Venneh

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Everything posted by Venneh

  1. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    Have at it kids.
  2. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    74. The Poppy War, R.F. Kuang: The super simple way to sum this up is Chinese history meets the X-Men (and also the Phoenix). I read through this book in about three days tops, and got through half of it in one few hour session in the bath alone. It’s incredibly well written, weaves together both history (this is based on both the Opium Wars, the Rape of Nanjing, and Unit 731 in particular) with fantasy (shamans, accessing the gods, etc), and straight up historical rage. The shamans are pretty reminiscent of the X-Men, in terms of how their powers are explained and used. Oh, and drugs. It very clearly seems to be leaning towards a sequel, and apparently the deal included sequels, so I hope her sales do well enough that she gets it. 75. An Unkindness of Ghosts, Rivers Solomon: I’ve been meaning to pick this one up for a while, and now that they got a deal to make Clipping’s “The Deep” into a book, I figured I should check this out. This is brutal like the Poppy War, but in different ways, because it transplants the plantation way of life onto a generation ship. The opening chapter is our ambiguously gendered, neuroatypical main character amputating a child’s frostbitten foot. It doesn’t let up from there. You can tell that this is Solomon’s first novel, and there’s random bits of first person POV that I’m not entirely sure need to be there, and flashbacks added in at deeply awkward times. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the attempt at a romance triangle added in. The verb of noun naming structure is mildly frustrating, but does effectively refer to the effects on the living of those who’ve died, both before and during the novel. With regards to the ending... it feels very mid season four of Battlestar Galactica, without spoilers? I’m not sure if there’s a sequel to this coming, but it just kind of feels like it skids to a stop. Definitely worth a read through though.
  3. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    73. No Flight Without the Shatter, Brooke Bolander: A short novelette about the last human, and the lessons she learns from the ghosts of the animals that humans drove to extinction. Short, but haunting as Bolander always does, and reels between anger and grief equally. Hoping to see this on the awards list next year.
  4. Venneh

    Every comic you've read in 2018

    X-Men Gold Annual 1: Seanan's first X-Men foray, and manages to be a good stand alone that also reinforces who a character is while visiting an episode from her past that just allows her to be who she is. Wotakoi v 1-2: If you've seen the first season of the anime (on Amazon Prime), then you know this pretty well. It's still super sweet and nerdy as hell - two otaku run into each other at one's new job, and decide to start dating. Their work friends are also a couple and otaku. Shenanigans ensue. WicDiv 38: WicDiv still good and somehow gearing up for the end of the arc and going to be even more of a devastating twist somehow, news at 11. Previews: 2 Zines (kinda): 1Single Issues: 104 (not counting rereads from this year)Trades/Tankobon/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 51Omnibuses: 1
  5. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    67. In the Distance, Hernan Diaz: I understand why this was nominated and was a finalist for the Pulitzer this year. It’s a Spanish author using the story of a Swedish immigrant and the weird ass situations he gets himself into as a naive kid and later as an adult to critique the standard American western/frontier myths. It’s beautifully written. That said, the cycle of loneliness -> oh now connection with another human whether by choice or not! -> a bad thing happens to this other human! -> and now loneliness again gets real old after about the third or fourth repeat. It especially gets old when I can predict that a character is going to die within two pages of getting close to our main character. I like that we don’t really get a proper resolution to this either; he just kind of fades into the distance, if you will, at the end. 68. Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik: I read the short story this was based on (Russian Jewish moneylender version of Rumpelstiltskin) when it was in The Starlit Wood, and I was interested to see how Novik would expand it out. The way she added the multiple POVs into the spinning of the story was a clever way of doing things, but there got to be a few too many POVs that actually cut off the development of some of the POVs, which was mildly frustrating. Also, after about the sixth POV, just fucking switch to third person limited rather than first person POV. The weaving of Russian Jewish history, vaguely Russian mythos, and Fae lore, and the three main female POVs were incredibly well done. But though the convenient het ending is probably a fairy tale reference thing, it feels like lazy development especially when we know more about the demon than we do the man he possesses. Still a great read. (Supposedly she gave her editor a fake outline for this, which, bless your editor for putting up with you.) 69 (niiiiiiice): Sorry to Disrupt the Peace, Patti Yumi Cottrell: A girl’s adopted brother commits suicide in her childhood home, and she goes back to Milwaukee to try and piece together the why of his last days, and also deal with family/childhood trauma. This has been in my purse a few weeks, but I finally started it today, and I finished it today. Seeing how things come together, and learning more about our main character and her and her brother’s shared childhood, is exquisite. I know the grief haze that is depicted here very well, and Cottrell does an amazing job depicting the aftermath of grief. Definitely read this if you find it while you’re out and about. 70. Preparing the Ghost, Matthew Gavin Frank: A slightly indulgent pocket-size essay about the guy who took the first known photograph of the giant squid, death, mythology, and one dude’s obsession with the first guy. It gets slightly self indulgent in places, but has some genuinely good passages. I found it remaindered, and for that price, totally worth it. 71: Night and Silences, Seanan McGuire: The twelfth book in the Toby Daye series, and shit still manages to get even more serious/game changing, which I continue to be impressed at. The reminders of shit that happened in past books are the least awkward they can be given the nature of the beast. I’m interested in seeing how the new status quo effects the upcoming books, and continue to be surprised at how Seanan works Tam Lin into this. Additionally, the fact that she now gets to add a novella onto the end of the book expanding on things that happen either just outside of the novel's focus, or off screen, is a real value add. Comes out in September, if you’ve been following the series, definitely pick it up. 72. Finding Baba Yaga, Jane Yolen: ARC, comes out at the end of October. A young girl runs away, is found by Baba Yaga, and has some low key queer themes in a novelette that’s entirely in verse. It’s a quick, breezy read, under 100 pages, could easily fit in your bag
  6. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    66. My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Ottessa Moshfegh: Short, and a hell of a ride, let me tell you. The pitch is an orphaned young girl with an inheritance quits her shitty gallery job, and uses a questionable psychiatrist to try to use sleeping meds to hibernate for a year. You think it’s about her mourning her parents and the end of her recent on again off again relationship, but actually, it’s about her friendship with another woman. And yes, it’s set in the early 2000s, and specifically in the 2000 - 2001 timeframe in NYC. Yes, 9/11 comes up. Not in the way you expect. I keep forgetting how Moshfegh uses her stories to slam you into a wall at the end of them. This is no different. Definitely go and pick it up. It’s worth your time.
  7. Venneh

