Category Archives: Reading and Books

TBR Challenge: Series Catch-Up

I’m still making my way through the TBR challenge, which has been a fun way to try to get some books off of my ever increasing to-be-read pile. The theme for this month was series catch-up, and I decided to read the last two volumes of Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis. I got these last two volumes (one as a gift, one purchased) around Christmas 2011. This image is from the cover of Volume 9:

Transmetropolitan Cover

Two items of business before we move forward:

  • Disclaimer: it has been several years since I first started reading this series, so I am at the mercy of time and my deteriorating memory.
  • Official warning: reader discretion is advised before beginning this series. It is graphic and sometimes disturbing. Personally, I’m okay with it. It’s done to make a point, and it works. Other people might not be able to move past that.

Official business complete! On with the reviewing.

Transmetropolitan is a delightfully bizarre, often deeply disturbing series. The series main character, Spider Jerusalem is a journalist. He has “filthy assistants”. Together, they have adventures and report the news. At the beginning of the series, I enjoyed it but didn’t really see where it was going. A few volumes in, Spider begins to uncover a story that is bigger than he had originally anticipated. This plot line slowly increases in importance, becoming the central arc of the series.

Another interesting development as the series progressed was that I started to really care about the characters. Initially, I just sort of saw them as some sort of deeply disturbed part of Warren Ellis’s brain that had come loose. By the last volume, I was so invested that some sort of water came out of my eyes a little while I was reading. It was strange.

All in all, I strongly recommend this series for lovers of: Warren Ellis, strange cyberpunk dystopian comics, or weirdly profound commentary on new media/technology and its effects on journalism, politics, and society as a whole.

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Reading Genre Fiction

This quarter, I have been taking a class called Literacy, Readers, and Reading, which emphasizes reading research and questions like why people read and what happens to people when they read.

Some of our assigned readings have been from a book called Reading Matters, and I highly recommend it.

Reading Matters

One of the suggestions in the book is to read five books from a genre that you are unfamiliar with each year. As a soon-to-be librarian interested in outreach and access (and having been thinking about library catalogs a lot lately for my portfolio), I have been thinking about ways to encourage reading of all types. Through this, I’ve found myself wanting to be more familiar with genres that I have not really read before. Also, as a person who loves anything that involves to-do lists, this sounds generally fantastic.

I suppose this may seem to be strange, considering that public libraries have never been my focus. but I just think it seems really interesting as a project. So, I’m trying to decide which will be my first new genre to tackle, probably in a few months. The strongest possibilities are romance or westerns, since neither is an area in which I have any real familiarity. I’m going to be looking at Genreflecting by Diana Tixier Herald and The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction by Joyce Saricks for inspiration, but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

TBR Challenge: Recommended Read

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For this month’s entry into the TBR Challenge, I ran into a slight problem. I had planned to read a different book but did not have time to start and finish a new anything. However, I had gotten Cinder as a Christmas gift, started it back in December, and then set it aside. It also was recommended to me last fall by Jackie. Frankly, I was sold at “Cyborg Cinderella in New Beijing”. So, it seemed like a reasonable plan just to finish this instead of starting in on something new, even though it has not lived as long in my to-be-read pile as many others.

Cinder, our spunky protagonist, is a mechanic in New Beijing. She has the requisite wicked stepmother, plus two step sisters (one of the wicked variety and one not). Cinder is also a cyborg, much to her chagrin. Along the way, she becomes entangled with the handsome Prince Kai, a mysterious doctor, plague research, and an evil Queen from the Moon with mind control powers. Sounds great, right?

I definitely enjoyed this book. The characters are interesting, and the world is fairly complex. My only complaint is that I was left feeling like the book is mostly exposition for the rest of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series. Cinder is such a fun character that I want to spend more time with her, so I’m nervous but intrigued about the fact that the next book in the series (Scarlet) will feature a new protagonist. However, I’m certainly willing to stick with this series to find out what happens.

TBR Challenge 2013: Trickster

To kick off the TBR challenge this month, the theme was short stories. I decided to read Trickster, a book that I picked up at the American Library Association conference last summer after hearing the editor, Matt Dembicki, speak on a panel.

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Trickster is a graphic novel that collects Native American trickster stories. The stories are written by Native American storytellers, and each one uses a different illustrator. I think this is a really interesting concept. The stories are enjoyable and some of the art is really lovely. However, I actually didn’t like this book quite as much as I’d hoped that I would. It would probably help to say that I don’t generally enjoy short stories for some reason. I always want to, but I can just never get emotionally involved with them.

That being said, I think I would still recommend this book if you really like both graphic novels and short stories, especially if you also have a soft spot for mythology/folklore.

TBR Challenge 2013

A friend of mine sent me a link to this reading challenge for 2013. The goal is to get some books off of the ever-growing to-be-read pile that so many of us have. I think I’m going to give it a shot and see how it goes. There are suggested themes for each month, but it isn’t necessarily required to stick to them. They were also originally set up by a fan of romance novels, which isn’t my favorite genre, so I’ll probably do some theme-tweaking as I go along.

The only real requirement is to post something about your chosen book on the third Wednesday of each month. Is anybody else up for reading along with me?

January 16 – We Love Short Shorts! (Short stories, Novellas, category romance)

February 20 – Recommended Read (something recommended by a fellow reader)

March 20 – Series Catch-Up (pick a book from a series you’re behind on)

April 17 – New-To-You Author

May 15 – More Than One (An author who has more than one book in your TBR pile).

June 19 – Lovely RITA (RWA RITA nominees OR winners)

July 17 – The Classics (Something classic within the romance genre – an author, a specific book, a trope/theme – I’m open to wide interpretations here!)

August 21 – Steamy reads (Erotic romance, erotica, something spicy!)

September 18 – Western (Contemporary or historical)

October 16 – Paranormal or romantic suspense

November 20 – All About The Hype (a book that created such chatter that it was inescapable).

December 18 – Holiday themes (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, it’s all good!)