Tuesday, June 7, 2011
It's funny how things go in phases. Sometimes I am on a movie kick where I am watching a movie on Netflix everyday and streaming a movie or watching something on HBO in the time it takes the USPS to bring me my next movie on my queue. While other times I am scouring Limewire (or whatever other file sharing software) for new music and going to concerts. Or I am addicted to TV with the latest episode of Game of Thrones and United States of Tara (Both have been quite excellent this year even if only one is coming back next year).
But as anyone that can tell from my posts lately (and the title of this post) I have been reading a ton. And I can't even figure out the theme or how the books come to me. But since my last blog I have read a TON and I will look to update this here in lieu of my regular Best of the Weeks since the best of the weeks have been everything I've been reading.
As I've mentioned before, I'm always reading something and usually reading one novel and at least one comic book/graphic novel. That is still the case and I will update things in order as I've read them (although sometimes I read my comics as a way of relaxing between books/chapters/going to bed at night).
The first novel I read during this time was Room by Emma Donoghue. I do not want to give most of this book away, but it is disturbing and uplifting at the exact same time. The book is narrated by a 5 year old boy who has spent his entire life in an 11x11 foot room. Why is this? Read the book. But he does have access to TV, but he believes that to all be fake. I was most shocked by how the author was able to get into the mindset of spending your entire life cut off from everything and everyone and how she was able to convey how one might perceive the world given that reality. I warn you, this book is depressing. I found myself just feeling awful. (As an aside: That's another thing I've noticed as I read. I find my mood more effected by what I'm reading than the music or movies I listen to. I become quite melancholy while reading something like this and I never noticed that before. Maybe I'm just reading better authors?)
After that I read the final volume of the Sandman Omnibus (Volume 6) reprinting the final 20 issues of the groundbreaking comic book series. This was another sad story, but with a theme of redemption and closure between fathers and sons. I loved this series as I've written in the past and although there were some stumbles in the issues, this definitely is up there as one of the greatest comic book/super hero stories I've ever read. Jack Knight was the every-man superhero. Someone that did not want the job and is more like me (and probably you) than any other super hero. He's not someone like Superman or Batman with their great powers or amazing wealth and keen physical prowess. Jack Knight instead is just a man given a staff that makes his able to fly, emit concussive forces and sometimes some other specialties as the story is needed. But throughout the 80 issues this book ran we really got to know all his friends, enemies, family members and some other super heroes in a human way. This story ended quite well and I look forward to rereading the series soon. I was also shocked by how the author, James Robinson, was able to bring back every character throughout the history of the series and show how certain things that happened as far back as issue #1 played a part in the end-game of the series. A great series for comic fans and even for those that aren't, but at least have an open mind.
After that I read a novel for my book club called A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. I was not excited to read this book. Based on what I've seen of people on the subway, I thought this book was going to be a chick-lit book in the vein of the The Help or something equally terrible. Instead I was treated to the bastard baby of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, anything by Brett Easton Ellis and Brian Wood's Local (A comic book made for people that really liked My So-Called Life, or something equally angsty - I will write more about Local when I reread it soon).
Goon Squad is a series of loosely-linked short stories that eventually form a tapestry of one cohesive story that is an amazing feat by an author that I had never heard of before and may have to read more of. The stories all have characters that are all inter-linked and part of the fun of the book is figuring out how. The stories also jump around in time with the first one taking place in the mid 2000s and some going as far back as the mid 1970s and some as far into the future as perhaps 30 years from now (it's never exactly said). I look forward to trying to piece together each chapter/story and trying to make diagram out all the characters and how they are related and when each story took place. It might even be fun to reread the book in chronological order, but I think it works better as written. The book truly was an onion pulling away a layer of the characters and understanding their motivations based on something that happened to them in the past or where they end up in the future. I was pleasantly shocked by how good this books was and when I finished it I heard it was just optioned to become a TV show on HBO. If done well, this could be the greatest single-season TV show ever and I want nothing more than to watch this in 2 years.
I've also read the final installment of Scott Pilgrim (you've seen the movie)and the newest Invincible (One of the most fun Super Hero books ever written, but also one f the most violent. More blood in this book that in all Tarantino movies combined) Hard-Cover edition. But I've written about those before and don't want to bore my reader(s) any more than I already have. I still have a stack of books, but am always open and willing to read more. Please let me know if you have any recommendations. The library has become my best friend. And although I still have a stack of about 5 books, I am always in the market for more.
For the record I'm currently enjoying a novel called Super Sad True Love Story and this author has the potential to fill in for Vonnegut now that he is unstuck in time.