Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Library Book: Rapunzel's Revenge

When I was at work the other day, I came across Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale. It sounded absolutely ridiculous so I had to give it a try. And having just finished it, I'm really glad that I did!

Rapunzel's Revenge tells the story of Rapunzel. She grew up in a villa like a princess, but bored to tears. On her 12th birthday, she climbed the wall that surrounded the villa and discovered many shocking truths. Mother Gothel was ruling the land by controlling the growth of plants. Mother Gothel had kidnapped Rapunzel from her parents. And Rapunzel's real mother was still alive but a slave. Highly objecting to this, Rapunzel was taken into a forest and locked up in the trunk of a very tall tree. Four years later, Rapunzel has managed to escape with the help of her incredibly long hair. So now she's out to free her mother and stop Mother Gothel once and for all!

Yes, it was an incredibly ridiculous tale (I mean, the heroine defeated everything by whipping it with her stupidly long hair!) But it was also highly entertaining, and definitely worth reading. Especially if you like fairy tales with a twist!

Library Book: Justice Vol. 3

And so ends the Justice storyline in Justice Vol. 3. The Justice League has gathered their forces and are ready to strike; their goal is to save not only their loved ones, but the entire world.
Armed with suits of armor of varying types (alien, organic and mythic) to protect themselves from Brainiac's mind-controlling nanotechs, the heroes have but one chance to stop Brainaic from destroying the world. If they succeed, then no one will die. But if they fail...
Although a bit tough to follow in a few places, overall I enjoyed the whole Justice story. It was a very intriguing idea and I'm glad I read it. Again, I have to mention the artwork; it was fantastic throughout all three volumes. I still think the story was missing more of the Joker though. And even the Riddler, who seemed important in Volume 1, disappeared somewhere after escaping Arkham.
But all in all, Justice is worth reading. Or at the very least, it is worth getting a hold of just to marvel at the artwork!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Library Book: Justice Vol. 2

Out of the insanity that is Jim Krueger's Justice Vol. 1 comes Justice Vol. 2. The heroes of the Justice League were attacked simultaneously so no one was able to help each other. Yet they managed to survive, mainly with the help of some members who are kept as back up. So as the League struggles to reconvene at a safe location, the villains step up their plans. They have created several cities where they have invited humanity to reside in an age of peace. Simultaneously, they have rounded up the loved ones of all the heroes they failed to kill....
Justice Vol. 2 continues the intriguing story of what happens when the world's supervillains team up as a force of good. The pencils of Doug Braithwaite and the paints of Alex Ross continue to amaze me as I read. I can't wait to see how it all ends in Volume 3!

Library Book: Justice Vol. 1

A friend from work recommended Justice to me. He said that the story was fantastic. What he failed to mention was the artwork. Alex Ross and Doug Braithwaite do a stupendous job on the entire series; the pictures throughout the graphic novels are of cover quality.
That said, I'm not so sure I agree with the story being super fantastic at this point. Sure, I've only read part 1 of 3 so far, but it seemed a bit hard to follow in places. It was also difficult in some places when I was unfamilliar with various characters (although there was a handy section at the end of this volume that gave info on a lot of the villians I didn't recognize).
Justice starts out with a terrible nightmare that is being shared by all of the villians. In the nightmare, the Earth dies; all of the superheroes fail to save the planet. And so, the villians of the world unite, creating their own version of the Justice League. They go about doing good deeds for the normal humans of the world, helping the crippled walk, bringing plants to the desert, and random other acts of kindness. Meanwhile, they infiltrated the Justice League's computers to find the secret identities of all of the superheroes...
Justice Volume 1 is a fast paced story where you are never sure just who is really on the 'good' side. It is an intriguing concept, and I can't wait to read more!

Freedom to Read Week

February 22-28 2009 is Freedom to Read Week in Canada. Even in Canada, books get censored, and this week is devoted to the belief that people should be free to read whatever they want to. Please check out their website!

While checking out their website, I found a really interesting list on select books and magazines which have been challenged over the last fifty years. It gives information on who challenged the book, why it was challenged, and whether or not anything was done. Some of the entries on the list are quite interesting. (TBPL made the list over the Madonna Sex book).

