Trillium by Jeff Lemire

Posted by on Jun 14, 2016 in 2016, 5 stars, Book Review, Comics, Jeff Lemire | 0 comments

Trillium by Jeff Lemire
Trillium by Jeff Lemire

Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 192
Source: Library

The Book:
This is a collection of the 8 issues of the limited series.
From the publisher:

It’s the year 1921, and renowned English explorer William Pike leads an expedition into the dense jungles of Peru in search of the fabled “Lost Temple of the Incas,” an elusive sanctuary said to have strange healing properties.

It’s the year 3797, and botanist Nika Temsmith is researching a strange species on a remote science station near the outermost rim of colonized space.

Two disparate souls separated by thousands of years and hundreds of millions of miles. Yet they will fall in love and, as a result, bring about the end of the universe. Even though reality is unraveling all around them, nothing can pull them apart. This isn’t just a love story, it’s the LAST love story ever told.

My Thoughts:
It should come as absolutely no surprise to regular readers to hear that I adored this. I’ll admit that I am predisposed to love all things Lemire but he keeps finding ways to drill his characters into my heart.

Nika and William are from two different times and places but an ancient temple allows them to connect and fall in love. When the connection between them becomes a rip in time and space the story becomes even more complicated. They are still inexorably drawn to each other while the future of the human race hangs in the balance.

Lemire’s art is as always roughly drawn but this time around the coloring is interesting. Some of it was colored digitally by Jose Villarrubia and parts were hand done in watercolors by Lemire. Initially it shows a clear distinction between the two time periods but as the two blend so does the coloring style.

Once again Jeff Lemire has come up with something completely different that his other work and created characters and a story that will be with me for a long time.

5 stars Rating 5/5

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Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson

Posted by on Jun 10, 2016 in 2016, 5 stars, Book Review, Comics, Noelle Stevenson | 4 comments

Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis
Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis art by Brooke Allen

Genre: Fantasy
Format: Trade Paperback Comics Collected Edition
Series: #1 in the Lumberjanes series
Publisher: BOOM!
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 127
Source: Library

The Book:
This volume collects issues 1-4 of the comic series.
From the publisher:

FRIENDSHIP TO THE MAX!

At Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams! Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together…and they’re not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here.

My Thoughts:
I want to go to a camp like this with friends like this.

It seemed like everyone I knew was reading and singing the praises of this when it was first released. It wasn’t just the usual comics reading folks either. People who normally don’t read comics and graphic novels were talking about how great this is.

They were absolutely right.

The only benefit to waiting to read this is that now I can get the next two volumes from the library instead of waiting for the next to be published. This is just so darn much fun.

The main characters are smart, loyal and out to have a great time. That they end up trying to solve a mystery that has them dealing with some pretty scary supernatural stuff. They’re up to the task however and each of them helps in her own way.

If you’re one of the three people on the planet who hasn’t read this, you need to.

Friendship to the Max!

4.5 stars Rating 4.55/5

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Griffin & Sabine by Nick Bantock

Posted by on Mar 18, 2016 in 2016, 5 stars, Book Review, Nick Bantock | 4 comments

Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence written and illustrated by Nick Bantock

Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence written and illustrated by Nick Bantock

Genre: Epistolary Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Series: #1 in the Griffin & Sabine series
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: 1991
Pages: 48
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the dust jacket:

Griffin: It’s good to get in touch with you at last. Could I have one of your fish postcards? I think you were right—the wine glass has more impact than the cup. –Sabine

But Griffin had never met a woman named Sabine. How did she know him? How did she know his artwork? Who is she? Thus begins the strange and intriguing correspondence of Griffin and Sabine. It is a story that is partly a romance, partly a mystery, and completely a work of art. Each page contains a new postcard or letter, rich with lush colors, brilliant drawings, and wildly imagninative creatures and landscapes. And, in this multi-media novel, each letter must be pulled from its own envelope, giving the reader that delightful forbidden sensation of reading someone else’s mail. The complete correspondence tells an extraordinary story in an extraordinary way.

