Book Binge

Recently I’ve been rather under the weather and because of my illness I’ve been unable to do much reading, that’s what happens when you have a constant headache.  So, after my massage yesterday I made a pit stop to The Book Vault (my friendly neighbourhood book shop) to find some graphic novels.  

Well an innocent stop to look for a few books I could possibly read ended up costing me quite a pretty penny.  But I think I left with some good finds.  The guy that works at the shop gave me three cue cards full of suggested reading material.  I gabbed some of his suggestions as well as a few I thought might be of interest.  So, without further ado here are the goodies I picked up:

batman-the-dark-knight-returnsFrank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.  Something about this book intrigued me, I don’t normally read superhero books but this one came highly recommended.  I haven’t read any Batman material and given the recent hype surrounding the caped crusader.  

Not that long ago I started watching the 1960’s Adam West Batman series.  You just cannot write camp like that anymore.  I cannot help but chuckle to myself all the time with the ridiculous plots and lines found throughout the show.

fables-homelandsFor those of you avid readers of this humble blog you’ll know that I love the Fables series by Bill Willingham.  So I picked up this 6th installment Fables: Homelands.  I’ve already devoured the first five in the series and I’m always ready for the next in the series.

This will definitely be read by weeks end.  I’m not sure what it is that just makes me fall for these books.  It’s one of a few series I’ll own before too long.  

nino_god_dyslex_dog_cvrI couldn’t pass this one up because the title made me laugh out loud in the bookstore, this is something that rarely happens when I’m hunting the shelves for books.  god the Dyslexic Dog by Brian & Philip Phillipson and Alex Nino.  I’m betting it’s going to be terrible but I thought why not give it a shot?  I’m kind of looking forward to being disappointed by this one.  Flipping through the pages I can tell it may even cause pain while reading.  Should be a good time!

grimmtrade01bI really enjoy fairy tales and have always been fascinated with the Brother’s Grimm and the way they told the tails.  This is one of the books I read as soon as I got home and I have to say there were some parts I really enjoyed but others I just didn’t like.  

Grimm Fairy Tales Volume 1 by Joe Tyler and Ralph Tedesco contains: Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Hansel & Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, Sleeping Beauty and Robber Bridegroom.  This is one I thought would be worth checking out.

kcKingdom Come seemed to be the one he was probably most excited about.  As a result it was one I had to pick up right away.  Mark Waid and Alex Ross bring us the superheroes we are all use to in the not so distant future.  They are older and some slightly forgotten.  

Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl is a comic I remember stumbling across this comic when it first came out.  And loved it because the humor is dark and exactly something I’d come with.  So I picked up the first two in the collection of three Noogies and Wedgies by Roman Dirge.  If you’d like a sample of the humor you can check out the animated versions of some of these stories here.

walkingdead_book1_hc-719399Finally, I picked up a zombie book.  The Walking Dead Book One is fabulous!  I picked it up and couldn’t stop reading it.  I loved every aspect of this book.  And given the rise in all things zombie these days I thought I should pick this one up.  Robert Kirkman’s story of the walking dead seamed like something I might enjoy so I picked it up.

 

I’d be curious to know if there are any favourites you may have out there.  What comics/graphic novels have you fallen for that I should perhaps look into next?

Theatrical Thursday – The Reader (with review)

At the close of 2008 I watched many of the films that had been nominated for an academy award.  Not only those nominated for best picture but also some of the smaller awards like best actor and actress awards.  One of the movies was of course The Reader staring Kate Winslet.

the-reader-film

I must say that I really enjoyed this film and because of my enjoyment of the film I wanted to read the novel once I found out it was based on a novel.  Then I heard from one of my co-workers that they read the novel and thought it was great I wanted to get my hands on this book even more than before.  So when I was last in Toronto (to see Spring Awakening: the Musical) I made a stop to Indigo at Eaton Center and found a copy of Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader.

the-readerThe Reader

by Bernhard Schlink

genre: historical fiction

This book was so much better than the film.  I could just ramble on and on about how much I love this book I wont.  For those of you that don’t know the novel is about a boy and his sexual exploits with an older woman.  The woman’s past comes back to haunt the boy, who knew nothing of her past.  

