Fruits Basket, Volume 1 by Natsuki Takaya.
If I were doing numbers for these books, this would have a "Not" in front of it. (I've decided that I'm too disorganized to number my reading posts.) Didn't like the art. Didn't like the bloggish margin notes about the author's new favorite video game. Didn't like any of the characters except the one I didn't believe in. Didn't like the fantastical elements. Didn't finish it.
I suspect I'm not the audience for this one. I'm also going to stop taking manga suggestions from my f-list unless they sound like something Mango Eater would like. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twelve times, I... what was that middle thing again?
The Arrival by Shaun Tan.
This is a beautiful and amazing book, but I can't imagine buying it for myself.
Maybe it's my prejudice for text (or maybe it's because I suck) but wordless art story books are a transient pleasure for me. I marvelled at this book when I read it, and you would, too. (No, seriously. You'd love it.) But even savoring the pictures, I read it in about 15 minutes. Twenty bucks is a pretty steep price to pay for a quarter hour of goodness.
What's the book about? Guess I should mention that at some point. It's a non-generic fantasy about a man who leaves his wife and daughter to emigrate to a new country where their lives will be better. (In this case, "lives will be better" = "their skyline won't be dominated by monstrous shadowy dragon-shapes")
This new country has strange architecture, strange foods, and a language he doesn't understand. This is exactly the sort of thing that fantasy can do well and Tan does just what he needs to do to sell the story. When the immigrant is offered strange food, the food is strange to the reader, too. The language in his new country is written in weird glyphs, the animals are like something out of a science fictiony cartoon. This new land is alien.
The people he meets, though, are as mundane as the people I work with. The bulk of the story concerns both his struggle to establish himself so he can bring his family over, and the stories of all the people who help him make his new life--all immigrants themselves with backstories of their own.
Did I mention that the story is told without any words? Great, great book.
Finally: Batman: War Drums
Yeah, I'm catching up on the last several years of Batman comics. Sue me.
Like most people with a friends list and a casual interest in comics, I've heard about Stephanie Brown (aka Spoiler), the young girl who became a less-than-capable crime fighter in Gotham City, was given a chance to be Robin (the first in-continuity female Robin ever) and was fired for not being good enough.
Yeah. I know.
I also knew that the character died shortly after, a victim of her own poor judgement. If that wasn't lame enough, she was killed by a much-loved supporting character, a dedicated doctor and selfless pacifist because she wanted to prove a point to Batman. Reports were that it was all total bullshit, but I had to take a sniff myself.
So I was curious as to how that all played out. And although I read the comics leading up to her time as Robin and then her post-Robin death, I got them out of order and had to go back to read her stint in the little yellow cape.
I have no idea why they wrote her the way they did. The stories were mostly fine, in the big-company-protect-the-franchise-don't-g
Willingham disappoints again.
Hopefully I'll have a novel to talk about next time. Enjoy your weekends.