November's Reading

   Anemones have nothing to do with November's reading but I was thinking about the Vancouver Aquarium and remembered that I have a bunch of pictures from the last time I went there uploaded so here we are. Aquarium pictures all up in here.

   At the beginning of November I went on a bit of a reading-rampage which quickly petered out, and I am back to starting books and quickly discarding them or getting books out of the library and then leaving them on my floor for several weeks until I have to return them. My current goal is to finally finish reading Bad Feminist and to finish listening to The Romanov Sisters.

the world's grumpiest frog
   Perhaps my problem with November's reading and therefore my dropoff in reading productivity is just comics-satiation. I read a lot of comics. I also started re-watching Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and oh boy, I love Phryne Fisher to Australia and back. However, I've started Cocaine Blues multiple times and never made it out of chapter one. Should I try again? I don't know.

   The books:

  • Through the Woods / Emily Carroll - I highly, highly, highly, recommend this book. Spooky! Scary! Pretty! Moody! It has it all. 
  • Revival, vol. 3 / Tim Seeley, et al. - this title continues to be good, I quite like it, recommend. 
  • The Night Wanderer / Drew Taylor, et al. - Canadian Gothic in the strictest sense: mysterious First Nations vampires in Canada. 
  • The Undertaking of Lily Chen / Danica Novgorodoff - I have mixed feelings about this one, but am inclined towards liking it. Water-colour-y and nice. I would like to know more about the history and mythology and whatnot. 
  • Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore / Robin Sloan - a fairly resounding "meh" on this one. 
  • The Secret Sharer / Joseph Conrad - I thought I was reading Heart of Darkness the whole time I was reading this, it was very confusing. 
  • The Plain Janes / Cecil Castellucci, et al. - enjoyable, but ultimately not super memorable and didn't inspire me to read the next volume. 
  • Lumberjames, vol. 1 / Noelle Stevenson, et al. - mysterious monsters at camp! If there's three things I love, it's mysteries, monster stories (sometimes), and summer camp. I'm quite delighted with Lumberjanes
   If you read one of these books, make it Through the Woods. I'm still thinking about it. As a bonus, reading comics will leave plenty of time for watching old-timey mysteries. 


Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore / Robin Sloan

   This book has a lot of characters and a lot of locations and a lot of describing of screens and codes. There's also this one annoying part at the end that makes me think that Robin Sloan has never actually been to an indoor climbing wall, because you don't just toss the holds up on the wall and leave them there forever, Robin, you move them around or else they get polished and the climbers get bored because you can't just climb the exact same route a bazillion times sans consequence. This climbing gym thing is entirely unimportant to the overall plot, but it did push me over the edge from "this is okay" to "meh". Admittedly that is not a very big push over a very big edge, but what I'm trying to say is this: this book isn't overly thrilling or engaging, but it's fine.

   So. Clay, our protagonist, by way of some fortuitous events, finds himself working nights at the titular bookstore, where a bunch of weird happenings regularly occur. TURNS OUT, there is some kind of code buried in the books that the majority of customers obsess over. Clay starts figuring out that they are all in a secret bookish club, and so on and so forth aren't books great?

   Clay manages to be both dude-ly and nerdy, but he's not annoying so that's a bonus since this book is in first-person. He's a biiiit like Lincoln in Attachments by Rainbow Rowell but nothing about this book is as charming as Attachments. The story follows Clay as he discovers the secret book-based society, makes friends, dates someone who works at Google, and so on. The other characters in this book are an interesting lot, but there are so many of them and Dickens this is not. WHY SO MANY. I kept putting this book down for long-ish stretches of time and then picking it up again and having to review which one was what one and who was who.

   There's some conflict and some tension but it's all very minimal and somewhat anti-climactic. This book is a book that pats you on the back for being a person who reads books but doesn't do much else. Basically: it's a book about information, and the process of turning data into information and information into knowledge and how that process has changed and is likely to change and how sometimes things can revert back to data and how important good classification systems are. Well, maybe not so much about classification systems but BELIEVE ME, classification is very important to the getting of knowledge.

