June 18th, 2013

reading looking up

What is my weakness? Books!

From 'Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett, first in the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy

I've been reading a lot lately and forgetting to, well, mention it. A lot of it's been comics (I heartily recommend Castle Waiting by Linda Medley, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks, and of course I'm super excited they're publishing the Ruby and Sapphire arc of Pokemon FINALLY. There is something satisfying I can't even explain about seeing the games in art the way they were in my head. Also, the Ace Attorney comics are surprisingly pleasing! This has been a long sidetrack.) which aren't as easy to review, but the books have been pretty good for the most part.

Read some Christie, Poirot's Early Cases as well as And Then There Were None, both of which I really enjoyed. The second creeped me out pretty good in parts. The basic plot is, people are summoned mysteriously to a house and then they start dying.

Right before the above quoted book, I was reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo which is about a porcelain toy rabbit who is loved very much by a little girl, but doesn't care about her. One day he's lost at sea and ends up passing through the ownership of people he comes to care for very much and anyway, I had to shut that book down in the middle while I was reading because it made me start crying on an airplane. Considering I was also suffering from pretty bad food poisoning, I felt I'd alarmed my seatmate enough for that ride.

Kate DiCamillo wrote Tale of Despereaux, which remains one of the best books I ever read, and this one isn't disappointing. When I found her other books were available as ebooks, they got boosted way the hell up on my to-read list, but are now officially 'do no read in front of other people' books.

Right after shutting down the book to regain composure, I had to choose another book and fast to switch gears. I chose Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett, a YA book he wrote early on. His early stuff is kind of dire, but it was just what I needed. It's full of interesting character descriptions and a fun videogame story with an alien race I like.

The only problem was the main character, Johnny Maxwell who was inoffensive but so generic that once he started interacting with the girl in the story I started desperately wishing he was Janie Maxwell because at least I wouldn't feel like I was reading about a cookie cutter protagonist and it would have made parts of their interaction a lot less urgh to read.

I'm starting on the next book in the trilogy now, Johnny and the Dead which ominously starts off with Terry Pratchett explaining Pal battalions.
comic reading with bearspot

Castle Waiting

In my last post I briefly mentioned Castle Waiting by Linda Medley and I think it deserves more than a quick shout.

A few weeks ago, I was visiting my friend Ann and what is now customary we went to the bookstore and I aske her for comic recommendations, and this is one of the things she handed to me.

The plot is, essentially, what happened to the castle after Sleeping Beauty left with her prince. In Castle Waiting, it's become a sanctuary and in volume 1 (volume 2 is shipping its way to me right now. I'm sort of dreading it because 1 was a paperback, weighed two pounds, and made my hands shake when I read it. Volume 2 is a hardcover) we follow the adventures of a new resident, Jain who has come to have her baby, and in the latter part the adventures of Sister Peaceful, who is part of a sect of bearded nuns.

Lots of jokes and character humour, and except for the Sleeping Beauty opening, not especially fairytale oriented, besides everyone living in a world where those sorts of stories do take place, just not to these characters.

There's some strong Christian elements (because nuns) which seem to be less about Christians and more about bearded women, which I did not object to. Skeeter, the little novice with the huge mustache is adorable.

There's a rough, racist bit about Roma in the first third, which is mostly redeemed in the last third, but be on alert for that.

Castle Waiting is sweet, easy fantasy with a lot of charm and the art is fabulous. My biggest regret is that I could not get a good picture of Nessie (Sister Peace's good friend) that was on one of the covers for this post.