October 9th, 2009

Ash and Infernape

14/50

11. Aria #1  Manga-Sci-fi This was a fun little find. The characters are appealing and the art is nice. I have yet to be totally WOWed, but it's a nice light read so far. Good read for slice-of-life fans with a taste for sci-fi.

12. Maximum Ride: The Manga #1
Manga-style-comic-teen adventure Maximum Ride translates into a manga like it was born to be one. The art and adaptation are both well done. I'm only bummed the next volume will not be for a while. Maximum Ride fans who like manga or are interested in trying manga should give this a look. Or hey, if you just want a new manga-style comic to read, this is a pretty good one.

13. BONE: One Volume Edition Comic-Fantasy WOW. I really REALLY liked this comic. It's long, but never feels draggy. I read the whole almost 1500 page omnibus is about 3 days because I was so absorbed into it. I haven't laughed so much at a comic in a while, and it was also emotional. The plot could get a bit hard to follow at times, but the writer could tell and would make sure to explain when it was. Everything that happens has a purpose and it wraps up nicely. I'd totally check your library for this. Don't let the misplaced children's target and cute characters fool you, this is an epic fantasy.

14. Pokemon: Diamond and Pearl Adventure #5- Manga- Adventure (Fantasy?) EPIC. Seriously, epic volume. I repeat, this manga is an underappreciated gem of the Pokemon fandom. Argh, why isn't the next volume till March Viz?

You know? At this rate, even though I started late, I'm gonna see if I can hit 50 before the end of the year so I can start fresh with everybody else come January. ^^
house

9/50: Brief Interviews With Hideous Men

David Foster Wallace has made an art of taking readers into places no other writer even gets near. In this exuberantly acclaimed collection he combines hilarity and an escalating disquiet in stories that astonish, entertain, and expalnd our ideas of the pleasures that fiction can afford.

I had heard raves about this book from my friends and I was excited to read it. I have to say though, I was disappointed in it. At first I was excited, I found it quite similar to The Vagina Monologues. However, the more I read the harder a time I had getting through the book. I don't do well reading books when it's broken up with footnotes (though I did enjoy Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs which used a similar method). But the footnotes were so incredibly long, I was getting frustrated at having to flip forwards and backwards in the book to read everything in order.

All in all, I found reading this book a chore. :-/

Reading
  • slickmc

Books 110 -111 / 100

110. The Third Part of King Henry VI - William Shakespeare
                The final play about King Henry VI, in which Richard Plantagenet dies, but his son Edward succeeds to the crown as Edward IV and there is foreshadowing of Richard III and Henry VII.  Pretty interesting play, but there's a lot going on, and knowing the history before hand would be helpful.
111. The Suppliants - Euripides
                  Greek play about a group of suppliant women that came to Athens to make a request of Theseus.  Their sons were killed in the war against Thebes, waged between Polynices and Eteocles after Oedipus went into exile.  Creon, the current ruler of Thebes, won't allow the bodies to be buried, which, as we all know, dooms the souls to an unpleasant and unrestful afterlife, and they'd like Theseus to help them out.  Lots of weeping and Alas-ing and Alack-ing, with queries as to why anyone ever has children at all when all they do is die once you've spent all that time raising them.
mayan ruins, rituals

Books 101 & 102: The Crystal Skull and Mayan Equinox

These two novels share a theme of 2012 and the 'end of the world' prophecies linked to the Mayan calender. Both took different approaches: one being a fast-paced adventure thriller and the other a more intellectual plot that draws upon both Mayan and British legends linked to sacred sites.

Book 101: The Crystal Skull
Author: Manda Scott, 2008
Genre: Cryptic Treasure Hunt. Historical Fiction.
Other Details: Hardback. 364 pages.

The novel opens with a claustrophobic journey by Dr Stella Cody and her new husband, Kit, into a deep caving system under the Yorkshire Dales. Their quest is to uncover a legendary blue crystal skull believed to have been hidden there by 16th century Cambridge scholar Cedric Owen, whose family has been the guardians of the skull for many centuries. For political reasons Owen had been forced to flee first to Spain and then to the New World. There he learns the secret of the skull's purpose and its future role to prevent the apocalypse predicted by the Maya.

In 2007 only a few years away from the predicted 2012 apocalypse, Stella and Kit are in a race against time to unlock that secret from coded journals left behind by Owen. However, there are the inevitable opposing forces that are also on the trail and which threaten their lives.

Scott has previously written crime fiction and a series of historical novels about Queen Boudica. She has a good sense of pacing, characterisation and story-telling. She also manages the task of combining strong narratives in both time periods and provides a satisfying mixture of the scientific with the mystical. I really enjoyed this though would have welcomed more details, especially about Owen's time among the Mayan people. The ending also felt a little rushed.

The Crystal Skull - Official web site that includes link to excerpt.

Book 102: Mayan Equinox
Author: Keith Jones, 2006.
Genre: Adventure. Mystery.
Other Details: Trade paperback. 228 pages.

Another gripping race-against time to locate an ancient Mayan key that is said to have the ability to extend time beyond its predicted end in 2012. The novel opens in a similar fashion to The Ruins, at a fashionable resort where tourists are not thinking about much beyond their next cocktail and working on their tans. This lulled me though that didn't last long! I won't say too much more because it would be too easy to spoil the plot and the opening chapters are worth reading cold. A Los Angeles Professor gets quickly drawn into the mystery as do the under-resourced Mexican police who are looking for a mundane solution.

Although the characterisations are a little basic, Jones really brings the setting alive and weaves in a satisfying amount of material on pre-Columbian Central American history and culture. It did feel too short and I felt certain questions were left unanswered. However, I discovered that there is a sequel, which I will be reading soon.
toast and tea

(no subject)

40. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Stevens, an aging butler, receives a letter from Miss Kenton - the previous housemaid. Assuming the letter means she has left her husband and is looking once again for a position at Darlington Hall, Stevens makes a trip across the south of England to meet her after many years absence.

I enjoyed this, partially because it ends in my hometown (Weymouth). Ishiguro's style is again very controlled and every word is chosen with total precision. The 'Englishness' is almost studied. While there were sections of the novel I did struggle with (the long diatribes on dignity were sometimes a bit tiring), over all I felt this was a very good exploration into professionalism, pragmatism and how small actions can have massive consequences.

7/10
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