   I think this is a book that kinda wanted to be a movie, you know? It's neither here nor there and I wouldn't bother reading it if I were you. Read Attachments instead.


"Because it's THERE"

   Mooooovies moooovies movies! From the previous movie-guessing post:
  • Everest (15)
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (23)
  • The Martian (15)
  • The Rock (96)
  • The Trouble With Harry (55)
   OKAY SO, if you are looking for a movie that will drag you through some emotional mire and you won't really know how to deal with it because it's a true story and it happened to real people, watch Everest. It's based on Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer which is the story (with some contested details, let it be said) of the 1996 expeditions up Mt Everest that went REALLY wrong in a REALLY big way. Think storms, think inadequate oxygen, think lack of fixed ropes, think helicopter trying to fly in air that is too thin for a helicopter to fly in (that part is pretty fantastic, actually). Everest is a BAD MOUNTAIN, please never climb it. This is a movie that will kinda make you want to stay inside for the rest of your life. 

   On a very different note, if you ever have the opportunity to see a silent movie accompanied by live organ music, take that opportunity. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, just see the movie  because you will be DELIGHTED. And don't worry if you think you won't be able to get into it because it's silent, it might take a wee bit more effort than usual to suspend your disbelief BUT I can assure you from first-hand experience that there will be some Genuine Laffs. Seeing silent movies with organ music has become a Halloween tradition for me and I looooove iiiiiiit. 

   Things I like in movies: problem-solving, feelings, reunions, etc. Things I love in movies: Space Problem-Solving, Space Feelings, Space Reunions, Space Etc. The Martian has all of these things and more besides. Space! The best. Now I need to read this book. 

   When you are brain-dead from school it is a good time to continue working through your Sean Connery curriculum, and what better movie to watch than The Rock. This movie has it all. Escapes! Biological warfare! Dubious science! Unlikely coincidences! Hilariously bad dialogue! Breaking into and escaping Alcatraz! Highly recommend. 

   The tagline on The Trouble With Harry is "the trouble with Harry is that he's dead, and no one seems to care". This movie is weird and funny and is a sort of bizarro-world Hitchcock. Psycho is scary, Notorious is tense, Torn Curtain is also tense, I could go on here but what I'm saying is The Trouble With Harry is a weird departure for Hitchcock but IT WORKS. Not scary, not tense, just filled to the brim with jokes and hijinks. 


Through the Woods / Emily Carroll

   If there is one word to describe this book, it is "HELLA CREEPY", which , I admit, is two words, but "creepy" by itself just doesn't cut it. There was one particular panel in "His Face All Red" that made me GASP OUT LOUD. FOLKS, this book is GOOD and it is SCARY and I told the barista who recognizes me that she needs to read it and she said she already has and she loved it. Both the barista and I recommend this book, you should defs go get it.

an appropriate reaction, really

   SO: Emily Carroll is a genius of horror and atmosphere. Like Shirley Jackson, but with comics, and more monsters. This book is a wee collection of short stories, each one with a sort of fairy tale (in the Grimm-est sense) feel to it and an underlying menace and unease. Innocuous things are worrisome, and there is so much tension created by some ambiguous endings. It's great. Even Emily Carroll's choice of colour is spot-on, with plenty of black with huge splashes of red and blue and mostly red.

   "His Face All Red" is the only title I can remember right now but the other stories are ALSO GOOD, and ALSO SPOOKY, and I'm just gushing now so do yourself a favour and read this tome. It'll take you an afternoon and the time of year is perfect for it. The snow is just starting to fall (although it is late as) and it is getting darker and darker so why not read something that will make you have some difficulty sleeping? Why not indeed.

make fairy tales terrifying again


October Reading

   WELL. October was pretty much a bust reading-wise, but I did do a great deal of schoolin'. I read a whole lot of academic papers, but only one actual book. So, this month's reading:
   And that's it. I have a couple months off of school now though, so November's reading should be a VAST improvement on October's. I have plans to read finally Catcher in the Rye and to read a book with more than 1000 pages called Hunger's Brides (I may die). I am going to read so much while I am not schooling. So much.

I dream of reading