Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Comics Reviewletts: Lumberjanes, Ms. Marvel, Locke and Key

I've been reading LOTS of comics lately. Let's call it homework for Panels, shall we? At any rate, it's the most fun I've had doing homework since grad school (when I also studied comics). Note: I bought or borrowed all of these. And they are awesome. 


First off, I must recommend Lumberjanes (Ellis, Stevenson, Allen) AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS. It's about a group of girls away at camp (think Girl Scouts) who find there are unsettling and creepalicious things going on in the woods around them. Yep, that's a river monster on that cover. I think what I love most about Lumberjanes is the smart wit behind it. Each girl has a specialty, or an outstanding attribute, and they depend upon one another to solve problems by playing to their strengths. Also, the artwork is dynamically delicious with rich, vibrant colors, unusual placement of the frames, and lots of action that seems to burst off the page.

After listening to Swapna and Preeti chatting about it on Twitter, I downloaded the first two issues of Ms. Marvel (Wilson, Alphona, Herring 2014). In this re-do of the original blonde, busty Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, a teen from Jersey City, finds herself in a position to be a superhero. She's smart, she's geeky, she's normal. This one subverts our expectations of the female superhero in the most marvelous (see that!) ways. 

Finally, perhaps the best-known of the comics in this list is Locke and Key (Hill, Rodriguez). First off...these are damn creepy. In the first installment, a troubled teen shoots his guidance counselor and the man's family moves to Key House, an ominous mansion with hidden keys that do some mysterious, maddening things. 

For instance, in the second volume, which I just finished, a key can open a person's head, allowing them and others to peruse their memories and even remove them. On the flip side, it's pretty great for cramming since you can drop in a math book and recall all of the knowledge therein. 

The artwork in this one is suitable to the overall mood of the comic. At first, I thought they looked plastic or wooden...a bit like marionettes. I still think that, but it just increases the unnerving nature of the stories. Everyone looks slightly "Chucky." 

I can recommend every one of these without any hesitation whatsoever. Whether you're feeling energized, invincible, or you're in the mood to be scared...there's something here for everyone. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

It's Monday! And the First Day of School!

It's the first day back to school in my neck of the woods! While Greyson is in school all year--he attends pre-school at the university where I work--today is the day that students are back on campus, more of his pre-school friends will be back, and they'll get going on some serious pre-K curriculum. He's gonna be TIRED tonight!

I got some fantabulous Bout of Books reading done last week and over the weekend. I finished:

  • Tell the Wolves I'm Home, by Carol Rifka Brunt
  • This One Summer, by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki
  • Locke and Key: Head Games (volume 2), by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, by Helen Simonson (partial)
  • The Paying Guests,  by Sarah Waters (partial)
I intended to have The Paying Guests nearly finished by the end of the weekend, but ye olde eyes weren't getting along with the e-reader so well. Ugh! Such a pain. 

All told, I finished a ballpark 1,050 pages this past week. That is out-of-this-world awesome for me, so I couldn't be more excited with my progress. 

What's calling to me from the stacks? These babies!

There are so many great choices lingering on my e-reader and my nightstand. Simon Rich won my heart with The Last Girlfriend on Earth, so I'm dying to read Spoiled Brats. While I wasn't crazy about Oyeyemi's book, Boy, Snow, Bird, I read the first few pages of White is for Witching, and I'm hooked! Finally, I will read anything by Lucy Knisley, and I'll be picking up Displacement soon. 

Hosted by Sheila from BookJourney.net

Friday, August 22, 2014

East of Eden, Finis!

I'm a little late with this post, but I am indeed finished with East of Eden for the #EstellaProject readalong! WHAT A BOOK! Seriously, this is an epic family saga, and it seems like forever since I read one of those. 

By the end of the novel, I was ready to know what would happen to Cal and Aron as well as Abra and Cathy. No surprises really, since I knew quite a bit about the book going into the final sections (it was a book club book), but I was very satisfied by Steinbeck's conclusion. Those last few sentences were pitch perfect, and that's saying something after such a long, involved novel. 

It's safe to say that Lee remained my favorite character, though Cal grew in my estimation a lot in this final run. Multi-faceted, complicated, "gray area" characters are so much more interesting than flat, one-note ones. I admired Cal's determination to grow past what he feared was his dark nature. I loved he and Abra together. 

I definitely have plans to read more of Steinbeck's work. I won't be intimidated to try out Grapes of Wrath or any of his other offerings since I adored this one. Thank you to ALL who participated in this readalong! It's been so much fun chatting with you all!