Saturday, March 28, 2009

Library Book: Powers Volume 5

I just finished reading Powers: Anarchy and I have to say that it isn't the best volume in the series. It gets the job done, but cannot compare to Who Killed Retro Girl, Roleplay, or Supergroup.
Anarchy takes place about a year after Supergroup. Walker has been off the Police Force the entire time, due to events at the end of Supergroup. So it is up to Deena and her new partner to investigate the violent public execution of Omega Man, along with a string of related murders. All of these murders have the same slogan spraypainted on buildings around the fallen heroes: Kaotic Chic; this is the same slogan that was found by the body of Retro Girl.
After apprehending the lead suspect, they have to get Walker back; the lead suspect is refusing to talk to anyone but him. And amongst the already crazy events that have take place so far, there is only more insanity waiting within Anarchy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Library Book: Powers Volume 4

I was rather disappointed with the last volume of Powers, so I was a bit hesitant to start reading Powers: Supergroup so soon afterwards. But now that I have read it, I am so glad that I did! The back of the book says it is considered the best of the whole Powers storyline, and while I'm not sure if I agree with that, it was definitely good!
Supergroup opens with the split between the federally sponsored supergroup FG-3. The member who split with the group, Wazz, gives a public interview on the subject. And while Boogie Girl watches the interview, their third partner dies. He dies in a most gruesome fashion, and Boogie Girl is the only one around.
Deena and Walker are called in to investigate. But they are met with hostility from FG-3's managers. And then Boogie Girl flees, leaving behind several badly injured people.
So Deena and Walker (once they recover) are left trying to put the pieces of the story together, and trying to find Boogie Girl. But they're thwarted at every turn. The Feds have arrived, and are sweeping everything under the rug. Luckily they find an eyewitness who the Feds hadn't talked to, who gave them information that eventually led to the runaway Boogie Girl.
What happened was incredibly moving and in many ways crazy. It was a fantastic story, and once again, I can't wait to read more! (In fact, if I buy any of the issues, it will definitely be this one!)

School Book: I Never Liked You

Take a deep breath - this is the last school book of the year! And as I do not know what will be happening next year yet, whether I will be taking English or Psychology, Chester Brown's I Never Liked You could conceivably be the last school book for a while! (I have no intention of writing on here about Psych texts).
So even with this exalted status, I Never Liked You managed to fall flat on its face. It's a comic about a boy named Chester (aka the author) growing up. And it really wasn't very good.
I Never Liked You is about Chester and the people in his life, especially girls. He's popular for some reason, but there's never really any explanation as to why. He's got girls crawling all over him, from Carrie, who always loved him, to Sky, the girl he claims to love. But he seems to lack the ability to really and truly care about them (even though he says he does).
So, while reading this, I quickly discovered that I had no sympathy for the main character at all. Truth be told, I couldn't stand him. He did whatever he wanted with no real regard for the people who cared about him. I'm glad it was a comic, as that meant I could read it quickly. And now I'll never have to read it again.

Library Book: Powers Volume 3

It took a little while, but the library listened to my suggestion; Powers: Little Deaths (volume 3) was added to the collection! (Along with volume 6, so the library now has the first 8 volumes of Powers!)
I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed with Little Deaths. It definitely wasn't as good as the first two. Little Deaths starts out with the death of another superhero, Olympia. The story then becomes magazine-like for awhile, before continuing with the story. It made sense for this to happen, but I didn't really like it.
So the Olympia story gets wrapped up, then Little Deaths gets into another one, where a graphic novel writer is tailing Walker. It was going along alright, but then the end just sort of happened; I know what it implies happened, but it just wasn't very good. After that, we're given yet another story that ends with the transcription of a court case.
All in all, I did not enjoy Little Deaths as much as I enjoyed the previous two volumes. Volume 3 just never felt like it had any closure. Deena didn't seem to play as much of a role in the stories, and we didn't really learn anything new about Walker. I'm hoping that the next few volumes will be better!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Library Book: First Footsteps in East Africa

