Friday, October 30, 2009

Fart Party

After picking up I Saw You... I had to check out Julia Wertz's website and soon bought both volumes of the Fart Party. This collection of comics is all about Julia's life as a twenty-something gal in San Fransisco. She drinks, she swears, she serves tables and has adventures with her boyfriend Oliver.

I was really able to connect with the book since I feel like I'm in a similar point in my life. I too love reading (and drinking) in the bathtub and swearing at my mom in an endearing way.

Here's a sample page from her book:

Wertz's website is here. What I like about this book is that you can open it to about any page and just read a few and enjoy them or you can read start to finish. The art isn't the same as Fables, but it works with the whole feel of the book. Some of the humor is a little crude but at least it's honest. I highly suggest at least checking out her site where she posts a lot of her comics.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fables Part Two

I jumped right into Fables Animal Farm. Basically all of the fable creatures that can't pass for humans in New York City live at a farm upstate to keep out of sight from the normal people. Snow White goes up there to double check on things. Goldilocks and the little pigs happen to be planning a revolution and things take an ugly turn. Snow White has to fight to put down the rebellion and get out of the farm with her life.

This one was better than the first one in my opinion. The story, character development and art is just wonderful. Although the thought of Goldilocks and Baby Bear sharing a bed makes me cringe a little. I can't wait to get my hands on part three.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Fables is more of what I think of an actual comic book than the previous two entries. I borrowed these from a friend and was very excited to read them because I love to read retellings of classic tales.

In Legends in Exile we find that all of the characters from classic tales are alive and have come to live in our world because the "adversary" has driven them out of their lands. Rose Red has been murdered and the Big Bad Wolf and Snow White are on the case. Beauty and the Beast, the three little pigs, King Cole and Prince Charming all make appearances along with a slew of other characters.

The murder mystery was well done - I did not see the end coming. I really liked this comic and rushed to read the second one. Reading this has made me want to check out what other comic I've been missing. Anyone have any suggestions?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Blankets by Craig Thompson is a book I picked up after seeing it mentioned on Julia Wertz's blog. This is a pretty hefty book, 582 pages. It covers Craig's childhood and his high school romance with Raina. It's a serious book covering some very heavy issues of divorce, abuse, religion and rebellion.

The art is beautiful and the story flows easily. It's painful to read at some points, but the whole thing just feels so truthful that it's hard to put down. I would highly recommend this book. Who can't connect with that first real love that you think is going to last forever? And as someone who went to a Jesus Camp, I can really relate to his experiences there.

I've got some more graphic novel reviews for this week but I quickly want to say that I read Hunger Games yesterday and was blown away! I'll try to put up more thoughts on that soon.

Monday, October 26, 2009

you were in the blue sweater...

I have been reading a lot of graphic novels and comicy things so this week I am going to do a post every day on them. I really enjoy both reading and drawing so this type of book really works for me.

I Saw You... is a collection of short comics inspired by those missed connection posts on At my old desk job I used to check the missed connections all the time. Some of them can be really funny. I Saw You... takes different entries from craigslist and the authors put their spin on them. Some of them are funny, some are sad and some are just a little weird.

This was a fun read because it gives you a little taste of a lot of different comic styles out there right now. And all of their websites are listed in the back pages. The book was put together by Julia Wertz who does Fart Party, which is hilarious.

I left this book sitting around the house and my mom read some of it and thought it was good. She was kind of shocked I had a book named the Fart Party though. Parents just don't understand.

Also, funny story, I once wrote a craigslist missed connection after some cute guy held the door open for me at a bookstore. To my shock, I actually got a response from the actual guy and we had coffee together. It was nice and all, but that's about it. I was just amazed people actually answered those things.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

trip to the bookstore

I'm trying to update this blog more on a more regular basis, even if I don't have a book review every day. Anyway, I took my little brother to the bookstore yesterday and we hung out for awhile drinking some hot beverages and reading some books. I drew a picture of it. So look at it.

I took this with my iphone so the quality is kind of crummy, but frankly so is the art so I think it works out. Anyhow, I bought a copy of Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. I'm really excited to read this one, but I've got to work my way through a couple more first. Dr. Zhivago is getting pretty interesting right now.

I also thought I'd comment on the new Barnes and Noble Nook. I think that the lending capabilities are a good thing, however you can only lend a book once which is a little silly. I'm sticking with my guns on the whole e-reader issue: I don't like them. Yes, it's wonderful if more people read stories this way, but in my mind it's not the same thing. I've got no desire for one. If you feel like reading my blog on the Kindle 2.0, which goes in to more detail on my e-reader thoughts, click here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


This book caught my eye while I was working at B&N the other day. One of the great things about working and B&N is that you can check out hardcover books for free. This is so we can talk about the books to customers or something crazy like that. So I checked this one out.

I'm a big fan of Klosterman, but this book fell a little short. The chapters are surrounded by interview excerpts, but these interviews aren't labeled and I didn't know who any of these interviews were actually with. Give me a footnote or something. Jeesh.

While I enjoyed his chapters on time travel and ABBA, this book just wasn't what I hoped for. I even stuck it out during the chapter on football and chuckled a few times, but still. Meh.