Sunday, February 22, 2009

School Book: Bridget Jones's Diary

If this hadn't been a school book, I would never have finished it. In fact, if this hadn't been a school book, I would never have read it in the first place. But it was.
Helen Fielding's Briget Jones's Diary reads kind of like a soap opera. Once you start reading it, it gets a bit hard to stop; you want to know what happens next. But once you do stop reading it, then it gets sort of hard to pick it up again.
Bridget herself is not the most wonderful character in the world. She is absolutely obsessed with her weight, weighing in at the beginning of most entries. Her weight seems to fluctuate magically; she gains weight after a night of little to eat and drink, and magically loses pounds after a night of gluttony. She has zero self esteem, judging her worth based on the presence or absence of a boyfriend, or by the availability of people to talk to.
Bridget Jones's Diary follows a year in the life of Bridget. The books starts out when Bridget is forcefully introduced to Mark Darcy by her family and parents' friends. The meeting goes terribly, and Bridget is thankful when she can finally leave the gathering. Meanwhile, back at home, Bridget has a humongous crush on her boss, Daniel Cleaver. They start flirting and Bridget gets relatively confused about their relationship. Meanwhile, her mother has left her father and is seeing a man named Julio, denying that anything is going on because she is 'just firends' with him.
In my opinion, Bridget Jones's Diary was a terrible book. It looks down on women, like they have an 'expirary date' that is somewhere right around the age of 30. Throughout its pages, it seemed to think that women older than about 20 are worthless if they are unattached to a man. But at the same time, a lot of the married people in the book have a hard time as well. They're supposed to be happy, but end up miserable when their other halves leave them/have affairs/etc. As I said, a terrible book with terrible characters and terrible ideals.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


A lot of people whom I talked to said that Alan Moore's Watchmen would take awhile to read. So I put off reading it for quite awhile; I didn't want Watchmen getting in the way of school books. But now that it is Study Week, and the movie is coming out in a few weeks, I figured that now was a good time to read. I was a bit surprised when I finished it a few minutes ago, having only started the book yesterday afternoon.
Right off the bat, Watchmen is very intriguing. A man is murdered in his New York apartment, attracting the attention of the police and a masked vigilante named Rorschach. It turns out that the murdered man was another vigilante known as the Comedian. And so Rorschach sets out to try to find out who killed him, and decides to warn the other heroes of New York that there might be a "mask killer" out to get them.
The characters were all great. The most intriguing of the lot was Jon, or "Mr. Manhattan." Of everyone, Jon is the only "superbeing" that exists in the Watchmen world; all the other vigilantes are normal humans who dress up and fight crime. Jon has immense power that is difficult to comprehend, being able to see atoms and even time passing.
The art deserves a mention here as well. Dave Gibbons uses a gritty style that really suited the whole graphic novel. I don't think it would have had the same impact without him.
All in all, Watchmen was definitely worth reading. I was drawn in from the first, and really didn't want to put it down. Everything was well written, including the filler little articles and stories between chapters. Everything seemed to come together in the end. I did find the ending a bit anti-climatic though. It was still good, but it wasn't what I was expecting. But that doesn't stop Watchmen from being a good story that everyone should read at least once!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I am not a huge Marvel reader. I know a bit about the main Marvel heroes, and that's about it. But when my friend bought me Eternals, which was written by Neil Gaiman, I was excited and couldn't wait to give it a try.
Right off the bat, I found it a little bit weird. Not the Eternals themselves. But the fact that Stark (Iron Man) was on the scene struck me as rather odd. From the outset, Eternals felt like it should be its own self-contained universe, and not part of the Marvel universe. (Apparently this sentiment was echoed by Gaiman himself. In the interview at the end of the story, Gaiman said he felt the same way when he first read Jack Kirby's original Eternals series).
But if you ignore the fact that the Eternals feel shoe-horned into a universe that they do not belong, you are left with a fun and very neat idea. The Eternals were created by the Celestials to protect and fix the machine that is the Earth. They are 100 perfect, immortal beings, each with different powers. They have been here since the beginning of time, and remain with us today. But about 30 years back, something happened and the Eternals lost their memories. Only one, Ikaris, has some idea of who they are, but to the world he sounds only like a raving lunatic. And so it is up to him to attempt to find the others and help them remember who they are before the Eternals' counterparts, the Deviants, succeed in reawakening the Celestial who has been imprisoned beneath the Earth.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Graveyard Book

I started Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book yesterday. I had just finished my last midterm, and I was waiting for a friend. So I started reading. I was immediately drawn into the story, as only books by Neil Gaiman can do.
The Graveyard Book starts out on an incredibly sad note. The man Jack has murdered a man, woman, and their child. He has only to murder their baby and his job is done. But when he ascends to the baby's room, the crib is empty; the baby has escaped and wandered off into the night to the graveyard. While there, some of the ghosts take pity on the baby when his newly dead mother screams for someone to save the child. And so a dead couple by the name of Owens take in the baby, naming him Nobody.
The Graveyard Book follows Bod Owens' life growing up in the graveyard. Given the Freedom of the Graveyard, Bod is free to explore. But he must be careful to stay within the graveyard, for the man Jack still hunts him.
The Graveyard Book was a joy to read. Some of the chapters are stand alone short stories (Chapter 4: The Witch's Headstone" was first published separately), making for fun adventures along the plot. And the entire story was well put together, with everything coming nicely together at the end. A wonderful book from a wonderful storyteller!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Library Book: 52

