lydamorehouse: (Default)
 This week, I read a lot of manga.  I stormed through My Hero Academia / Boku no Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi, reading volumes 2-8 in a matter of days.  That almost catches me up to everything currently out in official tankōbon, and the library let me know that volume 9 is awaiting me in the hold section. Last I checked this one is being actively scanlated and the pirate sites have up to chapter 158 or so. I have yet to decide if I'm a mega-fan.  I've been very burned by JUMP products (do not speak to me of Bleach or Naruto's endings. Other people blame the creators, but I blame the publishers. It's a writer thing.) 

I also ripped through the available chapters online (1-15) of its spin-off Vigilante My Hero Academia: Illegals / Vigilante Boku no Hero Academia: Illegals by Furuhashi Hideyuki / Beeten Court.  

Speaking of spin-offs, I also read Gangsta: Cursed (vols. 1-2)  by Kohske / Syuhei Kamu, which kind of sucked, but made me remember just how much I LOVED the original by Kohske-sensei.  I've reviewed all of these over at my manga reading blog, MangaKast, if you're interested to know what I thought of them.

I also got a chance to beta-read [personal profile] naomikritzer 's novel, currently titled Everyone Loves Cat Pictures.

Whew, I think that's it. I have one more manga upstairs, Not so Simple by Natsume Ono in my TBR pile, and I also watched the first episode of Elegant Yokai Apartment Life, which I think I'm going to continue as the anime I watch while doing dishes. 

You?  How'd you do this week?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 Did I read anything this week?  I'm actually not sure. I _do_ have a pile of things that I'm planning on reading, however.  Does that count?

What did I do INSTEAD of reading? I wish I knew. Part of this, I think, is getting back into the "Back to School" mode.  Mason was sick with a cold late last week (he missed school on Friday), and then Shawn promptly caught it.  So I've been doing a lot of nursemaiding.  

Ugh. Work just called. They wanted me to go into New Brighton's' branch tonight and work 5 to 8.  I probably should have said yes, but I work both tomorrow and Friday.  

Also? It's MasterChef's finale tonight.

I know this sounds stupid, but ever since Mason was very small we have, as a family, been fans of MasterChef.  It's the one network TV show we actually tune in for.  All three of us gather in the TV room upstairs and adjust the rabbit ears so that we can watch the show.  It's not even all that great. Most people would probably prefer The Great British Baking Show or Iron Chef.  Not us. We're faithful to Gordon Ramsey and his disappointed looks and rants about things that are "rawr." 

For once, too, the contestants left standing at the end are all weirdos.  There's one white guy, but he's fully tattooed, bleach blond, and heroin-addict skinny... and a super-odd, with very Italian-American from Brooklyn accent.  Currently, I'm rooting for Jason, an Asian-American guy who comes with a male partner, kind of BECAUSE he's gay (though he is one of the most cheerful people they've had on).  The other contestant is Eboni, a black woman from Chicago.  We like them all.  This is one of the few times where we won't be disappointed with whoever wins.

Skipping work for TV, though?  Probably I'm going to hell.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 I'm beginning to realize why I previously never participated in these. Okay, the honest truth is that I didn't entirely realize they existed, but, the other part is that, because I hang out with science fiction/fantasy fans who tend to be voracious in their reading habits, I always feel woefully under read.  

Once again, which is, as I have noted in the past, very typical of me, I did read a graphic novel.  I read volume 5 of Ten Count

I have on my TBR pile a couple of manga that I have actually been dreading reading.  My beloved manga Gangsta. had a spin-off called Gangsta.: Cursed.  I read the first few chapters when they appeared online, but I gave up on them because the format they were being pirated in was hard to read and, more importantly, they were so, so violent and bloody.  The mangaka wrote them, but she did not illustrate them.  Since they don't follow a character I much cared for, I let them go. But the library had the complete two volume run, so I thought: "Okay, I should be a completist and finally read these."  

And yet there they sit.

I will probably bite the bullet and read them next however.

Mason also really wants me to read Scarlet, which is the sequel to Cinder, which I listened to the audio book of years ago and liked. He's a big fan of the series, so I agreed to try to pick it up.  That's probably the big book I'll be reading next.  Since I work at the library today, I will probably troll Locus Magazine for more recommendations.

How about you?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 The weirdest thing about being a member of the IPF (International Pen Friends) is that occasionally, the people you reach out to feel compelled to write back to tell you they don't want you as a pen pal. Part of how IPF works is that, once you pay your membership fee, you're given a list of names and addresses. They're all also members of IPF, of course, but it's your job to write to each one of them and to basically try to be interesting and clever enough to provoke a response.  

With my first set of pen friends, I never mentioned being gay.  I mean, in all honesty, it's both a really huge part of my life and nothing much at all. Literally, all it means is that instead of writing 'my spouse, he', I write 'my spouse, she.' It's not like by coming out I'm hoping to write the sordid details of my love life in erotic detail.  But, at the same time, it has felt disingenuous to be silent.  So, with this mid-year list, I've been trying to just casually let it drop early.  

Very casually.

And, of course, I have no idea whether or not this recent rejection is because of that, or because, in fact, the person on the other end wanted to be clear that it was NOT that.  

