Weekly Review #7

When it comes to reading it’s been a rather slow week.  I was wanting to get more read but as usual life tends tends to get in the way so some things get left behind and unfortunately it was reading that has had to suffer.  When life gets busy for you how do you get all the reading in you’d like to?  Or should I say get all the reading in you possibly can?

I guess I’m lucky enough that I can get some reading in at work while I’m work.  As one of those annoying people that makes phone calls selling tickets for the festival.  Since many people don’t answer I need something that will occupy my time so that I don’t go completely crazy I get some reading done.  The problem is not every book is suited for the stops and starts needed when doing this kind of work.  It’s been difficult trying to find something so I’ve had to change a few books over the week.  I still haven’t found one that will work for me to do this kind of reading.

Yesterday I went with Mike to see Coraline in Kitchener.  When we decided to see it I mentioned wanting to read the book the movie was based on and Mike told me had the book.  So he brought the book with him.  I’ll be bringing that book with me to work today because it looks like something that will work for reading there.

Coraline was a fantastic film and seeing it in 3D was great!  If you haven’t seen this film yet you should rush out and see it now.  The story is great and then to see it in 3D added to the story.  When I went to see the show I thought the 3D aspect would be gimmicky and was skeptical about that.  It wasn’t that way at all, it made for a fun few hours at the cinema.  Now I’m really looking forward to seeing what Neal Gaiman’s novel will be like.


Weekly Review #6

Well it turns out that this week didn’t turn out the way I had planned.  I should know by now that it’s not the best idea to plan things out because it all too often doesn’t end the way you want it to.  But then again I usually don’t plan a lot because I change my plans quickly.  I was going to finish The Book Thief this week but I ended up getting a horrible head cold, not that it’s gone yet but I can at least again this morning.  So I should get it finished this evening after work and a trip to the bar for a co-worker’s birthday and one is leaving at the end of the week.

I did get a book finished this week, it was a children’s book (Too Tall Alice) but that’s alright.  I’ve already completed 8 books in ’09 which I’m quite pleased with.  So far I’ve also been unable to complete reading one book because I was getting frustrated with it.

This week I hope to finish Rabbit, Run and (if all goes as I would like) Ragtime.  But we’ll see how this week turns out.

On other book related news I hope to get out to the cinema and see movie adaptation of the Neil Gaiman book Coraline.  Did any one get a chance to get out and the see the movie this week?  Or have you read the Gaiman tale?  I’d like to hear your thoughts or comments on both.

2008 A Year in Review

2008 was an exciting year for me.  I got lots of reading done and more importantly I jumped into the world of blogging.  With the creation of That’s the Book! I got to meet lots of people that are more obsessed with reading than myself and sometimes I don’t think that’s quite possible but you’re out there and you know who you are.  And on the note of book blogs I think it’s important to note the loss of a great reader and dedicated book blogger Dewey, she will be missed by everyone and by nobody more than her family.

Outside of that I’ve moved back to Canada and since moving back I haven’t had the time to get all the reading I’d like to get done.  And as a result I haven’t been posting on here as much as I like.  Just being in a country where I have more options for spending time and living with a few other people make reading a challenge.  But I hope to get more done in this new year than I have since moving back to Canada.  And I hope that being part of a book club again helps me keep on top of my reading.

I’ve read quite a few books this past year and it’s difficult to pick the top book of the year.  Part of that is because I was introduced to the wonderful world of graphic novels and now that I’ve started it’s hard to set them aside for the traditional novel.  But some of the books that top the ones I’ve read this year include:

I Am America (And So Can You) by Stephen Colbert – this is perhaps the best when it came to humor this year.  I laughed so hard reading this book and once you have Colbert doing something you know it’s going to be good.

An honorable mention for humor goes to David Sedaris for Me Talk Pretty One Day.  I wish I could be a part of his family because they sound like a riot.

The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean get top marks for graphic novels.  It’s a wonderful story about a boy coming of age.  As much I dislike coming of age stories this is one that could read over and over again.  If the story isn’t good enough for you the novel is extreamly visually stimulating.

Honorable mention goes to Chester Brown’s Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography.  Riel is a huge character in Canadian history and particularly Manitoba (as founding father of that province).  Riel is contriversial and this book really brings to light who Riel was and does a decent job of presenting the two views of the man.

Best novel that I read in ’08 would have to be Edward P. Jones’ The Know World.  I had different expectations for this novel but was pleasantly suprised by the book.  If you haven’t read it you should pick it up.  Another one well worth the read would be Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky.  A love story that takes place during the Second World War.

I’d like to hear from you.  What was the book that you enjoyed the most in 2008?  Leave a comment so I have a good list consider for ’09.

