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Booking Through Thursday: Odd

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What’s the oddest book you’ve ever read? Did you like it? Hate it? Did it make you think?

figuresI’m sure that throughout today as this prompt continues to circle in my head, I’m going to think of other examples.

But right now, I can’t really think of any actual prose books that have really struck me as “odd.”

When I was really young, I had “the faith of a child,” accepting what I was given as “fact” or “true” (though I obviously didn’t consciously know the definitions of those words nor any of the layered or politicized meanings).

I was also introduced to comic books, and sci-fi/fantasy at a young age–old enough to cognitively have and make a clear distinction between fiction and reality…but young enough still that I don’t recall all these far-fetched things striking me as particularly odd or anything.

Detectives could run around with communicators on their wrists and these weird opponents. Men could fly or dress up in a rodent costume and scare the crap out of the superstitious, cowardly lot. Mutant turtles and mutant humans, men transformed by radiation into super-heroes, worlds of dragons and dungeons or realms forgotten–all of these struck me as contextually plausible.

And yet in retrospect, perhaps they are odd. Perhaps moreso than not seeing stuff as odd, I’ve simply accepted the odd as a part of life, and simply gone about my life, knowing that the odd is possible, and that there will always be oddities to one degree or another, real and fictional.

So…books. Chances are if you’re reading this post, you’re looking for me to talk about BOOKS.

Dragonlance, Magic: The Gathering, Mechwarrior, Star Wars, Star Trek, Aliens, Predator. All may seem odd in their own ways.

But perhaps what most recently actually strikes me as odd can be found in the world of comic books.

DC Comics just relaunched their entire super-hero universe in an initiative called “The New 52,” and just last night I read two of the second issues in series. Animal Man #2 and Swamp Thing #2.

And lemme tell you–if only for the art alone, Animal Man in particular was odd and out of the ordinary. There’s a scene where the main character’s daughter is feeding her “cat” milk, and that absolutely creeped me out. And in Swamp Thing, the creature the main character encountered seemed odd, yet familiar.

I’ve generally liked all these books (and comics) that would seem oddities to others in my life. They do almost always make me think–whether through some almost direct parallel to real life, or just through being able to loosely identify with a situation or whatever. And even if everyone else in my life doesn’t quite “get it,” these have all given me an extra layer of analogies to better sort out and process actual reality, putting abstracts into more concrete terms.

Booking Through Thursday: Loud

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1. What do you think of reading aloud/being read to? Does it bring back memories of your childhood? Your children’s childhood?

2. Does this affect the way you feel about audio books?

3. Do you now have times when you read aloud or are read to?

1. These days, being read to is mostly awkward, at least in person. When I know they’re reading something TO me longform, I find I prefer to read it myself. Doesn’t really bring back memories…moreso just raises the issue of social awkwardness.

2. Nope…I love audiobooks, and they’re the main way I get through most books these days–because I can listen at work. But there, if I ignore the audio/tune it out briefly and all that, I don’t have a person right there expecting (and rightly so!) me to hang on every word.

3. Not if I can help it. Maybe a quote/very brief passage. Most people don’t appreciate what I’m reading, or aren’t in the mood for it. And if I read aloud to myself…I’d probably just be creeping people out, wasting breath, and feeling awkward at even the possibility of drawing undue attention to myself.


And because last week, I forgot it was Thursday until it was almost Friday, here’s my response for last week’s prompt:

Do you carry books with you when you’re out and about in the world?

And, do you ever try to hide the covers?

That depends on how we define ‘out and about in the world.’

I try to always have something handy to read. At home, I have more books than I’m ever gonna actually get around to reading, I think. I usually try to keep at least one book in whatever vehicle I’m driving–that way, if I get stranded somewhere, I have something onhand to read. I also try to keep something at work as “backup” so if I forget to take anything in with me to read, I have it as a fallback to read. And I tend to carry something between home and work that I’m actively “trying” to read or in the process of reading. I also often grab something “extra” to take with me for any weekend visits anywhere.

Now that I have an iphone, I have at least a half-dozen books saved on the device between a couple e-book-readers, and so long as I have a data signal, I’m good for internet browsing–typically browsing twitter for interesting links to read. Having the phone and doing the internet reading on it has significantly cut into my reading time–I often wind up not even getting to my book on breaks at work.

Carrying books out of this apartment–no, I don’t try to hide the covers. It may LOOK like I do–a habit I’ve developed in quick transport for comics is to drop my reading material into a plastic shopping back, pull the bag tight, and wrap the excess around so I’m holding the book or comics or graphic novel, but with plastic protectively around it, protecting against weather, other elements, and just so I don’t worry about covers getting bent or other travel damage.

I met one of my best friends by “openly reading” in public, and have had some interesting conversations with people who approach me and use whatever I’m reading as an icebreaker.

Booking Through Thursday: Replay

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Have you ever finished a book and loved it so much you went right back and started re-reading it again?

Nope.

I may finish a book and want more, or finish a book that’s part of a series, and go right into the next book.

But I have never immediately re-read a book that I’ve just finished.

I don’t even do that with single-issue COMICS. (Well, the exception would be whatever re-reading I do prior to writing a review).

Sorry…no huge insights or tangents this week. I’m already padding this entry as it is, as it ought to be a one-word answer.

Booking Through Thursday: Stormy Weather

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What’s your book with weather events? Hurricanes? Tornadoes? Blizzards? Real? Fiction? Doesn’t matter … weather comes up a lot in books, so there’s got to be a favorite somewhere, huh?

Taken from the parking lot of my apartment building a couple weeks ago.Other than a book whose title I can’t recall, and don’t remember the author, which had a brownish cover (I think)…I’m not thinking of any books that were specifically about the weather. (This was about the aftermath of some hurricane or flood or something and the devastation it caused an island city maybe near Texas?). Obviously wouldn’t call it a favorite, though it wasn’t a bad read.