Regardless, I find this compulsion weird. To go to the effort to send an aerogram?  (I honest-to-gods did NOT know those things still existed!) Just to say, "I won't be writing back"?  Why not just not write back. Most people don't, honestly. This is partly why I opted for the 15 name list.  Out of fifteen, I expected to end up with two or three decent, consistent pen friends.... and that seems about right.

It's also just kind of mean. I mean, I went to the mailbox yesterday and saw an AEROGRAM! I was like, "Oooh! What is??" and then it's all, "I regret to inform you that health issues keep me from being your pen friend. Best of luck."  

V. sad.

Ah, well. 

My foot is achy today, but I'm able to put more pressure on it. Before I head out to my usual Wednesday gathering, I'm going to take a couple more ibuprofen and try to stay off it. I know that I'm probably still pushing it. Sprains take FOREVER to heal.  But, of course, now that I HAVE to rest my foot, I suddenly want to paint the house and do all the projects!  That's just how it goes, isn't it?

Oh, and today is reading Wednesday, isn't it???
 
I'm a little more than a third of the way into Witches of New York by Ami McKay.  It's a dense read, so it's slow going.  I might be on this one for some time yet.  Otherwise... boy, it's been a tough week. I've been finishing up watching the anime of "Pandora Hearts," while I do the dishes. I've got about 5 more episodes left, then it's on to something else. I'll have to decide what. I think I have a To Be Watched list of anime that's about a mile long.

How about you? Reading or watching anything interesting lately? 

lydamorehouse: (swoon)
I think the ONLY thing I managed to read this week was SKIM by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki. It was a good, if a bit depressing. I mean things turn around by the end, but getting there was kind of rough.  Read more... )

But, yeah, I don't know what happened to me, otherwise. I started THE SUDDEN APPEARANCE OF HOPE by Claire North, despite the fact that I bounced out of her THE FIRST FIFTEEN LIVES OF HARRY AUGUST. I'm not feeling it so far, but I'm also not very far in. I will give it my traditional 50 pages to make or break.  

I know a lot of people who will slog through a book that they've started because they're just that sort: they're completists or stubborn or deeply optimistic (hoping it will turn around at some point!).  With my dyslexia, mild though it may be, I can't do that. If I'm struggling with getting into a book, that slows me down to a crawl and, because I'm also a serial reader, that means I'm not reading anything else.  

So, I've developed a litmus test.  If I'm still enjoying at 50 pages, I'll keep going. If I'm struggling, I'll still give it 50 to change my mind.  I do realize this means there are books I miss because they really pick up after page 150 or whatever, but see above. I just don't have that kind of time. I have give up books later than 50 pages, but 50 seems like a good amount of time for me to get used to a writer's voice or style, in case that's the only thing I'm cold to, you know?

What about you? Are you a stick to it no matter what person? Or do you have some arbitrary number of pages? Or do you just give up whenever? I know that Shawn, for instance, won't even give 50 pages if she decides the book is not for her for any reason. She reads really fast, though, unlike me, and, also unlike me, has several books going at once.  So, giving up on one does NOT necessitate hunting around for the next one (like it does for me.)

lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
i can't actually say it's been a slow reading week, since I plowed through the remaining 21 volumes of Pandora Hearts. I also read an on-line, one volume, one-shot yaoi called One Yen Man / 1-en Otoko as well as got through volume 2 of another manga called Bunny Drop last night, which I mentioned here previously (and I have volumes 3-6 on my TBR pile).

It's funny how, despite the number of pages that the above represents, I always feel like I've read NOTHING when I've only read manga.  That's kind of sad, because, obviously, graphic novels and manga are just as "real" reading as any traditional novel.  I don't really know why I buy into the idea that somehow they're 'lesser.' 

Speaking of my my TBR pile, on it is a graphic novel called Skim by Marika Tamaki / Jillian Tamaki, a traditional novel called The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North, the second collected volume of Bitch Planet, Bitch Planet: President Bitch by Kelly Sue Decconnick / Valantine DeLandro, and a graphic novel The Stoneman Mysteries: Book One by Jane Yolen, Adam Stemple / Orion Zangara.

We'll see how much of this I get through in a week.  I need to at least get though The Stoneman Mysteries since I told Twin Cities Geek that I'd review that one for them.  Adam is, of course, a local author and Twin Cities Geeks likes to highlight the local interest stuff whenever possible.  

Meanwhile, I still have a pretty intense case of the blahs.  I blame the weather and the Nazis.

Reading

Aug. 9th, 2017 08:43 am
lydamorehouse: (swoon)
 It's Wednesday already again. It was a good week for reading, probably because of our extended stay up at our friends' cabin.  So, stuff I read:

Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey. A book I didn't expect to like, but ended up falling into easily.  It's about a Russian-Canadian witch and berserker/werewolf/vampires (?) I'm not quite sure how to explain the Kin, and that's the part I figured that I'd find stupid, but I really didn't.  It's one of those pseudo-literary novels where it's kind of also about families, both blood and made.  I ended up enjoying it.  

Then, I read half of Emmi Itäranta's The Weaver, because I was hoping for a sequel to The Memory of Water, which I really loved. Alas, this is not what I was looking for and so am giving up on it.  It's just a little bit TOO poetic for me.

