what I read in September

what I read in September

This was a pretty great month with lots of really good books, some that I had been meaning to read for awhile and others that I stumbled upon (the dangers of helping with the new materials delivery is that I see all the shiny new graphic novels that I’ve never heard of before but sound awesome. Also the same danger of working with people who read a wide variety of books themselves and then you want to read what they say is good).

Citizen: An American LyricCitizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve never really read a book of freeform poetry before. Luckily, Rankine eased me into it by starting with more of a prose style and then slowly moving into more of a poetry rhythm. A short little book with lots of powerful moments. These feelings and images will stick with me for awhile.

Batman: Earth One, Vol. 1Batman: Earth One, Vol. 1 by Geoff Johns

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn’t expecting much from yet another Batman comic but WOW! I loved the reimagining of Gotham and the Wayne family, and, of course, Alfred. This was not at all what I was expecting and really hard to put down – which I didn’t! Read it all in one sitting.

Wonder Woman: Earth One, Vol. 1Wonder Woman: Earth One, Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

I didn’t feel this one was quite as good as Batman. I don’t know why it is so hard to write a good Wonder Woman story. Maybe it is because that she, like Thor, is just born awesome. She doesn’t have the whole “death of her family” like Superman and Batman, nothing to really overcome so her origin story isn’t quite as engaging. They tried to give her some mother issues but she came off more as a spoiled brat than a struggling hero.

Also, the art was just so typical…all the girls have their mouths hanging half open and they were supposed to be shocked when Diana came home wearing makeup but…um, she didn’t look that much different from when she left.

I love that in a world that is devoid of men and no influence from men, everyone likes to imagine women would still wear skimpy clothing and bustiers. Be real – it would be a land of sweatpants and t-shirts, maybe jean shorts when it is cold.

Dark Night: A True Batman StoryDark Night: A True Batman Story by Paul Dini

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this book and the idea of using your superhero figures to help you cope with life. Dini really took a chance, bearing his soul like this, but he did it right and this is a great book, a great story, inspiring and affirming but not in a cliche kind of way? He’s not perfect but that is what made it such a great read – I could identify with his insecurities even if I wasn’t exactly like him.

Nobody Likes a GoblinNobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cute story, great illustrations, perfect for the older picture book reader who likes a silly fantasy tale. Pair this with The Princess and the Pony for a quirky family read-together.

Lumberjanes, Vol. 4: Out of TimeLumberjanes, Vol. 4: Out of Time by Noelle Stevenson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series just keeps getting better! What could have just been a goofy, one-note story about a group of goofy girl scouts has turned into an epic, layered tale of hardcore lady-types. Keep it coming Team Lumberjanes!

Jackaby (Jackaby, #1)Jackaby by William Ritter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really enjoyed this book! I would suggest it for fans that lik “Monstrumologist” or “The X Files” – anything with a supernatural twist. I love that all the monsters are not “bad” and that it pulls from a variety of myths and stories to create the creature world.

I definitely plan on picking up the second book soon!

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super FamousMs. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This might be my favorite Ms. Marvel arc yet! It is a lesson that all of us need to be reminded of from time to time – teens and adults. Just loved it.

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What I Read In July

Been awhile since I did one of these! Sorry for abandoning this poor blog! I’m going to try to get back into the habit of posting here. Lots of good books, movies and television I’ve been enjoying.

GrootGroot by Jeff Loveness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Who would have thought that a comic book with Groot as the main character would have so many feels?? Great story, fantastic art, and some touching moments. ❤

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The Art and Making of Hannibal: The Television SeriesThe Art and Making of Hannibal: The Television Series by Jesse McLean
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love and adore this show SO MUCH. If you are a fan of the ‘Hannibal’ series and always wanted a closer look at the “death tableau” left behind by the season one and two killers, you will probably enjoy this book a little more than I did. I had to use my hand to cover up the images while I read the text as I am a total wuss and easily grossed out.

That being said, the book is a nice addition to your collection if you are a Fannibal BUT if you are a Fannibal, you have probably watched all the special features on your blu-rays and you know pretty much everything that is written in the book. I didn’t find many surprises in here and since it only covers the first two seasons, I found myself wondering what the actors and writers would say about where Season 3 went and thoughts on a (hopefully) fourth season arc.

It’s a nice coffee table book, though you wouldn’t want to leave it out for anyone uninitiated to flip through, because of the graphic images and spoilers.

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Highly Illogical BehaviorHighly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I almost want to give this book an extra star for all the pop culture references, but at the same time I want to subtract that star for that very reason – I’m wondering how many 17 year olds out there would identify with the ST:TNG obsessed kids in this book. And with the throw away lines about ‘Community’ and ‘Adventure Time’, I worry that it is already dated only a few months after being released.

I did enjoy the book though, I liked the story a lot. I actually think it would make a good discussion title for a high school book club – talk about all the different issues each of the kids faces and how they are handling them etc.

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Relish: My Life in the KitchenRelish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love books like this – snippets of memories, totally fun, it’s pretty much like reading a personal blog. It made me hungry and I’m definitely going to try a few of the recipes she included!

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Camp MidnightCamp Midnight by Steven T. Seagle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great read for the older elementary and early middle school set, all about fitting in and finding your place but not in a heavy handed eye-rolling kind of way.

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What did you read this month?

#ToyTuesday – SDCC 2010

I am not going to San Diego Comic-Con this year. No benevolent benefactor came forward to donate the hundreds of dollars it would cost to fly out to California and stay at a hotel for the weekend. So sad. BUT I did live the geek dream 4 years ago and managed to attend in 2010. And, of course, I came home with a bag of goodies! Some more random than others, but I love them all.