    Every comic you've read in 2018

    Again!!! vols 2-3: We get more of the effort to save, and then build, the ouendan back up, and thank god, they don’t forget about the female character who also came back. A lot of the chapters also poke fun at other time travel media, which is amusing. A nice, light read. Land of the Lustrous v6: This, on the other hand, gets straight into the body horror barely three pages in and doesn’t let up for the rest of the volume. Gorgeous art to go with it at least?? I want the next volume already - can it be November now? Previews: 2 Zines (kinda): 1Single Issues: 102 (not counting rereads from this year)Trades/Tankobon/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 52Omnibuses: 1
  8. Venneh

    What You've Read Recently

    65. The Portable Veblen, Elizabeth McKenzie: I got this book on a very deep Kindle sale, and my partner picked it up in physical form from our bookstore’s remaindered shelf, at the recommendation of one of our favorite authors. I’ve been working on this book on and off since May. At its core, it’s about a couple, their engagement and approaching marriage, and how their childhoods affect how they approach it. Woven in are squirrel POVs, the military pharmaceutical complex, a Norwegian economist and socialist and his criticism of capitalsm, and a hundred thousand things in between. It drifts a fair bit, but in a way I’m okay with, and resolves in a happy, neat sort of way that leaves me deeply satisfied. The pictures inserted into the text have their own story, if you follow just them, and add some interesting context. Also uses appendixes in a way that doesn’t frustrate me, honestly. If you’re looking for an interesting, cheap read, go pick this one up.
  9. Venneh

    Every comic you've read in 2018

    Runaways 11: Really good breather issue, we get to touch base with all of our mains, but we especially get to focus on Gert, who's been feeling a bit "girl out of time"-ish, and decides to take things into her own hands. Interesting backup story with Karla, too. East of West 38: Dragotta does crazy good things with art here, interested to see what the outcome of this particular chapter is. Tokyo Tarareba Girls v 1-2: From the mangaka who did Princess Jellyfish, and man, you can tell she's taking aim at some things she's seen among her friendsgroup (even to the point that she points it out in her writer's notes at the end). Three women who are in their 30s (which is considered past the prime age for marriage/relationships in Japan) deal with their love lives, and it's a fun and honest look at such. Again!!! v1: One of the two people who worked on Yuri on Ice did this - it's basically a story where a guy falls on his face, travels back in time to the first day of high school, and gets the chance to do it all over again. A girl also does the same thing and ends up back in time with him. He decides that the best way to fix his high school life is to make sure the traditional cheer club (ouendan) doesn't go under. Amusingness ensues. Proxima Centauri 2: There appears to be a narrative here? Kind of? Darymple's art is still a hell of a thing. Descender 32: So, I kind of got spoiled for this already by a press release, bc Image released a thing about the follow up series, then put a "do not share until 7/25" on it, and by then it had gotten out so less than a half hour later we got a "never mind". Hell of a thing, and interested to see where the new series goes, since it'll be more fantasy focused, and Nguyen on fantasy = oh hell yes. Leviathan 1: Pitarra feels Stokoe-esque on this. Though the Trump-esque page was certainly not a thing that I was expecting. Other than that - ehhhh? Doesn't feel like anything particularly new on that front. Seven to Eternity 10: Well at least there's a recap so I can remember what's going on here. Opena continues to be godmode here. Remender is practically writing from a stencil at this stage (I'M A BAD MAN WHO DOES BAD THINGS ETC ETC ETC), but the fact that we've basically got this guy and the devil on a road trip will be fun if nothing else. Previews: 2 Zines (kinda): 1Single Issues: 102 (not counting rereads from this year)Trades/Tankobon/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 49Omnibuses: 1
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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.
  23. Venneh

    Every comic you've read in 2018

    What do you have against Twisted Romance, @Dread?
  24. 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.