Written by: Alan Moore
First line: ...And so...*koff*...that's the story.
Why you should read this book: What the story lacks in sense and meaning, it makes up for with ghosts, swamp creature spawning, dinosaur attacks, and a lot of gratuitous robot Nazi chicks in bikinis. Basically it's a distillation of a bunch of awesome/awful pulp fiction tropes so beautifully bottled that it doesn't have to follow any sort of logic. Includes the merest nods to Jules Verne, H. Rider Haggard, and the earliest history of superhero comics, but only in a way that's completely incidental to the little fantasy presented here.
Why you shouldn't read this book: Certain things, to you, are sacrosanct, and those things include novels you read when you were a kid and characters out of history.
Friday, May 22, 2015
Written by: Alan Moore
Written by: Art Spiegelman
First line: Summer vacation.
Why you should read this book: As book II opens, '80s era Vladek has just been left by his second wife, while '40s era Vladek has just been sent to Auschwitz, and Art continues to piece together his father's evolution and the blurring of lines between then and now in the mind of his father. The author's frustration with his father, who passed away between the publication of these two volumes, continues to mount, as Spiegelman desperately tries to empathize with the man who, he feels, has made his own life more difficult. There's no real resolution here, as emphasized by the point in the book when Vladek says "And here my troubles began," along with the his insistence on the last page that he and Art's mother "lived happy happy every after" despite the fact that they are both still mourning Anja's death by suicide over a decade earlier; there is only the acknowledgement that the living choose whether or not to continue living, and how to deal with suffering.
Why you shouldn't read this book: There are no happy endings for Holocaust survivors, apparently.
Written by: Art Spiegelman
First line: It was summer, I remember.
Why you should read this book: Still the only graphic novel to win a Pulitzer, this powerful memoir intertwines the story of young Vladek Spiegelman's ordeal living through the early days of World War II, and the tale of his adult son, decades later, struggling to understand the angry and difficult man his father has become. The simple metaphor of Jews as mice and Germans as cats does little to dehumanize the triumphs and increasing struggles of the protagonists, for whom basic survival becomes a full time occupation. Potent and heart-rending, this is a serious work of literature wrapped in black and white drawings.
Why you shouldn't read this book: I personally don't read Holocaust literature after the sun goes down, because it gives me nightmares.
Written by: Jaqueline Woodson
First line: I am born on a Tuesday at University Hospital/Columbus, Ohio,/USA--/a country caught/between Black and White.
Why you should read this book: This lovely, award-winning autobiographical novel in verse examines the difference between north and south, black and white, age and youth, freedom and oppression, family and stranger, and a hundred other dichotomies as seen from the eyes of a young girl. Little Jackie seeks to understand the past and find order in the present in order to grow into her own future. Great first person recollections of family relations, the civil rights movement, growing up, and finding oneself.
Why you shouldn't read this book: No sympathy for Jehovah's Witnesses.
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Written by: Joe Keatinge
First line: Can we go home now?
Why you should read this book: Kate Kristopher has given up the life of adventuring that she inherited from her father: she's tired of chasing and being chased by monsters while staring into the complex chasm of reality. Her twenty-seventh birthday is also the ten-year anniversary of her father's death, and all her plans to live the quiet life of a professional photographer are disrupted when she is attacked by a bunch of scimitar-wielding ghosts and a mechanical man while visiting her father's grave. Suddenly, everything she thought she knew about her family and her personal history is shaken, stirred and turned upside-down, and it doesn't seem to matter that Kate's given up the life, because the life is not about to give her up.
Why you shouldn't read this book: You expect your father's secrets to stay buried.
Written by: Chuck Dixon et al.
First line: The Zamoran dawn sheds crimson tears of a rebellion met with doom.
Why you should read this book: Fighting, death, thievery, death, sex, death, magic, death, betrayal, death, monsters, death, and more fighting, and more death. I should probably feel guilty about how much I enjoy slipping into the world of Conan, a world in which one man defeats gods (sometimes on a daily basis) and survives impossible odds every single day. Conan lives by a code, and while it wouldn't get you or me very far in our world, in Conan's world it always makes sense and it always ends with Conan surviving.
Why you shouldn't read this book: You demand accountability in your fantasy fiction.
Written by: Daniel Pinkwater
First line: Irving and Muktuk are polar bears.
Why you should read this book: If you appreciate Daniel Pinkwater's zany brand of storytelling, you will enjoy this utterly ridiculous tale of two bad zoo-dwelling polar bears who are not to be trusted, but are still, for some reason, allowed out of the zoo to attend private parties. An altercation with a small white rabbit leads to bodily harm and eventually to the bears accidentally behaving themselves for an entire night. Very silly stuff for kids who like silly stuff.
Why you shouldn't read this book: You don't have the sense of a humor of a seven-year-old.
Written by: Jackie Morris
First line: My dragon is made from the sun and the stars
Why you should read this book: It's simply gorgeous. Every page showcases a different dragon and its human companion, along with a simple sentence describing that dragon. Very magical and lovely.
Why you shouldn't read this book: You don't want a dragon.
Written by: Judy Sierra
First line: One blustery morning when frosty winds blew, When families stayed home, and when field trips were few, The midwinter doldrums arrives at the zoo.
Why you should read this book: It's a book of upbeat silliness about cabin fever and the restorative power of music. The old trope of "Let's put on a show!" gets revived by a bunch of talented zoo creatures who realized that their seasonal affective depression can be cured by intensively rehearsing for a musical, which they perform before the human audience that had abandoned them when the weather became inclement. With bouncing rhymes and whimsical Marc Brown illustrations, it's a good read-aloud selection for little people.
Why you shouldn't read this book: You believe that zoos are immoral holding pens for helpless animals who should run free.
Written by: Allen Say
First line: Yuriko came to stay with her father on Thursday that week.
Why you should read this book: It's a wonderful examination of identity in young children, with intersecting themes of divorce, race, culture, and artistic integrity. When a blonde Japanese-American girl brings her baby picture into school, her peers' reactions force her to confront the binary aspects of her heritage. A seemingly unimaginative art assignment provides the catalyst for her father to help her figure out how to reconcile who she is with who the world asks her to be.
Why you shouldn't read this book: You rub your chopsticks.
Written by: Brad Melzer
First line: "Any idea what's in it?"
Why you should read this book: It's generally considered a game-changing comic, a murder mystery that recasts familiar characters in new roles and exposes the secret realities of public images. I picked it up because a lot of people seemed to be referencing it and I felt that I ought to know what revelations it contained, only to realize two-thirds of the way through that I had already read it, but that it hadn't made enough impact on me that I recalled any part of the story. It seems like a reader would have to be fairly well-versed in the nuances of the DC universe to take full advantage of this book.
Why you shouldn't read this book: You don't follow Justice League in any way.