April 16th, 2012

Books

Book #21: The Alcoholic (Graphic Novel)

"The Alcoholic"

By Jonathon Ames and Dean Haspiel


This Graphic Novel would easily have gotten a five-star rating from me, with the really well done artwork, a very engaging storyline, a deep emotionally driven character and subject... but this is another of those 'books without an ending'.

I don't mind open-ended books, mind you- but books that just trickle off into nothingness... that drives me a little crazy.

So if that doesn't bother YOU, then you might like this book even MORE than I did! ...and I liked it a lot. I still gave it four stars out of five, and I wish it had been a 1-10 scale so I could havw weighted it further into the 'liked it' than the 'didn't'... but seriously. Why is it so /cool/ to have a book that doesn't /END/??

This story focuses on a man who is, as the title says, An Alcoholic. But it isn't dwelling on his drinking, so much as it delves into his LIFE. How does one become a lifelong alcoholic? Why? What things happened in his life, that slowly lead up to this moment? Will he ever stop drinking? ...does he even want to?

The subject is so simple... and it manages not to preach that everyone /should/ stop drinking- just that sometimes, one person finds a weakness, an 'allergy' as he puts it... something that is toxic to them and thier lives- and has to find a way to overcome it.

It is much more enaging than I make it sound. You really get a feel for this fellow, and all the things he's been through. You don't have to feel sorry for him, it's actually the kind of book that makes you indentify WITH him instead. Understand him... and by the end of the book (oh, did I say end? the NOT-end, then) you really want to see things going WELL for him.

I hope they do.

Except there wasn't an end, so I DON'T KNOW.

Argh.

Four out of five stars anyway. ;)
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed
Books

Book #22: Alternative Kilns & Firing Techniques

"Alternative Kilns & Firing Techniques"

By James C. Watkins & Paul Andrew Wandless


This is one of those books that makes you a little bit crazy inside. At least, it will if you're an artist who works in Ceramics!!

The Author and Photographer gathered a group of Ceramic Artists at a mountaintop studio retreat, and each artist made or brought thier own system for firing Ceramics. Cheifly Raku or post-firing effects, each of these methods is accompanied with JUST enough of the instructions and photographs to teach you to do it... similarly, but not /exactly/, the same.

This is, of course, maddeningly exciting to a Ceramic Artist- to be given new tools, new ideas, and told "now... you go run with them!"

My Housemate is probably praying now, I don't build a Raku-style pit, or a sawdust reduction chamber in the backyard. ;)

Personally, I'm NOT a fan of Raku. I don't really care for the kind of imperfections it usually causes, and while I realize the fact that nothing you do with Raku can ever be quite duplicated makes it exciting, I think it all ends up looking so much the same in most cases, it's overdone and annoying-

This book offers some OTHER options, than the traditional, overused forms of Raku... and it's got my brain to thinking about them.

I'm pleased I ran across it, and I am pleased I read it, cover-to-cover, and made notes to boot. ;) I see a sawdust barrel, a wood glazing drum, or some other form of 'nature-based' post-firing decoration or glazing in my near future... a heavily smoked native-style vessel would be amazing. Wouldn't it?

O:)
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative
Books

Book #23: Trouble Maker (graphic novel)

"Trouble Maker"
(Book one: a Barnaby and Hooker Graphic Novel)

By:
Janet Evanovich
Alex Evanovich
Art by Joelle Jones


Eh. It's a Graphic Novel, and I had fun reading it- it's part one of two, so we'll see how the fun pans out... but so far, the story is engaging, and the dialogue is REALLY good, and the characters are loveable and amusing and interesting... a lot of ANDS in there. ;)

There is real chemistry in the characters in this book, and a real plot, and a lot of VERY amusing dialogue and artwork/scenes...

I expect to like it more, once I get to read volume two.
  • Current Mood
    apathetic apathetic
miss plum

Book 36: One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

Book 36: One for the Money (Stephanie Plum #1) .
Author: Janet Evanovich, 1994.
Genre: Chick Lit Crime Fiction. Comedy-Drama. Romance.
Other Details: Unabridged Audiobook; 8 hrs, 32 mins read by C. J. Critt.

The first in this popular series set in Trenton, New Jersey introduces Stephanie Plum, a 30 year old laid-off lingerie buyer. Her car is being repossessed and she is forced to sell off her appliances to pay the bills. Hearing that her Cousin Vinnie, who runs a bail bond business, needs a filing clerk she pays a visit. However, the position has already been filled but Vinnie is looking for a replacement apprehension agent (aka bounty hunter). With no experience she is hardly an ideal candidate and Vinnie refuses to hire her. Stephanie has some embarrassing info about his sexual misadventures and threatens to tell his wife. As a result he reluctantly gives her the job.

