Sunday, September 30, 2007

Amy Reads the Week (of September 30, 2007)

And it’s here, Gentle Reader, finally! The end of September, and thus the precipice of Fall. October, the Reads’s favorite month of the year. Sweaters, hot tea, leaves changing color and falling—perhaps too much, as our Recent Forays into the Garden can attest! But We Reads have cleaned out our rock garden, have pruned back some of our plants, collected garden salsa peppers, and sweet peppers, and watched the sad demise of our tomatoes and basil. But Fall, yes, Fall is coming to the South.

And with it, of course, Fall Lineup. I’ve already pointed to the wealth of great new shows which are, thus far, Worthy of a Second Watch: Journeyman, Chuck, Reaper. Add to that Life, and take away Moonlight, which This Humble Author must agree with the majority of the reviews: I liked this show Much Better when it was called Angel.

But We Reads have been watching *and* reading, and rising to the top of the Reads’s Reading List is Chelsea Cain’s Heartsick which is utterly brilliant and Quite Smart Indeed! It reminded me a lot of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects, but not in an “imitation is the greatest form of flattery” sort of way. Rather, the utter helplessness of the situation, the characters, the strange oddities, all of it added together to One Fantastic Read! Ms. Cain is an author on my Watch List, as I Quite Adored Confessions of a Teen Sleuth, her Nancy Drew "exposé."

Also completed: Absolute Boyfriend #4, an odd little Manga by Yuu Watase, Wicked Dead: Lurker, a YA horror by Stefan Petrucha of the Nancy Drew graphic novels fame. Next on the docket: Dexter in the Dark, the latest Dexter novel by Jeff Lindsay, Exit Strategy, the contemporary thriller by Kelley Armstrong. Coming soon from a pre-order near We Reads: White Tiger: A Hero’s Compulsion, the graphic novel by Tamora Pierce and Tim Liebe, Winds of Marble Arch, the short story collection by Our Beloved Connie Willis, 20th Century Ghosts, the short story collection by Joe Hill.

But the Most Important Consequence of this past week has been My Return To Comics. Yes, it’s true, Friends: This Humble Author read several comics this weekend, and has lived to Tell The Tale! Because I am So Behind, I offer you Reviews in Brief, as many of these comics will be Old News for my Constant Readers, I’m sure.

Batman #666-#668 - I am Ever The Fan of locked-room mysteries, and this one is No Exception. I adore the idea of Batmen from Around the World, banding together to solve a classic noir plotline. So Sayers, so Christie, so Poe, so Carr. And, of course, bonus Batman. I have yet to pick up #669, but I will, forthwith.

The Flash #232 - I am So Very Happy to have my favorite comic book family back, Friends! The Park-Wests were strong as spouses; as a family of parents and children, they are unstoppable.

New Avengers #34 - I love the pairing of Doctor Strange and The Night Nurse, who is one of This Humble Author’s favorite minor characters, Marvel or otherwise! Further, I love how this team is coming together in ways the other Avengers did not. As Mr. Reads and I watched the animated film on Doctor Strange this weekend—and it was surprisingly well done, Gentle Reader!—it has been a bit of a Stephen Strange weekend overall.

Teen Titans #50 - I Must Confess, Gentle Reader, to loving Mr. McKeever on Teen Titans. He brings a certain joy and light to the title that, paradoxically, revels in its darker moments. Well done, sir! I have not yet picked up #51, and I am curious to see where it takes us.

Walking Dead vol. 2 and 3 - Yes, I know, these are graphic novels, but I recently picked up this series and am enjoying it immensely.

Y the Last Man #58 - My heart is broken, Friends. That’s about all I can say.

Eagerly awaiting: Astonishing X-Men, Runaways, and Gail Simone’s run on Wonder Woman, which is Just Around the Corner!

More reviews soon, Friends, as I continue to catch up on my comics reading! Until then, please let me know how your Fall Lineup is faring.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fall Lineup Week #2

It's been a Very Long Day, Gentle Reader, and Mr. Reads's car, ever the ornery beast, has been Particularly Troublesome the past few days. So much so that We Reads have woken up even earlier than Pup Reads to bring Said Troublesome Car into the shop, the past two days, to the tune of an obscene amount of monies.

