Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Boozy Book Club No. 9

Pour yourself a beverage and scoot up to the hearth. It's time for another discussion on the books we're reading and why we love them.

This past couple months has proven to be my most successful stretch of library patronage ever. It used to be that I couldn't read fast enough to take out a book from the library and and finish it before it was due. Perhaps picking up graphic novels at first and establishing a good routine of borrowing has led to my current success.

So what's been on the reading table since last time? Let's take a look.

Civil War Reading List
On hiatus.

Unlisted Reading List
Charles Laughton's adaptation of Davis Grubb's Night of the Hunter was not nearly as good as I was led to believe it was. The pacing was way too fast and didn't set up the terror that the Preacher is supposed to represent. Beautifully shot, granted, but disappointing. I had high hopes for Robert Mitchum as the villain.

Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods was a quick, innocuous read. The prose is amusing for the most part, but suffers from an egregious abundance of adverbs.

I'm two-thirds of the way through Paul Auster's Sunset Park. Auster is one of those writers whose work never seems to disappoint. While I can't remember the last "great" novel he's written, Auster remains consistent with this novel set amid the housing crisis of 2008. Miles Heller has abandoned his parents in New York City and works as a "trash-out" contractor in Florida, where he falls in love with a Cuban-American high school girl. What does Herb Score have to do with it?

Comic Book Pull List
Sam Kieth has been my favorite comic book creator since the release of the Maxx 20 years ago this month. From that point on, I built a collection around his work, primarily as a cover artist for Marvel Comics Presents and DC's Detective Comics but also for the first five issues of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman and an entry to Alien's mythos with Earth War (since renamed Female War).

Despite being away from comics for more than a decade, I went to the Chicago Comic Con in the mid-2000s and added more pieces to the collection, as Kieth had ended Maxx and gone on to write and draw a number of personal miniseries, such as Four Women, Ojo and Zero Girl.

Kieth remained busy in the intervening years since that brief sojourn into nostalgia and my full-blown return to comics last year. Aside from picking up new comics, I've continued to search for those back issues that represent holes in my Sam Kieth collection. (ZOMG, this is so nerdy, isn't it?)

All that is to say, Kieth just wrapped up a four-issue miniseries for IDW, called The Hollows, written by publisher Chris Ryall. While Kieth's art remains strong, he sure could have used a better writer for this story. Set in a future incarnation of Japan, which of course has been overrun by soul-sucking zombies, because we live in a world obsessed with the undead, the story follows a scientist trying to save a small community of bottom dwellers from certain doom. If it weren't for the clunky writing, the story would be a fun and heartbreaking romp through a new world set among giant trees, but alas the writing is clunky.

What are you reading, teammates? Let's talk about it in the comments ...


misszippy said...

I read Auster's Paper Moon and really liked it, so I'll give this one a go, also. And I love Bill Bryson, I really do. Favorite is "I'm a Stranger Here Myself." Try it.

B. Kramer said...

As far as I know, Paper Moon is not a Paul Auster novel. Perhaps you were thinking of Moon Palace? At any rate, my all time favorite work of his is the New York Trilogy.

I'll put your recommendation on my list.