Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Boozy Book Club No. 6

Since last installment of this irregular feature, Mondays have become Library Day for the Viper household. These shorter days have brought on longer reading nights. But sadly, not much in the way of the Civil War list. I have about 12 books left in this cycle, and I've decided to carry over this list to next year. Instead, I've been tearing through the Akron-Summit County Library's vast collection of graphic novels.

Civil War Reading List
Taking a bit of a break from this list, even though I started yet another book. I've nibbled away at a few more pages of the regulars you've come to know and love.

Battle Cry of Freedom
Author: James McPherson
Genre: History
Status: 510 pages in
Notes: My Don Quixote? Nitmos says yes.

Author: Herman Melville
Genre: Poetry
Status: 93 pages in
Notes: Still reading on Google Books. Next up is "The Armies of the Wilderness."

Gone With the Wind
Author: Margaret Mitchell
Genre: Fiction
Status: 20 pages in
Notes: Just started this one. The edition Mrs. Viper has owned for many years has the smallest type in the world.

Comic Book Pull List
It's been a month since the last update, so I'm not going to bother with every single comic read. Instead, here are some highlights.

Death of the Family
Image: DC Comics
November marked the second month of the big Joker storyline in the Batman books. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have made Batman a consistent hit, so just for kicks I decided to broaden my scope and buy all the other titles in this crossover, which also encompasses Batgirl, Batman and Robin, Catwoman, Detective Comics, Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Suicide Squad, and Teen Titans.

As expected, Batman has been solid, but I'm starting to wonder if I made a mistake with these others. So far, I've gotten Batgirl, Catwoman, and Suicide Squad. Batgirl was OK, but the other two are terrible. The art in Catwoman is either confusing or salacious and sometimes both. And is Suicide Squad meant to be the final push someone needs to finally tie a noose?

Image: Dark Horse
My new obsession is this mind-bender by Matt Kindt about telepathic government agents. I jumped in at Issue 5, and immediately had to pick up 1-4. I'm almost caught up, and I'm looking forward to what comes next. The art is all in water colors and looks a bit cartoonish, but it's laid out almost like a field journal and has super-textual elements that will have you turning the book sideways to keep everything straight. And even then you might be happily confused.

The sci-fi themed website i09 recently began running a daily comic strip that will act as a supplement to the monthly book and help new readers catch up to the action, as the seventh issue is due out in January.

Grant Morrison's Batman Epic
Image: DC Comics
Ever since getting back into comics this year, Batman has been a favorite. I've been trying to catch up on almost 20 years of back story. Last I remembered, Bane had broken Batman's back, and there were all these other Batmen running around. I lost interest and eventually stopped reading comics a couple years later.

Grant Morrison has always been a bit of a strange one. He writes some weird stories that you'd expect to find in independent comics, but he's worked on a bunch mainstream characters. He's currently finishing up his Superman run in Action Comics, as well as the conclusion to the second volume of his Batman Inc. The latter title's end will also mark the finale of an epic story Morrison began in 2006.

While I'm picking up Batman Inc. in single issues, I've spent the last month catching up in trade paperbacks from the library. In fact, I have the next four installments waiting at my local branch right now. It begins with the realization that Bruce Wayne is a father, and right now Batman is dead ... or so everyone thinks. Instead, he's been sent back in time after killing an intergalactic bad guy who had killed a god (see "Final Crisis").

The original Robin, Dick Grayson, has taken on the mantle of the Batman and Bruce Wayne's homicidal son, Damian, is his sidekick. Meanwhile, Bruce must find his way back the present. Got all that?

Now, it's your turn. What have you been reading?


Jess said...

I'm gonna go ahead and admit that Gone with the Wind is one of my all time favorite novels. I say that with some degree of embarassment because it is terribly racist, but still, I love the grandeur of it, and despite being an incredibly unlikeable character, I love Scarlett O'Hara, and even more, I love Rhett Butler.

I'm still in the midst of the Game of Thrones series (I'm on book 3 now) and I'm simultaneously reading the Lincoln biography: Team of Rivals.

B. Kramer said...

I think it's OK to love Gone With the Wind (my wife does too). Part of my desire to read all these Civil War themed books was to better understand the issue of race in the United States. Team of Rivals almost made the list, but I opted for Carl Sandburg's biography instead.

I've got this big old list of lists that I want to read. (I like themed lists.) And I'm trying to decide if I want to try Game of Thrones or not. That kind of fantasy hasn't usually been my cup of tea. I await your thorough review.

C said...

I read Gone With the Wind when I was 15 years old. My memory is a bit spotty now, but I remember liking it so much more than the film. In both Scarlett is a spoiled brat, but she's much more human in the book.

I just finished book 3 of Game of Thrones and am awaiting the arrival of 4 and 5 in the post. Until then, I'm starting on Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James.

B. Kramer said...

Ah, PD James, another author I've been meaning to read, starting with Children of Men. My parents have long been a fan of her books.

Nitmos said...

My little brain can only juggle two books at once. Congrats to the epic multi-tasking-reading.

For me, it's Christmas which automatically triggers my inner Dickens senses. It's the great, unfinished Mystery of Edwin Drood this year.

My spring of 2008 laughs at you now, btw.

B. Kramer said...

For some reason, I've long held a distaste for Dickens, and it's pretty unfounded, considering I've only really read A Christmas Carol (which I love) and Oliver Twist (which isn't so bad either). One of these days I'll construct a Dickens reading list that I'll never finish reading.

David said...

No GWTW here. I live in the South and it's just like talking to my friends. Well, not exactly.

Anyway. I'm caught up on Buffy. I watched "Scott Pilgrim" the other night and got interested in that story. The box set of the Scott Pilgrim comics is on the way.

This silly game got me interested in reading real books once again (after 10 years of reading exclusively technical/work-related stuff). Now I'm rereading "Snow Crash" (Neal Stephenson). So far, I've only been able to manage about three paragraphs per night before falling asleep. Turns out I've got to train to read as well as run.

KW said...

I so need to catch up on my Buffy comics.

However, I just finished Catching Fire...literally last night. I didn't know it just ended like that (think Empire Strikes Back or The Two Towers...not movie version). I actually liked it alot better than the Hunger Games. I heard that the next book is not as I wasn't looking at reading it all. But I have to know what happens.

B. Kramer said...

@David, the Scott Pilgrim comics look fun. Let me know how they are. My library has a bunch of those too.

@KW, my wife read the Hunger Games trilogy and liked it pretty well. I guess they have to figure out some way to get you to that third book, right?

B. Jarosz said...

I read Gone With The Wind when I was a tween -- I'm sure I didn't notice the racism then. But I started watching the movie last weekend, and holy racism, Batman! I sort of want to re-read the book now to understand it better (plus it would make for a good reference point when I teach about racism in my Sociology class)...

PS - I'm not a fan of Dickens books, either! He takes 20 pages to say what a concise author could write in 2. That said, I love the theatre productions of A Christmas Carol.

I just don't have the patience to plod through Dickens' overabundant words. (I've been told that he got paid by the word, so he purposely stretched stories out like taffy.)