That being said, we also have experienced the first half of Week Two of Fall Lineup, and there are some good, some so-so, and some already dropped from the DVR schedule.

The Good
The cream, so far, is Journeyman, which I didn't expect to enjoy as much as I did. I've liked Kevin McKidd's work for Some Time Now, ever since watching Dog Soldiers a few years back. This show takes what could be a rather lackluster and familiar plot and turns everything on its head. What's more, I care about my characters, and that's a remarkable thing to accomplish in one pilot! The other surprise contender is Chuck, which again, is much smarter than I expected it would be. That, Friends, makes This Humble Author Very Happy Indeed!

The So-So
I must confess, Gentle Reader, to being a Bit Disappointed in Bionic Woman. The pilot just hasn't wowed me the way I anticipated, and believe me, I've anticipated this show for Quite a While. Too much happened in one episode, and I felt constantly adrift in a show that never allowed me a chance to know and then sympathize with my characters. Now, I fully expect for it to get Better, and I will keep you apprised over the next few weeks.

Dropped from the DVR Schedule
K-Ville, as I mentioned last week, failed to impress or even interest We Reads. I don't know if I can blame this solely on my New Orleans heritage, or on the lackluster writing of the show.

Saved on the DVR
See above regarding Mr. Reads's vehicle, and you then will understand why we haven't had a chance to watch the season premiere of Heroes or Life yet. But as soon as I watch them, Friends, I will Let You Know!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Amy Reads the Week (of September 23rd, 2007)

Welcome, Gentle Reader, to the new day and time for my weekly column! Fridays had become too problematic and stressful, Column-Wise, so I will see how Sundays work out. Please let me know what you think!

I must be honest, as Constant Readers of This Blog might have noticed the steady decline of posts, particularly those comic-related. I Do Apologize, Friends, but this past month has been, personally, academically, emotionally, professionally, Rather Busy. But this weekend afforded me Some Time to catch up on my comics reading, and what I read, First and Foremost, were Minx titles.

Three of them, in fact. Three months of Minx titles that had been waiting, patiently, at My Local, and while I picked them up last weekend, I promptly fell sick this week, and any spare time afforded by my schedule was spent in the Recuperation Process. While I still recover from a cold that has settled, Quite Stubbornly, in my chest and throat, I am feeling Much Better, and less feverish and delirious, as was the case Tuesday last!

Confessions of a Blabbermouth, Clubbing, and Good as Lily were on the docket, along with a bonus third volume of Kat and Mouse, the remainder of Mike Carey’s Vicious Circle (which Poor Mr. Reads has waited less-than-patiently for me to finish!), and issues of the new Wonder Girl and the current Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Several titles which all, in Some Way or Another, deal with the sometimes troublesome lives of adolescent and teenaged girls. As you might remember, Gentle Reader, this is a subject I am Quite Interested in, not only as a former adolescent and teenaged girl myself, but also as a former teacher of said girls, and a possible future parent of said girls. I’ve a goddaughter, too, and Mr. Reads and I are Greatly Concerned with her Happy and Healthy Upbringing outside of the safety of the familial sphere. Also, too, her Happy Comic Book Upbringing, and we supply her with Spider-Man, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman paraphernalia at Every Opportunity.

But as DC’s Minx line is an imprint particularly concerned with young female readership—it is, it seems, after all, the Reason for the Read!—it seems Obvious that the Subject Matter should be Young Woman Friendly. Some titles do this better than others, of course. Plain Janes rises to the top, as cream does, followed closely by Re-Gifters and Confessions of a Blabbermouth. All three of those titles seem to understand, and Understand Well, the particular concerns of adolescents and teens, and most importantly, how far to Push the Envelope. Confessions of a Blabbermouth has the unique perspective of a teenaged woman herself, as Mr. Carey’s daughter, Louise Carey, is one of the authors.

I say brava to Ms. Carey, and bravo to Mr. Carey (with whose works I have spent much of my weekend!) for such a creative partnership, and bravo to DC for pushing it forward. But, and I confess this hesitantly, Gentle Reader, as I do not believe that Only Women Can Write Feminist Literature, but, with that said, I wish there were more Minx lines written by women. As Minx seems to be an imprint aimed at young women, and an imprint that seems to want to put forth, More Often Than Not, strong, progressive, confident young female characters, I’m afraid that so many male writers on such an imprint might send a different message. But then, This Humble Author always wants to see More Diversity of gender, race, sexual preference, love-of-raspberry-cheesecake, among other things in Comic Books, and among Comic Writers, in particular.

