Monday, April 06, 2015

novels, graphic and otherwise

Well, I wanted to finish this up last week and squeeze it in to March, but I wasn't feeling motivated.  I still made two posts last month without it.

Y:The Last Man: Unnanned, : Cycles, : One Small Step, and : Safeword by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan, Jr.  I've been meaning to look at the publication history for this as compared to the Saga installments, since the third volume especially (I think; they sort of run together) had the sort of teeth-exploding gratuitous-violence-for-shock-factor I found wasting space in later Saga volumes.  And, finally looking it up... there is no cross-over.  The stories were written in different decades.

I have to ILL the rest of the volumes; I'm not sure what it is about this series that seems attractive to GN thieves at leas state-wide: the last time I started to read this, at my library a mere ten miles from Idaho, I got only one volume in; when I went back to the shelf a few weeks later for more, they were gone.  Now, a stone's throw from the Pacific Ocean, I'm able to get a little bit further into the series but not much.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, vol. 1, by Alan Moore, Kevin O'Neill, Ben Dimagmaliw, and Bill Oakley.  I wanted very much a few weeks ago to read and enjoy more graphic novels.  Theoretically, I like them, but I find it hard to find specific ones I enjoy.  They kind of are like audiobooks for me-- an even greater number of elements than usual that interplay to affect reader perception, and they all have to be just right.  With the exception that one or two volumes per series seem to be placeholders that don't really move the plot along and just offer the fans something to look at while other installments are in the works, Vaughan's series are a good balance for me.  This one was also pretty close; some of the illustrations were more cartoon-y than I prefer, but otherwise mostly nice.

Plague Land by S.D. Sykes.  I remember that I read a review that made me place an immediate hold on this book.  The review was better-written than this novel. To be fair to this book, I am working on an editing project now and so I'm hyper-attuned to editing and proofreading issues.  The errors in this book (like ending an "I wondered if..." sentence with a question mark) would have annoyed me anyway, but probably not to this degree.  They are also not the reason I'm putting the book down-- it's the characters.  I was expecting a historical fiction, but this book is a mystery and, like many of that genre, has poorly-drawn characters.  The main character is weak and not particularly likable; all the supporting characters lack depth.  They are not interesting.

First Wilderness: My Quest in the Territory of Alaska, by Sam Keith.  I picked this up at PNBA last fall; the people who spoke about it really sold it.  Once again, a marvelously-sold but rather poor book.  This was compiled posthumously from an unpublished manuscript and, not to be mean, but there is a reason it was unpublished during the author's lifetime.  The writer invests way too much detail and information on things and people that turn out to literally just be passing in the street.  The reader has no way of knowing which situations or people will turn out to be important, because they are all presented the same way.  It's like having some kind of sensory processing disorder (it actually is quite a lot like how the self-help and parenting books I'm reading describe ADHD, a label recently applied to my son-- the brain can't tell which is important: the teacher talking, the student whispering, the leaf hitting the window, or the shiny pencil at the neighboring desk.  That's pretty much how this writing feels).  Skipping ahead, it also looks like there are formatting inconsistencies with how added content (letters to and from, etc.) are labeled and included.

And this is me being kind; I picked this up and put it right back down a week before I started my editing gig.

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