Venneh

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Everything posted by Venneh

  1. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    63. The Mere Wife, Maria Dahvana Headley: This is tied with In Other Lands for my favorite book so far this year. This comes out in two days from when I’m writing this. Go to your bookstore (or Amazon, if it so pleases you), and get this the moment it comes out. Yes, Beowulf in American suburbia is a reductive description, but the way it looks at gentrification and recenters women in the story and reframes the monstrosity at the center of the tale is incredibly well done. There’s also some really good craft work too - as an example, there’s three translations that lead off the book (pictured below), and the sections of the book are titled after each of the translations of the hwaet, and each chapter’s first word or first sentence includes the section’s translation. Go read this, and enjoy the ride. 64. Commonwealth, Ann Patchett: I found this remaindered around the time someone in a FB group I’m in posted about it, and I decided to pick it up. This was a very interesting experience. This book is basically centered around three major events; the one that opens the book, the act that creates the novel in the book (which, coincidentally, totally has the same title as the book itself), and a death that has a ripple effect over the next five decades. I liked the style, and how the narrative jumps from character to character at different points in their lives, and makes sure that all the loose ends are tied up. The diversion with a famous novelist that just so happens to write a novel loosely about the central family and where everyone is bitching about various publishers and it gets turned into a movie feels a bit too eye rollingly meta. It was also an experience as someone who had her dad marry someone new in the last year, and then died suddenly two months ago. There’s some parts of this that I recognize intimately, but others that I’m never going to get to experience, and it’s rolling in my head as such. Definitely an interesting read.
  2. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    Have at it kids.
  3. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    62. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami: A small collection of essays about writing and running and the crafting overlap between them. Good, quick read.
  4. Venneh