I also read a graphic novel called Just So Happens by Fumio Obata. It's about a Japanese woman who has moved to London to pursue a career in some kind of design work. She's struggling with settling in, and then gets the call that her father died in a hiking accident.  She returns to Japan to try to figure out if she still belongs there.  It's kind of a non-story, in that nothing is resolved.  Our heroine never entirely feels at home anywhere.  The art is pretty, though.  It's a fast read. 

I got through half of the Pandora Hearts manga volumes that I took out of the library. (I took out six, read three so far). Pandora Hearts by Jun Mochizuki is about... huh, how do I describe this thing? There's a rich/tragic little lordling named Oz, who gets caught up in a supernatural adventure, probably because he's the key to some mystery involving "the Abyss," and ends up in a contract with a devil.  I'm still not sure how I feel about this series. I watched the first 7 episodes of the anime on Hulu and am finding it compelling... enough. I think my problem is with the main character.  His daddy issues really just don't interest me, and my sympathy for royal dukes only goes so far.  I'm kind of the opposite of your average romance reader (at least the ones who seem to get a lot of books targeted at them, at any rate,) in that you really have to work overtime to get me to give ANY f*cks about rich aristocrats and their "tragedies."  Just slapping a title on a character does nothing for me--well, other than infuriate me. Luckily, our poor little rich boy has a companion that I like better. Sadly, it's turning out that he's a lost prince with a tragic backstory, too, so possibly there's no one in this story that will appeal to me. The only thing that's keeping me hanging on ATM is that there's a scene with the character I like (Raven) wherein his overlord accuses him of feeling "abnormally" towards Oz, which is Japanese code for gay, so here's hoping that Raven is queer AF.

Hoping a manga/anime character will turn out to be canonically gay never ends well, so probably this is an exercise in frustration all around.  Ah, well, I have nothing else to watch while doing the dishes currently, so I will keep with this.

You?
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
It's late for me, but I'm just back from work at the Maplewood Library. Plus, I am trying out my new computer, a Lenovo. I'm trying to get used to the keyboard. There is a funny positioning of the shift key. But, I'm sure I'll adjust. PLUS, it turns out that my Mac was fixable. My friend Patrick played around with it today and got it up and running. Hooray!

So, let's see, what have I been reading? I actually managed a real book the other day. I read Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel. It read really quickly, but the entire thing was mostly written as a series of interviews (and a smattering of journal entries and news clippings) instead of an actual narrative voice. I never quite decided how I felt about that. On top of that, there was also a very weird intrusion of the "male gaze." The lead scientist is a woman who has become convinced that the giant alien statue they're assembling (not a spoiler, this is revealed on the very first page,) is female. She gets really excited when they find the torso, because it has breasts. I object to none of this. What I found... unnatural was her long description of the statue's breast, using words like "perky" and saying things like, "she was likely the envy of all the other girl statues!" I won't go so far to say that no woman I know talks like this about boobs, because there are always exceptions, but this very much had the feel of those things I'm sure you've read where a male author describes a female character putting on her sweater and thinking to herself about the sexy contours of her body in long, loving detail. (See current Twitter storm over John Updike.)

I'm half way through the first volume of a josei manga called Bunny Drop by Yumi Unita, which I am enjoying so far. It's about a young salaryman who ends up adopting his grandfather's love child. I'm weirdly a sucker for these kinds of stories, where adults who normally don't deal with kids, suddenly have to. It's kind of trope in yaoi, actually.

I also started Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey. I'm not very far into it, but I think I'll enjoy it. Like Bunny Drop, it starts with a funeral, only instead of grandpa dying, it's grandma.  

That's me this week. You?
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 Oops, I forgot that yesterday was "What Are You Reading? Wednesday."  This week has been very weird for me.  But, enough of that.  I will simply move my Wednesday list to today!

I picked up a nonfiction book at the library called Gnosticism and Other Vanished Christianities by Richard Valantasis.  I've been interested in the Gnostics since reading Elaine Pagels, plus this one promised to talk about other wacky early Christian cults.  I'm about halfway through the book and I'm a little disappointed in the surface treatment of everything, but the this is a Belief.net publication, so I probably should have expected as much.

Otherwise, I've been doing my usual yaoi reading. I read After Morning Love by Fujii Mitori, which I actually liked better than most.  I feel like the official translator missed the boat with the title though, I think you'd get a slightly better sense of the plot if it were called, "The Morning After Love," just a very slight change that tells you that this starts with the classic, "Wait, why am I hungover? Who is in my bed?" and leads to romance.

But, I speak almost no Japanese, so, weirdly, no one has hired me to be a translator.

Speaking of Japanese study, I've been terrible about keeping up with it, BUT I started watching "Pandora Hearts" on recommendation and I actually had to pause at one point because I distinctly heard the hero ask, "Kimi wa?"  (Who are you?) Given my native-speaker Japanese teacher's reaction to someone offering 'kimi' as a word for 'you,' (he turned BEET RED and literally could not speak for several seconds. I had to be the one to tell the student, "Um, that's a little rude? You've shocked Tetsuya-sensei."), I thought--okay, either this person is extremely rude or... maybe we're supposed to presume previous intimacy, despite the fact he doesn't recognize this demon-woman?  

