22 January 2005

50 Books Begins

Oops! I haven't made a single "latest reading" post since the year began, have I? At least, not one for this year's books. Fortunately, I've been reading a lot of magazines lately, so I haven't gone through as many books as I might have. Here's what I've read so far:

  1. One Writer's Beginnings by Eudora Welty. I read this one to review for work. It's quite short, but really beautifully written. (You can read more of me blathering about how wonderful it is in my review.)
  2. No Place for a Lady by Barbara Hodgson. Sue checked this one out from the library, and I thought it looked interesting--it's about women travellers in . . . the 18th century, I think? I can't remember. Anyway, it was interesting, but rather shallow. By which I mean that Hodgson would introduce an interesting character, breeze quickly through her travels in a particular place (each chapter was on a different part of the world), and then move on to the next character. I get that she was trying to cover as many different women as possible, but I'd rather have had fewer women and more details. As it was, the stories felt very superficial, and it's a topic that, I think, would have benefitted from more in-depth coverage. But maybe it's just me. The writing was good, at least, I just still felt hungry after.

I also finished one book I'd started in 2004--Womansword: What Japanese Words Say About Women, which was just as interesting for showing how Japanese words are formed out of other words, as for its depiction of how women are viewed. Now I'm reading three non-fiction books at the same time, which isn't really conducive to me actually finishing any of them soon.

  1. Medicine Road by Charles deLint. I always like deLint's books. I'm not nearly the fanatic I once was, though. I'm enjoying this "series" (not really a series, but a bunch of related books--the first one was Seven Wild Sisters) more than I have his Newford cycle. I think they have more of what made me love his work in the first place. Which isn't to say I don't like the Newford books. I do, very much. Geh. I don't know what I'm trying to say. Maybe I should go back to bed.

And that's all the fiction I've read. Kind of sad. I started a big anthology of short stories, but I don't seem to be getting through it very quickly.

Sequential Art:
  1. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle by CLAMP. It's CLAMP, do I need to say more? This is an odd story of alternate-world characters from the Cardcaptor Sakura storyline, but so far I'm really enjoying it.
  2. Viz Sneak Peek by various. This was a freebie when I bought the Inu-Yasha movie DVDs. It's the usual mix of story excerpts from Viz books. There are a couple I'll at least browse through in the store, one I'll probably buy, and several I have absolutely no interest in (just in case you were beginning to think I'd read anything manga).
  3. Seraphic Feather: Crimson Angel (volume one) by Hiroyuki Utatane and Yo Morimoto. Hmmm. This wasn't a bad book, it just didn't really grab me. Plus there were way too many gratuitous panty shots. I can handle a few. Heck, I can even enjoy the odd one. But this book just overdid it for me. If the story was more gripping or the art more gorgeous, I could ignore it. It definitely has appealing elements, just not enough of them for me to keep reading.
  4. Usagi Yojimbo volume 5 by Stan Sakai. So I had to skip to volume 5 from volume 2, owing to the fact that our library system doesn't have volumes 3 or 4. Sigh. Still, Sakai's stories are self-contained, so it didn't matter too much (unless there turns out to be a subtle overall storyline, which there could well be). There was a lovely story about kites, plus the usual samurai rabbit action. Oh, and a very amusing Lone Wolf and Cub tribute called "Lone Goat and Kid."
  5. The Return of Lum * Urusei Yatsura: For Better or Curse by Rumiko Takahashi. I go this in a lot of Takahashi books off eBay. It's got the usual cute art and slapstick comedy (largely centred around botched romance--also a Takahashi staple). I'd have enjoyed it much more, I suspect, if I had read the earlier books. As it was, I sometimes felt a little lost about what was going on and who everyone was. Still, there was enough fun stuff that I didn't feel like I was wasting my time, and I'll probably get around to those earlier books eventually.
  6. Artbabe: Mirror Window by Jessica Abel. Short stories about art and realtionships and life in general. Nice art. Good writing. This was a nice change from weird manga, and I'll definitely be looking for more Artbabe.
  7. Rave Master volume 1 by Hiro Mashima. I got this from Selena's school Scholastic book order. I like to support the school library and encourage Scholastic to offer more comics. That said, Rave Master didn't blow me away. It was okay, and I think it might develop into a more involving story, but I really don't feel like I must eagerly await the next book.
  8. Queen and Country: Operation Stormfront by Greg Rucka and Carla Speed McNeil. You could file this under "comics for people who think they won't like comics." Then again, I'm sure lots of people who do like comics love this series. What I'm trying to say is that it's great spy fiction in graphic form, and anyone who likes spy fiction (or mysteries or suspense; or any of those things in movies or tv or whatever medium) would be missing out if they skipped this because it's comics. Anyway, I liked it.
  9. Chobits volume 5 by CLAMP. Finally, I got back to this series. I broke down and just bought volume 5 at the comic shop, instead of looking for it cheap on eBay. I really wanted to know what happened. So now I need volume 6.
  10. Inu-Yasha volume 20 by Rumiko Takahashi.

It feels weird sometimes, to go into a comic shop and buy nothing but manga. I have this peculiar notion that I shouldn't let everyone think I'm one of those women who just discovered comics during the big manga explosion (which, incidentally, is still going on and shows no signs of slowing down) and has never read, and probably never will read, any other kinds of comics. I fell like I should buy something not manga. My local comic shop never seems to have the titles I want, though. And anyway, most of them I'd rather have in trade format rather than pamphlets (ie. individual comics, also called "floppies"). And western tpbs cost more than manga. It's stupid to feel that way, I know. But I've been reading comics since before variant covers killed the industry. I was reading comics when manga in English was nearly impossible to find. Since . . . Oh, never mind. It just makes me feel old. (No, I'm not saying it's bad to be one of those women who just discovered comics during the big manga explosion, just that I'm not one.)

So. Like I said, I've been reading a lot of magazines instead of books lately. It seems to go in cycles. I've read various issues of Newtype USA, Anime Insider (the writing is pretty awful, but it's much less juvenile than sister publications Wizard and Toy Fare, and the stories are sometimes actually informative, plus Selena likes to cut out the pictures when I'm done), Skeptic, Skeptical Inquirer, and a few computer and gaming-related things. Oh yeah, and I'm trying to catch up on a year's worth of Geist (only 4 issues, fortunately).

I'm really starting to want to read science books again, too. Or maybe science magazines . . .

1 comment:

Sue said...

No Place for a Lady was on the shallow side, wasn't it? I may check it out again to peruse the bibliography for more in depth reading material.