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The Week(s) in Books: September

December 21, 2007

Yeah, I know. They’re not so much weeks now as months. I guess that happens, and maybe over the summer I’ll go back to weeks.

September was actually a short month, I guess with school starting and me trying to stay on track for once. It began with me reading a few of the Dresden Files books: Storm Front, Fool Moon, and Grave Peril. For those who didn’t see the Dresden Files TV show, or maybe those who have–I don’t know if they’re different–the Dresden Files are about Harry Dresden, a wizard who isn’t a geek and isn’t a Big Damn Hero, but somewhere in between. It’s hard to get a read on him, which is actually part of the reason why I liked reading this series (and will continue to over the break). The books grow funnier each time, and the author grows more comfortable with each one. I think too many things are serial now, but we’ll see if Jim Butcher can keep it up through nine (?) books.

I also read xxxHolic but I can’t remember a thing about it. I’d like to say Amazon.com jogs my memory and this was fantastic, but…no. The thing is, a lot of manga need to be continually read. CLAMP is a great writing/art team, but sometimes I don’t get right into the works with them. Sometimes I need a few more books. I think that’s what was going on here.

I also read some things for school: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew, and Romeo & Juliet. But I’d rather talk more about these things in my eventual class recap.

Oh right. *eyes narrow* I also read Wide Sargasso Sea, the height of fan fiction. I didn’t enjoy it, I didn’t understand why it had to be tied to Rochester, I’m glad I didn’t have to read it for a class or anything, because that would’ve hurt to accept that it was literature rather than some book. Moving on.

Another book I did NOT enjoy was Material Girl by Julia London, but you can read more about that here. Maybe now that I’ve read Lear I could get more into it, but I have better things to do with my time. Like read Sweet Valley High recaps.

The rest of the month, I was reading graphic novels, things I could sneak in between Shakespearean plays.  I read some New X-Men, but I can’t tell which one I read, because none of the covers look familiar.  I thought it was a standalone storyline at the time, but I’m thinking now it was Volume 2.  Now it makes more sense that I had no idea what was going on.  It was enough to get me to pick up the next one, although occasionally I do that just because it’s there at the library.  Hm.

I also read Batman: Gotham County Line, which was confusing and…okay, I guess.

Oh, but King of Awesome Brian K. Vaughan came and made all the okay graphic novels seem pathetic in comparison, for I finally got around to checking out Ex Machina.   What a fantastic series, about a superhero who gives up life as a masked vigilante to work from the inside, becoming mayor of New York.  Definitely one of those titles that you can give to someone who isn’t that into comics and they’ll still very likely enjoy.  Man, loved it.

Lesse, then I read some Wonder Woman.  Hi, Rucka.  You’re like my comics-writing buddy.  He’s just such a solid writer, someone who can take an existing idea or character and run with it and make it enjoyable.  It’s difficult to get Wonder Woman sometimes because it’s not a title that gets a lot of focus.  There isn’t a lot to play with, like with Batman and his detective skills and his inability to relate to people.  At least, I’d say there’s a lot to play with in Wonder Woman with the women & Paradise Island, but if the focus was always there, I think it would alienate a lot of the male readers.  Did I mention I’m waiting waiting waiting for Gail Simone to write enough for a trade?  I’m even going to read Picoult’s stuff.  But Rucka was really good on Wonder Woman, gave her a good supporting cast, etc.

Still, he shines brightest with his own works, including Queen & Country, the first two trades of which I read toward the end of September.   It’s a little heavy and political for me, but good reading.  I love Tara Chace, like I said before.

I’ve been thinking a lot about women in comics lately.  I have a few feminist comic blogs in my Bloglines.   When I started to read the Age of Apocolypse trades (a series from the ’90s), I realized that it wasn’t feminist paranoia–at some point, there was a backslide.  Women are treated abominably in comics nowadays and if Jean Grey were alive, she’d be telekinetically controlling the vaccuum cleaner again (like she does in some bonus material at the end of this one comic I have that a high school teacher gave me because the cover was too torn to sell).  But even the fact that Jean is dead is suspect: the only member of the original team to be dead is the woman.  Can I get an “of course” spoken like an “Amen”?  Because that’s how I feel right now.

October’s next.  A little more going on there, and maybe I’ll have to do a best and worst of December, because the list is getting ridiculously long.

Off to add to it.

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