    Every comic you've read in 2018

    Batman 50: EYYYYYYES. (Tuned out the narration over the pinups pretty damn quick, tbh, but goddamn those pinups were great.) You can tell the main artist was feeling the deadline at some points during this issue, which is maybe not the feeling you want for a 50th issue? As to the ultimate twist? OK, let's see where this goes. Also would put down money that Bats is now gonna go super dark and whatnot. My Solo Exchange Diary: Somehow haven't written this one up. A continuiation of My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness, in that it gets deeper into the dynamics of her family (and hooooooooly shit), and her first attempts to live on her own. Hit very close to home in some unexpected ways. And apparently this is the first volume, so there will be more. I look forward to being further devastated! Relish: Graphic memoir, picked this up remaindered at Unabridged. Gorgeous comics looking at the artist's relationship to food Beneath the Dead Oak Tree: Carroll does a short form horror comic that I'm pretty sure is based on an old folk song? Not sure. Either way, FUUUUUUCK. Isola 3-4: The comic continues to be a masterwork in color and art by Kreschl. I have no damn clue what's going on in the plot. I'm pretty okay with that. Prism Stalker 4-5: Art is the main draw here, but the story is still followable, even with the grade A hallucinations that we get here. Interested to see how the exams turn out next issue. Monstress 17-18: I still don't have a damn clue what's happening storywise, but fuck, this is one of those "I will buy this in single issues and in trades even though I get review copies" series, just for Sana Takeda's art. Zodiac Starforce: Cries of the Fire Prince 4: The last issue of this came out long ago that I've genuinely forgotten what was going on in the series to this point. *shrug* It's good to see Paulina back on art. Uhm. Nudge me when the trade is out, and maybe I can tell you about how I feel about the arc as a whole? It feels like it was going to be longer originally, but I know Paulina had some health problems that caused some pretty massive delays. Sex Criminals 25: Holy catharsis Batman. And apparently they're wrapping for now? Hell, I should probably try to catch up. WicDiv 36-37: Apparently I never put WicDiv 36 in this thread. Whoops. Great follow up on the Baal stuff, and a hell of a nine panel grid historical storytelling that has me intrigued. 37 follows up on one of those panels a bit more in a way that has me intrigued to see what's gonna resolve next issue. But mostly it's the Baph/Morrigan fight you knew was coming, with some crazy work by McKelvie and Wilson. Unnatural 1: Bitch Planet/Handmaid's Tale-adjacent dystopia focused on "proper" relationships and babies resulting from these relationships, in an anthropomorphic (but not so much that it goes full furry) world. Andolfo's art and color work seems to glow at times, and with her expertise in erotica, I'm very intrigued to see where this goes. I Hate Fairyland 20: Final issue, unexpectedly! And I missed a few issues too, so. Interesting wrapup, nonetheless. Descender 31: Second to last issue, and goddamn, it's amazing to see Nguyen get to use his watercolors on the fight scenes like this. The New World 1: Intriguing first issue, I'm way more interested in Tradd Moore's art than whatever Kot is jerking off onto the page this time, tbh. I'll follow the review copies and probably fall off it before it finishes, and then just read the trade. Previews: 2 Zines (kinda): 1Single Issues: 96 (not counting rereads from this year)Trades/Tankobon/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 46Omnibuses: 1
  5. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    59. A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal, Ben Macintyre: Again, found this remaindered for about $5, and for that price, a hell of an interesting read about an actual double agent placed in MI6 spying for the Soviet Union, and his and his friend’s, Nicholas Elliot, careers and how they intersected and played out over the span of about twenty years. Amusing anecdotes coupled with sobering information, and just generally a good commute read. Also features an afterword by John LeCarre. 60 + 61. Obsidian and Blood omnibus (contains Harbinger of the Storm and Master of the House of Darts), Aliette de Bodard: Counting this as two books even though it’s an omnibus collection. This is a collection of all the Acatl novels, and man, I am kind of interested to see if she would come back to these characters and setting now that she’s further on in her career. The second book picks up more on the politics and supernatural aspect, and the third one amps those aspects even more, but... kind of doesn’t feel like it gets the resolution she was aiming for? It just feels like she asked for another 50 pages or so and they said no, so she struggled a bit to wrap it all up. They were still a great ride, and it’s neat to see her towards the start of her career (and back when you needed a username and password to download stories! I should see if they still have those up). Supernatural murder procedural done in the Aztec empire is definitely not a thing you see often, much less done well and with great characters. This is the original edition from Angry Robot, and man, it’s still interesting to see some clear sections that were meant to be italicized and slightly smaller in the text, but it’s not as bad as the JABberwocky editions.
  6. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    58. The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, John LeCarre: Genre classic. Fast paced read, and I love that it makes you root for the person you shouldn’t be rooting for, and then ends up making him pay anyways. That ending sentence is pretty damn amazing, too. Got through it in a day or so, definitely worth a read.
  7. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    57. If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho, translated by Anne Carson: So, one of the interesting things about Sappho is that less than 6% of her poetry survives, and most of its in fragments. Anne Carson tries her hands at translating what we have, and I love seeing her translation notes in the back. What survives is gorgeous and definitely a thing you should read.
  8. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    56. Six Months, Three Days, Five Others, Charlie Jane Anders: This is a pocket sized collection of stories that Anders wrote for Tor.com, and with how many recurring writers they have, they should really do this kind of thing again, either for individual authors or similarly themed stories. The stories in here are all good (and if you liked All the Birds in the Sky, there is a coda here); but there are three standouts to me. The first one is about humanity discovering the truth behind why we were created (as an investment vehicle designed to destroy ourselves and leave behind the heavy metal and radioactive material) by way of running into the ones who seeded our planet. The second is basically “what if Dr. Doom had a family reunion and actually looked at the politics of his family?”. The third is the one that the collection is partially named for, where a man who sees the only possible future dates a woman who sees all possible futures, and what they do to each other. It’s $12 (cheaper remaindered), and fits easily in a purse, which I like a lot.
  9. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    55. The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women, Kate Moore: This is a book I’ve seen around for a while, and I decided to pick it up at Independent Bookstore Day. This may not have been the most fantastic reading choice when paired with the loss of my dad in the last month, admittedly. But Moore does a deep dive on the lives of the dial painter girls at the radium factories in Orange, NJ and Ottawa, IL, along with the science and legal aspects of their cases against Radium Dial. It also doesn’t hesitate to emphasize just how scumbaggy the company itself was, and how the first real environmental and workers comp laws in the states resulted from what happened to these girls. Reads a bit more like a novel at times, but when you learn that she was inspired by directing a play about the girls, and learning that existing accounts didn’t really focus on their lives, it makes good sense. This reads like someone telling their story. There’s not really hope involved in this read until you get to the postscript and you learn all the shit and protections that people have nowadays because of this shit. Also, a good reminder that capitalism is fucking horrific on almost all levels. Definitely worth a read, but man, don’t expect anything too uplifting here.
  10. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    54. Deep Roots, Ruthanna Emrys: Sequel to Winter Tides, and I continue to be deeply impressed on Emrys’ take on the Lovecraft mythos. A possible relative to Aphra leads her friends to NYC - and the fact that he’s gone missing brings them into the path of the FBI again. The Mi-Go come into play this book, and the way their attitudes collide with the events of the Cold War is really fascinating. The events of last book come into play as well, and they have to reckon with what they did at Miskatonic as well. Emrys mentions in the afterword that this book was harder to write, but you honestly can’t tell in the way everything flows. Definitely get this when it comes out in July.
  11. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    53. No Logo, Naomi Klein: The anticorporate manifesto of the late 90s/early 00s, mainly viewed through the POV of branding, sweatshops, malls, and resistance. I’m reading the ten year anniversary edition another ten years on, and man, let me tell you that while some stuff has definitely changed (see: the Internet), a lot has stayed the same. Would be interested to see her do a 20th anniversary edition in 19.
  12. Venneh