I found Greg Cox's 52 at work one day. It sounded rather interesting, so I brought it home. Now that I have finished it, I have to say that I am extremely surprised that I managed to actually get through it. 52 was just a really slow read. I kept reading, but at the same time I kept asking myself "why am I reading this again?" I felt that I never really cared about what was happening.

52 is a book written about a comic book series of the same name. I discovered this only after I started reading it. But anyway, it takes place after some crisis that I don't know anything about, and just assumes that the reader knows what is going on. There are 52 chapters in the book, one for every week of the year following the crisis. 52 follows a few new superheros: Booster Gold, ex-football player from the future turned 21st Century superhero, his robot sidekick, Skeets, The Question, a guy with no face, Batwoman, Black Adam, the evil Captain Marvel, and Renee Montoya, an ex-cop who doesn't have any special powers to speak of other than getting drunk and having one night stands. In the aftermath of this crisis, the big three superheros, Superman, Batman and Wonderwoman, are missing in action. So we have these other people we're following in lieu of our favourite heroes. Can you tell I'm a bit bitter? I was thinking Batman might make a bit more of an appearance in this book. But instead I spent a good chunk of the story following Black Adam and being confused that Captain Marvel is a DC superhero.

Anyway, Booster Gold's career goes quickly down the tubes as things go extremely wrong for him; Skeets seems to have inaccurate records of the 21st Century. To make matters worst, Booster gets upstaged by a new hero, Supernova. Black Adam finds love again after 3 thousand years alone. His new love, Isis, brings out the gentler side of him, getting Black Adam to help the people of his country rather than killing and planning war against the Western Superheroes. Batwoman barely makes any appearances. And the Question and Renee are looking into some weird crime syndicate, breaking into warehouses, and just generally globetrotting. The crime syndicate, Intergang, had thugs who could mutate into were-beasts of every variety. I take it that this was just because it was cool; this is never really explained in the book.

So things carry on like this for a couple hundred pages. A whole lot of nothing seems to happen through most of the book. And then suddenly, these scientists unveil the Four Horsemen of Apokolips, these weird robot/cyborg/I don't know what monstrosities, to go after Black Adam and his family. They were really cool, providing one of the most exciting scenes in the novel to that point. Here's a picture I found of them from the DC Wiki. They are Yurrd the Unknown (the werewolf in the picture, personifying Famine), Roggra of the Seven Atrocities (the man-tank, War), Zorrm the Desolate (the thing in the front right. Pestilence), and Azraeuz the Silent King (the awesome thing in the back, Death).
A lot more action happens in the latter part of the book, but even here it seems ponderous. 52 always seemed hard to keep reading. It was only pure stubbornness that kept me reading it. I'm not sure how the comic series would be, but whether it is better or worse, having read this novel does not make me want to find out.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Library Book: Superman: Emperor Joker

Normally I prefer Batman stories, but while I was at work this last Saturday, Superman: Emperor Joker caught my eye. It looked fun, and it screamed a Batman/Superman crossover, so I decided to give it a shot. And I wasn't disappointed.
Superman: Emperor Joker opens in a strange alternate reality. Superman is a criminal, accused of murdering Lex Luthor. Villians like Bizaarro are considered the heroes. And for some reason, it keeps raining pies . . .
Yes, the Joker has managed to get God-like powers. He has remade the world into his dream, whatever that dream happens to be at the moment. Everything is opposite, and only the Man of Steel seems to realize that everything is wrong. And every night there is the unearthly scream . . .
Yes, Superman: Emperor Joker was a great story. It was a bit of a crossover, but I enjoyed every minute of reading it. From Bizarro's opposite talk to the Joker's cruel insanity, this was a good story for everyone who likes the DC Universe.

