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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).

Booking Through Thursday [catch-up]: Anticipation

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What’s the last book you were really EXCITED to read?

And, were you excited about it in advance? Or did the excitement bloom while you were reading it?

Are there any books you’re excited about right NOW?

Probably The Perks of Being a Wallflower. At least, I was excited enough to finally purchase the thing, 9 years after having first read it. I’m pretty sure this was my third time through. (Oops…I seem to have left that out of a prior post…)

I had never heard of the book until a friend handed me a copy to borrow back in 2001. This time through, it was in advance as I knew I wanted to RE-read it.

Offhand, can’t say there are any books I’m particularly excited for right NOW. It’s been over 3 months since I purchased The Lost Hero, and while it’s a good book, it hasn’t engaged me as much as I’d hoped–I even took it on VACATION with me, and only read about 60/70 pages–I’m still only about 3/4 through, if that far. I’ve been easily and highly distracted with other stuff, though…and my sister suggested recently that one can’t read much AND have an active Netflix Streaming subscription–which WOULD tend to hold a lot of merit looking at my Netflixing this year.

I’m looking forward to whatever Grisham‘s next “main” novel is, and Brad Meltzer‘s. Probably even Stephen King‘s, though I have yet to get all that far into Under the Dome; I enjoyed Full Dark, No Stars as an audiobook.

Comics-wise, I’m looking forward to getting back into the Ultraverse comics. I’m currently gathering up what issues I own, and intend to track down those I don’t in order to attempt a personal reading project of starting with the June 1993-released issues and read the entire line in publication-order to simulate what the original experience would have been, following the entire line. (This journey is being chronicled in my Ultraverse Revisited blog). I’m also looking forward to the new TMNT comics from IDW, and DC ComicsRetroActive: 1990s – Superman issue.

Booking Through Thursday [catch-up]: Night Owl

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What’s the latest you’ve ever stayed up reading a book? Is staying up late reading a usual thing for you?

I’d have to say it was one night my junior year of college. I was taking a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Literature as Pop Culture course, and after the success of the first Lord of the Rings film, the professor decided to include the entire trilogy as part of the semester’s reading load.

I’d previously read Fellowship of the Ring in high school, and followed along this time. I kept up with the reading for The Two Towers. But by the time we got to Return of the King, I’d fallen a bit behind.

Then came the night before we were due to discuss the final part of the book. To that point, I’d never read the entire trilogy, and did not know how it ended. And I was determined 1. to NOT skip class that day and 2. to NOT have the ending SPOILED for me.

So I pulled an all-nighter, staying up to read something like half of the entire book in virtually one sitting.

I finished the book, and got to class on time. I even stayed awake for class.

The unfortunate thing of it all, though, was that in the end…it wasn’t worth it. I had FORCED the read, which took away the fun. I read out of obligation to the class, rather than simply being drawn into the thing.

Other than that time, I’ve stayed up til probably 2/3 in the morning at points, reading–I know I was up late finishing the 7th Harry Potter book, as people at work were already talking about it, and I didn’t want to get spoiled (again with the semi-forced reading, though–stuff only just with the release of the final movie finally made sense from scenes toward the end). I’ve also been up simply TO read at other points…comics, mainly. Probably for a couple of Grisham’s latest books, and likely also at least one of Brad Meltzer’s.

As I’ve gotten older, though, and work’s pressed in on me…and just lately, life in general–I haven’t really had much that’s been SO much a thing as to keep me up late.

I read as I find or make time, and that’s that. And when something DOES come along that’s compelling enough…well, I just wind up FINDING the time to read over other stuff.

Booking Through Thursday [catch-up]: Repeats

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What’s the first book that you ever read more than once? (I’m assuming there’s at least one.)

What book have you read the most times? And–how many?

I’m not sure, but I’d guess probably something in the vein of Patrick’s Dinosaurs or some other children’s book. Perhaps one of the Boxcar Children books, or maybe a Hardy Boys Casefiles, even.

I know for certain that I’ve read Dragons of Autumn Twilight at least 6-7 times all the way through, and have started it a couple other times. In addition, I’ve seen the animated movie adaptation, and read multiple comics adaptations AND a dramatized audiobook, as well.

I’ve read The Brothers’ War at least 3 times all the way through–the first book in the main Magic: The Gathering series. I’ve read Left Behind (the first/original) at least twice now, in addition to listening to the audiobook, listening to an audio drama, seeing the film, and reading the comic adaptation.

I’ve read the “Greensleeves” trilogy from the ORIGINAL Magic: the Gathering novels at least twice; I’ve read the Aliens: Earth Hive/Nightmare Asylum/Female War trilogy of novelizations at least twice each and pretty sure I’ve read Earth Hive at least one additional time (and I’ve since read the original comics the novels were based on, thanks to Dark Horse‘s Aliens Omnibus vol. 1).

And I’ve read The Death and Life of Superman at least 3 times, and I’ve started it a couple more (plus listened to the audio drama twice now).

…where comics are a whole different thing. I’ve read Batman: A Lonely Place of Dying a number of times; same for Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: A Death in the Family. I’ve read The Death of Superman more times than I can even remember. Honestly, as I sit here scanning my bookshelves, it’s an overwhelming prospect to try listing all the graphic novels/etc. that I’ve read multiple times.