Side note: I sometimes am really surprised when I read about things that are happening right now. I'm so used to reading literature from forever ago that's it's weird to see the word Twitter in an actual book.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

all that were left of mercy

I started this book in June and finished it this afternoon. This is one of those books that would catch my eye continually at work and when a friend recommended it to me I got my hands on a copy from another friend, who seems to have every book I want to read but haven't bought yet.

I'm not going to lie to you, this book was difficult at times. Bolano often goes for pages without a line break and chapters are hundreds of pages long. Character names tripped me up a lot. And I'm still not sure if I got the book. But the writing is beautiful. We get pieces of personal histories from almost every character we meet and all of them are written in a way that you care about what the man with glasses who saves Hans from drowning thought about human nature. No character seems to be a throw-away.

This book is broken up into five parts: The Part About the Critics, The Part About Amalfitano, The Part About Fate, The Part About the Crimes, and The Part About Archimboldi. The parts are all connected with the town of Saint Theresa in Mexico, where hundreds of women are being murdered.

I really enjoyed the Part about the Critics because I felt that I could really connect to the character of Liz Norton. She is described best as not being "what one would ordinarily call a woman of great drive, which is to say that she didn't draw up long-term or medium-term plans and throw herself wholeheartedly into their execution. She had none of the attributes of the ambitious" (page 8). She and three other scholars all are experts on Benno von Archimboldi, a German novelist.

The Part About Amalfitano wasn't quite as good as the first part. I think I tried too hard to connect what was going on between the different parts and was a little annoyed that the connections seemed so tenuous. This section was still wonderfully written though.

The Part About Fate focuses on a reporter, last name Fate, who comes to Saint Theresa to cover a boxing match but ends up trying to write a piece on the murders. He also becomes tangled in the fate of Amalfitano's daughter.

The Part About the Crimes really dragged me down. This is also the longest section of the book and it chronicles the murders that have occur ed in and around Saint Theresa. We get a history on most of the girls and the police that are trying to solve the crimes. The end of this section really picked up for me, but I'm still unsure if I got the point of most of this section.

The Part About Archimboldi was my favorite. Here we learn about the mysterious author Benno von Archimboldi and are taken to Poland, Germany and Russia during World War II. I wish that this had been the longest section. I had no idea how everything was going to come together, and really there are a lot of things left open, but the last hundred pages just does it's job.

It took me a long time to read this book. Mostly because during parts three and four I would set it down and wasn't excited about reading it. Now that I finished I wish I had read the whole thing in a shorter time span, that way I would be able to view this as a whole work more. I read part five in something like two days and as I reached the end I found myself reading slower and slower. I didn't want it to end.

All of the quotes that I loved tended to be huge paragraphs and chunks of text that would be too much to take out and place here.

I would be really interested to read another book from Roberto Bolano, especially since this book wasn't technically finished when he died.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Storm is Coming

I find myself loving Neil Gaiman more and more.

This book is about a man named Shadow who is just getting released from prison. On his way home he is seated next to a man called Mr. Wednesday who changed Shadow's world in incredible ways. Shadow ends up working for Wednesday as they prepare for a storm of clashing gods.

There are just so many gods in this book that have their own distinct personalities and powers. One thing I really like about this book is that Gaiman doesn't come out and say "well this is this god and he does this and this one is this guy and he does this." Sometimes we get no explanation about a character's motives or background but they are so lovingly described that I have no doubt I could research them and discover that Gaiman captured their essence.

This book is just enjoyable to read. Shadow spends a lot of time in the Midwest, which I always like. The writing is beautiful and the plot is complex. While reading this book I also had a lot of people come up to me and tell me how much they enjoyed it. One of my coworkers at Barnes even went and grabbed a used copy of Gaiman's Fragile Things for me.

I highly suggest checking out Gaiman's personal blog.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


When I was in college, some boy gave this book to me in exchange for my extra copy of Fight Club. I put it on a shelf and never thought about it until now. But lately I've been reading and scoping out a lot of science fiction so it was only a matter of time before this one came along. Neil Gaiman does the introduction to this volume of all six hitchhiker's stories.

These books are bizarre. Sometimes I can figure out if the writing is funny because it is lazy or because it is genius. People can fly, mice are not all they appear to be, there is a restaurant where you can watch the end of the universe, all sorts of crazy things are going on here. The ending of the whole thing didn't quite do it for me, but other than that I had a good time reading these stories.

Arthur Dent is your average British citizen who goes on adventures in space with his friend Ford Prefect after Vogons destroy the Earth to but in a new galatic freeway. They join up with Trillian, a woman from Earth, Zaphod, a guy with two heads who is president of the galaxy and gets into all kinds of trouble, and Marvin, a very depressed robot. Zaphod reminds me a lot of Zap Branigan from Futurama, which I'm sure is supposed to be the other way around.

Ford works for the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a travel book for tourists on the cheap. Throughout the series we get experts from the Guide on different peoples and planets. Ford and Arthur travel through time, go a little crazy, and attended the longest-lasting party which happens to fly around in the sky.

While I find these stories really amusing, I don't know that I'm as crazy about them as most people who talk about them are, especially that guy from college. I love humor, but I wanted more depth. Still worth a read.