The novel is a haunting portrayal of a woman full of secrets will to take a fall in order to hide a deep dark secret she wants nobody to know about.  It’s a quick read and once you begin reading it you’ll devour every page, savouring each word, paragraph, page and chapter like you would each course of a four course meal.

Don’t get me wrong the film is good but if you only do one or the other you should definitely take the book.  I know this is usually the case but there is so much more in the book than the movie.  Because the novel in so short there is no reason for any part of this book to be removed the film version.  I don’t understand why they took the bits out that they did.  Hollywood, I guess, just wants to keep us wondering why they do the things they do.

Others who have reviewed The Reader by Bernhard Schlink:

A Guy’s Moleskin Notebook delves deeper into the book than I did, so check it out if you want to know much more about the book
http://mattviews.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/187-the-reader-bernhard-schlink/

A blog I haven’t stumble upon before has presented a great review of this book.  booktin keeps the review short and sweet.
http://www.booktin.com/bernhard-schlink-the-reader/

S. Krishna’s Books is another new blog for me.  I like that this is a well informed reader.
http://www.skrishnasbooks.com/2009/03/reader-bernhard-schlink.html

As usual if you would like your review added here just send me a quick email and I’ll be more than happy to add your review to the list.

Let the Games Begin

Wow, it’s that time of the year again. CBC is gearing up for it’s yearly Canada Reads competition. I always look forward to debates that happen on CBC radio 1 to see what the defenders of each book has to say about the novels. When I get a chance to read the selections I’m often pleasantly surprised how wonderful the books really are.

I must say I wasn’t a huge fan of Canadian fiction until just a few years ago when I took a Canadian Literature course at the University of Manitoba. After reading doing the required reading for the course I couldn’t get enough of the writers from my country. Canada has some wonderful authors and I try to find more of them yearly.

Well, I walked into The Book Vault yesterday to pick up the books that I had ordered for the book club at work (John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines). Before leaving home I took a look at the list of books up for Canada Reads 2009 and decided I would pick up two of the books up for debate:

bookofnegroesSince this book won the Giller prize I’ve been drawn to it. Then the book continued on to win the Common Wealth Writers’ Prize for best overall book. So I thought I would pick up this book and attempt to get it read for the 2nd Canadian Book Challenge. The motivation became even greater since it became a selection for Canada Reads.
I must say I’m trilled to be reading this book and without having read any of the books I’m kind of thinking this will be hands down the winner of Canada Reads 2009.

ladynextdoorSince the first time I watched Les Belles Soeurs I fell madly in love with the dramatic writings of Michel Tremblay. And since that first encounter with his work I try as hard as I can to see everything he’s written for the stage. I’ve never read any of his fiction and seeing The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant on the Canada Reads list I couldn’t resist reading this. So I grabbed this one as well.

After reaching for my copy of The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill I looked up and saw another book on the list for this seasons Canada Reads 2009. So, I made the mistake of pulling it off the shelf .

fruitOn my cover of the book just below Fruit it said “a novel about a boy and his nipples” after reading that I knew I had to see what this book was about. Upon turning the book over and reading the very first sentence taken from a review published by Entertainment Weekly I new I had to read this book. The review stated, “Peter Paddington is a 13-year-0ld, fat, gay cross-dresser with two selfish, annoying older sisters and an overbearing mother” nothing more needed to be said I knew right there that I wanted to read Brian Francis’ book.

There are two other books in the contest but I didn’t pick those up so for the time being I’ll just wait to see what the debaters have to say about them before I rush out to pick them up.

Weekly Review #3

Well after last weeks post I decided to put The Yiddish Policeman’s Union aside and start something else.  Rather than starting one book though I got two on the go.  I was just getting too frustrated with the copious use of Yiddish and I want to enjoy my time when I’m reading.  So, it was time to put is aside and maybe come back to it later.  But I must say I’m excited about the up and coming movie based on the book.