I decided to read Sir Richard Burton's book First Footsteps in East Africa after reading Laurence's The Prophet's Camel Bell. I am going to write an essay comparing the two books, as both Laurence and Burton's books involve Somaliland.
Burton is an extremely interesting character, so I was rather excited to read something that was actually written by him. I enthusiastically sat down to read First Footsteps...and was immediately disappointed by the introduction. But as that wasn't actually written by Burton, I clung to the hope that the actual stuff by Burton would be better.
In many respects I was mistaken. There are long chunks of the book that list off people's names, or the genealogies of different tribes. These were very hard to get through. But then there are other chunks that are super interesting, detailing his actual adventure. So parts of the book were very good, others not so much, at least according to my taste.
All in all though, I am glad that I read First Footsteps. By no means the best book I've ever read, it was nonetheless interesting. And I think it will work wonderfully in my essay!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

List Update

I thought that now would be a great time to do another List Update. It is now crunch time with school, so I haven't really had time to read things that I want to. So there are currently 112 books on the list, with two more on their way, and I am definitely thinking about picking up another. This means that I am looking at 114-115 books within the next week or two. These last three have a bit of a story behind them, so I figured I would share.

I have had an ebay account for quite awhile now. I signed up sometime last year, but then didn't have time to sign up for Paypal. Without Paypal, I didn't bother ordering anything off ebay, so I was reasonably safe. And then last Wednesday, I was over at a friend's house, and decided randomly to sign up for Paypal. You see, I was randomly surfing ebay, and found a book that I wanted. I wandered over to Paypal's website, and discovered that I can sign up and immediately start shopping on ebay. And so I did. Sarah Zettel's Under Camelot's Banner is on its way! (Of course, while searching around a bit, I found out that there is a fourth book to this series, Camelot's Blood, so that might be added to the list as well in the near future...)

The other two books that I mentioned are sort of connected in that it is's fault that I have bought/am planning to buy them. I was wasting time last night, and found that had recommendations for me (I must have signed up with them sometime in the past, but I do not remember why). So I looked to see what they were trying to sell me, and discovered that I could manipulate their recommendations, based off of rating what I own and what I've read. So I spent a lot of time last night doing so.

While I was wandering through the many recommendations, I noticed one author come up a few times: Patricia Briggs. It was a weird coincidence, as I had just found someone's blog and they had talked about books by Patricia Briggs. So of course, now I'm curious, and I'm planning on checking the book out over the next few days (there's a copy in Chapters right now, so if I have a chance over the next few days I'll stop and see what it's all about).

Finally, there was another recommendation for a David Farland book that I had never heard of before. It sounded interesting, so I did a quick search on ebay, and found a rather cheap copy. Worlds of the Golden Queen is on its way!

There was a fourth book that I was interested in buying, Warrior by Marie Brennan. But it turns out that I own it already; it was originally published under a different title, Doppelganger (I originally thought it was the third book in the series, but it looks like there will only be the two).

So that is the news right now. Luckily school is almost over, so I should be able to tackle some of these books soon!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Interlude: Batman: A Death in the Family

It's been a month or so since I've read any Batman graphic novels. So I was rather excited when a friend lent me Batman: A Death in the Family, which tells the story of the second Robin's death. I knew the second Robin had died, but I did not know how, other than that the Joker was responsible. I pictured the Joker shooting Jason, rather like he shot Barbara Gordon (but this shot would have been lethal). Other than that, I wasn't really sure what to expect; I don't really know anything about Jason Todd.
A Death in the Family opens with Jason disobeying an order from Batman and nearly getting killed. Batman decides to take Jason off of active duty; apparently Jason has not gotten over the death of his parents. While wandering around Gotham City, Jason encounters a friend of his parents who saved some stuff for him. He brings the box of stuff back home and discovers on his birth certificate that the woman he thought was his mother, Catherine Todd, was actually his step-mother. His real mother's name is blurred, but it begins with an "S" rather than a "C." Luckily his father's address book was also present, so he decides to track down the three women in there with a first name starting with "S."
Meanwhile, Batman has to decide whether to track down Jason, or stop the Joker's latest scheme (selling a cruise missile to Arab terrorists because he is broke). He regretfully chooses the latter, but luckily finds Jason along the way. Jason's quest had brought him to the Arab nations because that was where the three women were all working. So the duo track the Joker down, then continue to look for Jason's mother.
Lucky for Jason, the third time's the charm; the third woman turns out to be his real mother. They are briefly reunited, but then the Joker turns up, having some business with Jason's mother. Jason tracks the Joker down, then goes to warn Batman. Batman has to stop innocent people from dying of the Joker's laughing gas, so he warns Jason to wait for him. Jason doesn't. He goes in after the Joker to save his mother, but gets beaten practically to death. Then the Joker decides to dispose of the evidence, so he blows the place up, with both Jason and his mother in it!
It wasn't what I was expecting at all. Definitely not the best Batman story I've ever read, but it was pretty good to read. I know I gave away a good chunk of the plot in my summary, but I left a couple cool twists and turns out that are definitely worth checking out. Definitely a must-read for any and all Batman fans!

