Sunday, November 30, 2008

Batman Secrets

Batman: Secrets was one of the graphic novels I bought while I was in Toronto. I bought it on a whim because it sounded really interesting. It also featured some really cool looking artwork of the Joker, which helped me decide to buy it.
Secrets is, obviously, about the secrets that everyone has, those secrets that you think could destroy you, but in reality might not be as big as you think they are. It starts when the Joker is released from Gotham and meets with Batman. The Joker kills the DA who let him go, and while Batman is wrestling the gun from his hands, their fight is photographed by a couple. One of the pictures looks like Batman was threatening the Joker with a gun. The photo gets released to the media, casting a lot of doubt on Batman. The Joker then decides this is fantastic, and goes out of his way to make Batman look like he is no longer the good guy.
As I said, some of the artwork is fantastic. I wasn't fond of how Batman looked in a lot of the pictures, but the Joker looked fantastic. Overall, this was a quick read, a rather interesting story that is worth picking up.

School Book: Eye of the Crow

Eye of the Crow by Shane Peacock is the last school book I had to read this term. This book is the first case that Sherlock Holmes solved as a boy.
Eye of the Crow starts out with a murder to which there are no witnesses. A young lady was murdered in an alley. Bloody tracks lead back to an Arab man who works at a butcher shop. As far as the police are concerned, case closed.
But the young Sherlock Holmes isn't convinced that it is as simple as that. But his involvement makes him the Arab's accomplice in the eyes of the police. So soon young Sherlock is on the street, avoiding the police while trying to solve the murder before the Arab swings. And he makes a startling discovery: there were witnesses! The crows saw the entire murder!
Eye of the Crow is not the typical book that I would normally read. When I first started reading it, it was rather slow paced from the get go, taking quite a long time before it picked up enough to keep me interested. And even though it picked up a bit, it still seemed rather slow throughout.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The List Update

Wow, I haven't done an update on The List since September! But I thought, having come home from Toronto with a number of new books, an update would be a good idea.

While in Toronto, I ended up coming home with a grand total of 9 new books, 5 of which are graphic novels. One of them is Knightfall part 1 (because it is awesome!) so I am only adding 8 books to The List. I'm really excited to read a couple of them, like the Mabinogion (which is a collection of Welsh folklore) and Watchmen (the graphic novel).

When I got home, I rewrote The List, removing the scratched off entries and adding in the new stuff. This was also an opportunity to reorganize it, so anthologies are together, followed by older books (such as the Mabinogion), graphic novels, and then everything else. Graphic novels are sort of a new edition to The List; prior to this version, there's only been the odd one every second List or so. This version of The List has 6!

So, along with a few other books that I have picked up over the last few months, The List is back up to 101 books. That means that since reading The Gypsy Morph, I've added 12 books onto The List. It hasn't helped that I've been reading mainly school books and library books - The Gypsy Morph was actually the last book that I read off of The List! I better get cracking!

Monday, November 17, 2008

School Book: Spud in Winter

Sorry, this image is from Amazon; you cannot look inside the book by clicking on it.

So another school book, once again from Contemporary Children's Lit. I read Spud in Winter by Brian Doyle over the last few days. I tried reading it a week or two back, but didn't get very far. So I started it again while I was away, reading the bulk of it while I was flying home, and finishing it earlier this afternoon.

Reading Spud in Winter reminded me of another book that I read earlier in the year before starting this blog, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon. There wasn't a lot of dialogue. The story was told from the main character's perspective with waaaay too much detail. And as I found out from reading Richard Wright's The Weekend Man, I hate too much detail from someone's perspective with very little dialogue.

Luckily, Spud in Winter is a better story than those two books. But it wasn't terribly good. The book follows Spud Sweetgrass as he tries to protect those he loves. After having witnessed a murder and knowing who the culprit is, Spud has to decide whether to tell the cops, identifying himself as a witness (and possibly putting Connie Pan, his friend and love interest, into danger as well because she also knows the culprit), or to keep quiet and hope the whole thing blows over. Yes, it managed to tie everything up nicely in the end; but getting to the end was a bit brutal. The plot itself was rather boring. A lot of things that were described (like the Laneway Man) weren't terribly interesting to begin with, so when they were tied up at the end, I really didn't care. However, the characters were kind of interesting. Some of the things they said and did were kind of funny. And a lot of their names were great (who doesn't like B. Faroni?)

As far as books go, this one isn't really the greatest. There's humour in it from the characters, but not enough happening in the plot to keep you interested.


This book is a little bit weird, in the whole scheme of this blog. It wasn't on the List, but neither was it a library nor school book. I borrowed Twilight from my cousin so I could read it before the movie came out. I finished it a few nights ago, but was away and didn't have time to post.
How do you approach a book like Twilight? Everyone I have talked to absolutely loves it. A friend of mine said she read it, and immediately went out and bought the sequels that were available at the time. The hype about the movie is phenomenal, with so many people extremely excited for it.
So what did I think? Honestly, it was just ok. Not fantastic. Not phenomenal. Definitely not the best book I've ever read (not even close). Just ok.
For those who don't know, Twilight is a vampire romance. Now don't get me wrong, vampire romances are alright. But this one wasn't spectacular. It focuses on Bella, a normal human girl who has no survival instincts whatsoever, and Edward, the vampire she loves.
I think part of my problem is that I am exposed to vampires a little too much. I am an avid fan of Vampire: the Masquerade, White Wolf's famous role playing game. And having read Twilight, I would bet money that Stephanie Meyer was heavily influenced by it. For example, one of the vampires, Jasper, can influence people's emotions, much like the Vampire power presence.
I also found that the book was terribly boring through the first 2/3rds. It was only the last little bit that was fun. All the rest is a lead up to Edward and Bella getting together, which you know is going to happen eventually. I give Edward points for trying to resist his attraction, but again, someone needs to teach Bella some sort of instincts.
So again, Twilight is alright. It isn't the greatest book you'll ever read. But if you like vampires, and you like romances, then there's a good chance you'll enjoy this book. Especially the romance lovers. But if you're not a big vampire and romance lover, then this is not the book for you.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

School Book: The BFG

Roald Dahl's The BFG is a very odd book. That's really the best way to describe it. I have never read a Roald Dahl book before, but I can only imagine what the others are like.
The BFG tells the story of the Big Friendly Giant (duh!). He is the runt giant, quite a bit smaller than the 9 other nasty giants. One night he sees that the little girl, Sophie, has seen him, so he wisks her off to Giant Land. They become good friends and together plot to stop the 9 nasty giants from eatting human "beans."
The BFG is a cute book. It has some very good messages within it. But it's a bit tough to get through, mostly because of the way the BFG speaks. He gets words all mixed up, and also has some strange ways of describing things. I think children will really like the book because of this. But for adults, once you get passed that, it's a great book.