book

Book review: Freakonomics

Freakonomics.Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars.

I studied economics for a couple of years in high school. I did not study it particularly well, nor did I remember very much.

The sum total of my economic knowledge is the term stagflation, and I only remember this because it sounds like antlers with a boner. That, and the fact that Ross Gittins wore Dunlop KT26s when he delivered my year’s economic update before the HSC. Two facts, you’ll agree, that stand me in good stead for understanding the economy as a whole.

HSC students gonna know what I mean.

This is the background with which I read Freakonomics, a collection of chapters loosely corralled together under the guise of making data answer interesting questions (such as why sumo wrestlers might cheat) instead of boring ones (involving GDP and the like).
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Book review: Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 6

Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 6.Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 6 by Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Well, it’d seem I’m cutting through these collections the way prison-toilet wine cuts through intestinal lining. Time for some thoughts on another hilarious collection of lost moments from a horrific human research facility masquerading as a prison.

I’ve almost got it. Can you explain a little more, though?

Y’know, with DEATH GAMES. (more…)

Book review: Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 5

Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 5.Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 5 by Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars.

It’s always a good sign when a collection begins with the potential execution of a main character.

Dunno, but for the love of god please work on it.

It’s not so good when you then remember there’s about another hundred volumes of the story to go, so chances that they’ll be successfully poleaxed are probably slim. (more…)

Book review: Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 4

Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 4.Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 4 by Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars.

Back on this again. Deadman Wonderland remains a decent break from more taxing literature, given that you’ll always be assured of some grimly violent fighting and some embarrassed-teen interchanges in ready supply.

And corpse biscuits. Don’t forget the corpse biscuits.

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Book review: Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 3

Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 2.Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 3 by Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

I guess this volume is where the story decided to kick itself up a notch. Yes, we’re still in a prison masquerading as the world’s goriest version of It’s A Knockout!, but there’s some deeply mysterious shit going on. Rebels are introduced! There’s another big fight! Backstories are unveiled!

The scriptures look different in real life than on paper, I guess.

Oh, and that. Which, I’m sure, will be explained properly later.
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Book review: Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 2

Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 2.Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 2 by Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars.

This review’s going to be pretty short. I mean, I could recap a bunch of what I said when I looked at the first volume, but let’s not do that, eh? It’s pretty safe to say that as we’re only on the second of thirteen total books that there’ll be a bit of confusion on the reader’s part.

I AM DROOT.

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Book review: Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 1

Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 1.Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 1 by Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

I kind of know what happens here.

I mean, I’ve come to read this manga after I’ve seen the anime. So I know more or less how the story goes.

But I’m interested to see what else there is on offer, knowing that adaptation can sometimes squeeze the life out of a property. I guess I was interested in seeing what more is hidden here. Because let me tell you, if you have no idea about this series, it’s a trip, involving inhuman murder, shady government research, weird blood-based powers, a fatal version of It’s a Knockout! and a fairly major character who may or may not be real.

Corpse Disposal Unit is an EXCELLENT band name.

Oh, and it all takes place in a devastated Tokyo, after an earthquake obliterated 70 per cent of the city. In a prison that also doubles as an amusement part, where death row prisoners die if they don’t get a ration of special candy. (more…)

Book review: Oishinbo: The Joy of Rice

Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 6 - The Joy of Rice.Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 6 – The Joy of Rice by Tetsuya Kariya and Akira Hanasaki.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars.

We’re getting to the pointy end now. This is the penultimate volume of Viz’s collections of extracts from Oishinbo, and so it’s time for something subtle. Something both representative of Japan and its culture, and of hearth and home. Something to get excited about.

Jesus, steady on. It’s rice for fuck’s sake. 

Something like rice.
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Book review: Tex

TexTex by Tex Perkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

TEX IS SEX, or so read the graffiti I used to see sometimes. Everyone kind of knows the guy – Greg to his mum – whether it’s because they used to see the Beasts, or because of that fight at the ARIAs, or because he’s the dude who makes albums with Don and Charlie, or because of that time he suggested it might be time for legal advice. You know – that guy.
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Book review: The Driver’s Seat

The Driver's Seat The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Muriel Spark is pretty much synonymous with strange stories, so it’s unsurprising that The Driver’s Seat, a 1970 novella billed as a “metaphysical shocker” is deeply creepy.

It concerns the last holiday of Lise, a suicidal and lonely woman takes a holiday to an unnamed “southern” country (swarthy blokes, student riots, a couple of languages, old architecture) with the intention of being murdered. Not of killing oneself – that would be a little easy. But of becoming a murder victim.

I’m not actually giving anything away, here. The plan is revealed very early on, though we’re left guessing how and who until the very end, much as in a Christie work. Except Christie never worked macrobiotic orgasm-fanciers into her prose. (more…)