090) Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1, Unmanned by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, finished September 30
- I've read a couple volumes from the famed Y before [incidentally, its launch marked the demise of my own last-man project] but was always underimpressed. Starting from the beginning however, it's an impressive story and much more interesting. I'm not dying to read more, but it's definitely worth your time. Check it out. Read #1 and then go or not go from there.
a week or two
089) Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, finished September 24
- Adjacent to this recent article in the Wall Street Journal bout the postpostmodern novel (hint: though gasping for breath at the end of the last era, plot makes a stunning comeback) a "selection of books that are rife with action" --- one of which is Pride and Prejudice.
I told my AP kids that P&P was an action-packed never-stops-popping fun machine after they read the first five chapters. At that point they doubted me. But the came back they next day, having read with that in mind, and they saw that I was exactly right.
The back copy of P&P&Z suggests that without added "scenes of bone-crunching zombies mayhem" the original is not really "something you'd actually want to read."
I wonder if many people do mistake P&P's quiet surface to mean nothing is happening below the surface. Because below the surface the action is fast and furious. P&P never lets up.
But anyway. Deliberate misunderstandings of the original notwithstanding, how does P&P&Z hold up?
Well, for 99 pages all I could ask was what's the point? There are occasional (and rather boring) scenes of zombie mayhem, sure, but instead of adding anything fun to the text, they mostly chip away at the original's strengths. The important parts of the story were diluted and the added parts were dull and tacked-on. As I was reading this section I happened to read this quote from Salon.com: "The real question is: If Mr. Darcy became infected, would Elizabeth have the fortitude to behead him in time?"
Ah, I said to myself. That's the problem here. This book wants to add gore and violence but has absolutely nothing of its own to say. Instead it lessens what the original text has to offer, while giving nothing new in return.
Until, as I hinted, until page 99. When Charlotte reveals that she has agreed to marry Mr Collins because she has been stricken and in mere months will be a zombie herself.
"I don't have long, Elizabeth. All I ask is that my final months be happy ones, and that I be permitted a husband who will see to my proper Christian beheading and burial."
And at that moment I decided I would finish the book.
In addition to adding a tangy zombie flavor to Austen's original, P&P&Z also adds a kung-fu zing. The Bennet sisters were trained in China in the arts of Shaolin (one more reason for Lady Catherine to look down on them --- the Chinese are peasants after all; proper training in the deadly arts can only come from Japan).
And while many of the original's best jokes are made unfunnily obvious here, it doesn't hurt, I suppose, to have the option of now making lots of puns on the many meanings of balls. Plus this, plus that....
(Worth noting: even the addition of zombie mayhem shows some Austenian restraint. Elizabeth and Darcy, at the end, newly engaged, come across their first opportunity to battle side-by-side, they grasp hands, and the camera cuts away.)
I don't know whether or not to recommend this book. If you've never been interested, stay not interested. If you, like me, thought Brilliant! upon first hearing of it, then proceed with caution.
I do wonder if reading Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters might not be a better experience for me since I am not familiar with the source material. But I don't plan on making that decision anytime soon. I'll wait and see what else Quirk Classics has up their sleeve. What other highly readable novels they intend to pervert. I'm guessing Dickens will be next. (And if they need a writer, it would be a fascinating exercise and they have only to ask. May I have an American classic to ruin, please?)
(Closing slam: Illustrations pretty weak. I would have expected better.)
088) Tales From the Bog by Marcus Lusk, finished ~September 18
See my notes on FobComics.
087) The Complete Peanuts 1969-1970 by Charles M. Schulz, finished September 13
- We have a strict rule at our house. And that rule is that I'm not allowed to buy Complete Peanuts box sets for myself. Which means I have to make what I have last for as long as I can.
This volume delivers a great two-year period for Peanuts. I laughed plenty. Snoopy's writing career kills me. And it was fun to finally see the random birds become a single character who is then named Woodstock. (Don't miss the Sunday in Feb-70 when the stick breaks on him!)
One thing that makes this volume better than many others is Mo Willems's introduction. They've had some grossly mediocre intros in this series, but Mo's is excellent. Don't skip it.
Peanuts, I tell you. That's where it's at.
