phoenix64: a bookshelf with older books (bookshelf)
Since it's been a while I thought I'd mention that I'm on Goodreads in case anyone else wants to take a look at my plebeian tastes and my mildly disturbing habit of buying far more books than I can read in a practical amount of time.

I don't post a lot of reviews but feel free to ask me about anything I've read. I should probably also mention that I've read a fair amount of stuff that's pretty dark that I wouldn't recommend to everyone. Though of course as I get older that line keeps shifting, "New Weird" good grief.

P.S. It mentions in my profile that I'm a Goodreads Librarian but seriously, don't ask me to fix something, I'm just a baby.
phoenix64: Ten and Martha sitting, text: tell me a story (dw tell me a story)
In honor of the today's Rapture That Didn't I thought I'd use the excuse to recommend one of my favorite books that not enough people have heard of, Fitcher's Brides by Gregory Frost.

Fitcher's Brides takes place in New York state in 1843 and concerns a preacher who has prophesied that the end of the world is very soon in coming and three sisters whose father and stepmother have fallen under the Reverend Elias Fitcher's spell. Not only are these parents willing to sell everything they own and join the rest of the believers in Fitcher's created community of followers preparing for the End Times, but also to offer up the oldest daughter for marriage to the reverend. Eventually they end up offering her two sisters as well, for this is a Bluebeard story.

I feel completely inadequate to the task of describing this book and why it's so good. The sense of time and place is captured nicely and is fairly interesting. Alongside that is an atmosphere of quiet menace, a subtle but growing unease that continues past a showy climax to the last sentence. Frost has used history and two fairy tales as foundation stones to build a rich and full novel.
phoenix64: RayK to Fraser: you didn't have to tie me up (ds you didn't have to tie me up)
See, this is why I was hesitant to start doing this. My books finished in February come to a grand total of 1.

A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters
I've never read any of the Cadfael books before, and I've only watched one or two of the TV adaptations (the only one I remember for sure is "Virgin in the Ice"). I'd sort of thought about picking these up for a long time now and I've been reading classic mysteries again recently and [personal profile] jenavira has been a bad influence. Overall I enjoyed it quite a bit. Cadfael is almost a little too good to be true, a man who enjoyed the adventurous life he had when he was younger with few regrets but equally enjoys the (theoretically) more peaceful monastic life he's come to in his later years. But literary comfort food is not necessarily a bad thing and I look forward to more of Cadfael. (I've already brought the next book home from the library but I am not allowed to read it until I finish at least one of the books in front of it!) I like the characters that Peters creates and I enjoy the cultural/social history we get along with the political history, though I'm enjoying that as well, especially since this is a period I'm not that familiar with already. The mystery plot itself and Cadfael as detective were less engaging but the little I know of the series leads me to think this will improve.

I did read bits of a few other books but nothing close to finishing; I even had to return one to the library because I'd renewed it the maximum number of times, meaning I'd had it for nine weeks. Sheesh. I'm attempting to blame some of this on the fact that I really need to get new glasses because eye strain is becoming an issue. Hush, I'm allowed to tell myself whatever lies rationalizations I want to.
phoenix64: parker holding an orange and smiling (Default)
When I quit smoking a few years ago my reading dropped dramatically due to habit association issues. It got a bit of a bump when my TV died but it's still nothing what it was before. Still, I thought it might be nice to post what I've been reading, so this is a new thing for me this year. Even though it will show you what a COMPLETE DORK I am.