    Every comic you've read in 2018

    New MGMT 1 (aka final Mind MGMT issue): Still a fantastic wrap up to the series that leaves it open to continuation, if Kindt would want to come back to it. Dodge City 1-2: Boom appears to be getting into the sports anime genre. McGee's style is perfect for this, the story is great as snack food; not anything that's gonna win awards anytime soon, but I'll probably find a way to follow it cheap on the trade. Generation Gone 1-5: Hey guys, did you know that Ales Kot knows the words emotional labor? And that he named his black guy BALDWIN?? I've seen this summed up as Akira for our generation, and I would agree with that, but also with a fuckboy emotional abuser, a guy who thinks he's a Nice Guy but mostly ends up as a plot hook for a continuation and as a deux ex machina (literally), and the woman who I am genuinely surprised didn't throw most of the men in this comic into the sun sooner. (Spoilers. Whoops.) Carmen Maria Machado tweeted about how we accept women's pain as collateral damage in men's self-discovery, and man, this comic feels like a real strong example of that to me at this precise moment. I am also coming from a very specific place of grief in this reading right now, so that's probably influencing me real strongly, ngl. Andre Lima Arauljo does a fantastic job on the art, unsurprisingly. Prism Stalker 1: Reread the physical copy of this that we got at ECCC. Still goddamn amazing and combines the enculturation process and how immigration fits into all that along with some good old fashioned biological horror. Again: if you haven't read this yet, go do that. Twisted Romance 4: Again, reread this mainly for the comfort food aspect. The Sailor Moon inspired backup is a sentimental favorite, and I finally read the prose part, which is very up my alley. The main story still is one that continues to destroy me though, mainly for emotional abuse recovery reasons. Previews: 2 Single Issues: 81 (not counting rereads from this year) Trades/Tankobon/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 44 Omnibuses: 1
  13. Venneh

    Every comic you've read in 2018

    It’s a romance anthology and they’re all oneshots? *shrug* Ether: The Copper Golems 1: Interesting to see the world back home expand, and to see a fantasy jail bust. Rubín does gorgeous work as always. Will probably catch up on this on the trade. MW: I originally thought this was done by Tezuka in the early 00s, and had an elaborate thing about how this was a response to Aum and the crash in Japan. As it turns out, it was published in 78, so, whooops. It does predict a lot of the political issues of the 90s, and it does have a lot to say about religion, crime, and is a hell of a story besides. There is a bit of weirdness around the gay relationship that the story centers around, but for the time/culture, not that surprising. Definitely worth a read - I got through it in an afternoon in the bath. Goldie Vance v 1-2: I picked this up from Sava’s annual comics sale, and I’m interested in reading more of this. It’s a Nancy Drew esque story, but with a queer POC lead, the mysteries involve space and the Cold War, and it’s still a fun, light hearted read. Red Handed: Kindt does a GN about a series of seemingly unrelated crimes in a small city, but slowly unfold to be all connected. It’s a homage to classic detective novels, but actually turns the lens on the detective as much as the mastermind. Hell of a read. Previews: 2Single Issues: 73Trades/Tankobon/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 44Omnibuses: 1
  14. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    52. The Sound of Things Falling, Juan Gabriel Vasquez (translated by Anne McLean): Fuck. This came into my life right when I needed it. I picked this up remaindered a while ago, and finally got to it this week. To say that a man’s fascination with a friend he saw murdered, his daughter’s interest in the father she’d never really known, and a story that slowly comes to an end but isn’t really resolves hit a few buttons is to say the least here. It’s the same wistfulness as Borges, and the fascination with how the political plays out with the personal that I saw in Bolaño, with just wonderful writing in general. And an honest look at the consequences of typical Latin American machismo/sleeping around and a woman who is putting up with the protagonist and trying to be understanding of his PTSD, but also turns out to have a spine when he up and leaves her to suddenly meet the daughter of his friend. I’m probably going to have to see if there’s any more of his stuff remaindered.
  15. Venneh

