Shelf Life: July 2013

Shelf Life: July 2013It’s summer. Traditionally a time for beach reading, fluff reading, right? This is how I’m justifying all the comics and manga to myself, anyway. Judge ye not, etc.

Spike: Asylum87. Spike: Asylum, by Brian Lynch
(IDW Publishing, 2007)

Brian Lynch has a terrible habit of over-explaining things both within the comics themselves, and then going over every obvious plot point and allusion yet again in the back pages of the graphic novel. I don’t know why he does this, and I really wish he’d stop. Somehow he missed the “show, don’t tell” lesson of story showing 101.

Anyway, Spike falls for an obvious deception and makes friends in an asylum claiming to cure supernatural beings. It’s all very silly, and not in the fun way that Shadow Puppets almost manages to pull off.

Spike: A Dark Place88. Spike: A Dark Place, by Victor Gischler

(Dark Horse, 2013)

Basically, the story of how the vampire with a soul mopes then loses his space ship piloted by giant bugs on Easter Island. Sigh.

89. Finding Grace, by Mary-Lynn Murphy
(Your Scrivener Press, 2013)

Review forthcoming in Quill & Quire.

90. The Walking Dead, Vol. 18: What Comes After, by Robert Kirkman
(Image Comics, 2013)

After a slow start, Carl livens things up by demonstrating that he’s one scary little kid.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 1, by Naoko Takeuchi91. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 1, by Naoko Takeuchi
(Kodansha Comics, 1992, 2011)

92. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 2, by Naoko Takeuchi
(Kodansha Comics, 2003, 2011)

93. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 3, by Naoko Takeuchi
(Kodansha Comics, 2003, 2012)

94. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 4, by Naoko Takeuchi
(Kodansha Comics, 2003, 2012)

95. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 5, by Naoko Takeuchi
(Kodansha Comics, 2003, 2012)

96. Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 6, by Naoko Takeuchi
(Kodansha Comics, 2004, 2012)

For my birthday we went to Fan Fiction: The Show at the Black Swan Tavern in Toronto. It was a few comedy troops reading and acting out badly written Sailor Moon  fan fiction. I’d watched the English dubs vaguely in high school, and had recently begun rewatching the subtitled Japanese originals, and thought the fan fiction show would be fun. It was. I can’t recall a time I laughed so hard.

The anime was great, but I’d heard it was different from the manga. I’d never read manga before, but  decided I wanted to get to the root of it, and discovered there was a box set of the first six volumes. I devoured them in a couple of days. The manga fills in a lot of the plot holes of the anime, and the action happens much swifter.

If you’re not familiar with the pretty guardian in a soldier suit, Sailor Moon, the manga’s a great place to start. So much fun.

The Material Sublime, by Carleton Wilson97. The Material Sublime, by Carleton Wilson
(Nightwood Editions, 2011)

Review forthcoming in The Bull Calf Review.

98. The Modern Element, by Adam Kirsch
(W. W. Norton & Company, 2008)

Essays and criticism of contemporary poetry. He’s a thorough and detailed critic. Excellent stuff.

99. Tilt, by E Blagrave
(Cormorant Books, 2012)

Review forthcoming in Poetry is Dead.

How Fiction Works, by James Wood100. How Fiction Works, by James Wood
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008)

Wood delivers exactly what the title declares: he shows you how the various elements of fiction work together to create effect. Divided into small, numbered sections, Wood demonstrates how each effect comes to be, using examples from both contemporary and classic literature.

A must read for those interested novels and how they work. Which should be everyone reading this, amiright?

101. Government, by Jason Christie
(above/ground press, 2013)

The first book I read in from the 2013 above/ground package I received earlier in the month. More to appear in next month’s list.

102. 1996, by Sara Peters
(House of Anansi Press, 2013)

Rave review forthcoming in Poetry is Dead.

Hawkeye, Vol. 2: Little Hits, by Matt Fraction103. Hawkeye, Vol. 2: Little Hits, by Matt Fraction
(Marvel, 2013)

Seriously, this just keeps getting better and better. Innovative story telling techniques; smart dialogue, multidimensional characters – I love Hawkguy, and the world he inhabits in his off-hours.

Also, I want the t-shirt depicted on the back cover. In grey.

104. Sex, Drugs & Cocopuffs, by Chuck Klosterman
(Scribner, 2003)

Some really great, insightful essays, and a few mind-bogglingly sexist diatribes, and Klosterman seems to be completely oblivious to it. That bothers me. A lot.

105. Cloudy with a Fire in the Basement, by Ronna Bloom
(Pedlar Press, 2012)

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