01 August 2007

Reads & Listens, August 2007

Reads:

Girls: Volume 3: Survival by Joshua and Jonathan Luna Girls: Volume 4: Extinction by Joshua and Jonathan Luna
Eh. I expected better from this series, considering the hype and the general quality of Volume 1. Two, yes, was a bit ... lacking ... but I had hope for Three and Four. At the very least, I expected a "real" ending and not this pieced together nonsense which left me expecting a fifth volume.

The Observations by Jane Harris
Young Bessy, of a questionable background, accepts work as a maidservant a rural Scottish estate where she becomes a bit too involved with "the missus" and discovers she might not have landed on her feet, after all. Is her mistress mad? What really happened to the last maid? An intoxicating bit of Victorian melodrama.

Emma: Volumes 1, 2, 3 by Kaoru Mori
Manga about a Victorian maid and a young man of property who dare to love outside their stations. Beautifully illustrated and so well written. This is what you give people who say that manga isn't "real literature." I have recommended this to everyone I know who reads period novels or historical romance, but I really think this is the type of cross-over work which could appeal to almost anyone. I've liked the series so much I've bought the first three and ordered the next two. I can't way to find out what happens -- I am all a-tingle with anticipation.

Sorcerers & Secretaries: Volumes 1 & 2 written and illus. Amy Kim Ganter
Nicole, a student and secretary, lives more in the secret world of her notebook than in the real one. When she meets Josh, the wannabe bad boy, secret worlds and real ones get mixed up. Is Josh Nicole's Ellon or is her subconscious trying way too hard? A cute read, but not worth $9.99 -- borrow it, don't buy it.

Polly and the Pirates: Volume 1 written and illus. by Ted Naifeh
Polly is a willing student at a boarding school for proper young ladies who has no wish to go adventuring like her roommate Anastasia. One night, however, she is stolen away by pirates and adventure is thrust upon her. Polly, you see, is the daughter of the Pirate Queen Meg ... A fun read and probably worth the $9.99 -- I bought my copy and don't regret it, but I would have read the library's copy if there was one.

Gunslinger Girl: Volume 1 by Yu Aida
Not worth the $9.99 and not worth the time, either. I might watch this on TV, but it just didn't work for me on paper. I had great difficulty telling the girls apart and never developed any empathy or interest in them. I regret picking this manga up.

Daisy Kutter: The Last Train by Kazu Kibuishi
Daisy Cutter is a gunslinger gone legit. She runs a general store on a small town and is, by all appearances, a respectable citizen. An incredibly bored respectable citizen. Then Mr. Winters makes her an offer she can't refuse and suddenly life is full of excitement (and less respectable). Highly entertaining and the Future West illustrative style is quite nice. Don't regret buying or reading.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Oh, Catherine Morland, you are such a silly twit to start, but you do turn out well. And what seventeen year-old girl isn't a bit of a silly twit, anyway? I thought this was one of Austen's funniest novels and I look forward to reading it again.

Persuasion by Jane Austen
I love this novel so much, I cannot speak or write of it.

Listens:

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett (read by Nigel Planer)
I would like keep Nigel Planer chained in my basement and make him read me all of the Discworld books. It's not just that all his voices match the characters, it's that he does all the random sounds with such ... gusto. The Eater of Socks was perfect.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (read by Davina Porter)
Davina Porter does a truly excellent job with this novel and made it a pleasure to hear. Emma, of course, annoys me as much as she ever did, but much more charmingly thanks to Porter.