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The Week in Books II

May 18, 2007

My daughter asked me if she could read Emma Frost: Higher Learning, but I said no until I’d reread it because I couldn’t remember how adult it got.  It’s teen drama, but I’m still on the fence about letting her read it because she’s read other Teacher Crush books and I don’t want her to think every book in the shape of a manga is about having crushes on teachers (like, say, Suki or  INVU or…).  On the other hand, it’s Emma freakin’ Frost, one of the greatest characters in the Marvel Universe, and the first one is really, really well-written.  Again I say, it’s teen drama, but if you’re into that, it really works.  It had me on the two levels: Emma and teen drama.  If only the second story were as good as this one…

Robin: Wanted begins Robin’s adventures “One Year Later.”  I’m sad that they revisited the adoption storyline as if it had never happened before, and that they’re drawing Tim in an in-between age (unlike in Teen Titans, where he was obviously getting done with puberty), and, of course, everything they’ve done with Cassie.  Grr.  But otherwise…I like the Boomerang team-up–it was absolutely necessary and I’m glad they got to it right away.

I also began DC’s Countdown, which felt a lot like 52 except for the very beginning and the very end.  It’s Paul Dini, which means it will be very good.  I have all the faith in the world in Dini.

Okay, then I read some non-comics, I swear.

I got through Sheri S. Tepper’s A Plague of Angels, and it wasn’t as difficult as the beginning of this sentence makes it sound.  I am not, by nature, a speculative fiction girl.  (See?  I’m making it sound CLASSY.)  However, Tepper’s worlds are so fully realized that it can be difficult to just step into them.  You sort of have to ease yourself in.  I don’t think this was as entertaining as The Gate to Women’s Country, which I would suggest for anyone who wants to pick a Tepper to start with, but then, I found GTWC more realistic and realism in sf is what appeals to me.  Not that Plague of Angels didn’t tie everything together, but you had to get deep into the book to get there.  As with Margaret Atwood, there’s a lot here to be said about gender roles, which is something else that interests me, but it’s not overexplained or dumbed down in any way.  Tepper lets you get there, which I really appreciate.

THEN I read The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas.  You may remember her from last week, when she blew my mind with PopCo.  Well, this book was even better.  I realized as I was in a few pages in that Thomas is writing those kinds of great, magical (if not necessarily MAGICAL) stories we read as kids–like Alice in Wonderland, the Harry Potter books, etc–but for adults.  And we need books like that, because does any grown-up really want to hear about pages-long makeout sessions in Harry Potter books anymore?  I know I don’t.

Oops, I forgot one on my list, from last Friday night: The Nobodies by N.E. Bode.  It was NOT as good as the first one.  In fact, I didn’t really enjoy it half as much, but my daughter swears the third one is better than even the first one, so I’m going to read it and be done.

Lesse, then I read the first two Leave it to Chance trades: Shaman Rain and Trick or Threat & Other Stories.  Imagine Nancy Drew in a world of demons and monsters and you have Chance.  This is early James Robinson and I’ve been desperate to get back to Starman lately, so I decided to read this instead, since no library near me has the third Starman trade.  *sigh*  I mean, this is good for kids–not too violent.  But I wasn’t pulled in as I’d expected to be.

Okay, this stopped being in order, sorry, but I also read my first Picoult, as I said I would: The Tenth Circle.  As a comic book fan, this book was a treat because it has a graphic novel contained within it.  Oh sure, it’s a crappy Wolverine rip, but it’s still nice to see women interested in comics.  Picoult went to college with Jim Lee, who draws the most beautiful Catwoman or maybe I’m biased because Batman/Catwoman = ❤Darwyn Cooke also draws a lovely Catwoman.

Oops, got off-track there.  Uh…Tenth Circle, right.  Well, it’s not an easy book, because it’s about rape.  It’s not a warm, fuzzy story, because it’s about rape.  But it’s VERY well-written.  I’m definitely going to check out more by Picoult this week.  And, when it’s collected in trade, I’m going to read her Wonder Woman even though I haven’t heard anything good about it yet.  She’s the second woman to write Wonder Woman, by the way, but the third time’s the charm because Gail Simone is taking over after Picoult, and Gail Simone is a FANTASTIC writer of comics and I’m psyched for–oops, off-topic again, huh?  Well, The Tenth Circle was great, but as I said, it’s about RAPE, so yeah.  You might want to start with something else, but I have no idea what yet.  Will let you know.

Finally, just to get one more book in last night, and because I finallllly got around to watching the entirety of Bleak House–which was the greatest thing EVER-
-I needed a break from DVDs and read a rom
ance novel I inherited after the death of a family member.  It’s called Too Many Bosses by Jan Freed.  It’s from right after they changed the Superromance covers in the mid-’90s.  I’d forgotten that Superromances could be no different than the romance novels we get today, or the books that Nora Roberts and Krentz and all of those writers were publishing then.  Big novels, not just flippy little one-problem-gets-solved Harlequins.  That’d be the “Super” part of Superromance, I guess.  Anyway, this book was really good.  It’s about, of course, a guy and a girl who meet and get together at the end, but it’s also fairly sexy without being blatant (I’m lookin’ at YOU, Lori Foster) and funny and endearing.  I was probably all weepy from Bleak House, but that’s no excuse–this is just a very solid, good romance.  A keeper for sure, and I haven’t felt that way in a while.

All right, that’s it (that’s IT?) for this week.  See you next week, probably with another Picoult, another inherited Superromance, and something by Margaret Piercy.

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