Trying to think of stories that had the weather–if not a focus, then a significant part–I think of Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, which both opens and closes on rain–it’s significant enough that on the original (I believe) graphic novel, even the inside covers had the rain imagery.

Of course, there’s the Bible–and maybe most notably, the story of Noah. Or Jonah. Or Jesus calming the storm.

There’s the FILM The Lion King, and that scene with Rafiki and Simba where Simba sees his father–Rafiki comments on the weather. There’s also the film The Day After Tomorrow. Or Twister.

If we go back to the 1980s and back to comics, during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, you had the “red skies” thing going on, which I supposed would be a “weather” thing. I mean, if the sky turned red and stayed red, beyond sunset/sunrise (red sky in the morning / red sky at night), that’d be kinda worrisome.

There’s loads of symbolic stuff–often talk of a coming/rising storm. I often think of the end of The Terminator where Sarah’s told “There’s a storm coming.” And she replies “I know.” Loaded meanings there. (And I’ll count that as a book, because I read the novelization well ahead of ever seeing the film).

As always, I’m sure there’s plenty that I’m forgetting. But…I’ll wrap here, for now.

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Booking Through Thursday: History

 

btt buttonWhen is the last time you read a history book? Historical biography? You know, something that took place in the past but was REAL.

I’m not really a fan of “history books,” at least by that term. Books taking place in the past, about stuff that really happened…that’s a bit of a different thing.

Of course, there’s Dewey, and Marley, and Wesley–the “human/pet memoirs” of which I seem to often come back to. I have several books on my shelf about the history of comic books in the US; one specifically on the rise and fall of Marvel Comics in the 1990s.

The Bible, of course, is not something I can overlook as a valuable history book.

What tends to hold my interest much more is historical fiction–maybe it involves real-life people (and of course the situations and time periods). I recently read X-Men – Magneto: Testament. It’s a graphic novel that follows the young boy who would grow up to be Magneto, as he and his family were yanked from their lives and ultimately ended in a concentration camp.

I’m currently moving through Madmen via netflix; set in the 1960s, following ad execs; not really a lot of typical “action,” but a really well-written interpersonal drama.

Final thought: I seem to be ready to leave out another important book: The Norton Anthology of Modern War–excerpts and selections of soldiers’ accounts of their experiences in a number of wars. And The Pacific, which I’m currently partway into as an audiobook. (Following a group of soldiers throughout the war in the Pacific during WWII).

Booking Through Thursday: Fluff

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You’ve just had a long, hard, exhausting day, and all you want to do is curl up with something light, fun, easy, fluffy, distracting, and entertaining.

What book do you pick up?

Today? Marvels: Eye of the Camera or Brightest Day vol. 2. Maybe they’re not exactly light, fun, or fluffy, but they’d certainly do.

As “graphic novels,” they’d make relatively quick reads without being TOO quick, like a single issue of a comic, but not represent nearly the lengthy time-investment of starting another book.

Of course, these two would be if I didn’t simply turn to a single issue or two for something to read. I’m months behind on some of my reading for comics, and only recently gradually catching up (last night I think I read five comics, getting caught up with several series I’ve caught up on before and been trying to keep up on). So some of those would be enticing–dive in, read an issue at a time, and make a bit of a dent in the queue.

There’s also Eclipso: The Darkness Within series that I recently acquired that would be well worth picking away at. Also still have about 40 issues of a stack of Amazing Spider-Man issues a friend’s loaned me and been trying to get me to read.

So I guess, ultimately…the answer to this is whatever strikes me first when I go looking for something to just grab and read for a bit for something to do while winding down from a day.

Booking Through Thursday: National Book Week

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It’s National Book Week. The rules: Grab the closest book to you. Go to page 56. Copy the 5th sentence as your status

(We’ve done something similar to this before, but it’s always fun, so … why not?)

I didn’t even have time to close my eyes.

(Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer)

Maybe fitting, in a way. Several years back, I’d been noticing some facebook posts and other general “chatter” around about something called “Twilight.” I had the presence of mind to ask friends, and found out a bit about it. I later accompanied a friend to see the first film while it was in theatres, but basically gave it no further thought.

I was a Popular Culture major in undergrad, though, so something about the Twilight stuff followed me, until I decided I really ought to “give in” and just read the thing–then, whatever I thought of it, I’d at least be coming at it from actually having given it a chance, from actually having read it, rather than jumping on any bandwagon yay or nay but uninformed.

I wound up buying a mass-market paperback edition just before heading with my mom to a hospital for the weekend, right before I lost my grandmother.

I wound up further continuing with the 2nd and 3rd books (and whether I triggered it or it was simply fortuitous timing, all but had a “book club” going on at work for the series–I started out a book and a half ahead of most of the others reading, but they all finished the series while I was early in book 3). I ultimately listened to the 4th/final book as an audiobook.

A few weeks ago, a local Half-Price Books had a stack of the full-size editions for $1/apiece. Me being the sorta book person I am (I like when books in a series look like they belong together and ARE the same series), I forked over the $1 to snag this copy, so I have the first 2 books in “full size” paperback, and the 3rd in hardback (though I’d probably “trade” the hardback for a paperback, given opportunity).

Back to my original statement: this is fitting. I first started reading the book as I lost my grandmother. And this post/prompt comes along the day after the funeral for another lost loved one.

Of course, all this rambling is mainly to pad out this post. I missed the last few weeks of Booking Through Thursday, but each of those were long enough to be their own posts (at least for today, if you look at my homepage Comic Reviews by Walt the first four posts should be this one as well as the three “catch-up” posts).

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