book reviews

Goodreads review: My Friend Dahmer

My Friend Dahmer.My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

It’s not logical, really, that someone in search of some light graphic novel reading should end up reading a book about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. You know, the guy who killed men and had sex with them. The Milwaukee Monster.

This guy. Yeah, you know the one. Somehow, I ended up thinking that reading something written by one of his friends was A Thing To Do in place of, I dunno, reading about muscled science freaks with superpowers. (more…)

Advertisements

Goodreads review: The Medusa Touch

The Medusa Touch.The Medusa Touch by Peter Van Greenaway.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars.

Like a lot of people, I first came to this book because of the film of the same title. That film – though different in some ways to the book – is a classic of weird UK cinema, featuring Richard Burton as a suitably bitchy novelist with a catastrophic chip on his shoulder. Suffice it to say, I was intrigued enough to find a copy of the book to see how much it differed.

The book features less glaring ham.

(If you’re in Australia, you can watch the film for free here. Do it.)

(more…)

Goodreads review: Akira, Vol. 6

Akira, Vol. 6Akira, Vol. 6 by Katsuhiro Otomo.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

So. The final volume of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira has rolled around on supercharged wheels. It’s carrying some kind of monster thing that I think was a kid once. There’s carpet bombing and from-orbit lasers. There’s annihilation and birth; grotesqueries of form and the simplicity of connection. There’s death, and there’s life.

There’s also a fair chance that for a reasonable part of the work, it’ll feel like you have no idea what the fuck is going on. But that’s ok, because the ending to this tale of conspiratorial struggles to contain universe-warping power really wants to remind you of one thing: everything comes down to the friends you make along the way.

I know, right?

(more…)

Goodreads review: Akira, Vol. 5

Akira, Vol. 5Akira, Vol. 5 by Katsuhiro Otomo.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

So here we are, the penultimate Akira trade. Though there’s plenty of action, it can reasonably be said that this is the calm before the storm. Characters reappear and regroup, and the progression of both political jockeying and methods of government contingency ‘management’ is marked.

BUT. There’s still a lot of batshittery in here. I mean, did you ever gather in an arena with your raggedy-arse compatriots to watch the moon explode? Well?

Me neither, kid. 

Thought so. (more…)

Goodreads review: Akira, Vol. 4

Akira, Vol. 4Akira, Vol. 4 by Katsuhiro Otomo.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

So when you’ve blown up one of the world’s biggest cities (again), what’s the natural progression?

Tax reform? Socialised medicine? Increased endowment to the arts? Start again based on Enlightenment principles?

No face! Just like Jesus in those creepy bibles we had at school.

Or elect an incredibly powerful kid as leader and feed drugs to refugees? Sure, why not.

(It’s working out as well as you’d expect.)
(more…)

Goodreads review: The Iliad: A New Translation by Caroline Alexander

The Iliad: A New Translation by Caroline AlexanderThe Iliad: A New Translation by Caroline Alexander by Homer and Caroline Alexander.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

I know, I know. Only four stars. But it’s a classic! But it’s important! But it’s stuck around a lot longer than you have!

All of these things are true. And it’s really difficult to think of many reasons to not give the thing five stars, because when it comes to widescreen stories, Homeric narration is pretty much in a league of its own.

But.

The Iliad is, for all its importance, still something that would, if written in straight prose today, be interesting, but also strongly in need of an edit.

Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 8.30.44 pm

Fucking heralds, man. 

(more…)

Goodreads review: Amy’s Guide to Best Behavior in Japan

Amy's Guide to Best Behavior in Japan: Do It Right and Be Polite!Amy’s Guide to Best Behavior in Japan: Do It Right and Be Polite! by Amy Chavez and Jun Hazuki.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

A quick review for a quick read: it’s useful, charming, and you won’t go wrong if you get it.

Slightly longer: I’ve been to Japan a couple of times now and so am probably not the intended audience for this book. I had picked up a lot of what’s described within by osmosis – I travelled there initially as a performer in a taiko group, after all – but gee, it would’ve been great to have this as a fast guide to Not Sucking.
(more…)

Goodreads review: Journey to the Centre of The Cramps

Journey to the Centre Of The CrampsJourney to the Centre Of The Cramps by Dick Porter.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars.

So you should all know that Erick Purkhiser and Kirsty Wallace – or Lux Interior and Poison Ivy, to give them the names by which the world most readily identifies them – were The Cramps. You know: the band that invented the term psychobilly (even if they didn’t think they had much in common with the double-bass music that ploughs that furrow today), who were often written off as a novelty act (because monsters) and who were stalwart protectors and exponents of the history and primacy of rock and roll.

(more…)

Goodreads review: Akira, Vol. 3

Akira, Vol. 3Akira, Vol. 3 by Katsuhiro Otomo.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is another brief review, largely because it feels kind of weird to review Akira per-trade rather than as a whole.

Boat trips are fun.

(No, it doesn’t. It just fits in with my must finish it! feelings – though I’m trying to pace myself with it. I mean I can’t read manga all year, can I?) (more…)

Goodreads review: Don Quixote

Don QuixoteDon Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (tr: John Rutherford).
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

How do you review something like Don Quixote properly? I mean, something that was written four centuries ago, and is a cornerstone of Spanish literature. It’s one of the earliest novels, deals in knighthood and class, and is something I’ve lugged from country to country over the past 20 years because I never seemed to be able to donate enough time to it.

Well, I’ve now finished it, so I’ll give reviewing it a shot: Don Quixote is a pretty good, earthily rendered cautionary tale of how reading chivalric romances leads to elder abuse. It also features more people vomiting on each other than you’d expect from a classic of literature.

(more…)