"Anata wa?" is even fairly rude for an opening gamut, in my understanding. I feel like a polite person would ask, "Dare desu ka?" (lit: "Who is?') leaving off any rude pronouns.... which are most of them, so there you go.

To be fair, this guy is freaked out, and anime heroes tend to be rude as a rule (at least in shounen). Ichigo, for instance, is not someone you want to learn Japanese from because he starts out using the pronoun "tamee" which is akin to shouting out 'Yo, a$$hole' to people you meet. But 'tamee' ...you hear it a lot in anime speech.  You hardly ever hear 'kimi' spoken (or rather I should say, *I* haven't noticed it as often since I started paying attention) except in love songs, where it seems to be used almost exclusively, because of the intimacy it implies. My gut sense of 'kimi' is that it's not the normal sort of word you'd use WITH A STRANGER.

I had a long talk about this with another friend of mine who is studying and eventually, with the help of Google, we learned that 'kimi' as a you-pronoun can be used by men of a high status when addressing an underling without being considered rude AF.  Apparently, in the right context, 'kimi' implies a strong hierarchy, and, thus, tells us a LOT about this character, in that he can presume that the person he's addressing--a STRANGER--is automatically and significantly below him in the social pecking order.  This fits with the character, in that he is presented as a lordling of some sort, though after this pronoun use, I'm going to have to assume PRINCLING of some sort, or possibly even THE prince of all the land.

Things you can glean listening to a program in a language you barely speak.... kind of fun. 

Not to put too fine a point on it, because I am absolutely NOT one of those anime fans who will lecture a fellow fan that subs (subtitles) are superior in every way to dubs (dubbed)--BUT, I will suggest to anyone who is able to handle /comfortable reading while watching to give subs a try once, if you never have, because I do believe that it is possible to pick up extra content subconsciously.  Obviously, the above is an example that only works for someone like me, who is trying to learn the language.  BUT, previous to this, I FELT things about some characters in "Bleach" based only on my impression of their voices--their inflection, etc.  Without knowing ANYTHING about Japanese, I picked up on the fact that one character had an unusual accent (Gin for those in the know) and that it was likely Significant.  I do not know what they did with Gin's voice actor in English.  Ideally, American/Western voice actor casting would have a native-speaker on staff consulting about regional and class accents. (Please don't pretend we don't have class accents in American English. You KNOW what an upperclass East Coast accent is compared to a dirt-poor Southern drawl...) I know likely don't have a person like that on staff, but in my ideal world they would, because this is the stuff I feel you get by listening to the foreign language often enough, even without ANY study.

That being said, if, right now, you're feeling like I just dissed you because you prefer dubs.....  Honey, no!  I am so happy you're watching anime!!  I would never, ever tell you that you MUST do subs. If dubs is what works for you, yay!  I watched all of Full Metal Alchemist and Black Butler dubbed and J. Michael Tatum (the voice of Sebastian in the English BB) is an amazing dude and I would FIGHT anyone who says he's not an awesome, seductive Sebastian!

Besides, if you've been watching anime long enough, there used to be things you could ONLY get dubbed.  I have no idea what the original Starblazers sounds like, but my anime fan cred is strong because, kids, I was watching that LITERALLY before many of you were born: in 1978.  Deslock was my first anime husbando. 

Wow, this turns into a long screed. My apologies.  Gomen, gomen....
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I didn't get a whole lot of reading done over this last week. First, I was busy prepping for class, and then, right after finishing all that, I read and critiqued a manuscript for the Loft's writing coach program. (If you ever have an extra pile of dollars lying around and want to hire me, here's how you can do it.)

Then, yesterday, out of the blue, I got a note from my agent asking if I have any other trunk novels that I might be able to polish up and send off to Tapas Media again.  (She seems convinced she can squeeze real money out of them). I sort of do, but in order to meet what they're looking for, I'm doing a lot of revision... kinda major revision, which might not, ultimately, be worth it. But, I mean, what else do I have to do? (I mean, besides fan fiction.)

But, despite all that, I did plow through three manga that I picked up at Quatrefoil Library when I was there for Gaylaxicon's book club reading of Precinct 13. So, I read:

Dining Bar Akira / Kuimonodokoro Akira by Tomoko Yamashita
Man’s Best Friend / Inu mo Akurekeba by Takashima Kazusa
Your Honest Deceit / Kimi no Tsuku Use Hontou (vol. 1) by Ajimine Sakufu, and one I haven't had a chance to review yet:
Bachi Bachi by Kijima Hyougo.

You?
lydamorehouse: (swoon)
 Over here in the U.S. we had this stupid* holiday that falls on THE FOURTH of JULY no matter what day of the week that turns out to be, and so I am utterly confused to discover today is Wednesday....

Did I manage anything?  One thing I have noticed about myself with these regular Wednesday check-ins is that, no matter how crappy a reading week I might be having, I have reliably read at least one or two volumes of some manga or other.  So, in fact, this week I have read:

Ten Count (Vol. 4) by Rihito Takarai. As I talked about in my extensive review of this over on MangaKast, this yaoi has to be the smuttiest thing my library is purchasing on a regular basis. It's chock full of seriously dubious consent and, while there ARE censor bars in place, they don't actually cover a whole lot of the graphic stuff up terribly well. NOT THAT I'M COMPLAINING. I'm just surprised.