School Book: Death of a Transvestite

When I originally bought Ed Wood's Death of a Transvestite, I was assurred I would enjoy it. Everyone who had read it said it was a fun read. So I expected it to be good.
What I wasn't prepared for, but in hind sight should have been, was for this book to read like Ed Wood's movie Glen or Glenda but with a LOT more sex. It definitely didn't help that the main character was a transvestite named Glen as a man, and Glenda when he was in drag.
The book opens with Glen in jail, about to be executed via electric chair. He makes a deal with the warden to tell his story if the warden will let him die in the clothes he loves. As there is just enough time, the warden agrees. What follows is Glen's/Glenda's story of his/her life after leaving the crime Syndicate he/she worked for as a hired killer, and right before he/she got caught.
I was expecting some wild and crazy antics of a killer in drag. What I wasn't prepared for was the sex. Everytime you turned around, Glen/Glenda was either having sex with someone, or someone was reminiscing about the fantastic sex they had with Glen/Glenda. It felt like being in Ed Wood Fantasy Land, and it got a bit rediculous after awhile.
Death of a Transvestite wasn't a terrible read, all things considered. But you're probably better off without it. It was a bit hard to get into, and nothing really seemed to happen throughtout it. Ed Wood fans might enjoy it, but for the majority of people, I'd say pass this one by.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

School Book: The Prophet's Camel Bell

I have to admit, I was extremely biassed towards this book. I have read two of Margaret Laurence's books, one in high school, and one in a Children's Literature class, and I do not like her writing style. And so I began reading The Prophet's Camel Bell expecting to hate it. I couldn't have been more wrong!
Laurence's The Prophet's Camel Bell tells of the author's experience in Africa. Her husband at the time took a job in Somaliland to build water resevoirs in the desert to help the people get through the dry season. Laurence accompanied him, and together they met many interesting people and saw the life that the Somali people dealt with. A deeply religious people, they lead their harsh lives as best they can, trusting in God's will. Laurence and her husband gain the friendship of their work crew, overcoming language and cultural barriers as best as they can. Laurence becomes interested in Somali poetry, and works to translate it while her husband constructs the resevoirs.
I think my one complaint is that the book tends to throw people at you without properly telling you who they are. Pretty much everyone is explained at the end, but when many of the Somalis are first brought up, you are left guessing as to who they are.
But all in all, The Prophet's Camel Bell was an extremely interesting read, and I am incredibly glad that I have read it!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

School Book: Beautiful Losers

I knew I was in trouble with this book when I read the first line on the back cover: "One of the best known experimental novels of the 1960's." I know I'm biased; I like more traditional novels. You know, non-experimental types. But I had to read this for Canadian Prose, so I had to give it a shot.
Well, I did give it a shot. And Leonard Cohen's Beautiful Losers was what I thought it would be. Experimental. It is a book about this bizarre love triangle between the unnamed narrator, his wife, and his best friend. The only other character in the book of note is a Native American saint named Catherine Tekakwitha who was alive about 300 years before the other characters in the book.
The first part of the book follows the unnamed narrator. Part way through his narration, I came to the conclusion that he was insane. There were a few chapters that made no sense, but I persevered through them in case they were important to the plot. They weren't.
The second part of the book is a letter from F., the narrator's friend. The letter explains a bunch of stuff that is going on, while raising many other questions. The final part of the book is the epilogue, which is written in the third person.
Beautiful Losers is a smutty book. There is a lot of sex within its pages between all the three main characters in all sorts of combinations. But beyond the sex, there wasn't a whole lot else except for the story of Catherine Tekakwitha. (Which, in my opinion, were about the only parts of the book that were interesting and made sense). The story of Catherine Tekakwitha, as told within Beautiful Losers, seems to be fairly accurate.
By the end of the book, I had lost sympathy with the three characters within the love triangle. I was also left wondering what exactly had happened. This was a very confusing book, and I'm glad I will not have to read it ever again.