My Thoughts:
I first read this trilogy years ago. I’ve never read the follow up books. Sometimes they are referred to collectively as a series and other times listed as two related trilogies. Anyway a couple of years ago I saw something about this book that prompted me to buy my own copies of the original three and they’ve sat on my shelf. When I heard a few weeks ago that a new book is due out later this month it prompted me to finally read them and also the follow up books.

These books are such an experience. They are epistolary stories but they’re not simply text correspondence. These are both writing and art. The pages are the front and back of postcards and some pages are actually envelopes with letters tucked inside. It’s truly like sitting down and reading a box of saved letters and postcards.

The story fascinating and mysterious. Sabine writes to Griffin but he doesn’t know her. They have a connection that is odd. Both are artists and as the postcards and letters progress they get to know each other and develop a bond. Is it a romance? or is it something completely different?

These books are not something you read. The visual imagery and the tactile experience of opening the envelopes make it a multisensory adventure that feels a bit voyeuristic.
It was fun to read this again and I’m going to continue with the others soon.

5 stars Rating 5/5

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I Must Say by Martin Short, Audio Edition

Posted by on Mar 11, 2016 in 2016, 5 stars, Book Review | 4 comments

I Must Say by Martin Short
I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short narrated by the author

Genre: Memoir
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publication Date: 2014
Length: 8 hours, 40 minutes
Narrated by: Martin Short
Source: Purchased

The Book
From the publisher:

In this engagingly witty, wise, and heartfelt memoir, Martin Short tells the tale of how a showbiz obsessed kid from Canada transformed himself into one of Hollywood’s favorite funnymen, known to his famous peers as the “comedian’s comedian.”
Short takes the reader on a rich, hilarious, and occasionally heartbreaking ride through his life and times, from his early years in Toronto as a member of the fabled improvisational troupe Second City to the all-American comic big time of Saturday Night Live, and from memorable roles in such movies as ¡Three Amigos! and Father of the Bride to Broadway stardom in Fame Becomes Me and the Tony-winning Little Me.
He reveals how he created his most indelible comedic characters, among them the manic man-child Ed Grimley, the slimy corporate lawyer Nathan Thurm, and the bizarrely insensitive interviewer Jiminy Glick. Throughout, Short freely shares the spotlight with friends, colleagues, and collaborators, among them Steve Martin, Tom Hanks, Gilda Radner, Mel Brooks, Nora Ephron, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Paul Shaffer, and David Letterman.
But there is another side to Short’s life that he has long kept private. He lost his eldest brother and both parents by the time he turned twenty, and, more recently, he lost his wife of thirty years to cancer. In I Must Say, Short talks for the first time about the pain that these losses inflicted and the upbeat life philosophy that has kept him resilient and carried him through.

My Thoughts
I’m not sure what exactly prompted me to buy this audiobook. I think it came along in the aftermath of listening to and enjoying Tina Fey’s memoir, Bossypants. I enjoyed that so much that the thought of another celebrity memoir by a comedian sounded good.

I have enjoyed watching Martin Short on TV and in a few movies. I’ve never been a huge fan who sought out his work but enjoyed what I happened to see and hear. After listening to this memoir, I am much more of a fan of his than I was before.

This is not one of those dirt dishing memoirs. If anything, Short is remarkably kind and complimentary about almost every well-known person he mentions

I didn’t know much of Short’s history or background so it was fun to find out that he worked with and knew many comedy luminaries long before any of them became famous.

The chapter where he talks about his wife’s battle with cancer and her death just about did me in. This memoir is funny, interesting, heartbreaking and delightful. I have officially added Martin Short to my list of dream dinner guests.