Bloody Monday (Vol. 1) by Ryou Ryoumon/Kouji Magumi. I have not officially reviewed this one yet, but it's a fun combo of cyberpunk meets bio-engineered plague apocalypse story--or at least that's what volume one seems to be shaping up to be. Given my vague dislike of body-horror, I'm thinking I should probably flip through the next several volumes of this at the library before I decide whether or not to continue. This story, however, did have one of my most favorite EVER hacker moments, though.  Our hero's laptop with the super-secret intercepted transmission he's been trying to decode gets melted by the spy-villain, and he's super-bummed and the reader thinks, "Oh no! There goes all the evidence," but when the hacker's best buddy asks him about it he shrugs and is like, "I loved that laptop, man. I built it from the ground up. It's irreplaceable." And his friend is like, "DUDE THE SECRETS!!" Hacker is all, "Huh? Oh, I have multiple copies of that. One of them is even on the cloud. Do you think I'm STUPID???"  So that was awesome and a nice dig at the Hollywood trope of information somehow existing in a vacuum.  

I have a bunch of books around to try next, and I think I'll probably try Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal next? I just don't know if I'll be able to consume anything more dense than manga during Convergence week.  I will for SURE be reading a graphic novel called The Wendy Project because I got a review copy of it for my gig with TwinCities Geeks, which is due some time next week.  

You?

----
*stupid.  Okay, there's nothing inherently WRONG with the Fourth of July. I'm just not a huge fan of all the amateur firecrackers (the big ones are _fine_, but my neighbors' racket until 2 am TICKS ME OFF) and it's been painfully difficult to be anything resembling the traditional sense of "patriotic" since November, since what I love about my country is its IDEAL as a democratic republic that thrives on reasoned discourse.   :-P
lydamorehouse: (??!!)
Having been driving a lot on our vacation I didn't read a ton, but I did manage some graphic novels this week:

PaperGirls, Vol. 2 by by Brian K. Vaughan/Cliff Chiang,
For the Love of God, Marie! by Jadie Sarson,
and a manga called Scum's Wish/Kuzu no Honkai (Vol. 1) [I think, I read this on-line, so I'm not sure how far I am in the actual tankōbon. I got through all of them that were published on MangaReader, about 15, which I'm guessing is only the first volume.]

Interestingly, there was kind of 'the perils of promiscuity for women' theme in both For the Love of God, Marie! and Scum's Wish.  I gave up on Necrotech by K. C, Alexander. I wasn't in the mood for it, I suppose, also on the road and it was an inter-library loan so it needed to go back sooner rather than later. 

How about you? Manage anything fun?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 One thing I'm learning about myself is JUST HOW LONG it takes me to read a regular novel.  I'm still in the first half of Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers.

I did read a number of graphic novels/manga over the last week, though.  Because I got a new review gig with Twin Cities Geek that gives me access to a ton of different forthcoming titles, I was able to read:

The Circle by Damon Clark / Alyza Zherno. My official review is posted here: Creepy Art Busts Through Horror Clichés. I also read, but haven't yet reviewed Infinite Seven by Dave Dwonch / Arturo Mesa.

I also read Haikyu!! (Volumes 1 and 2) and I'm more than half way through volume 3.  The Saint Paul library has the whole collection of them, so I though I might as well read them all.  I have volumes 4, 5, and 6 all in my TBR pile.  Haikyu! is great fun to read, but the anime might be more compelling to anyone who has never read much manga.  I mean it's a SPORTS manga and super-duper shounen on top of that. But Mason is reading these along with me, so I'm going to get pulling them out of the library until we run out.

Books on my TBR pile:

An Accident of Stars by Fox Meadows
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

And I just got a notice from the library that I have a couple others waiting for me.  But, the good news is that we're about to embark on a road trip across the American West (we're going to Yellowstone) and I'm sure there will be a lot of time for reading at the various hotels we'll be staying at.  Hopefully, I will be able to report in from Wyoming or wherever next week that I got a lot more read!

How about you?  What was your reading week like?



lydamorehouse: (Default)
 Well, this was not a great week for reading for me for some reason.  I have a TON of stuff in my TBR pile, but very little that I can report having finished.  Here's what I did get done, however:

Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun (Volumes 5-7) by Tsubaki Izumi.

I mean, that's three volumes, but that's all I managed in a week.  I feel kind of dumb about that. But, like I said, I have a bunch of stuff that I'm anxious to start.  Here's what's sitting on my end table next to my chair in the living room waiting for me:

Haikyu!! (Volumes 1 & 2) by Haruichi Furudate.  
Lupin III (Volumes 1-4) by Monkey Punch
Oishinbo: A La Carte, Japanese Cuisine & Oishinbo: A La Carte, Ramen and Gyoza by Tetsu Kariya/Akira Hanasaki
Invisible Boy (Volume 1) by Hotaru Odagiri
Last Year by Robert Charles Wilson
Accident of Stars by Fox Meadows
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

All of these books, outside of the Lupins, are library books, so I'd better get cracking.  

