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Weeks in Books

February 19, 2009

Why hello there, readers.  It’s Shark Week here at the water park again, which means another hour and a half of Mahjong Towers Eternity and catching up on the so-called Week in Books.  Something must be really weird here, because I thought this place opened at three, but it’s two forty-five and the joint is jumpin’.  It’s bad enough they’ve been closed to season pass holders for the past week, practically, because of the holiday, but if they’ve changed the hours AGAIN, my inner shark is going to start chompin’.  (Note to readers in the South Jersey area: Coco Keys annual passes = kind of a rip-off if you don’t homeschool your kid; possibly still a rip-off even if you do.)

On to the books.

Our book club selection last month was Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart, which was supposed to be a fun, quick read we could do before we went to the movies to see it.  However, it didn’t quite work out that way.  The book was definitely a quick read, but fun?  No.  The warning had come from both my daughter and my bgff: It’s just not that good.  They were right.  (*I* didn’t vote for it, heh.)  The story is fairly repetitious, the characters almost entirely unlikable, and the phrasing awkward enough at times to make me believe it was likely the fault of the translator, not the author.  The story hops perspectives between everyone but the two most fascinating characters: Annoying Girl Heroine Meggy’s father, Mo, and The Bad Guy.  After reading the book, my enthusiasm for the movie dropped considerably; after others in the book club found the movie lacking as well, I didn’t bother going.  The completionist in me wants me to read the other two books in the series; my brain knows there are other things I could be reading instead.

Such as Robin: The Big Leagues.  Tim Drake is my favorite Robin, but I got to know him mostly through Teen Titans, where he’s always come off a little darker and a little older (barely, but still) than in his own title.  Still, any Tim is good Tim.

I read the 20th trade of Ultimate Spider-Man, and I have to say, not only is it easiest to keep up with Ultimate Spidey, it’s still fun.  Every time I write about Ultimate Spidey, I say the same thing: This is the stuff to start with.  You don’t have to worry about tons and tons of continuity and it’s fun and funny and shocking and romantic etc etc.  I swear, if it keeps up like this I’ll just have to say (wait for it) “‘Nuff said!”

I then finally got my hands on the Joss Whedon Runaways arc.  It was good, but it didn’t knock me out of the water.  (I have water on the brain.  It smells like bleach here, bleach and joy.  No joy for me, just the bleachy smell.)  The team is definitely missing something, but the story isn’t.  It’s just an awkward, in-between time for the members and the stories are reflecting that.  I wish they’d do it even more, though.  The end made me sad, but not weepy-sad.  I would like more Karolina and Xavin, please.  Much much more.  The dynamics there are fascinating.

*Deep breath*  I then read ten Powers trades in a row.  Yes, ten.  Yes, in a row.  Why in a row?  Because they were FULLY AWESOME.  I remember back when I read the first Powers trade, I was just confused and intrigued.  I remember reading the second (and maybe the third?  No clue; I’d have to go back to lists I can’t access right now) and getting into it more, but the library didn’t have anything else.  Which is a SIN, by the way.  This series is AMAZING.  It’s about a world with superheroes–not the Marvel or the DC world, but just a world like our own, except that superheroes are the norm.  In this world, one hero has lost his powers, and decides instead to become a cop who investigates superhero-related crimes.  You’ll have to forgive any lack of real detail here, as I didn’t read 1-10 but rather 2-11, because LORD KNOWS it makes perfect sense for one library system to only have one and two, and another library system to only have 2-11.  I could go bit by bit through the trades–1 is about the death of a major superheroine, 2 is about a bunch of kids who dress up like superheroes being murdered, etc–but this series is best read.  I’ll admit to drag in the middle, but that’s probably more to do with my preference: some origins have to be told, but don’t quite do it for me.  Wolverine, for example.  Sometimes you just want a little mystery in your hero.  But the reveal of Christian’s origins doesn’t slow down the series, and it kicks back up again with something pretty shocking, and then something else even more shocking, etc etc.  All the while, the universe is fleshed out fully, and delves more into homage than parody.  For those who like their comics a little darker and a lot less crossovery, Powers might be the title for you.  (But don’t get me started on the art.  I’ve seen worse, but SIGH.  On the other hand, he’s rarely objectifying the female lead, which is good cuz that would make me ANGRY.  She’s fantastic.)

As always, I skip over the manga, but then I realize I forgot to fill in some titles (other than JSA #, Geoff Johns et al in my list) and my daughter’s ready to go home and eat dinner, so I guess it’s time for me to wrap this up for now.

Speaking of which, I’ve got eight volumes of manga to discuss, but almost all of them are Nana, so I may do a Nana spotlight before moving on to a Manga Wrap-Up.  I did get the first 1-3 volumes of like, probably a dozen titles from the library, so I’m all sorts of ready to get reading there.

If only I were done my book club book for the month…

(Next month is Watchmen, though.  Squee!  I have a feeling that we’ll either be discussing the heck out of it, or else we’ll be just commenting on the movie.  Go book club!)

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