Weekly Geeks #1 – Greetings

Hello to all of you Weekly Geeks folks!

The idea of Weekly Geeks was concocted by Dewey over at The Hidden Side of a Leaf.  The premise is that a new topic will be posted every Saturday and those participating will discuss the topic given, or do the suggestion for the week.  It’s a great idea to get fresh and interesting ideas onto our blogs that, let’s face it, can get stale from time to time.  I know that my blog can be rather boring and I find I’m always in need of new ideas.  So, I thought why not join the meme?

This week, what a great idea for the first Weekly Geeks by the way, was to find five new sites, post a comment (who doesn’t love comments on their blog?), and then write about the sites you’ve visited.  I just finished popping in to all the bloggers participate in Weekly Geeks, and there were a lot of sites I haven’t visited yet.  But there were five that really caught my interest, and these are the five I’m going to talk about and leave a comment on their sites when I’m done this post.

  1. things mean a lot by Nymeth.  I was struck immediately upon arrival on this page by the images of fairies and what seems to be a fascination with mythology (please correct me if I’m wrong).  The posts drew me right into the review she was writing and that can be difficult to do.  I’ll be sure to visit again!
  2. SomeReads by Somer.  The simple design on this blog was invigorating and I couldn’t help but read the first post, a review of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, this is a book I haven’t picked up yet but would like to, especially after reading the Mr. Punch graphic novel he wrote.
  3. Bold. Blue. Adventure. by Kim L.  I actually don’t think this is my first visit to this site, I think I stumbled across it via another blog earlier this week.  This time around I took a little more looking at blog and think I would enjoy regular visits to the site.  I’m looking forward to future reviews by Kim L.
  4. The Armenian Odar Reads is written by a Dutch woman living in Armenia.  It didn’t take me long to select this blog as a favorite, all it took was the tag line on her blog “I am a bookeater”.  Then I read her review of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and new this would be a great place to revisit.  I also loved the book and have read three books in the series already.
  5. Books, Memes, and Musings by BookGal.  The point of interest on this site was that BookGal would comment on the “Strengths of” and “Weaknesses of” each book she reviewed.  So, if you don’t want to read a synopsis of the book you can jump right into the good and bad of it.

I’m really excited to have found these new blogs and each of them will be added to my blogroll.  This first Weekly Geeks was great and I’m looking forward to what is in store for us next week.  It’ll be great to have more visitors here and I look forward to meeting new bloggers.

Well, it’s off to leave these bloggers a comment, let them know that I enjoy their blog!

Punch from Gaiman and McKean

I’m really glad that I came across The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean at What the Book? Unfortunately, it was like many graphic novels in this country (South Korea), and many other books, wrapped up in cellophane so you cannot skim the pages.  But the images on the covers were enough to compel me to scoop with one up without a second thought.  And am I ecstatic that I did.

Gaiman, the author of the Sandman graphic novels and other novels including Startdust and Good Omen with Terry Pratchett really out did himself with this tale.  Now, before I go much further I must admit that I find the story of Punch and Judy quite disturbing but I’m drawn to it, I find it utterly fascinating – I cannot get enough.  Gaiman intertwines the story of Punch with that of a *ugh* coming of age story.  I must also confess I hate coming of age stories, there is something so trite about them that makes it difficult to control my gag reflexes.  But, and let me tell you this is a huge but, Neil Gaiman has out done himself on this one.

Not only is the story of Mr. Punch’s murder spree told with all the darkest possible with but the story of the boy and the elderly characters that surround him when he is shipped off the live with his grandparents prior to the birth of his sister because of the childhood disease he has contracted is equally captivating.  Every word leads to the needs making it very difficult to put the book down.  I always was found wanting more, even at the end.

More than Gaiman’s words Dave McKean transported us to the past and the Punch and Judy tent of yore brilliantly using various mediums.  The words could be ignored, and I often found I was forgetting them while consuming this book, because of the eye candy provided by McKean.  There are so many nuances in the images that I found I dwelt on a page for much longer than I normally would reading a graphic novel.  I choice of Punch doll used for the book was perfect, he was so creepy and yet I couldn’t take my eyes off him or the other characters in the puppet show.

The various moods were present in both image and word.  As soon as the page was turned you knew you were in for a feast!  Although you wanted Gaiman’s words to propel you forward, and they did, McKean’s images forced you to pause.  These forces worked so well together that I didn’t notice they were so different until after I completed the book and began reflecting on readability of it.

To date this is the best graphic novel I have read.  I would definitely recommend it and the recommendation is even greater for any fan of Gaiman or Punch and Judy.  Run to your nearest bookshop and grab a copy.  What the Book has not disappointed yet again!  I hope their graphic novel section continues to grow and I find more gems like this one.