And to prove, Behold! Snoopy writes a novel! (One really big so you can appreciate the linework. Now. Go buy your own.)
many happy weeks
086) Crush by Murphy Hall, finished September 1
- Terrible. The dialogue was my first clue, but then everything got ridiculous. To enjoy this book you have two options: Forget everything you know about logic and taste, or laugh at it cruelly as you point your finger and laugh.
one afternoon and evening
085) Full Color by Mark Haven Britt, finished August 31
084) Manhunter: Forgotten by Marc Andreyko et al, finished Aug 25
083) Glacial Period by Nicolas de Crécy, finished August 20
082) House of Mystery primarliy by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges, finished August 19
081) The Portable Frank by Jim Woodring, finished August 19
080) Runaways Vol. 3: The Good Die Young by Brian K Vaughan et al, finished August 15
079) Runaways, Vol. 2 by Brian K Vaughan et al, finished August 13
078) The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, finished August 10
077) Runaways, Vol. 1 by Brian K Vaughan et al, finished August 10
076) Essex County Volume 1: Tales From The Farm (Essex County) by Jeff Lemire, finished August 8
075) A Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare> by Jeremy Butterfield, finished August 8
074) How Sex Works: Why We Look, Smell, Taste, Feel, and Act the Way We Do by Dr. Sharon Moalem, finished August 6
073) We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson, finished August 6
072) The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, finished July 29
071) The Left Bank Gang by Jason, finished July 22
070) The Juggler of Our Lady by R.O. Blechman, finished July 22
069) Waterwise by Joel Orff, finished July 22
068) The Saga of the Bloody Benders by Rick Geary, finished July 22
067) 10 Books That Screwed Up the World (And 5 Others That Didn't Help) by Benjamin Wike, Ph.D., finished July 21
066) We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson, finished July 11
065) Hooper Haller by Dean Hughes, finished July 18
064) Stay (MS) by Moriah Jovan, finished July 15
063) The Question: The Five Books of Blood by Greg Rucka et al, finished July 14
062) Daisy Kutter: The Last Train by Kazu Kibuishi, finished July 13
061) Gravity vs. the Girl by Riley Noehren, finished July 11
060) The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy, finished July 1
059) Letters from a Nut by Ted. L. Nancy, finished June 21
058) The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling, finished June 21
057) Lowboy by John Wray, finished June 16
056) One silent sleepless night by Spencer W. Kimball, finished June 14
055) Blue Beetle: Boundaries by Sturges/Albuquerque/Coelho, finished June 6
054) [title in flux] (MS) by B.G. Christensen, finished June 5
053) Invincible Volume 1: Family Matters words by Robert Kirkman, pictures by Cory Walker, finished June 3
052) Der Ostwind (MS) by Kohl Glass, finished June 2
051) The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde, finished June 2
050) The Bible Salesman by Clyde Edgerton, finished June 2
049) Superman / Madman Hullabaloo! by the Allreds, finished May 29
048) Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting by Jim Posewitz, finished May 26
047) Brave and the Bold: Demons and Dragons by Mark Waid et al, finished May 20
046) Atonement by Ian McEwan, finished May 20
045) Love and the Light: An Idyl of the Westland by Orson Ferguson Whitney, finished May 20
044) Tales Of The Batman: Tim Sale by Tim Sale and some motley group of writers, finished May 17
043) Catwoman: The Dark End of the Street by Ed Brubaker et al, finished May 13
042) Aztek - the Ultimate Man by Grant Morrison), Mark Millar, Keith Champagne, Steven Harris; finished May 11
041) Cypher by Brad Teare, finished May 7
040) My Faith in Frankie by Mike Carey, Sonny Liew, Marc Hempel, finished May 5
039) Janes in Love by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg, finished May 5
038) Batman: R.I.P. by Grant Morrison et al, finished May 4
037) 1000 Steps To World Domination by Rob Osborne, finished May 4
036) 110 Per¢ by Tony Consiglio, finished May 4
035) Mendoza in Hollywood by Kage Baker, finished May Day
034) All Star Superman, Vol. 2 by Grant Morrison, and Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant, finished April 22
033) All Star Superman, Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison, and Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant, finished April 20
032) Bound on Earth by Angela Hallstrom, finished April 19
031) Batman: The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul by Grant Morrison and colleagues, finished April 18
