Tag: brian lynch

Shelf Life: August 2013Brief snippets of opinion and a too-long list. This month’s themes? Sex and writing, apparently.

Overqualified, by Joey Comeau106. Overqualified, by Joey Comeau
(ECW Press, 2009)

A novel told in cover letters, which shouldn’t work, but it does. As always, Comeau’s work is touching and disturbing in almost equal measures.

107. tether, by Jill Stengel
(above/ground press, 2013)

108. Mnemotechnics, by Jessica Smith
(above/ground press, 2013)

109. punchlines 1.0, by Aaron Tucker
(above/ground press, 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.

Shelf Life: May 2013

TCAF was in May, and I came out of it with a few comics, and a desire to read lots more.

Spike, The Complete Series, by Brian Lynch61. Spike: The Complete Series, by Brian Lynch
(IDW Publishing, 2012)

While Spike was my favourite character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the television series), he’s lost something in the comic. Lynch seems intent on making him a male fantasy of a sex symbol, rather than exploring the complex background depicted in the later seasons of Buffy and Angel. It’s a shame. Even so, it was…interesting to see how Spike came to be king of a steampunk spaceship piloted by giant cockroaches.

62. Testament, by Dennis Lee
(House of Anansi Press, 2012)

Happy Canada Day, kids! I love it when it falls on a Friday and we get an extra long weekend in the summer.

I mentioned yesterday how I’d like to get more social in regards to books and reading – normally such a solitary activity – so I’m going to try a new series I’m calling Shelf Life.

Each month I’ll post brief notes and reviews of the books I’ve read, and solicit recommendations from you guys.

June was an eclectic month, reading everything from cookbooks to novels to poetry. A couple of humour books, and two graphic novels which did not live up to their potential.

Yes, it is possible to read a cookbook.

56. Gourmet Preserves Chez Madelaine, by Madelaine Bullwinkel
I’m rather inexperienced when it comes to making jams, jellies and preserves – in fact, I wasn’t clear on the difference between those three terms before I read Gourmet Preserves. I didn’t know how to tell if a batch has reached its gel point. Or what that even meant. I’d made exactly one jelly before, and I required my hand to be held throughout the entire process. It turns out it’s not actually that hard.

The introductory chapters give clear step-by-step instructions for everything you need to know to make preserves work, and the recipes are delicious. I’ve tried three so far: two batches of strawberry jam, a rhubarb and fig jam, and a blueberry jam – all came out fabulously.

57. A Storm of Swords & 58. A Feast for Crows, both by George R R Martin
I read the first two books, A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings, in May, and they were followed closely by the final two books in print so far (the fifth volume, A Dance with Dragons, comes out in July).

Initially I began the first one to prepare myself for the show (which was excellent). I’m not a huge fan of fantasy, but this series largely revolves around political intrigue at court with an extensive cast of characters who can – and do – die.

Ok, ok, there are hints of wights and, eventually, dragons, but they take backstage to war, betrayal, honour and, above all, complex characters worth knowing. I’m hooked.

59. A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan
It’s billed as a novel, but it’s really more a series of linked short stories spanning several decades. Characters weave in and, more often, out. Narrator changes; point of view changes from first, to third and, yes, even second. One story is told through PowerPoint. The concluding tale is kind of sci-fi speculative fiction. It’s crazy.

It won this year’s Pulitzer Prize. I’m not sure how much that means. Prizes are notoriously inconsistent and given for various reasons, but I enjoyed Goon Squad. A very different sort of book.