I've started A Closed and Common Orbit, which is a sequel to A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, which I loved (with a few caveats. My main caveat being that, if you're the sort who really wants your science fiction to have high-octane plot, A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is not for you.  However, if you read fan fic and don't mind a travelogue with heavy characterization, this is the best book EVER.)  

I suspect I'm going to end up returning Last Year without cracking the cover.  I enjoyed Wilson's Affinities, but I'm just not sure about this one. Given that it's an interlibrary loan (and thus can not be renewed), I probably should have started it, if I wanted to get it back on time.  The yaoi manga Invisible Boy is probably going back, too, unless I decide to power through it in the next couple of days.  I could renew that one, but I've had it sitting here a long time and not been terribly drawn to it (the art style is very "wispy.")

Mason has already helped himself to Haikyu!! and I would like to catch up on these because I watched the first season of this anime and adored it. Who knew I had a space in my heart for SPORTS anime?  And this one is about volleyball of all things. But, it's so, so shounen that it's almost an accidental parody of all things shounen.  Look, the two rivals! They hate each other with a passion of a thousand burning suns, this pushes them to succeed, but WAIT, they must learn to work together on the same team!!  Can they overcome their rivalry to win?  

I picked up Accident of Stars which looks nothing like anything I would ever read because it is a Bisexual Book Award finalist. Speaking of interlibrary loan, I'm trying to get the other nominees through my library, too, because Bisexual Book Award! (I might have to try to pick up their YA books, too, though some of them are self-published....) 

The Japanese foodie books looked weird and interesting when I came across them on the St. Paul Public Library catalogue (which I was looking at while working at the Ramsey County Public Library!)  Lupin I picked up at Uncle Hugo's during their 20% off sale, because one of my favorite early anime movies was "Castle of Cagliostro," which I saw on a big screen at the Uptown Theater at midnight sometime in the 1990s, which features Lupin III.  They're really hard to read, like the art is both rough, and it honestly looks badly reproduced, but what the hey, it was 20% off.

So, that's me. Hopefully, I'll have more to report having READ next week.

How about you? What've you read? What are you looking forward to reading?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
As I mentioned yesterday, I actually got a lot of stuff read over this last week. I started and finished:

Novels:

WAYPOINT KANGAROO by Curtis C. Chen. The finish was as good as the start, IMHO. Kangaroo is a combination of deep space science fiction and James Bond spy thriller, only if James Bond was a little more like a real person, albeit a real person with a superpower (the ability to open a "storage pocket" into an alternate universe.) Generally, I found WAYPOINT KANGAROO to be a fast and fun read.

Manga:

Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun (Volumes 1-4) by Izumi Tsubaki. As I said before, I loved this anime. (I loved it enough that I actually wrote het fan fic for it as a treat for Yuletide last year.) The story is very cute. Our heroine Chiyo Sakura has harbored a crush on Umetarou Nozaki since middle school. She finally works up the nerve to make her love confession and blurts out, "I'm your number one fan." Nozaki takes this in a weird sort of stride and... gives her his autograph. Sakura later discovers that Nozaki has been writing a very popular girl's romance under a female pseudonym. When I try to explain the humor here to people less familiar with manga, I say, "It's about gender stereotypes. It's like finding out that the captain of the high school football team is secretly writing lurid romance novels for Harlequin. And, even though he acts like a total meathead, he's super good at it, Nora Roberts level!" Part of the charm of Nozaki-kun is that Nozaki is kind of a meatball. He's the Japanese equivalent, anyway. He seems to over-think every romantic situation with the eye of a romance mangaka, but he misses the true point EVERY TIME. I can not recommend this series strong enough, though if you don't read a lot of manga, I would the anime because it's complete at one season.

Then I read the first three volumes of Behind the Scenes!! by Bisco Hatori. Hatori-sensei is most well known for her series Ouran High School Host Club which I attempted to watch, dubbed, several years ago and bounced out of. It's SO FAMOUS, however, that every once and a while I thumb through the tankobon at the library and think, "I should read this." Well, I never did, but now I've read Behind the Scenes!! which has a similar start in that our hero, Ranmaru, really just wants to get through college with the least amount of notice. He's been keeping his head down until he accidentally crashes the science fiction film club's zombie movie set and ruins the scene. Of course they're under tight deadline, so the Art Squad (those responsible for props and make-up and the support for all the film clubs on campus) gang-press him into service as an apology/retribution. Ranmaru, who come from humble fisher folk, discovers a hidden talent to make the most out of limited supplies, a skill that the perpetually broke Art Squad desperately needs. I found the first three volumes passably entertaining. I'm somewhat confused by the "negative personality" trope that Ranmaru fits in--there is a lot of weeping and feeling helpless that I find vaguely off-putting, but like Ouran, there is a large, quirky cast of supporting characters that I like a whole lot better.

Netsuai by Naono Bohra, a single volume yaoi, about two step-brothers who fall in lust/love. The only thing this one has going for it is that it's short and smutty. There's an attempt at a storyline involving a rich, traditional family, but that was mostly an excuse to break the brothers up so that they could run back to each other's arms. I'm not a big fan of these kinds of incest/pseudo-incest storylines, but no kink shaming from me. You do you. And, for my own part, this one squicked me less because even though the younger brother constantly calls his elder step-brother 'nii-san' they aren't related by blood. Their father married the elder's mother, but that's the only connection. We see a scene of the elder brother arriving in-tow.

Deadlock by Aida Saki/Takashina Yuu. I read all the available chapters of this on-going... well, technically it popped up under "yaoi" on Mangago, but there's way more romantic tension than there is actual smut, I'd be tempted to call it a prison-themed boy's love manga. Actually, if you've always wanted to know what yaoi is like but you're super-turned off by all the NSFW sex? You could consider checking out Deadlock, because there isn't even an on-screen kiss in all the eight or so chapters available on-line, yet it's very much set up like one of the more plot-heavy yaoi. The story is of a Japanese-American (I love when Japanese writers try to write Americans, btw... and this whole thing takes place in a California prison) who was a DEA investigator, Yuuto Lenex, who is framed for his partner's murder. The FBI approach him with a deal--they commute part of his sentence if Yuuto can find the mysterious prison boss going by the name 'Corvus.' All Yuuto knows about 'Corvus' is that he's a white guy with a burn scar on his back. Cue entrance of hottie white guy cellmate, Dick. I kind of feel like there should be a joke here, but Deadlock takes Dick very seriously (despite an utter lack of lowercase dick.) I enjoyed it the way you do when you're looking for prison yaoi, but I don't know that i could recommend it to anyone who wasn't at least curious about what yaoi was like....

Last night I read Princess Jellyfish (Volume 4, 2-in-1) by Ahiho Higashimura, which continues the story of the female-only otaku commune and one crossdresser's valiant attempt to save the commune from demolition by developers. You know, the plot did not advance all that much, given how many pages I read (355.) In fact, I would bet that the story has not yet advanced beyond what is shown in the anime (at least from what I can glean from Wikipedia's episode synopses.) Probably the most interesting developments are Read more... )


EDITED TO ADD: I knew I'd read so much that I'd likely forget something!  I also read all of "As the Crow Flies" a webcomic by Melanie Gilliman, which was recommended to me by Naomi and which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND to you.  It's actually pretty easy to catch up. I managed it in one day.  The link will take you to the last panel, but you can either go to the archives and start at the beginning or used the big arrow to take you back to the first one.  "As the Crow Flies" is the story of Charlie, a young African-American girl, who has been drawn to attend a women-only Bible retreat. She not your typical Bible thumper, and neither is this retreat, but Charlie deals a lot with the underlying racism in the idea of 'purifying' as 'whitening' and generally wrestling with being a feminist (queer?) and a Christian.  It's a very pretty webcomic, too, with colored pencil art.  Absolutely worth checking out.


Okay, I think that's everything. I suspect next week will be much more sparse. Not only am I working both tonight and tomorrow afternoon, I'm also desperately trying to finish up this proposal package AND our friend John Jackson is coming to stay with us over the weekend. I think I'll be lucky to read a few short one-chapter yaoi!

But the books I have in my I-would-if-I-find-the-time pile:

LAST YEAR by Robert Charles Wilson (novel)
READER: Book One of Sea of Ink and Gold by Traci Chee
Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun (vols. 6 & 7) --I'm waiting on 5 from St. Paul Library (manga)
Invisible Boy by Hotaru Odagiri (yaoi/manga)

I also put in a request at the St. Paul Library for Haikyuu! because I saw they had them and that's another one where I enjoyed the anime, but have never read the manga.


How about you? Read anything good over the last week?
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I managed to finish an actual (non-graphic) book and get halfway through another one! Go me!

I finished COMPANY TOWN by Madeline Ashby, which I liked a lot all the way to the last... oh, I dunno 50 pages or so? The action took a sudden uptick and the narrative got kind of... sketchy? Sloppy? It felt like it was missing critical bits of connective tissue. We'd jump from one scene still reeling from the events there, and be knee deep in another before really having a sense of resolution from the first moment, you know? Then, when it looks like everyone has sacrificed for the greater good, there's a plot twist that hinges on--and I'm not making this up!!--magical sex. (Not literal magic, but, like, 'whoops' we forgot the condoms so now I have your nano-bot superpower, too, just in time to save my life!)

All that being said, I liked the first part of the book a lot. Our main character Hwa, (Go Jung-Hwa) is a bodyguard for the United Sex Workers of Canada on one of the last remaining oil rigs/floating towns. The company town is being bought out by a new owner who is going to shift the industry to nuclear power. Hwa has Sturge-Weber Syndrome and, so, unlike most people, she's completely un-augmented. After a chance encounter, she ends up working for the new owners of the town. I think the thing I found compelling in the first part of the novel was the tension between Hwa and her new world. She's poor; the new owners, her bosses, the Lynch family, are über-rich. They're so augmented they're nearly cyborgs; Hwa is flesh and bone, and flawed, at that. That made for some compelling scenes/tension, IMHO. Plus, Hwa is badass.

I'm half-way through WAYPOINT KANGAROO by Curtis C. Chen, and enjoying it so far. The novel follows Kangaroo, a interstellar spy, who has a secret superpower: the ability to open up his own, private pocket universe. What I'm enjoying about Kangaroo so far is that he's kind of an anti-Bond (he keeps screwing up, is awkward with the ladies), while still having all of the fun parts of a James Bond-type character (speeder chases, Sherlock-level people/observation skills). Plus, what's not to love about James Bond in space? I also love the the pseudo-plot point, which is that Kangaroo has been sent on "vacation" to keep him out of the way while the spy department is audited, and Kangaroo SUCKS at taking it easy. (I say pseudo-plot, because it's clear that Kangaroo has stumbled into a much bigger plot.)

It's not hard to imagine that James Bond would, in fact, be terrible with downtime. And you hardly ever see that sort of thing in movies--high-adrenaline people having to deal with the fact that life is not all car chases and shoot 'em ups, so it's nice to see it explored in a novel. In that way, WAYPOINT KANGAROO almost feels like fan fiction. Fan fiction does this sort of thing a lot, i.e. asks the reader to imagine what happens when super spies have no urgent problem to solve? What happens during the downtime? Can a character like James Bond ever relax? Who is the spy when s/he is not wearing the 'persona,' the 'legend'?

So, I can't vouch for the ending of this one, but half-way through it's still quite engaging. Of course, I would have said that about COMPANY TOWN, too.

Things on my TBR pile still:

The St. Paul Public library finally coughed up volume 1 of Monthly Girl's, Nozaki-kun by Izumi Tsubaki. I started reading that, actually, but am finding the format (a series of self-contained, 4-panel shorts/one-shots) a little hard to adjust to, when I'm used to the more traditional storytelling of a manga. Luckily, I'm familiar with the anime, so I suspect when I get into it, I'll be able to rip through it pretty quickly. The art is lovely, actually, so that will help.

The other thing I picked up is the first three volumes of Behind the Scenes!! by Bisco Hatori. The story appears to follow the classic lost soul--Ranmaru Kuriso--who has spent his life apologizing for being in the way. He's drifting through his first semester of college, trying to keep his head down and away from people, when he finds himself in the way again. This time, he almost literally stumbles into the film club's shoot of a zombie horror movie. The loud, brash back stage crew adopt him. Wacky hijinks ensue. I expect that hapless Kuriso will also discover a secret superpower regarding prop construction or otherwise figure out that the back stage crew are "his tribe." Possibly there will be romance, as this manga is published by Shojo Beat.

Dear gods, do I actually have two shojo series right now?  Yes, yes, I believe I do!  How about them apples.

So, what are you reading?


lydamorehouse: (Default)
I kind of feel like an idiot that I only just discovered that on both Dreamwidth and LiveJournal, Wednesday has been a designated "What are you reading?" day for... well, probably since forever, for all I know.

I'm going to try to remember to participate, because I love reading other people's posts about their reading lists, even though lately I have been having a hell of a time consuming entire novels. I don't know if this problem has to do with mood, my dyslexia, the political situation in America, or my attention span. But, whatever causes it, I tend to ride it out by reading a LOT of graphic novels. So, since last Wednesday, I have read:

Princess Jellyfish (Volumes 2 & 3) by Akiko Higashimura: It should probably be noted that I read the two-in-one volumes of both 2 & 3, which actually brings me up to volume 6 of the traditionally packaged tankōbon. Princess Jellyfish is the story of Tsukimi, a nerd obsessed with jellyfish, who lives in a female-only commune. Her life becomes topsy-turvy when she mets Kuranosuki, the son of a high-powered politician, who likes to cross dress. The plot basically revolves around three basic questions: will the commune get sold out from under the otaku women in order to make way for a high-rise development? Will the others in the commune figure out that Kuranosuki is actually a man? And will Tsukimi fall in love with either Kuranosuki or his dorky elder brother? Princess Jellyfish is josei (basically: written for an older female audience), so, despite these romantic elements, I'm not automatically expecting a HEA. I have some caveats/reservations before I would recommend Princess Jellyfish, in particular around how 'performing femininity' seems to net the nerd girls more positive results than when they're being their authentic selves...(and I HATE that message and that trope). BUT, so far, there's enough progress in the 'hey, nerd girls have useful skills/inner beauty too!' counterpoint that I'm willing to roll with this and enjoy its whacky ensemble cast. A lot of people chimed in when I posted about this on MangaKast, because the anime is apparently VERY popular, despite there being only one season and it having been produced some time ago.

I read a number of one-shot and single volume yaoi on Sunday while I was waiting for the dozens of small batches of flieschkueckle to fry. I read Ace no Kyuujitsu by Nishida Hagishi (about a baseball star that hooks up with a cruise ship captain) and Host is Down by Nishin Matsumi (a one-shot/single chapter story of an android seemingly alone on a derelict ship).

The things I have in my queue/TBR pile right now include:

Manga:

Nozaki-kun Monthly Girls
' by Izumi Tsubaki. I loved this anime and, when I saw that the Saint Paul library had copies of the manga, I decided to try reading it as well. The title character Nozaki is a high schooler who also has a "secret" life as a shojo (girls' romantic) mangaka. I have volumes 2-4, because... libraries. But, I'm not sure that's going to stop me from reading these, since I know how the story starts thanks to the anime.

Books:

Waiting for me on the hold shelf of Ramsey County's Roseville branch are:

Company Town by Madeline Ashby
The Reader by Traci Chee
Waypoint Kangaroo by Curtis C. Chen

So, that's what I'm reading and hoping to read... How about you?





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