23 May 2004

44/50 Books -- 15/50 Graphic Novels

So I finished another of my library books, and 50 grows ever closer. Maybe I will have to make separate lists for fiction and non-fiction. I'll have to get cracking on some fiction, though. Now, where'd I put Dracula? I'm supposed to be reading Dracula.

  1. Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life by Stephen Jay Gould. More on science and religion. I kind of have mixed feelings about this book. It was well-written and well-argued, as is usual for Gould. And he does have a point--if religion and science each stick to their own domain, there is no conflict. But I still don't think religion is the place to look for moral guidance, primarily because I don't agree with the moral guidelines espoused by most religions (the big ones anyway). And I find that most religions (again the big ones, anyway) have fundamental things encoded in their scripture that I just can't agree with (okay, my main objection is with Christianity's historical position on women--and yes, misogyny is in the Bible, both Old Testament and New--and the "function" of the planet (as a resource for "man" to exploit). I know, of course, that not all members of all religions suscribe to all their religion's historic hoo-ha, but I can't help but think that with some of those elements being so pervasive in the background that . . . Oh, crap, I can't make this sound like it does in my head. And anyway, none of that's in this book. To be fair, Gould says that religion is one place to look for moral guidance, and not the only one. I just don't think he made that point strongly enough. But then, that wasn't the point of the book. So I should just shut up.

Well, I didn't mean to go off on such a weird tangent (and I especially didn't mean to be unable to put my thoughts into words). There was one quote in the book that really struck me:
We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way.

And I have two graphic novels to add, because I missed one in my last list.

  1. Sei: Death & Legend by Sho Murase. I picked this up because of the gorgeous art. And it really is gorgeous. Not perfect, mind you, but how often do you get perfect art, anyway? The story is lovely, too: a fable of love and death and gods, based on Japanese folklore/mythology. But the writing, alas, was really disappointing. Especially the inane dialogue poor Inari was given. Inari's one of my favourite deities (how can you not like a god/dess who's associated with foxes?). And there were some really cringe-inducing spelling and grammar errors--ones that would have been easy to fix and would have been caught be any halfway competent copyeditor. I wonder if maybe the folks at Image could've given it a read before they published it. I know it's an independent book, which means the creator's supposed to do all that, but it doesn't reflect well on the publisher. But I could even have overlooked that, if it weren't for the criminal font abuse. I could deal with the different fonts for different characters (though it could have been handled a little better; but I don't have the energy to go into detail), but the constant switching in font size was too much. Perhaps the creator meant to indicate different volumes of speech, but in that case there should be one default size, one smaller for (very occasional) whispering, and one bigger for (very occasional) shouting. And maybe that's the case here; I didn't count. But anyway, the creator may have heard the voices at different volumes, but I just found the font size shifts annoying (and it happened way too often). Phew. That said, I did like the book overall, and I will look for more work by Murase. I just wish people would realize that when you're doing words and pictures the words are just as important. Actually, sometimes they're more important. But anyway . . .
  2. Mobile Suit Gundam: Blue Destiny by Mizuho Takayama (created by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Hajime Yadate). Yup, more manga. I haven't read any other Gundam books, or seen any of the anime, but the library had this one and I thought it looked like fun. And it was. Big robot (er . . . mobile suit) fighting action fun. Lots of shooting and giant swords. I think I finally figured out what was going on, and it was a neat idea, though I could be wrong about the whole thing. But anyway, fun giant robots and stuff.

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