Alas, Friends, I wish I could discuss this with you further, but the night grows late, I am still ill, and Robot Chicken airs shortly before my (much needed!) bedtime. Instead, I ask of you, Constant Readers: what are your thoughts on the Minx line?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Briefest Pop Culture Update

Forgive my brevity, Gentle Reader, but sometimes it is the soul of both wit *and* my access to popular culture. Suffice to say, I have dipped my toe Very Briefly back into my comic book and television world, and I had to share a few thoughts with you.

1) Wonder Woman Fighting Nazis+Gail Simone=One Ecstatic Amy Reads
Gratitude, Kalinara and Newsarama for the solicitous information.

2) Wonder Girl+3 Minx titles+Booster Gold Issue 2/Finally Acquired from Our Local=One Happy Amy Reads
More detailed reviews soon, but Mr. Reads and I finally--finally, Gentle Reader!--managed to pick up our pull list from the past several weeks.

3) Fall lineup+DVR+Office Season 3 DVD set+30 Rock Season 1 DVD set=Comfortable Sloth at Chez Reads
Mr. Reads and I both have been Under The (Proverbial) Weather, and so much television has been watched, and is in preparation for watching. Already removed from the DVR list: K-Ville, which I hope does Very Well, but as a New Orleans Native, I could not sit through for various reasons.

New Jeff Lindsay+new Mike Carey+new Chelsea Cain+Dissertation=One Very (!!!) Busy Ms. Reads!
Huzzah for new releases from favorite writers! Soon We Reads also will own Tamora Pierce and Tim Liebe's White Tiger collection, the new Alice Sebold, and the new Joe Hill, among others.

More detailed reviews soon, Gentle Reader. And that's a promise!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Amy Reads the Week (of September 14th, 2007)

Recently, Gentle Reader, Mr. Reads put a copy of Mike Carey’s novel, The Devil You Know into my hands. I read, somewhat greedily, I admit, a tale that despite a few flaws was quite the enjoyable and somewhat Perfect Read. By Perfect Read I mean, of course, that tale that 1) holds interest, 2) makes the reader consider the characters and plot when not actively reading, and 3) is Big Fun.

Mr. Carey’s book is all of those things and more, and because we enjoyed it So Much, We Reads just acquired its sequel, Vicious Circle, from the UK (gratitude, Interlibrary Loan). While reading the sequel, I also am reading several volumes of Hellblazer, available through Our Local Library.

I love the Crossover Writer, Gentle Reader, because I can see how the talent for one art form plays out, and plays out well, in the other. For example, in reading Mr. Carey’s sequel, I noticed his attention to detail, small, almost insignificant things that are the sign not only of a good writer, but a good Comic Book Writer.

Mr. Rucka, too, I enjoy, although I feel his comic book talent is greater than his novel talent, excepting Fistful of Rain, one of This Humble Author’s favorite novels. Also, Mr. Meltzer, and Mr. Gaiman—who better than Mr. Gaiman?—and Ms. Pierce. Some authors I have found comics through my love of their novels, and others, vice versa. But it is all the same, this tight-knit little community in which they exist. Jim Butcher, a writer I find Quite Extraordinary, has not written a comic book, but instead has written a novel about Spider-Man, which is as good if not better than some of the best comic plots out there. Or is it that This Humble Author does not love Spider-Man the way she, say, loves Wonder Woman, but does love Mr. Butcher’s prose style? Perhaps, Friends. Perhaps.

Tomorrow, Mr. Reads and I make our very (!!!) belated pilgrimage to Our Local to pick up what seems to be at least a month’s worth of comics, including the past few months of Minx titles, late in shipment to the store. I put the entire line on My Pull List, as otherwise, I don’t think My Local would carry them. Doing my part, yes, for DC, but also, for the idea of Minx. Wonder Girl out this week, I believe? Forgive me, Friends. It’s been a Rather Difficult And Trying Time in Chez Reads, and I confess that staying on top of my comic book pop culture has fallen to the wayside.

