Monday, October 31, 2005

Zero Girl & Bone Sharps, Cowboys and Thunder Lizards

I'm still reading all sorts of graphic novels. One offbeat title I read recently is Zero Girl (2001) by Sam Kieth. In this strange but captivating story of a girl who doesn't quiet fit in ... when she gets nervous she gives off a powerful liquid that incapacitates her enemies, which in her case, are the girls who tease her. Her only friend at school is the counselor who tries to help her! Although someone else I know didn't like the ending, it's a different kind of graphic novel story and fun to read.

As a kid I wanted to be an archaeologist and I loved dinosaurs so this book was interesting to me: Bone Sharps, Cowboys and Thunder Lizards: A tale of Edward Drinker Cope, Othniel Charles Marsh and the Gilded Age of Paleontology (2005) by Jim Ottaviani. This strange but true story tells about two men competing with each other to unearth dinosaur bones in the western U.S. at the turn of the century. The book is a combination of fact and fiction with a long section at the back of the book detailing what's real and what's not.

Thessaly: witch for hire (2005) by Bill Willingham. From the author of Fables, comes a very different offering about a witch who must kill a lot of monsters. She is aided in her quest by Fetch, a ghost who has made a deal where Thessaly must vanquish a demon that can’t be killed!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Tales of H.P. Lovecraft

Earlier this month I read through a biography of H.P. Lovecraft, a well-known horror writer. Well, after reading about his life I wanted to read one of his stories so I picked up Tales of H.P. Lovecraft Major works selected and introduction by Joyce Carol Oates. I picked up this volume because it contained a story an avid reader made reference to earlier today, "The Rats in the Walls."

This reader also acquainted me with the writing of Robert E. Howard, a little known writer from the 1930s who corresponded with Lovecraft for years and was influenced by him quite a bit. Both wrote some stories that can be described as supernatural horror. So if you like to scare yourself while reading, you may want to give Lovecraft a try.

This story was more suspenseful than gory although the ending was a bit of a surprise. If you're looking for Lovecraft, most of his works are in the Rhode Island collection at our library because Lovecraft lived in Providence for many years.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Kurt Busiek's Astro City

Kurt Busiek's Astro City: Life in the Big City by Kurt Busiek & Brent E. Anderson is the graphic novel I'm currently reading. This superhero story features a new group of do-gooders trying to save the world. The first one we meet is Samaritan. He lives a normal life except that he spends most of his day racing from city to city saving people. No one at work is suspicious because he can automatically do his job without really being there.

It's definitely in the tradition of Marvel and DC Comics but with a whole new cast of characters. If you're into super-heroes, I think you'll like it!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Astonishing X-Men: Gifted

Truthfully, my only interaction with the X-Men characters was through the movies until yesterday. I keep asking a co-worker to suggest graphic novels to read and Astonishing X-Men: Gifted was one from yesterday. One of the reasons he thought I would like it is that it's written by Buffy and Firefly creator Joss Whedon. The artist is John Cassaday. Together they create another story of mutants trying to fit into a society afraid of anyone who is different. It kept my interest and I'm sure I'll read another one soon.

Speaking of Joss Whedon, I'm also reading a non-fiction book called Finding Serenity: Anti-heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly. The book is a series of essays edited by Jane Espenson with Glenn Yaffeth. So far I've read the first few essays and they all comment on the show and what made it so unique. If you're a fan of Firefly or you've seen the new movie Serenity this is a must read!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Y the Last Man: Unmanned

Whenever I get reading suggestions, I usually enjoy what has been recommended. Recently I had a suggestion for the graphic novel collection. The Vertigo series someone told me about is Y the Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn. The idea is that one day all the men in the world are dead. This leaves the planet in chaos with half its population gone. What's going to happen next? Well, there is one man left. His name is Yorick. He and his pet monkey were not harmed by whatever killed all the other men.

But now the question is, can he survive a planet of hostile women? All he really wants is to get to his girlfriend who is traveling in Australia while he's in Washington, DC. This is a 5 volume set. I read through the first one today and I am ready to read book 2.

Monday, October 03, 2005

H.P. Lovecraft: Master of Weird Fiction

As I've mentioned, when new books are ready to be put on the shelves, I take a look at them first. Sometimes I put them on a new book list, sometimes I just skim them and others I read. Last week I was curious enough about his life to read H.P. Lovecraft: Master of Weird Fiction by William Schoell. Lovecraft lived in Providence for a while so people are always talking about him here in RI.

He lived a strange life. His mother was very overprotective of him, especially after his father died at a young age. Although he wanted to study at Brown University, he was unable to further his education after a nervous breakdown. It was something he would always regret.

Very similar in tone to Edgar Allan Poe, Lovecraft crafted bizarre stories which appealed to readers of weird fiction being published at the time. If you need to read about an author sometime, this book will certainly draw you in from the start. Some say he has influenced a lot of today's writers including Stephen King.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

13 Little Blue Envelopes

Just checking email and saw that another member of the RI Teen Book Award committee posted a score for this book 13 Little Blue Envelopes (2005) by Maureen Johnson. This was a recent favorite of mine which I neglected to mention here! This was a good change from some of the other books I've read recently because it was light and fun to read. The only slightly sad part of the story is the main character's favorite aunt has died and she now follows directions left in 13 letters from her dead aunt which lead her on an interesting adventure to England and Europe. So the travel part of it was different for a teen novel and the romance that develops is very sweet.

This weekend I didn't bring home any graphic novels to read. But I do have a few books that I should be getting started on soon. Last night I was in Borders looking over the graphic novels they have. It was interesting to see Maus I shelved with the other Holocaust books rather than with graphic novels. It makes sense but it was coincidental that I had just blogged on and it and I had gotten a comment from someone on my posting which is always great to see. I went to Borders after watching the movie Serenity which was great. Joss Whedon's graphic novel Fray is popular with kids in the library and of course Buffy and Angel continue to be favorites for many but I really loved the TV series Firefly which I viewed on DVD last month in preparation for the movie's release. It sounds so strange but a sci-fi western really works and the cast of characters are very engaging!