SDCC 2010 Polly Pocket as DC Superheroes

SDCC 2010 Polly Pocket as DC Superheroes

Totally an impulse purchase because LOOK HOW CUTE! It was hard to resist the Polly Pocket girls dressed up as Batgirl, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman. Plus, I have a soft spot for Supergirl since when I was a little kid I liked to dress up in my Superman pajamas and run around the backyard being Super Sam! I think this was my favorite purchase of the whole trip.

SDCC 2010 Batman Arkham Asylum Figure

BATMAN! Another random purchase as I wandered the hall on the last day. Arkham Asylum is one of the best superhero video games and I think I had just completed it before I went to SDCC so battle-damaged Batman seemed like a good purchase. It is pretty cool having Batman watch over me from my bookshelf…

SDCC 2010 Doctor Who Exclusive Figure

This one was a goal, I knew there would be Doctor Who exclusives and this was the height of my Doctor Who fandom. I also bought a regular Doctor Who figure which I carried around with me in my purse for a few days after.

SDCC 2010 Bioshock 2 Figure

I had no played Bioshock 2 to completion yet and this figure was a little spoilerific. Honestly, not my favorite of the Bioshock games but still solid.

book thoughts: The Adventures of Superhero Girl (2013)

The Adventures of Superhero Girl
The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, I kinda sorta loved this book.

I had read Friends with Boys and thought it was okay. I really like Hicks’ art style and when I saw this book on our new shelf last week, I grabbed it because how could I resist Superhero Girl standing there on the cover! She is both badass and adorable at the same time. I hoped the book would amuse me. Maybe that is why it totally caught me off guard.

Superhero Girl is a comic that Hicks does for Halifax’s free weekly newspaper and she also posts them to a blog to share with the rest of the world. At some point, Dark Horse decided to pick it up and publish it as a collection, which is what I read this week. Once I started, I could tell it must have been a web comic of some kind since usually the entire story is done in a single page (though there are a few longer arcs that span pages).

The book is filled with a very dry wit and lots of references to superhero pop culture, plus a few pokes at how Canada is not known for having enough crime to warrant a superhero to protect it. The best moments come when Superhero Girl tries to just lead a normal life, like going to the grocery store, applying for a job or going to a party.

Originally published online in black & white, the book is in FULL COLOR. And it is GLORIOUS! I hope to see more from Superhero Girl in the future.

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book thoughts: Superman: Earth One (2010)

Superman_earth_one

  I’ve always had a soft spot for Superman.  Yes, he can be the Uber-Boy Scout, doing what’s right, always, everyday.  But there’s something more.  I think it’s that question of why.  Why would someone with super powers come to Earth and decide to be it’s savior?

J. Michael Straczynski’s retelling of origin of Superman sets out to answer those questions.  He shows Clark Kent setting off for Metropolis and trying to find his place.  Does he use his powers for celebrity?  Use his inherited knowledge of advanced science to get ahead in business?  There isn’t much money in saving the world, why would he choose that path?  And, at the core of the story, there is the loneliness.  The story of a man who must always hold back, on some level, and the story of how he begins to make peace with that issue.

Honestly, I picked up this book because the cover looked badass and, as I said, I have a Superman weakness.  I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would, reading it in a single evening.  Shane Davis’ artwork has a very modern comic look to it, so it made this Superman feel even more relevant (though his Lois Lane looked a bit too much like Jennifer Carpenter…so much so that I’m convinced Davis has a crush on her). 

I’m very curious to see where this series goes…like Buffy, I find the most fascinating stories for superheroes is looking inside their minds, the one place they can be hurt. 

This comic is definitely worth a look if you have any interest in Superman or superhero reboots, in general, because I think it is done very well.  It manages to be both familiar and new at the same time. 

movie thoughts: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Wow.

I mean, I knew it had received poor reviews, but nothing could have prepared me for how bad this movie was.  It wasn’t any of the actors’ fault – they were trying their best – but the script and the editing was just all over the place.

The only reason I knew what was going on was because I had played the video game which, oddly enough, made a heck of a lot more sense and had a lot better pacing than the movie. 

After Bryan Singer’s X-Men and X2, the bar was set pretty high for this franchise.  When the studio ditched Singer for X3, most of us were disappointed in the film we were given.  I’m not sure who or what was behind the mess that is Wolverine, but as much as I didn’t enjoy X3, at least it had a plot that I could follow, as stupid as it was.

What frustrates me the most when movies like this fail, is the knowledge that there are comic books out there, books with coherent plots that treat the characters with respect (and the continuity) that were completely ignored in the name of BLOW UP STUFF GUD!  I wasn’t feeling any love for the studio, all I saw was their equations of comic books + movie = easy money for studio.  They always seem to forget that quality plays a part.  *sigh*

And they should be ashamed for wasting Gambit, a character popular with so many fans.  A story about Gambit and Wolverine would have made a lot of sense because they are very similar characters – walking the line between the good and the bad.  But no, this movie brings Gambit in just long enough to feature him in the trailer, and that is it.  WASTE!!! 

On top of that, the other mutants they introduce as part of Stryker’s team, they never properly explain their powers.  You can almost hear the director chuckling about how cool it will be just to start the story in this random spot. Yeah, maybe it hits the ground running, but your audience wasn’t ready yet, and they are still standing at the starting line.

The movie lacks any of the humor from the original films.  And Wolverine is supposed to be a snarky badass, but he spends most of this film moping, an Angel wanna-be (seriously, I thought he was going to give a speech about atoning for the things he had done…he should have, he said every other cliche line in the book).

Yeah, I know this review is late…but if you  haven’t seen the movie yet…just don’t bother.

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