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TWIB-II 39  
03:32pm 07/07/2008
 
 
Discard Before Using
I read seven books this week. Unfortunately, most of them were in Japanese (and Death Note). That leaves these three books:

1)Unmanned--Y: The Last Man - Brian K. Vaughan & Pia Guerra
What would happen to society if every creature bearing a Y chromosome suddenly died? A lot could go very, very badly wrong with this premise, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that Vaughan largely manages to avoid these pitfalls.

This being volume one of nine (I believe), most of the page space is devoted to introducing the main characters and setting up their individual quests--something I wish more series would do. By the looks of it, Vaughan has set out to tackle a smorgasbord of issues--family planning, genetic engineering, gender relations, the Israel/Palestine conflict--and thus far has avoided taking any easy outs or even any clear stances on these topics. End verdict: this has all the makings of an excellent piece of scifi (possibly dystopian?) literature. I'll definitely be proceeding to the second volume.

2) MirrorMask - Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean
MirrorMask is a creepy fever dream of a book. At its heart, it's a typical Gaiman take on a typical fairytale trope: young protagonist wishes ill on a family member in the heat of an argument, her "wish" comes to pass, and she must undergo various trials to undo the harm caused by her rash words.

Gaiman does an excellent job of capturing the voice of a young teenage girl, but McKean's creepy, impressionistic art, part Vision Tarot, part Matt Mahurin video, is what really makes MirrorMask better than the sum of its disjointed narrative, which is so choppy in places it felt like pages were missing. Whether this is an intentional stylistic choice on Gaiman's part to create a surreal, dreamlike atmosphere, or due to the fact that this book is apparently (according to LT) the kid-friendly tie-in to a MirrorMask feature film, I couldn't say (although I rather expect it's 1/3 the former and 2/3 the latter). MirrorMask is definitely worth the hour or so it takes to read, but probably not worth owning for anyone other than the dedicated Gaiman/McKean collector.

3) The Watercooler Effect - Nicholas DiFonzo
The Watercooler Effect is a popular science book that seeks to explain the workings of rumors. DiFonzo guides readers through the definition of "rumor" and how rumors differ from gossip and urban legends, how they're formed and disseminated, the social and psychological roles involved in the retelling of rumors, and how to effectively deal with and control detrimental rumors.

Overall, DiFonzo does a good job of introducing, explaining, and illustrating each of these points; like most popular science books, however, I found myself wishing he'd gone into greater detail in many places. He's apparently written another book on rumors for a more academic audience; I'm considering giving that one a read. Aside from that, my main caveat for this volume is that many of DiFonzo's examples are introduced piecemeal throughout the text: for instance, a partial description of an experiment in chapter one is left incomplete, with scattered references to other aspects of the experiment in the interceding chapters, before finally being reintroduced and explained in full at a much later point in the text, and this makes for an often disjointed read. That said, The Water Cooler Effect is an enjoyable introduction to its subject that will introduce readers to many aspects of this phenomenon with which they aren't likely to be familiar.

That will be all.
music: the wannadies - bumble bee boy
tags: books, reading
 
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(no subject)
 nokiirat
 
11:01pm 07/07/2008 (UTC)
 
 
N: yum
MirrorMask--have you seen the movie yet? Beautiful, but I struggled to get all the way through it.
picword: yum
 
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 akujunkan
 
02:47am 11/07/2008 (UTC)
 
 
Discard Before Using
No--I didn't even know there was a movie until after I'd read the book. According to wikipedia, it was apparently conceived of as a project that would generate next to zero revenue in the theatre but make money over the long term through video rentals. Methinks this might have something to do with its watchability.
 
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 fashion_piranha
 
03:45pm 11/07/2008 (UTC)
 
 
fashion_piranha
'Mirrormask' sounds fantastic. I can't wait to read it. I always seem to enjoy Gaiman's graphic novels more than his novels themselves; the books seem kinda clunky with descriptive words.

I found your blog in the 'Early Reviewers' group on Librarything. Hope you don't mind the random friending!
 
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(no subject)
 akujunkan
 
11:03pm 11/07/2008 (UTC)
 
 
Discard Before Using: TWIB
I'm a fan of Gaiman's novels as well, but I agree with you that his graphic novels are where he really shines. He deals so well with the surreal and fantastic, but those are two things that are better conveyed through images instead of plain text.

And not at all--friend away! I see you've reviewed The Heretic's Daughter, btw. I'm about 90 pages away from finishing it myself (so later this evening), and will be over to check out your review once I'm done. (We seem to have read a fair number of novels in common; I blame LT!)
picword: TWIB
 
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 fashion_piranha
 
03:52am 12/07/2008 (UTC)
 
 
fashion_piranha
LT is so bad for my attempts to reduce my waiting-to-be-read pile. Every time I click a page I come across something else desirable!

I received an ARC of 'The Graveyard Book' by Neil Gaiman yesterday. Hopefully I'll get a chance to dive in soon. :)
 
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 akujunkan
 
05:14pm 12/07/2008 (UTC)
 
 
Discard Before Using: TWIB
Tell me about it! I put myself on a book-buying moratorium in '07 after I'd been on LT for a year; now I'm not even looking at the ARC pages any more because I already have so much on my plate.

That said, where on EARTH did you manage to score a Gaiman ARC?! I wants one...
picword: TWIB
 
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 fashion_piranha
 
07:50pm 12/07/2008 (UTC)
 
 
fashion_piranha: violently blue.
Through the Harper Collins First Look program. I have not had the greatest experience with them; I apply for books every month and never get a thing! But now I can't complain because I got a Gaiman book. I wouldn't be surprised if they give more of this book away through Shelf Awareness. It's children/young adult, aimed at roughly the same audience as Coraline...
picword: violently blue.
 
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 metal_dog5
 
05:09am 13/07/2008 (UTC)
 
 
Metal Dog5: SpN - reading
I have finished reading Superior Saturday. Need to discuss events and speculate when you've read it. *bites tongue to prevent spoilers* ^__^
picword: SpN - reading
 
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