Palace of the Plague Lord by C.L. Werner
Short summary: a northern barbarian seeking revenge for his tribe that was wiped out is chosen by a god for a quest with the promise of a reward that is almost too good to be true. A Warhammer tie-in novel. Short review: meh.
the rambling bits )

Baltimore: or The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden
Short summary: an encounter on a battlefield in WWI instigates a vampiric plague and the soldier who was there gathers three friends who have had their own encounters with evil to help him fight. Short review: Well done, boys!
the rambling bits )

Batman: Arkham Reborn by David Hine and Jeremy Haun [graphic novel]
Short summary: Arkham has been destroyed and a descendant of Amadeus Arkham rebuilds it from plans Amadeus left behind. Short review: it brings the crazy and is for the most part a solid Arkham tale.
the rambling bits )

Batman: Arkham Asylum: Madness by Sam Keith [graphic novel]
Short summary: a day-in-the-life of the asylum, much of it through the eyes of a nurse working a shift that's waaaay too long. Short review: Enjoyable interpretations of our cast of crazies, especially the Joker; allows a nice creepy atmosphere to build but the payoff is a bit lacking.
the rambling bits )

B.P.R.D Volume 4: The Dead & B.P.R.D. Volume 5: The Black Flame by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi and Guy Davis [graphic novels]
Short summary: it's Mignola - awesome Liz is awesome, we find that Roger is better off not wearing pants and though everyone in a Mignola book has a haunted house for a psyche this time around it's Abe who does the guided tour. Short review: I feel Arcudi and Davis were good choices to work with Mignola. I loved Liz here; I'm still on the fence about Daimo. I wish these collections weren't so small, but I'm glad I could check them out from the library. And that's as rambly as I'm going to get with these.
phoenix64: parker holding an orange and smiling (Harry reading)
I received my ARC of Audition this week, the US release of the English translation of a novel by Ryu Murakami that many of you might know as the book that was the basis of that creepy Japanese movie. I got it through Library Thing's reviewer program, but still. *bounces* I'm looking forward to it. I haven't read any other of Murakami's novels but I gather they can all pretty much be categorized under "seriously creepy social satire". Whee!

In other news the weather here still blows.
phoenix64: parker holding an orange and smiling (willow dark side cookies)

Your result for Which fantasy writer are you?...

Michael Moorcock (b. 1939)

15 High-Brow, 13 Violent, -1 Experimental and 29 Cynical!

Read more... )

Those qualities sound like me all right. Though I've probably read more commentary by Moorcock than fiction, I've been thinking recently that I need to address the gap in my Fantasy Literature 101 education by reading at least one Elric novel (and at least one Lankhmar novel and the Kalevala).
phoenix64: parker holding an orange and smiling (Harry reading)
I am still not happy with Amazon's response to their massive fail, but I don't want to get into the whats and the hows and the whys - other people are doing a much better job of that. I have a question about alternatives, though. There have been many suggestions on alternatives on where to buy books (I'd like to suggest, but what about alternatives on where to sell books? Amazon Marketplace has become another kind of convenience that's not so easily replaced. Are there discussions about this someplace I haven't come across yet?
phoenix64: Pencil sketch of Batman's head (batman Neal Adams sketch)
Between the critical attention Frank Miller was getting for The Dark Knight Returns and the success of Tim Burton's movie, the publishing world became very Batfriendly in the late eighties/early nineties. One of the results of this was a series of prose anthologies, The Further Adventures of Batman with sequels that had stories focusing on Catwoman and the Penguin (eventually Superman and Wonder Woman got the same treatment). There were some impressive authors in the roster, but the stories ranged from just OK (Isaac Asimov's story appears to be missing part of its denouement and the Lansdale story is a God of the Razor tale which I've never been able to get into. I think it's the shoes; I always end up thinking, "How could he possibly walk in those...?" and then my suspension of disbelief is just gone.) to a few that could have learned a thing or two from fanfic.

However, there was another anthology, The Further Adventures of the Joker, and that subject appears to have really gotten the creative juices flowing. Not every story was a standout, but the duds were rare compared to the ones that succeeded. The anthology included some of the creepiest portrayals of the Joker I've ever seen, and some surprisingly piercing looks at Bats himself. I still enjoy going back to those stories almost twenty years later.

What is it about the Joker?


phoenix64: parker holding an orange and smiling (Default)

November 2014



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