Booking Through Thursday: Biographies

btt buttonThere are so many crappy biographies … would you rather read a poorly-written biography of a fascinating life, OR an exquisitely well-written, wonderful read of one of a not-so-interesting life?

iamspockI think it would really depend on who the biography is about…if it’s a fascinating life, then it would probably still be interesting if not well-written. And a not-so-interesting life could surely be made interesting due to being well-written.

I don’t read biographies, though…or at least, it’s been a good 15 years or so. Then again–maybe I’ve read some, or excerpts, for “research” for school. But offhand, the only one I can think of that I read for myself, because I wanted to, for leisure, was actually an autobiography or something close to it, in I Am Spock, about Leonard Nimoy.

amazingfaithI’ve been sort of toying with reading a biographical work about Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ…though given my track record lately with books vs. comics, it’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

There’s a comics publisher–I’m at a loss as to its name off the top of my head right now–that has been putting out biographical comics on various celebrities and politicians. And though I’m a comics person, I have found myself with zero interest in those.

deweyRunning with stream of consciousness here…

I missed last week’s Booking Through Thursday (I caught up this week)…but I enjoyed Dewey, Marley & Me, and Wesley the Owl…which I guess now that I think of it, are autobiographical in terms of the authors…and biographical about the wonderful animals.

In THAT context…I suppose I’m interested in biographical works about animals (primarily furry-pets…cats or dogs) who’ve had a profound impact on their humans’ lives.

Booking Through Thursday catch-up: Dog Days

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[W]hat animal-related books have you read? Which do you love? Do you have a favorite literary dog? (Snoopy, anyone?)

[I totally forgot it was Thursday last week until Friday…so, doubling up this week!]

deweyOffhand, I haven’t read that many animal-related books. I’m sure I read a number of non-fiction ones back in 1992 or so…I have vague memories of poking through a lot of books about cats shortly after my family adopted Kayla.

I must highly recommend two comic-strip style books: Cat Getting Out of a Bag and Cats are Weird, both by Jeffrey Brown. These are hardcover collections of anecdotal observations of cats that PERFECTLY capture the nature of the beloved pet cat.

 

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weepnotformeThere’s also one of those pocket-sized gift-book style hardcover deals, with illustrations and the lyrics to a poem: Weep Not For Me; the words from which remain EXTREMELY cathartic to me, having lost two cats in the last 3 years.

marleyThen there are my top-3 “animal-memoirs.” Marley & Me; Dewey; and Wesley the Owl.

I “discovered” Dewey: The Small-Town Library-Cat Who Touched the World thanks to a Borders email or some sort of ad. It sounded interesting, but I quickly forgot it. Then, just days after I lost my cat Christy, I rediscovered Dewey. Bought it, and read it cover to cover in under 20 hours, including sleep. The book was highly cathartic, to say the least.

Marley & Me I think I had heard about, or else was recommended to me shortly after I read Dewey, so I located a copy and had that read quickly (and this was well before knowing there was a movie being made. The movie’s good, too!)

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Booking Through Thursday: Size Matters

btt buttonWhat’s the largest your personal library has ever been? What’s the greatest number of books you’ve ever owned at one time? (Estimates are fine.)

Is your collection NOW the biggest it’s ever been? Or have you down-sized?

What’s the fewest number of books you’ve ever owned (not counting your pre-reading years)?

IMG_0154I’d say my personal library is the largest it’s ever been now, as I’ve continued adding to it through the years, without any significant downsizing. A large chunk of it is comics-related: graphic novels, collected editions, etc. I couldn’t begin to properly estimate at present–especially as I have several bins of books tucked away in a shed at my parents’ house.

I’ve meant for ages to downsize a bit–but never quite get around to it. I also haven’t quite determined if I’d be merely downsizing what I have in this apartment, on my shelves…or downsize the collection itself permanently.

That’s the trouble, I’ve found, with being a comics & books person: by the very nature of the thing, it’s materialistic. The things take up space.

About ten years ago, I visited a friend’s place, and she showed me her dad’s library. A beautiful room with more books than I could count, organized neatly…and I was simply in awe.

At the time, my personal library could probably fit on 3-4 shelves, and included college textbooks whose “buyback” prices were insulting (Take a $35 book kept in good condition through the semester and offer me $1.25–less than the price of a single-issue comic–I’ll keep the book.)

IMG_0156But I’d received the bite, and found myself stuck with a vision that I hold to this day of someday being able to have my OWN library. A library, study, den, man-cave…whatever the word would be. A space for my book and comics collection.

Though in today’s economy and my own work situation at present…I begin to see definite folly in that vision.

And perhaps morbidly, after watching various CSI and L&O shows…I sometimes think about what my collection says about me. The books I have, the comics I’ve amassed. Quantity and quality of books, where I’ve chosen to shelve them, etc. What someone would deduce about me and my life simply from seeing this bedroom.

Plenty of other stuff to be touched on, such as the collector mentality (I don’t collect for value, but for completism, for one thing); but it branches into other topics. Perhaps to be touched on by future (or already touched on in past) Booking Through Thursday prompts.

’nuff said.

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