Shockingly, I announced a TBR near the beginning of the month and haven’t read anything from it. I should possibly always find/replace “books to-be-read” with “book-I’m-not-going-to-read-yet.”
||Ghostbuster’s Daughter: Life with My Dad, Harold Ramis by Violet Ramis Stiel
At the beginning of the month, I jumped into reading some heavy stuff about axe-murderers and hysterical news papers for NaNoWriMo. I intended to read The Beautiful Cigar Girl for NonFicNov, but it was too much of the same thing.
Instead, I checked my elibrary “wishlist” and chose something different: Ghostbuster’s Daughter. Not only is Harold Ramis my favorite Ghostbuster, but he wrote and directed several of my favorite movies. I was looking forward to some nice movie trivia bits. This books has some of that, but it’s mostly about Violet Ramis Stiel. And her life is… somewhat interesting? It’s definitely a look at a person who has been a very privileged and only sometimes aware of that.
||Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell (author), Faith Erin Hicks (illustrator)
I put this on hold at the library on October 7th and just got it this week. I had really hoped to read it before Halloween, but que sera, sera.
Pumpkinheads was pretty much exactly what I expected: autumn-in-Nebraska setting, fluffy romance, and some honest-to-goodness funny bits. I also really appreciated that Deja’s secondary mission for her last night working at the pumpkin patch (a Disneyland version of a pumpkin patch) is to sample all the snacks. And the art was lovely!
After a readathon, a mini review post is usually appropriate.
||The Science of Illusions by Jacques Ninio (trans. Franklin Philip
I bought this book last year at The Open Book when visiting my sister in Santa Clarita. I was intrigued because Science! Illusions! What could be more up my alley? Alas, this book is very broad and not very deep. The categories on the back list it as “psychology, history of science, philosophy” and, so, it’s lighter on the hard science than I had hoped. Granted, this book was published in 1998. Our understanding of neuro-biology has increased immensely.
Challenges: #20BooksOfSumer, Nonfiction Reading Challenge
||Q’s Legacy by Helene Hanff
A reread that I started back in June. The thing that has always made Helene Hanff inspiring to me is, not her faith, but her unflagging stick-to-itiveness to keep doing something related to writing and reading until something worked out. Her path to fame was circuitous, unexpected, and a little lucky. I sometimes need to remember: life goes that way.
||Jane by Aline Brosh McKenna & Ramón Pérez (Illustrator)
I read this more because I’m a fan of Ramón Pérez’s art (I’ve been a fan since his stint as an illustrator at Paladium Games) than a fan of Jane Eyre. That’s probably a good thing. While this is an adaptation, it takes some modern liberties with the story. It’s a good story, but it doesn’t quite have Brontë spirit. But the art is gorgeous!
20 15 10 Books of Summer efforts crashed pretty hard. I was going to make a last valiant effort during Bout of Books, but alas:
I ended up in digital libraries like some sort of ebook junky. So, here’s a wrap-up, not of
20 15 10 Books of Summer, but of what I ended up reading instead.*
||Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown
As a kid growing up in the Midwest in the 80s, I don’t think there was any escaping the reach of pro wrestling. Even before he was the brute squad, one of the most recognizable “faces” in the wrestling industry was that of Andre the Giant. This is a no-nonsense graphic biography of Andre Roussimoff, warts and all. It’s also a nice snapshot of the world of professional wrestling as a business and an entertainment.
||Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Rainbow Rowell is my ultimate slump-buster. Don’t know what to read? In a mood? Rainbow Rowell. But, I didn’t like Landline as much as I have her other books. I loved the voice of it, but the characters and plot didn’t do it for me. In the end, it didn’t feel like the story went very far.
||The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee
So, I stumbled upon a book recommendation engine. “What should I read next?” That sort of thing. I plugged in The Last Unicorn (not what I just finished, but my favorite book of all time) and The Silver Metal Lover was the top of the list. And it was available through the Open Library, so…I thought I’d give it a go.
A YA dystopia, it is not my kind of book. Jane, our young protagonist, feels everything so acutely. She breaks away from her rich, controlling mother through the love of a good…robot. Despite the kind of ridiculous title, there’s not a lot of sex. Which is just fine. Instead there’s a ton of drama and peril. Maybe more sex would have been better.
* I did go 6/10 for my 10-ish Books of Summer, which isn’t a passing grade, but is actually better than I thought before I counted.
My recent impulse checkouts from the library included two graphic novels:
The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist: Volume 1 by Michael Chabon, Glen David Gold, Bill Sienkiewicz (Artist), Howard Chaykin (Artist), Gene Colan (Artist), Steve Lieber (Artist), Eric Wight (Artist), Kevin McCarthy (Author)
The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist presents the fictional history of the Escapist, the creation of Kavelier and Clay, the main characters of Michael Chabon’s novel. Yes, this is sort of meta. Chabon provides an introduction as a fan, treating The Escapist as one of those venerable comics that dates back to the 1940s. The stories in this volume represent a survey of issues from throughout that history. As such, there are some very representative of themes and art and writing styles that pull from the broader history of comics in general.
My favorites “issues” in this collection deal with Luna Moth, Kavalier and Clay’s female superhero. The art in all three of Luna’s stories is distinctive and beautiful. Jim Starlin’s “Reckonings” is a lovely story about Luna making a deal with death on behalf of someone else. Also included is “The Lady or the Tiger” penned by Glen David Gold, the author of Carter Beats the Devil—the spiritual brother of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.
Barnum!: In Secret Service to the USA by Howard Chaykin, David Tischman, Niko Henrichon (Illustrator)
I was intrigued by this title. An alt-world history where Barnum, travelling with his circus, is an agent for the government? Sounded interesting. Niko Henrichon’s art is fabulously detailed and full of movement. Unfortunately, I didn’t get beyond chapter two. The main villain is Nikola Telsa and his paramour, Ada Lovelace. That’s just a level of alt-history that I’m not going to jump to. Plus, there was sort of an anti-science vibe that I didn’t care for. You can’t win them all.
This book was provided to me by IDW Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
October Faction Volume 1 by by Steve Niles and Damien Worm
The October Faction details the adventures of retired monster-hunter Frederick Allan and his family… which include a thrill-killer, a witch, and a warlock. Because sometimes crazy is the glue that binds a family together. (via Goodreads)
I had given up on requesting comics/graphic novels through NetGalley because ePub is a craptastic platform for viewing graphics of any kind. But in the case of October Faction, it was the art that drew me like a moth to the Adobe Digital Editions flame.
The story isn’t too shabby either. Frederick Allan was a monster hunter in his younger days, but now he finds himself surrounded by those very monsters, and they’re his family and friends. In the first five issues in Volume 1, I didn’t get too much of a feel for the kids and his wife and their backstories, but those are stories for other times.
The art, of course, is what I enjoyed most. The brightest colors in the pallet are blood red and sepia. The backgrounds are a grungy combination of collage and watercolor, the characters sharp and angular. It provides a great October atmosphere. Why was I reading it in July?!
Publishing info, my copy: My Adobe Digital Edition edition doesn’t have a title page. Grr. Arg.
Acquired: NetGalley! Individual issues of October Faction are available where comics are sold. Volume 1 will be available August 11th.