Category Archives: Book Reviews

Cupcakes

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invalidating Dead Witnesses —

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The Explosionist

The Explosionist

— while grooving with Jenny D.’s scientifically-proven paranormality in The Explosionist, I kept wondering just why sleuths in the novel’s world hadn’t simply asked the [presumably good-and-dead] victim directly – or …, vicariously through incense [?] (“–these on the bones of this dead man” etc.). Then p.-268 read

“The basic idea,” Keith said, so earnestly it was almost comical, “is that many serious crimes–murder’s an obvious example–leave no witnesses aside from the perpetrator. So you want to get the dead to testify, but their words are often so vague as to be useless, not to mention that the 1921 decision in Scotland v. Blavatsky affirmed that recordings of the voices of the dead are inadmissible in court. They’re simply too easy to fake.”

and I am subsequently incurably interested in applications of the laws of the living to the dead.

/The Graphic Classroom/ in /Teacher Librarian/

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I read through the grapevine that The Graphic Classroom was plugged in the school-library journal Teacher Librarian, reading: “Web 2.0: The growing popularity of blogs such as The Graphic Classroom, http://graphicclassroom.blogspot.com, has provided a way for people to easily share reviews and favorite web sites about age appropriate materials for young people.” — which makes me want to mention (I am sure I have before) that I am really pretty impressed with what Chris Wilson [editor] is achieving through his reviewsite. And although it is [for some ungodly reason] in the shadow of godawful reviewsites like No Flying, No Tights, I am watching for it to take off.

I think [I think] the issue may be that it is geared toward a niche audience, or maybe because it is a blog it is somehow less-worthy than NFNT‘s messy code, which–maybe like Bookslut–earns it status as an eZine. The Graphic Classroom’s multiple talented authors are thorough reviewers (academic in length and structure), and Chris has some well-earned sway among some of the early-reader/ya graphic marketers: it might not be too hard (although it’d certainly be more time consuming) to wrangle authors and illustrators in and interviewed, reports on major industry events (we already do that, but they aren’t gathered in–say–their own corner of the site, but intermingled with the steady stream of reviews).

Using Bookslut as a model and looking through the TGC archives, there are enough reviews, op-eds, features and suchlike, including the obligatory links, Chris’s killer graduate study, archives organized by recommendations, and so on to situate and usurp a NFNT’s position in the YALSA Recommended Websites list. IMHO

Dorian Gray, the Comic [?] & Jane Eyre, the Musical [!?]

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Inordinately and comically busy, what with the Library’s Great Pumpkin Escape, the Why Waste Good Technology on Science and Medicine? open-gaming event, and planning November 15ths O-GE in honor of the ALA’s first annual National Gaming Day. Oy.

I will be attending the Gainesville Community Playhouse presentation of Jane Eyre: The Musical (what!?) sometime in this next week, [even though it’s no secret that I harbor ill-designs for all of the Brontes]. It’s morbid curiosity, honestly. I want to hear a powerful rendition of Rochester!, Rochester!

My review of the Marvel Illustrated: The Picture of Dorian Gray appeared at The Graphic Classroom last week.

Here’s the thing: the adapted Dorian Gray is really remarkable, but having the real horror of Dorian’s world brought from a monochromatic page to striking visuals – pertaining to suicide and murder (and the disposal of the body) – makes it awful poignant. I’m all for relentless gore and I generally root for the bad guy, but there is a panel in which a man hangs himself simply because he once associated with Dorian Gray, and it caught me off guard. It’s not particularly artful and it’s not like he’s disemboweled, but it is pretty sad.

You can [and should!] read the full review here.

I vow to post here regularly this month. By all means, send me hate mail to keep me on track.

Slash Fiction, CryptoZooey #1, and Fun with Microfiche

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Oh-gosh. Where-oh-where have I been!? Tropical Storm Fay is where I’ve been (not literally), laptopless, and randomly working on Doranchorn. I’ve a little something-something to say on the structure of the scratch-draft, but less and less time to say it. A couple things:

CryptoZooey #1
CryptoZooey #1

My review of CrpytoZooey #1 appeared Thursday on The Graphic Classroom. Here’s a teaser:

Steve Troop’s art is, IMHO, reminiscent of newspaper strips like Calvin & Hobbes. I say this because Zooey looks, well, like a transgendered Calvin. But the degree of detail he inks into the background, into newspaper clippings and wide-panel haunted scenery, is just great. The expressions are hilarious and the bubble-logue ingenious (or, at least, super cute [refer: Jackalope]). As an author and illustrator he obviously enjoys his craft, and the paneling — albeit busy — never seems like it were tediously done: it doesn’t take itself too seriously, which means that there is abundant tomfoolery and good stuff – like the sound of thunder! KRAKATOOOOOM!
I threw together a blog for the Bradford Library Teen Program, which I post to every day (and I have a huge amount of readers … – because, well, I set it as the homepage on all of the Teen computers). The other day, I found an old newspaper article titled “Man Dumped Into Sugar Kettle.” Check it out.