But in a recent review of Confessions of a Blabbermouth, the Onion’s AV Club made note of Mr. Carey’s many, many projects, and I began to realize that he is one of my Unsung Comic Heroes. How many of his projects have I read and adored, and not realized? Re-Gifters, My Faith in Frankie, Hellblazer, God Save the Queen, not to mention Lucifer. As Confessions of a Blabbermouth should be waiting for me at My Local. Rather a Mike Carey-full weekend ahead of me, a welcome respite from the plaguing pressures of Personal and Academic Life, both of which have risen, quite painfully, to the surface of my attention this week.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Amy (Belatedly) Reads the Week (of September 7th, 2007)

It’s been Quite The Week, Gentle Reader, for reasons vast and sundry. Needless to say, my Weekly Blogging Expectations quite got away from me. So here we are, two days late, and not much to tell, I’m afraid.

Well, that’s not Entirely True. I did finish a book this week (Greg Rucka’s Patriot Acts), as well as two television series (Dexter and Deadwood), and did try a new television series (Torchwood). Mr. Reads and I made our Fall Lineup Plans, and we are DVRed and ready to go come new season schedule.

What’s on the Reads Family Lineup, you ask? Well, Friends, I am Very Glad you did! Here are the shows We Reads are most excited about. Or, at least, will give one or two episodes a chance.

Bionic Woman perhaps tops the list. All the trailers and clips I have seen thus far look amazing, and there is bonus Katee Sackhoff, one of This Humble Author’s favorite actresses.

Chuck seems Quite Interesting indeed, as I’ve always loved the Philip Marlowe school of chance (bumbling person stumbles into intrigue and danger). Bonus Adam Baldwin.

Journeyman has what is for This Humble Author one of the most intriguing plot devices ever: time travel. Bonus Kevin McKidd.

K-Ville which I, as a New Orleans Native, must confess to a sincere curiosity about. After The Wire, there is no other cop show worthy of watching, in my humble opinion, but this is due at least one viewing from me.

Pushing Daisies, from the man who brought us Dead Like Me, Heroes, and Wonderfalls, can you argue with a pedigree like that?

Also new on the lineup for fall: Carpoolers, Reaper, Life, Torchwood, and Moonlight. Returning on the Reads Family Lineup: Heroes, 30 Rock, and The Office. But truly, it's the New Year I'm most looking forward to, Gentle Reader, because with it, the return of Battlestar Galactica.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

A Meme; or, Ms. Reads Feels the Burden of Work

I have Just Been Tagged, Gentle Reader, by Supadiscomama, and as she controls the Reads' access to Her Adorable Child, I thought that I should comply, forthwith.

4 jobs I've had in life:
1) Like all Liberal Arts Majors, I have worked in retail, selling entertainment.
2) I have also waited tables.
3) Teaching, of course.
4) Answering phones.

4 places I've lived:
1) Louisiana
2) Small College Town in Big American State
(that's all, sadly)

4 favorite foods:
1) Indian (esp. curry chicken and tikka masala)
2) Greek/Lebanese (esp. gyro and falafel)
3) sushi
4) fried shrimp po-boys

4 places I'd rather be:
1) Scotland
2) the Pacific Northwest
3) London
4) Chicago

4 movies I can watch over and over:
1) Moulin Rouge!
2) North and South
3) The Princess Bride
4) Pride and Prejudice (BBC)

4 t.v. shows I like to watch:
1) Buffy the Vampire Slayer
2) Firefly
3) The Office
4) Deadwood (which Mr. Reads and I are watching currently)

4 websites I view daily:
1) Gmail
2) my Google homepage
3) campus mail
4) my blogroll

4 computers I've owned:
1) My Acer laptop
2) My HP desktop
3) My Dell desktop (currently)
4) My Dell laptop (currently)

4 people to tag:
Hmm, let's see. I'm really Not Sure who has done this already, so I Apologize if I tag repetitiously.

1) Matthew at Legion Abstract
2) Mr. Fanboy at Mister Fanboy
3) Robyn at First-Person Narrator
4) Ragtime at Comic Book Thoughts

Unfortunately, that is all I have the mindset for today, given the heat (!), my dissertation chapter revision (!!), and my still-baffled thoughts on the conclusion of Amazons Attack (!!!).