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The Week in Books: Sept 1-7

September 12, 2013

Hi!  Look how caught up I am!

(Well, except for VD, but we’re not discussing that right now.)

I wish I could tell you that I am SUPER-PSYCHED to write about these books, but I’m not.  Nothing against them, but it was kind of a quick week, with fast reads so that I would be free to read MaddAddam.

First off, I reread the first trade of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  How nice to go back to a time where I didn’t roll my eyes at the thought of reading more of Alan Moore’s porn-as-art.  How awesome that I’m a bit more well-read and get more of the references.  How sad that I don’t love love love it like I did in the old days, when reading comics was still a thing I was getting back into and I was easily impressed.  Is it an impressive work?  Yes.  But I could tell I was less involved this time.

Also, reading the Quartermain story at the end almost killed me.  I’m sure Moore did a spot-on job writing like Haggard and the like, but ugh, so much text after so little text.  And serialized.  And I didn’t care.

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Brian Michael Bendis does crossovers the right way in Spider-Men, where Peter Parker crosses over into the Ultimate Universe to meet his counterpart.  No, not Peter Parker–Miles Morales.  (I’m thinking of doing a Spotlight post on Miles soon.)  It’s heartbreaking to see both sides deal with the event, especially Peter with Gwen and Mary-Jane.  The villain’s a little weak, but that’s not what you’re reading for, so it doesn’t matter.  Probably not worth it for those who haven’t read Ultimate Spidey, but if you’re reading this, you realllly should’ve read Ultimate Spidey by now, why else would you still be reading the words of someone who has recommended the title so many times?

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I broke up the comic book bonanza by finishing up Madeleine L’Engle’s first memoir, A Circle of Quiet.  It’s a bastardized version of her journals.  It’s like a stream-of-consciousness lecture.  If you’re a Christian, this book, with its wisdom, will hit you hard.  If you’re a writer, perhaps ditto.  If you’re neither of those things, it’s still interesting to read glimpses into the life of this woman who was, as far as I can tell, fairly awesome, but terrible at chronology.  (I’m just teasing, but boy, do those Vicky/Polly books not work, chronologically speaking.)  As someone who’s moved further away from religion since my last reading, sometimes I just wanted to jump into the book and argue with her.  And she often circles back to the same themes.  And I’m annoyed at the bait-and-switch in one of the stories she tells.  But this book is insanely quotable, and anywhere from very to mostly enjoyable, depending on who’s reading it.

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It has been a long time since I read The Books of Magic, a comic series that follows a pre-Harry Potter around in a magical world.  So instead of going back to that, I decided to read The Books of Faerie, which is a collection of back story.  I figured it was either going to go one way or another: either it’s back story to stuff I have completely forgotten, or else it stands on its own.  Actually, a little from Column A… The first story, and the best one, could stand on its own, I think.  It’s Titania’s back story, and it’s very well done.  The other was too set in that world for me to catch up, although it had moments where I was like “Okay, I have no idea what’s going on, but otherwise things are good.”  Neil Gaiman had a lot to do with The Books of Magic, but this one was written by Bronwyn Carlton (seems like a good name-fit).  Not recommended as an intro to the series.

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Batgirl: The Darkest Reflection is one of two New 52 books I’ve read recently, and it’s by Gail Simone, who works hard to make us like this Barbara as much as her old Barbara, but it’s not going to work for me.  The villains are interesting, Barbara is interesting, but I’ve lost the ability to connect emotionally with the character, as DC decided to hand-wave her crippling back injury and now Batgirl is back on the streets.  The best parts are, of course, how the people around her are dealing with it, because the Bat Family is always interesting, but because I don’t know where these characters are in their own lives…well, whatever, man.  I’ll discuss more when I talk next week about the other title I read, and why I’m out of DC until a regime change.

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Ta-da!  The Week in Books.  So much shorter than doing a month in books.  Next up: more on The New 52, MaddAddam, and not much else because a week goes by fast!

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