030) Madman Atomic Comics Volume 2 by Mike Allred with Laura Allred, finished April 14
029) For a Good Time by K. Voss, finished April 11
028) The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told, finished April 11
027) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, finished April 6
026) Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey by Karen Wilkin (essay) and Edward Gorey (art), finished April 5
025) Owly: A Time to be Brave by Andy Runton, finished April 1
024) Blue Beetle: Endgame by John Rogers and Rafaele Albuquerque, finished March 29
023) Blue Beetle: Reach for the Stars by Rogers, Torres, Albuqerque; finished March 26
022) The Complete Peanuts 1967-1968 by Charles M. Schulz, finished March 25
021) Blue Beetle: Road Trip by various, finished March 25
020) Love That Dog by Sharon Creech, finished March 18
019) Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block, finished March 17
018) The Proviso by Moriah Jovan, finished March 16
017) An Ensign to the Nations: History of the Oakland State by Evelyn Candland, finished March 7
016) Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, finished February 27
015) Batman: The Black Glove by Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel and J.H. Williams III, finished February 23
014) The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story by Richard Preston, finished February 22
013) Lex Luthor: Man of Steel by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, finished February 19
012) Blue Beetle: Shellshocked by Keith Giffen and Cully Hammer, finished February 18
011) The Joker by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, finished February 17
010) Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, finished February 18
009) Superman: Red Son by MJR&M, finished February 11
008) The Best American Comics 2008 edited by Lynda Barry, finished February 9
007) The Blot by Tom Neely, finished February 6
006) JSA: Darkness Falls by Goyer, Johns, et al, finished January 28
005) The Road by Cormac McCarthy, finished January 24
004) Poor Sailor by Sammy Harkham, finished January 19
003) The Waitress was New by Dominique Fabre and translated by Jordan Stump, finished January 19
002) Stagger Lee by Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix, finished January 12?
001) The Arrival by Shaun Tan, finished January 8
the first five, 1-5
the second five, 6-10
the third five, 11-15
the fourth five, 16-20
the fifth five, 21-25
the sixth five, 26-30
the seventh five, 31-35
the eighth five, 36-40
the ninth five, 41-45
the tenth five, 46-50
the eleventh five, 51-55
the twelfth five, 56-60
the thirteenth five, 61-65
the fourteenth five, 66-70
the fifteenth five, 71-75
the sixteenth five, 76-80
the seventeenth five, 81-86
I think P&P&Z is an interesting read for some folks if only to chuckle at the added Zombie stuff -- otherwise, it's quirky like a certain movie that's a ubiquitous social meme (GOSH!)ReplyDelete
And I empathize with Snoopy's writing.
One thing I forgot to say about P&P&Z is that its biggest misstep is the opening line: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains."
This opening line suggests this is a book about zombies. Not so. This is a book about a boy and girl (with added zombie mayhem).
I understand the impulse to add zombies to the famous opening line, but it could have been done intelligently. Some examples:
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife just as a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains."
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, no matter the amount of satisfaction he receives beheading and burning the minions of Satan, must ultimately be in want of a wife."
"Much as zombies in the possession of hell are in want of quivering human flesh to feast upon, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
Pick one. Any of those add zombies without potentially misleading the reader as to the book's central story.
Remember, Seth: the zombies are window dressing.
I am 100% with you on P&P&Z.ReplyDelete
Marcus Lusk left me a note about forthcoming Blog stories on Fob Comics.
Thanks for this. That quote from Charlotte does make me feel that it might be worth reading the first 99 pages of P&P&Z.ReplyDelete
I think Quirk's next title should be A Tale of Two Werewolves.
Not a bad idea at all. That could work very nicely.
I've decided I want to rewrite The Scarlet Letter, but I haven't decided what to introduce. Given the geography, maybe Cthulhu. But is that in the public domain? Or zeitgeisty enough?
I suppose it wouldn't hurt to send a letter.....
I liked P&P&Z. I especially liked the discussion questions.ReplyDelete
I did like those. Definitely.