Full of enthusiasm and in need of cash she takes on his most lucrative case, tracking down Joseph Morelli, a former vice cop accused of gunning down an unarmed man. He also had been the local bad boy who had charmed her into losing her virginity behind the counter of her after school job. Three years later she'd taken the opportunity to run him over with her father's Buick breaking his leg. So they have a turbulent history. In the course of tracking Morelli, she attracts the attention of a violent heavyweight boxer and also gains a mentor in Ranger, an experienced bounty hunter willing to pass on his tricks of the trade.

This was a quick fun listen, with Stephanie Plum as narrator coming over as smart and sassy with a wry sense of humour and a good heart. I liked her from the opening chapter, which is always a good sign. In addition there is a colourful supporting cast and a strong storyline, with a mixture of light and dark elements. I certainly am considering reading more in the series for light relief.

I was a bit surprised that this was selected for one of my reading groups as it seems a little light weight and I can't really imagine there will be much to discuss when we meet up in a couple of weeks time. If nothing else though it might provide an opening to discuss different approaches to crime fiction or how some writers manage to balance this lighter type of fiction with romantic and comedic interludes alongside murder and violence.
  • krinek

1. Dancing with Werewolves by Carole Nelson Douglas

dancing with werewolves
Title: Dancing with Werewolves
Author: Carole Nelson Douglas
Publisher: Juno Books
Year: 2007
# of pages: 394
Date read:1/3/2012
Rating: 3*/5 = good

First sentence:

"For the first time in the history of humankind, the turn of the millennium was tracked around the globe like an incoming comet zooming over the earth from the black night sky."

Description:

"It was the revelation of the millennium: witches, werewolves, vampires, and other supernaturals are real. Fast-forward thirteen years: TV reporter Delilah Street used to cover the small-town bogeyman beat back in Kansas, but now, in high-octane Las Vegas--which is run by a werewolf mob--she finds herself holding back the very gates of Hell. At least she has a hot new guy and one big bad wolf-hound to help her out..." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a good paranormal fantasy. I liked the mix of the mysterious and supernatural in the Las Vegas setting. I also liked Delilah's interactions with Hector, her familiar Quicksilver, Ric and the CineSims. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Brimstone Kiss.
  • krinek

2. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

people of the book
Title: People of the Book
Author: Geraldine Brooks
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2008
# of pages: 368
Date read: 1/23/2012
Rating: 3*/5 = good

Description:

"Hanna Heath, an Australian rare book expert, has been offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, rescued from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with images. When Hanna discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding--an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair--she begins to unlock the book's mysteries, ushering in its exquisite and atmospheric past, from its salvation back to its creation through centuries of exile and war.

Inspired by a true story, People of the Book is a novel of sweeping historical grandeur and intimate emotional intensity--an acclaimed and ambitious work from a Pulitzer Prize-winning author." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book. I especially liked learning about the Haggadah through the lives of the people who made it, owned it, and used it.
Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

At one point or another this weekend, I managed to finish three books. One I started months ago, and just finished; two I read pretty quickly. They're all ebooks, but one I read on the iPhone.

First to finish was Osprey Men-at-Arms #436: The Scandanavian Baltic Crusades 1100 - 1500, which dealt with a subject about which I knew next to nothing. For that, it was interesting. Who knew how many crusades there actually were?

Second was the iPhone read; I started it months ago, and read it a bit here and a bit there all this time: Stephen Fry in America. It's the book form of the BBC TV show of the same name. I liked the show, I liked the book, and Stephen liked his trip to the US. It's definitely a pleasant read.

Latest was Osprey Aircraft of the Aces #54: Rumanian Aces of World War 2. This one had a few tiny facts that I hadn't known. First one that fascinated me was that Romania switched sides in 1944, turning against the Germans when the Soviet army was bearing down on them, so the Rumanian aces started shooting down German aircraft instead. The other odd thing is that their high command gave them credit for the kills based on the number of engines on the targets, so that if you shot down a multi-engined transport or bomber, you were closer to becoming an ace than if you shot down a single-engined fighter...odd. This book is primarily intended for a military modeler who wants to use certain models in a new paint job, IMHO. However, it was still a curious piece of work to read.
Books

Book #25: Crossing Midnight: Cut Here (graphic novel)

"Crossing Midnight: Cut Here"

By: Mike Carey, Jim Fern, Mark Pennington


Waaaaauuuuuuggh!!!

That's what I shouted when I came to the end of "Crossing Midnight: Cut Here". Because it's only volume ONE of a story-arc that cuts (no pun intended) through several graphic novels- at least two more that I see...

I have to get them.

Yes, HAVE TO.

This story was REALLY well written, amazingly illustrated, and it carried me forward through the storyline with surprising ease. I was instantly invested with the Hara family and the twins problems and perils.

I can tell you very little about this story, without spoiling it. That it has to do with the supernatural, is obvious- the Kami, spirits of /things/ we use or make- like swords, or needles for sewing. That they have investment in the human world is not surprising... but watching them reach into it, and USE that investment. Well now. That is another thing entirely!

I loved this book, and am now on the prowl for the 'rest' of the story- before I go half crazy imagining the myriad of ways it could turn out.

Save yourself! Buy or check out all three, before you start reading...