Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

The following review will try to be as spoiler-free as possible about this book. Proceed with caution. Any major spoilers that may appear will be marked.

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Comic Review: ApocalytiGirl: An Aria for the End Times

It’s been just over a month since my last review, and I’ve read my way through several comics since then. One of my favorite one shots is Apocalytigirl: An Aria for the End Times.

41a4gvtwrhl-_sx331_bo1204203200_This comic caught my eye while wandering the stacks with its sparse yellow cover with a young woman and a cat. Plus anything having to do with a post-apocalyptic world is a fun read for me. A quick scan of the back cover made this an instant purchase for me:

“A sci-fi epic about a post apocalyptic life (and cat ownership)!”

I was sold on the idea of this comic already. Pet ownership has been a huge part of my life, and I’ve always wondered how that works in a world where danger is around the corner.

You might be thinking, “This sounds like I am Legend,” and I suppose you’d be kind of right? Minus the fact that I am Legend is horror, and this comic really isn’t that horrifying. Legend had a dog and Will Smith. Apocalytigirl has Aria and her cat. If you know anything about cats and dogs, they don’t interact with humans the same way.

Perhaps I’m thinking too much about this comic, but ultimately it’s asking an important question: Would you risk your own survival for a pet companion when you were alone in a world?

Aria risks her life for her cat. She goes to the places he hides when he’s scared, makes sure he’s safe at all costs. He provided her with interaction that she otherwise wouldn’t have had. It probably kept her sane. If/When she had the opportunity to return to civilization, would she leave her cat behind?

I wish there were more to this story. Andrew MacLean created an interesting world that I would love to explore beyond this singular comic. The ending leaves a lot up to interpretation and wonder. I appreciated the cat ownership bits and Aria’s daily survival. When she did get into trouble, suddenly the comic was hack-n-slash. I wanted more development overall, but I think for it being a singular story, it’s definitely something I can read and come away mostly satisfied.

I’d recommend this to anyone that has pets, talks to them like they are people and anyone that likes a quick read about a post apocalyptic life with a cat.

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Comic Review: Kim & Kim

This comic sounds promising. The image below is a blurb on the back that caught my eye and made me add it to the pile I wanted to use a graduation gift card on.

18870431_1952434194782636_1254257532_oKim & Kim are queer interdimensional bounty hunters that travel in a space-modified VW van. Imagine if the Mystery Machine could fly, and you’ve basically got what they live and work in.

This buddy-cop comic, where instead of buddies the cops are significant others, is a wild ride with restaurant window crashing adventures and gun-wielding battles.

I picked up this comic because the diversity sounded awesome. Who wouldn’t want more queer and trans representation in a comic?

As much as I wanted to truly love this comic, I couldn’t get past the forced writing. Every section felt like it was forcing the character’s backstories down my throat while also maintaining the current bounty hunt. The two stories weren’t woven as cleanly and it made much of the writing feel cluttered. Or maybe more like a rollercoaster?

I couldn’t get attached to the characters and want to follow their story. Kim Q. and Kim D. have a lot to share about their lives and how they came to be a couple. But forcing all of that character backstory right away didn’t hook me. It made me less inclined to keep reading.

The story stopped and started a lot. We’d be on some bounty adventure, suddenly the characters would jump scenes and recount the battle, or what they woke up to. At points, I didn’t mind the change of scene that cut out the exposition. But I did want to know what happened further with those plots because the sudden jump cut seemed like a cop out.

The art is colorful and it’s great to see the punk clothing spliced in a space-western.

Don’t get me wrong. This is a fun comic overall with its Space!Cowboy Punk world. Maybe this comic isn’t my cup of tea, but I think the writing could be stronger and give us more depth to the characters than what was repeated in every chapter/issue.  Pick this up if you want to give it a shot and explore the diverse world created.

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Comic Review: Seconds

Everyone wants a do-over at some point in their lives. We’ve all had decisions we’ve made that we regret and want a second chance.

Seconds is one of those times where we get a peek at someone’s do-over, or rather do-overs. Bryan Lee O’Malley, famous for the Scott Pilgrim series, writes this unique take on one chef’s do-overs through the power of magical mushrooms from her dresser drawer.

Yup. Mushrooms.

75cd77559a8ce52d0211db98c0ddaae5Katie is a young, talented chef whose life spirals out of her control. All she wants is a second chance, and these mushrooms are going to give it to her. Suddenly her life is perfect.That’s where the story starts to get even wilder than it already is.

O’Malley’s characters are fun, and the world is immersive. I’ve always loved his art style because it is expressive and detailed. It was easy to disappear into this world he created and I wanted to befriend the characters.

Nathan Fairbairn’s colors for this book are fantastic and make O’Malley’s world come alive.

Reading Katie’s story made me wonder if I ever wanted a second chance with any of my decisions. What are the rules with second chances? The rules are where Seconds shines, and that’s an area that is often unexplored when it comes to plots like this.