The first book I’ve started is The Lennon Prophecy: A New Examination of the Death Clues of the Beatles by Joseph Niezgoda.  I received this promotional copy a couple weeks ago and I must say this is fascinating.  Niezgoda chose to write a book on the legend that John Lennon sold his soul to the devil for fame and popularity.  I find it interesting that I started this book as the Conservatory class at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival did a reading of Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe (the classic tale of the great doctor who sold his soul to the devil for knowledge).

The Lennon Prophecy begins with Lennon’s early years and continues to progress through the popularity of the Beatles.  I just completed the chapter dealing with the infamous “more popular than Jesus” statement Lennon made.  The book is proving to be a very easy read and full of information and theories.  I hope to get this book finished in the next couple of days.

The other book I started this week was purchased with the gift certificates I got from work for The Book Vault.  After reading Me Talk Pretty One Day I’ve wanted to read more by David Sedaris.  So I picked up Naked which is another collection of essays by Sedaris.  I work at the Festival and do outbound calling and so I have a lot of free time on my hands at work between calls because we don’t call a lot of numbers at once, each person makes a single phone call and so it takes a while before I get a change to talk to someone.  That time is spent reading now, and it is proving to allow me to get lots of reading done.  These essays are full of humour and some great insights.  I’m looking forward to the other tales Sedaris has spun in this fantastic book.

Until next time…happy reading.

Stratford There’s More Than Shakespeare

I’ve been back in Stratford for a little over two weeks now and I’ve started to fully immerse myself in everything that is Stratford. When people come to Stratford they usually come for the superb theatre that is available here. With four stages and 16 shows to choose from there is something on these stages for everyone. With tonight being the big opening the Stratford Shakespeare Festival is on many minds today. I’ve even attended a preview for Cabaret about a week ago, this is also my first performance here since Richard Monette left the post of Artistic Director. Break a leg the cast and crew of all the shows opening this week at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. But there is so much more to Stratford than the Festival.

Stratford has many bookstores, both new and used, that anyone visiting should stop by before they leave this city. Of these stores two in particular are worthy of your patronage. The unfortunate side to both of these stores is that neither one has a website but that shouldn’t stop you from stopping by and picking up a few books. Last week I visited both these stores and picked up a few books while there.

The Book Vault is a store that deals with new books and has a large selection of comic books and graphic novels. The store also has a wide selection of novels and non-fiction. There are several aspects of this store that make it better than great; they will order any book for you, there is a huge selection sale books to chose from, and best of all they sell their books in Canadian currency at the American prices. The books are well organized making it very easy to find the book you may or, in many of our cases, ones you weren’t necessarily looking for. The staff is very friendly and always willing to help in your search. The Book Vault is the place to go for your search of new books.

When on the hunt for used books you must be sure to go to 351 Ontario St., just past downtown. The house that has been converted into the best used book store in town! Yesterday’s Things and Books is the used book store that made me fall in love with books and where my thrill of finding the perfect book started. The moment you walk in the door your confronted by a large fiction section as well as the largest selection of plays I’ve seen in any bookstore (new or used). They even have an area for books, plays and other theatre paraphernalia relating to the Festival season. The books are also organized by genre and author making it easy to find your books. There is also a room dedicated to books for children and young adults. It’s difficult to leave the store without a book or two in hand. The prices for the books can be found on the inside cover and they are reasonable. If you’re looking for antiques you can find a few at Yesterday’s Things and Books too.

So, be sure to check out those bookstores and some of the other shops available in Stratford. Be sure to head to Family and Company, the worlds best toy store and be sure to have them wrap your purchases. At Family and Company you get some great games and toys you wont be able to find at many traditional toystors.

Once you’ve finished your shopping take your books and get a sandwich (the best sandwiches ever) at York Street Kitchen. Then take your lunch and books to the Avon River find a park bench, if you don’t have a blanket, on Tom Paterson Island and enjoy your books and lunch. That’s what I’ll be doing once the rain stops and we have another beautiful day.