And finally, on Neil Gaiman’s Journal, the WebGoblin wrote/quoted something laugh-out-loud worthy about Slash Fiction:

“Lastly, for those who wrote to ask what the “slash” in yesterday’s entry meant — and, honestly, I suspect that questions like that are just trying to egg me on — I give you Mr. G writing on April 10, 2002:

…..slash fiction is basically erotic fan fiction, normally TV series based, pairing off two (er or more I suppose) members of the same sex who don’t normally couple for the cameras. From the “/” mark in the middle of “Kirk/Spock” or “K/S” fiction, which is where it all started. (“But Spock,” said Kirk, huskily, realising, finally, irrevocably, what his true self had been trying to tell him ever since the beginning of season one, “it’s so huge. And it’s green.” “And it would be logical for you to… touch it, Captain,” said Spock. And so on. It’s normally written by extremely nice ladies. I have several very sane, respected, and respectable friends who write slash fiction, and do not try to make me read it.)”

At the Graphic Classroom, The Plain Janes

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Read my review at The Graphic Classroom

Today, my review of Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg’s The Plain Janes – available for under $10 through MINX (DC Comics) – appeared at The Graphic Classroom where I just raved and raved and raved.

The Plain Janes deals with the fear of contemporary terrorism, what stringent regulation and isolation and unhappiness results from said fear, and the young adults’ role in so big a societal quandary. As many are on the brink of leaving their homes for colleges, for exercising their independence, such reading probably inspires at least some thought about one’s place in the bigger picture.

“There, I fancy lies my cure” – Sanditon

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Not at all Sir, not at all–cried Mr Parker eagerly. Quite the contrary I assure you.–A common idea–but a mistaken one. It may apply to your large, overgrown Places, like Brighton, or Worthing, or East Bourne–but not to a small Village like Sanditon, precluded by its size from experiencing any of the evils of Civilization, while the growth of the place, the Buildings, the Nursery Grounds, the demand for every thing, & the sure resort of the very best Company, those regular, steady, private Families of thorough Gentility & Character, who are a blessing everywhere, excite the industry of the Poor and diffuse comfort & improvement among them of every sort.–No Sir, I assure you, Sanditon is not a place—– 
Jane Austens manuscript for Sanditon is one of the few manuscripts of her works that we have.
Manuscript of Sanditon

I thought I would write from the Inbetween where blahggers exist when there is no blahgging. My friend, it is a mirror-place I write from: I, blahgger, exist still – but as a non-entity. It has been a long while, traveller, and so I must reach out!!! –

– from work. Yes, yes – I am not earning my paycheck. Not quite at this moment, I fear. But such is better than idling: all my books are shelved, my teens are contented, my books ordered, my Referencing-for-Patrons researched. But alas.

Okay, so. Tomorrow I meet with the Miss Robinson in Gainesville and the rest of the Janeites-of-the-Northernish-Florida-realm to discuss Jane Austen’s Sanditon and other Austen-cult continuations of the same. I am a little behind on reading Julia Barrett’s Charlotte, but I hope to glean a little tonight and tomorrow morning in my downtime. Actually, I am reading The Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen: Minor Works as refresher. In university, I wrote in defense of Sanditon an inordinately long essay arguing its place on a continuum from Northanger Abbey on, only because I was apalled by DA Miller: Sanditon, he said, was the “death of style” and the “death of the Stylothete.” Nah, says I, it and its style foresees a coup where Money makes the blood bluer, and not necessarily high-birth. Sanditon is where good society manufactures gooder society in a social economy where there just ain’t loads of demand for it. Hell, the name Darcy is related to money made in industry; the Gardners of P&P were model folk. In Jane’s repertoire, one can watch the Old Gentry wear thin and struggle against their widowing: Mr Woodhouse’s (Emma) hypochondria–and note that “Sanditon is a resort for the Invalid”–is a key component to that which makes the rich Rich and not riche. Says Miller, “[Sanditon’s grammar] is in need of a brisk salt rub.” Yeah. But that’s the indirectness of F I D. I dig Miller, loads, so I recommend in particular his Jane Austen, or The Secret of Style.

Anyway, I am flipping through Sanditon and thoroughly enjoying myself, and before I see what miss Barrett supposed happened, I hope to blahg a little about what I think ought to happen. Then we can see how close I am. Note that I am excessively excited for tomorrow’s get-together, as I haven’t had much opportunity during my emmigration to make any friends.

Cover of The Plain Janes by MINX Books
Cover of The Plain Janes by MINX Books

Simultaneously, I am writing my review of Cecil Castellucci (I think I spelled that right) and Jim Rugg’s The Plain Janes for The Graphic Classroom,  a graphic novel I think subtle and deep and bittersweet. Although my reviews are never considerably long, I spend much time stickey-noting the book – I read it in about two hours and it’s been a week re-reading! I will have plenty to say, soon.

Your pal,
SC

 

 

 

Footnote: This manuscript (Sanditon) is among the few of Jane Austen’s we have; it is fascinating and enlightening: just what and why does she omit that or this? – it is a work ever in progress, frozen in time, an inksmear maybe scribbling-on still somewhere a shadowstep from here. Manuscripts are important.