    Every comic you've read in 2018

    What do you have against Twisted Romance, @Dread?
  16. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    51. Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, Mary Roach: A quick, light book about military science, which has a lot about shit and dicks, unsurprisingly. Roach writes engagingly but doesn’t hesitate to add humor in to keep some pretty morbid subjects on the lighter end of things. I got through this in most of a soak in a bath, I don’t expect I’m going to retain a lot of this, but it was a light engaging read.
  17. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    50. Sisyphean, Dempow Torishima, translated by Daniel Huddleston: I’m not entirely sure what happened here, mainly because the four stories contained in this novel are related to each other only in a vague sort of way, and the writing in translation is dense as hell. But man, the stories are fast paced and look at some neat existential quandaries. The first story especially captures the hellscape of corporate Japan mixed with a good dose of sci-fi weirdness, and draws you in to the rest of the novel to see what the hell will happen. Torishima also does illustrations for each of the stories, so you get some damn amazing Junji Ito-esque illustrations to give further visual to the body and bio horror that’s described in the stories. Be ready for dense as hell prose and a lot of made up terms, but it’s worth the money and the time.
  18. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    49. The Book of Joan, Lidia Yuknavitch: I read this at the recommendation of two writers that I trust, and because it came up remaindered at our bookstore. It’s a relatively quick read, and it’s a haunting, brutal one, basically telling the story of women and girls at the end of the world, and a rampaging misogynist who tries to create his own new society above the ruined earth. I’m writing this having literally just finished it, and I’m interested to see how it sticks with me. I don’t always agree with what Yuknavitch is using the characters to say, but the way she says it is undoubtedly amazing. One of the developments towards the back of the book feels a bit underdeveloped despite it becoming a major mover for a good third of the book. There’s also a throwaway moment at the end that feels like an attempt to be profound but comes off as deeply uncomfortable instead. Read through and see what you think. I’d be interested to hear other peoples’ opinions of it.
  19. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    48. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, Michelle McNamara: So, with the Golden State Killer having been caught recently, and knowing about this book and the police crediting McNamara’s work, I decided to check this out. I was not expecting to find a book that I would tear through in the space of two nights. McNamara’s prose, where completed, is wonderful and draws you into her search and the crimes of the GSK, and how it unfolds. Where she wasn’t done, her colleagues finished it where possible, or attempt to piece things together from her notes or the things they worked on together and her transcripts. It’s a hell of a book, and I read it in the space of two nights in the bath. I’m honestly interested to see if Oswalt does get the chance to ask the GSK the questions in the epilogue, and how their finding him at last came into play. Definitely read this when you get a chance.
  20. Venneh