Club Zero-G

I picked this graphic novel up for $1 from Chapters the other day. The back of the book sounded intriguing; it spoke of dreams being portals to other worlds, worlds with all of your friends, but you were the only one who could remember. So after Reaper Man, I decided to give this a shot. It wasn't very long, and I figured it would be an entertaining $1.
Well, it was....something. Club Zero-G started out delivering what it promised on its cover. But then things took a radical step to the weird. There was some sort of military from the future that wanted to squash individuality (I guess in the way of Equilibrium) but it is very undefined. They were fighting some future kids, who then created Club Zero-G for some reason involving this kid from the past, Zeke. There's only really one dream world portal, and that is to Club Zero-G. Otherwise, there's a confusing point near the end with multiple realities, but that's it.
The whole graphic novel was very hard to follow. The story wasn't really that great, and I wasn't a fan of the artwork. But for $1, I can't really complain. If you can't find it for a dollar, but really want to check it out, then I recommend borrowing it from the library.

Reaper Man

I have to admit that I was rather hesitant to read another Discworld novel. I have read both The Colour of Magic (twice!)and The Light Fantastic and I really didn't care for either of them. But a friend of mine assurred me that these two were the worst of the lot. Recently, another friend of mine really wanted me to give Discworld another try, so I settled on reading Reaper Man (which a third friend of mine swears by).
Reaper Man is a book about Death's retirement. The keepers of the cosmos (I'm not entirely sure what they were, so I just gave them this name) decided that Death had gained a personality, so it was time for him to be replaced. He was informed of his upcoming death, and so he decided to take the Time he suddenly found himself with and live a little.
At the same time, a wizard by the name of Windle Poons has been waiting to die. And being a wizard, he is informed of his appointment with Death, and awaits the time when Death comes in person to bring him to the afterlife. But at the appointed time, Death does not show (as he's in retirement). Windle dies, but after waiting around for a bit, he decides to return back to his body, and thus becomes a member of the undead.
The book goes back and forth between Death and Windle at this point. Death is helping out on a farm, awaiting the harvest. And Windle is trying to properly die.
I started Reaper Man yesterday. And I really didn't want to put it down! I found the character of Death to be hilarious, especially as he was trying to understand the humans he was now hanging out with. I think my favourite part was when he was trying to get a job with Miss Flitworth; that really made me laugh. And so my recommendations are the following: do NOT start reading the Discworld series by reading The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic. These two definitely turned me off from the series. A friend of mine recommends that you start around Wyrd Sisters or later. And secondly, give Reaper Man a shot. It was a light read, rather rediculous, but highly entertaining. This was a nice break from school books!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

List Update

I thought that now was a good time to write another List update. Lately I haven't read a whole lot off of the List, focussing mainly on school books. But I have been buying more books lately. Over the last few weeks, I have been to Chapters three times. As a result, the List now has 105 books on it!

Luckily, I now have about a week where I am free to read whatever I want. So I am definitely going to tackle a List book or two (as well as a library book most likely). Also, my Chapters gift certificate from Christmas has been used up, so hopefully that will help to keep me out of the bookstore as well. I'm not entirely sure what I am planning on reading next, but I do have a lot to choose from!

Oh, I wanted to mention with this update the addition of Interludes. Interludes are books that other people lend me to read. This would include things like Twilight, which my cousin lent to me. I wanted a way to distinguish non-List books that were not from the library or a school book, and I felt that the term Interlude was fitting. So far, there has only been one entry marked as an Interlude (Heart of Hush), but I'm sure there will be more to follow!

School Book: The Edible Woman

Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman is the last school book I have to read before Study Week (which is two weeks away!) The Edible Woman is the first book by Atwood that I have ever read (and only the second story, the first being Bluebeard's Egg which I read for Contemporary Children's Literature last term).

The Edible Woman started out as a typical story. The main character, Marion, goes about her life; she works for a survey company and lives with a roommate. She goes out for dinner with her boyfriend and an old friend from college. And that's when it happened: she had a couple of panic attacks and ran away.

Yes, the main character literally runs away. Her boyfriend and friends have to chase after her. It was so random! I really couldn't believe it! But it happened! To top off the randomness, her boyfriend eventually catches her, and although he is rather annoyed with her, he proposes to her!

The book takes another weird turn at this point. Part 1 was written in the first person perspective. Part 2 is all written in the third person perspective. I didn't really understand it at the time, but once you get to the end of the story, it all makes sense. Anyway, part 2 is where it starts to happen: Marion slowly loses the ability to eat. It starts with meat; her stomach and mouth rebel whenever she tries to eat meat. She starts thinking about whatever she is eating in terms of what it once was. But steadily, she stops being able to eat eggs, vegetables, and then everything!

I was really impressed by Atwood's work. The Edible Woman has incredible descriptions throughout its pages. The characters were distinct and believable. I enjoyed every word of it! This book is definitely a great introduction to Atwood's work!