I absolutely recommend this and in fact I would also encourage you to get the audio over the print format. Being able to hear Short play his characters has to be better than reading it without his voice. I’ve never thought of myself as a memoir fan but this is absolutely one of the best I’ve read or heard,

Rating
5 stars 5/5 for the book

5 stars 5/5 for the narration because no one could have done this better than Martin Short himself.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Illustrated Edition by J.K Rowling

Posted by on Jan 15, 2016 in 2016, 5 stars, Book Review, JK Rowling | 2 comments

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling, Illustrated by Jim Kay
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Illustrated Edition by J.K Rowling with art by Jim Kay

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Format: Oversized Hardcover
Series: #1 in the Harry Potter series
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 247
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Prepare to be spellbound by Jim Kay’s dazzling depiction of the wizarding world and much loved characters in this full-colour illustrated hardback edition of the nation’s favourite children’s book – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Brimming with rich detail and humour that perfectly complements J.K. Rowling’s timeless classic, Jim Kay’s glorious illustrations will captivate fans and new readers alike.

My Thoughts:
I’m not going to bother to talk about the story because we all know it. I’ve read it multiple times, listened to it once (the Jim Dale versions) and plan to listen to it again (the Stephen Fry versions) so obviously I love it.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Illustrated by Jim Kay - Hogwart's Express
I was interested as soon as I heard this illustrated edition was coming. Then I saw a preview of some of the artwork and I started counting the days until it would be available. I picked up my copy the first week and it’s simply gorgeous.

It’s an oversized (coffee table size) book printed on high quality paper with an attached ribbon bookmark. My first thought after picking it up was that I don’t think I’m going to be able to lift Order of the Phoenix when it hits the bookstores. Seriously, we’re talking potential for back injury if they don’t split that one into two volumes.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Illustrated by Jim Kay - Hagrid rescues Harry
Jim Kay has done a masterful job with the illustrations. They are beautiful. I am amazed that he has managed to create these images. They are wholly new, yet at the same time remain true to both the drawings in the original editions and the sets and actors from the movies.

Because Alan Rickman is on my mind today, I’m including Kay’s Snape here. It’s not Alan Rickman, yet at the same time it’s not exactly not Alan Rickman.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Illustrated by Jim Kay - Severus Snape
I felt that Jim Kay managed to take the images in my head and make them even more beautiful than I hand imagined.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Illustrated by Jim Kay - Diagon Alley
I cannot wait for the next book in this illustrated editions series.

5 stars Rating 5/5

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Audio Reread – The Martian by Andy Weir

Posted by on Oct 15, 2015 in 2015, 5 stars, Audio, Book Review | 1 comment

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian by Andy Weir, narrated by R.C Bray

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Podium Publishing
Publication Date: 2014
Length: 10 hours, 54 minutes
Read by: R.C. Bray
Source: Purchased


The Book:

I read and wrote about the print edition of this book back in January. I loved the book pretty much everyone I know who read it thought it was as good as I did. When I heard that Matt Damon was playing Mark Watney in the movie version I was skeptical but after seeing a couple of trailers for the movie I have to agree that it was a good casting choice.

I had heard from several reliable sources that the audio format of the book was wonderful. I decided that I wanted to listen to the audio edition before we go see the movie.

My Thoughts:
That was an excellent choice. I think I enjoyed the book even more the second time around and the primary reason for that is that the audio edition is simply excellent.

I will admit that part of the reason I enjoyed listening to this as a reread is that since I already know the story there was a lot less holding my breath this time around. The first time through the print edition I spent a lot of time reading as fast as I could to find out what happened next. This time, with the audio I was a lot more comfortable just letting the story happen.

R.C. Bray does a masterful job of narrating this book. His first person voice as Mark Watney is perfect. It fits right with the way I created Mark’s voice in my head as I read the book. In the parts of the book that are not in Mark’s voice, Bray is called upon to portray a wide variety of characters, voices, and accents. He makes the whole experience of the story even more wonderful than the first time through in print.

If you haven’t read this book, please consider the audio format. If you’ve already read the book in print I strongly encourage you to give the audio format a try.

It’s just a thrill ride and a whole lot of fun.
 
4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the book
5 stars Rating 5/5 for the narration

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