O’Malley’s unique take on second chances with Seconds makes this well worth the read. If you’re looking for a fun graphic novel, I recommend this without any hesitation.

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Comic Review: We Can Never Go Home

I picked this up because of the cover. Anything with a cassette tape on the front to remind me of the days when that’s how I collected and listened to music will attract me. Plus, one of the vendors at Boston Comic-Con recommended it. So why not take a chance?

We Can Never Go Home by Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Klindon, and Josh  Hood is quite the ride. Combine two teenagers, a stolen car, a mixtape, superpowers, and drugs, and you have We Can Never Go Home.

2I don’t want to give too much away.

Think of it like a dangerous road trip comic. And if you ever wanted to take a wild adventure from a small town in 1989, here’s a great way to do it. This comic covers so many genres, and music is an important aspect.

At the end of every chapter, there’s a playlist that is well worth listening to.

I enjoyed the story. It’s dark and kept me hooked from the beginning. I wanted to know how all of these details crossed and where the road trip would end up next.

The art and colors are awesome. Josh Hood did a great job capturing the script and setting the mood. All of the action is easy to follow but still, makes it feel chaotic. There are moments when the emotion-charged in the scene punches you in the gut.

I’d definitely recommend this to everyone that is following the resurgence of the 80s in pop culture right now. If you like Stranger Things, superpowers, and dangerous road trips, you should pick this up and give it a read.

Walden & Senior Year

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.”  – Henry David Thoreau, Walden.

I hated reading Walden for my senior American Lit Seminar class.

Some of that might be because I kept falling asleep while reading the selected chapters . And others is because if I were an editor, there were a lot of sections I would have entirely cut for how useless they seemed. But I’m also wondering if I didn’t read the right sections at the right time, or because I was reading it for school my amount of analysis of the book was purely academic.

While writing my final essay for that class, I had to connect three or four of the novels together under one theme. For whatever reason I picked Walden, a strange decision given my strong feelings about the book. As I flipped through it looking for the quotes I needed, I found the quote I used at the start of the post.

I reread it several times and highlighted it.

My high school classmates are married, and some with children. I’m finishing up the Fall semester of my senior year of college. As I write this I’m procrastinating on a ten-page paper (my last final), and completing four more grad school app essays.

Life has taken me in many different directions, all off the beaten path. And I don’t regret it. The drum beat of my life has driven me to pursue my passion and given me opportunities I only dreamed of in high school.

For what its worth, keeping pace with others is a lose-lose situation. You’ll feel like you’re always behind, and that life is unfair. And that can damage your relationships with others because you might feel jaded. Comparing myself to my friends was more detrimental than it was encouraging.

Figuring out what I needed to be happy was all it took for me to be more complacent with what I have and what I’m doing. Listening to the rhythm of my own path was the smartest decision I’ve ever made.

Comic Review: Fun Home

This semester my school offered a Young Adult Literature class. And I had the joy of making it into the course with one of my favorite teachers and several of my good friends.

Our third book of the semester was Fun Home by Alison Bechdel.

Surprisingly, I had not read this book up yet (I don’t think it was on my summer list either). I know, I know. My gay self should void my queer card because its taken so long for me to read the number one book on the LGBTQ+ required reading list. Woops. At least that’s fixed now?

51ocqhn1kol-_sx332_bo1204203200_Without further adieu, let’s talk about Fun Home.

Fun Home is a memoir by Alison Bechdel in which Alison writes about her childhood, her family, and her journey of identity and self.

This graphic novel has so much depth. With literary and cross-discipline references, it can be a daunting read. But I promise you those references truly open up the book.

Upon my first read, I made notes as I went, of places where I wanted to go back. And now that I’m going through again, I am in awe of Bechdel’s writing. There’s hidden details in the references, in the details about her father, the vocabulary, and things I did not put together the first time.

The parallels, the crosses, the convergence and divergence. When people joke that “graphic novels aren’t literature,” I want to point them at this book.

The single-volume memoir’s frames are engaging, and lend much to the story. Without them I don’t think the prose could stand alone nearly as well. And I think that’s what makes Fun Home work so well in this form.

Bechdel planned this graphic novel with such precision that the larger picture of woven memories, family details, and conclusions, wrapped in literary and philosophical references creates an impressive work that lends a voice to the deceased, Bruce Bechdel. All of these details allow for the reader to draw their own conclusions while also growing with Alison, and feeling her emotions grip you right through the page.

I would recommend Fun Home to anyone that wants to experience another memoir in such a unique format. Don’t be afraid to highlight or mark spots where you might not understand. I promise it’s worth it. However, if you’re not in the mood to do that much research, stay tuned to my blog and my YouTube channel. I’m working on some scripts and videos that will cover not only my thoughts on Fun Home, but also will explain the references more in-depth.

What were your thoughts on Fun Home? Did you think the graphic novel was too literary? Would you be interested in learning more about the depths of the novel? Want more information about the cross-discipline references? Let me know in the comments below!

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