stracynski and Colleen Doran:  This one reads like a rejected submission for a SyFy original series.  Doran's moody art is nice, but the stories are flat and predictable.

Yotsuba&! vols 1 and 2 by Kiyohiko Azuma:  Quirky little book that was a big hit with the manga readers a while ago.  I can see why.  The book is genuinely funny, with a main character that is in turn annoying and endearing.  Imagine a Bart Simpson or Crayon Shin Chan, but as an innocent.  I thought the second volume was better than the first because the comedic timing was sharper.  I'll be looking for more of this one.

Le Portrait de Petite Cossette vols 1 and 2 by Asuka Katsura and Cossette House Aniplex:  Two volume manga series about a man who becomes obsessed with an antique portrait of a young girl and is eventually led to his demise by her spirit.  Creepy and disturbing.

It really astounds me that the majority of my reading for February was graphic novels.  I've been laying off of comics for so long now, that it's almost like I was never a comics fan at all.  I just kind of drifted away from them.  What's even more surprising to me was how much I enjoyed reading them.  It's like comics were fun again like they used to be before I got involved in comics fandom.  I'm starting to think that it was fandom I was burning out on, not comics.  We'll see how this trend holds up for next month, although I sure thought I read more books without pictures last month.

No comments: