Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mini Readathon: The readathon for people with reasonable expectations

I'm sitting here at my computer at 7:30 a.m. on a Saturday before even visiting the coffee fountain, dispenser of all life.

But that's the last unreasonable thing I'll do today, because the minithon is all about reading miniature books, eating miniature snacks, taking frequent social media breaks to see what everyone else is eating and reading, and doing so for a miniature period of time (eight hours . . . or less, for those of us who have a wedding to attend at 2 p.m. and/or just wander away at some point in a mini-snack-induced daze).

So what am I reading?

I was listening to a Literary Disco podcast the other day, and one of the hosts was talking about how he and his wife have started reading to their newborn baby to get her into a bedtime routine. Right now, they're doing The Wind in the Willows, and he talked about how surprisingly adult the prose is and how strange it is to revisit the book as an adult.

Then I went to Disneyland and hit up Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, which gave me the vague feeling that Jay Gatsby was partially modeled after a reckless amphibian, and that's just not a hunch you leave unexplored.

Perhaps we all aspire to be J. Thaddeus Toad. The waistcoats alone!

So that's all I have planned to read today, because having a stack of books at my elbow has never seemed to work for me. Although I do have several comics here that I might intersperse among the antics of besuited woodland creatures.

Onward and snackward!


Well, I didn't get very much reading done, on account of I had to go to a wedding ceremony midway through and didn't deem it wise to carry on reading during the ceremony.

But I did get through fifty pages of The Wind in the Willows and finish volume 1 of Manifest Destiny and consume pizza bagels and mini Oreos and a full-size bagel and a tiny can of Sierra Mist and two regular-size cups of coffee.

Pretty sure those are the rules.
Thanks for hosting, Tika!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Lazarus: Game of Thrones meets Wolverine meets...Mr. and Mrs. Smith? In any case, there's a salsa-dancing scene.

I haven't been finishing much of anything in the book department lately, but I binge-read the first three volumes of Greg Rucka's Lazarus series and give it two strong yet feminine thumbs up.

My introduction to Rucka's work happened when I was somehow trusted to copyedit his Han Solo adventure novel (coming out this year as part of Disney/Lucasfilm Press's Journey to the Force Awakens series, if you're interested in that sort of thing). Not only did he capture the essence of Han and Chewie in that story, but he wrote a killer female-character-who-isn't-Leia. I was intrigued.

Rucka has had a hand in almost every superhero comic property: Wolverine, Batwoman, The Punisher, Batman, Elektra, Wonder Woman. . . .  He has seventeen pages on Goodreads. You get the idea.

This original series is his newest project, and if it's the only thing of his you read you'll be doing okay for yourself.

The premise: At some point in our future, the world is divided among a handful of wealthy Families. The people who serve them, Serfs, are privileged above the Waste, which is everyone else. So there are no more states, no more countries, no more governments---just territories run by Families. Among the Families, there are alliances and feuds over contested territories.

Each Family has one member who's been given genetic enhancements and appointed to act as the Family's protector. This person, called the Lazarus, is a living weapon and is veeeeery difficult to kill, because he or she can regenerate. But the Lazari are not machines. They feel pain (so they feel like they're dying even if they don't often stay dead), and they have emotions and doubts that can lead to conflicting loyalties.

Which, indeed?

Forever Carlyle is the Lazarus of Family Carlyle, who rule over the western United States and northern and western Canada.

She's drawn like a cross between Gina Carano and the T-1000 and fights like a Spartan warrior who underwent strict martial arts training,but she's still believable as someone who could exist in our world.

Muscles and a conscience, imagine.
I don't love the overall art style, but Michael Lark is really great at drawing action. A fast-paced sword fight, let's say, can be really hard to follow in comic panels, but he makes it feel as seamless as possible when dealing with literal seams. If you let your eyes sweep across the panels, you can almost forget the separation.

That all might be enough to convince you to pick this up, but I could also tell you about the other female characters who exhibit strength in various ways, including as nurturers and villains. And the not one but two interracial couples. And the possibly gay character. And all the sexual tension between Forever and Joacquim, the Lazarus of Family Morray, who is even more handsome when the skin on his face hasn't just been melted off by an explosive.