    Every comic you've read in 2018

    Infinity Gauntlet 1: Never underestimate the motivational power of a dude's boner, y'all. It does feel pretty epic, though. Elric: The Dreaming City: Goddamn goddamn goddamn y'all. There's some places where it's clear they're doing the best they can with what they've got, but it's still pretty damn good. Harbingers War 2 Prelude: Raul Allen and Patricia Martin blow it out of the water. And this is their last issue with Valiant because they did not survive the DMG Entertainment takeover, sadly. Good luck, y'all. My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness: Decided to reread this, and it's still a gut punch. The sequel comes out this summer, I want to say? Isola 2: Don't give a shit about the plot, but goddamn Kreschl's art is gorgeous. Sleepless 6: Well shit, that's a good plot twist to leave it at. Let's see where this goes. Also, Del Duca's doing amazing stuff with the art here. Southern Bastards 20: Fuuuuuuuuck. Great art from Latour, and the plot from Aaron is taking a hell of a twist. Prism Stalker 3: Sloane Leong continues to knock it out of the park. The art is gorgeous, and the general biopunk applied to military school hell/being trained by their colonizers leaves you with a hell of an impression. Sleeper hit, this. Proxima Centauri: Farel Darymple does an abstract space story about a kid searching for his brother, and it feels super stream of consciousness. Interesting format, intrigued to see where it goes. Monstress 16: Still gorgeous and creepy as fuck, kind of have a good sense of what's going on. I'm sure I missed something in here somewhere, if I did Jim will give me a nudge. Previews: 2Single Issues: 72Trades/Tankobon/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 40Omnibuses: 1
  21. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    46. The Opposite House, Helen Oyeyemi: Oyeyemi’s second book, two narratives (one more rooted in the Orishas and the other rooted in immigrant traditions and pregnancy) that never quite come together, but on their own are great stories (maybe as two separate novellas?). Interesting formatting choices that I really like. Quick read (just over 200 pages, finished it in under a week). But by god whoever put that quote comparing her to Rimbaud, Dickinson, and Neruda at the top of the back cover is really doing her a disservice. It stands well enough on its own without the comparisons. 47. Palimpest, Cathrynne Valente: One of Valente’s first novels, nominated for a Hugo and won the Lambda in ‘10. It’s basically either super lyrical weird ass descriptions or lots of sexing, as the fantasy city is basically sexually transmitted. Don’t come to this looking for plot of any kind, or for any real answers to what the hell happens? I mean, there’s kind of a happy ending. The best way to describe this is “well that happened”. There’s bits and pieces of The Girl Who [Verbed] Fairyland, slightly before getting it crowdfunded/picked up by Macmillan. Like, it’s real pretty descriptions and shit, but with random ass pregnancy, some body horror it doesn’t seem willing to commit to, and just a general sense of meandering along before realizing “oh shit I need to end this”, and occasionally throwing in something resembling conflict kind of. It’s not bad, but it’s not memorable.
  22. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    45. In Other Lands, Sarah Rees Brennan: This is a front runner for my favorite book of the year. On the surface, it’s a fantasy YA book about a boy who is chosen to go to another world and his friends that he finds there and coming of age and all that jazz. But god, it’s so much fucking more than that. It’s got the best portrayal of what a bisexual awakening is like as a teenager, and what fluid sexuality looks like, without shaming. It’s got these kids fumbling and trying to figure themselves out, and hurting each other in the process. It’s commentary on toxic masculinity by flipping the gender stereotypes. Its a kid who comes to term with a lot of shit with regards to what emotional abandonment does to him. It’s a kid working his way through the sexism and colonialism and racism of this society, and diplomacy, and just, fuck. If you grew up in fandom, there’ll be tropes you know and recognize, and you might be able to tell some of the twists before they happen. But god I wish this book had been around when I was a kid. I literally clutched this to my chest when I finished this. Get this now. You won’t regret it.
  23. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    44. Servant of the Underworld, Aliette de Bodard: de Bodard’s first book, originally published by Angry Robot - this is a new edition published by JABberwocky Literary Agency. (This comes into play later.) It’s a procedural/murder mystery, but set in the Aztec empire, with two brothers at each other’s throats, politics, and the gods and supernatural fuckery. It’s a well written, fast paced read, especially for a first novel. But if/when I try to find the rest of this, I’m honestly going to be looking to see if I can find the Angry Robot editions. Because there is some genuinely sloppy formatting here on JABberwocky’s part. Mistaken paragraph breaks like the below picture happen every ten pages or so, and in a 300 page novel, that’s super noticeable. These kinds of errors happen when you’re changing from one size to another (Angry Robot does mass market size paperbacks for the most part, and this is noticeably larger), and any editor worth their salt should have caught this in the galleys.
  24. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    43. The Possessions, Sara Flannery Murphy: Aggresively mediocre. This is this person’s first novel, and it kinda shows. (If I read one more green analogue like plant analogue I was gonna punch something.) It’s vaguely fantasy but not enough to actually commit to the concept, way too obsessed with babies in general, and there’s not really any particular standout among the plot or characters. It’s all pretty aggressively bland. There’s a reason I found this for free at the train stop. Quick read, at least.
  25. Venneh

    Every comic you've read in 2018

    Season of the Snake: Insanely detailed art with good use of color, plot's pretty ehhh, standard "ooooh, sex and titties!" European comics stuff thrown in. I'll see where it goes. Descenders 29: More endgame stuff, Nguyen real fuckin' pretty. Rumble 5: I feel like there's flashback stuff here that might explain stuff I didn't know from the first time around? Rubin continues to be wonderful. Skybound 1: I know Garbett from Lucifer and Loki: Agent of Asgard, and he does real great art, especially gravity-less. Story's pretty standard. Previews: 2 Single Issues: 64 Trades/Tankobon/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 38 Omnibuses: 1