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February Backwib

May 26, 2013

Yes, I am working on the recap.  Like, actually working.  But then I was doing some Goodreads organizing and thought, “Oh yeah.”

Oops.

Now that the school year is winding up for my daughter, I’m going to be posting a lot more.  Aw yeah.

Here we go!

My daughter found herself in a manga-only mood at the beginning of February, so I ended up reading the copy of Ely & Naomi’s No-Kiss List that I got her.  (I still don’t know if she has, although she’s back to novels, yay.)  Like Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist or Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, this is another Rachel Cohn/David Levithan match-up.  In this one, Ely and Naomi are besties from childhood who deal with the gay/straight issue by keeping a list of people with whom they can have no lip contact, including exes and mutual crushes.  When Ely breaks the spirit of the list by kissing Naomi’s current boyfriend, Naomi has to deal with not only that, but the fact that her lifelong fantasy of being more than friends with Ely is never going to happen.  This book is told from multiple perspectives–at time to its detriment–but primarily is a great novel about the lines between friendship, relationships, attractions, and sexuality.  Highly recommended.

The people who brought you Death Note drop the ball with Bakuman Volume 1: Dreams and Reality.  You might say, But Alana, it’s realistic fiction!  Sorry.  I have higher expectations for my realistic fiction, especially manga.  There are some things that are over the top but work–Hagu in Honey and Clover comes to mind–but the whole “I’m doing it for this girl!” and “So many coincidences!” are not my style. I decided not to go on with this series.

Justice League Dark, Volume 1: In the Dark had a serious female character problem.  They all spoke the same way and, if I remember correctly, all go from zero to harpy at the drop of a hat.  No thank you, Peter Milligan.

Azzerello’s New 52 Wonder Woman really does not mesh with the one that Johns writes in the Justice League book, which really helped to convince me that once again DC has no freakin’ clue what it’s doing.  Idiots.  I did read his first volume, Blood, and I didn’t really dislike it, but it didn’t pull me in.  It was a little Rucka-era, but with about half the heart.

It was a disappointing start for graphic novels in February all around, for the most part.  I didn’t love Avengers 1959.  Didn’t care for the story, didn’t care for the art, which is weird, because I’ve liked Chaykin in the past.  Avengers: The Origin was unimpressive as well.  Marvel has been really dropping the ball with all of their back-to-the-beginning stuff, don’t you think?  I also read the second Uglies graphic novel, Cutters, and I didn’t love that either–but that’s the same problems I had with the first: the art does not work.  The story’s good enough.  As for REAL manga (cough), Skip Beat and Special A were re-reads that I was trying to figure out if I wanted to keep when my daughter did a huge clean-up of her manga, but while they’re both entertaining, they weren’t enough to keep my attention, or rather, enough to warrant keeping them.

Fortunately, the second half of the month was better than the first, and I read the first volumes of Brian Michael Bendis’s Scarlet, which I really liked, and Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga, which I loved.  Scarlet‘s a revenge book, and Saga is a space opera with a lot of humor and heart, and come on, you know I’m not going to say anything against these two, because when was the last time I said anything less than “aw yeah” with either author?

I reread Invincible, Volume 1: Family Matters and still love the heck out of it, and I did a re-read of the entirety of Irredeemable and Incorruptible when the last trades finally came in.  Despite some tiny missteps, and some awkward crossing over, the books are excellent pretty much all the way through and one of my go-to recommendations for people who want their superheroes dark and gritty and don’t want to jump into the DC or Marvel worlds.

As for novels, I reread PopCo, the Scarlett Thomas “code-breakin’ and toy-makin'” book that lead to my trying out veganism all those years ago.  I still think it’s very good, but I moved through it so much faster this time, and it didn’t have half the impact.  I still think my bgff should read this one, but I’ve been telling her to for years…

I also read Gayle Forman’s new book, Just One Day, the first in a two-book, his-and-hers set about a girl who breaks out of her rigid mold while on a European vacation.  The teen librarian where I used to work said it’s been done better, but I really loved it and am excited for the “his” part of the set when it comes out…next year?  FINE.  WHATEVER.  Just give me the book eventually.

I reread Fight Club and I forget why.  I remembered most of it because of the movie, and I still enjoyed it, and it’s my favorite of the Palahnuiks, but that’s really all I can say.  The movie became iconic quickly (although I wonder at its staying power), and, though it’s not word for word, it’s close enough that the book is really just like watching it again.  I think.  We’ll see.  I’ll watch it again eventually.  Maybe when my daughter is twenty-five, I’ll watch it with her.

We read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress for the sci-fi book club, and that wasn’t bad at all.  I always like Heinlein more than I want to, if you know what I mean (and if you know some of his fans, you know EXACTLY what I mean).  Women don’t do much, and the computer really is the most charismatic character, but the story is interesting–a little slow for some of the book club members–and some of the concepts are fascinating, like the whole political how-do-you-manipulate-the-people stuff and the line families (although–no thanks, even for my hippie self).  I’m glad I read it.

Finally, I read the fourth book in the Big Time series by Jennifer Estep, Nightingale.  I really enjoyed it, as I’ve enjoyed all the Big Time books.  Crossing over romance and superheroes is a great idea, and Estep should be super-famous, slight pun intended, for this and not the urban fantasy stuff.  Everyone’s doing urban fantasy.  Estep is taking superheroes and making them cheesy enough for the Batman TV show crowd and interesting enough for the fans today.  Maybe I should get on finding a way to get her out there in the superhero community?  Or would they just say booooo, romance?

But yeah, I could still live without the alliteration.

So that’s February.  Next up: probably the recap.  Or March, if I’m still working on that.  These I can knock out in less than an hour–wow, I didn’t realize it had been that long.

No wonder I never write anything.  The only reason I have an hour to myself today is because my husband’s working.  Usually, my day is completely booked.

One day, my kid will go to college and my husband will deploy.  On those days, I will write like a fiend…

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