Goodreads Review

Goodreads review: Oishinbo: Sake

Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 2: Sake.Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 2: Sake by Tetsuya Kariya and Akira Hanasaki.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

The second volume of selection from the manga series featuring battling gourmands steps it up a notch. Sure, the first one talked about Japanese food and what it means to consider Japanese cuisine, but this one not only has a more consistent storyline, but it’s also about something a lot of people would think is more important: booze.

Sake, to be specific.

Damn, son. 

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Goodreads review: The Penguin Book of Oral Poetry

The Penguin Book of Oral Poetry.The Penguin Book of Oral Poetry edited by Ruth Finnegan.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars.

Just a short review, as it’s almost impossible to adequately review anthologies of poetry, I find.

First, this took a long time to read – almost two years on and off – because I found I couldn’t inhale whole tracts of it at a stretch. It’s probably best used as an occasional thing, as something you dip into when the mood strikes. I think it’s probably doing a disservice to the cultures covered to whip through all of their inclusions in one setting, anyway.

Two verses and THEN the solo, right? 


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Goodreads review: The Beauty

The Beauty.The Beauty by Aliya Whiteley.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

I originally started reading the ebook of Whiteley’s enticingly strange The Beauty on my phone to fill in time between sets at a gig. The gig ended up being a bit of a wash, and so I found myself spending more time in the horror-ticultural (I know, right?) world created than in the land of beer and recapture-your-youth music, which is not really how I’d envisioned my Saturday night panning out.

But then, it’s pretty hard for a band, however good, to compete against encroaching vegetation.
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Goodreads review: Clan

Clan.Clan by Amazing Améziane.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars.

I have a bit of a thing for Japan – I’ve played taiko and I learn the shakuhachi – so I am probably predisposed towards this comic. It’s created by someone who obviously is keen on the collection of islands, and often reads like it’s written for people who share that enthusiasm.

I don’t find this problematic.

BUSINESS NEGOTIATION IS A FINE ART. 

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Goodreads review: The Scarlet Gospels

The Scarlet Gospels.The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars.

I first began reading Clive Barker’s works when I was a teenager. They were sexy and gruesome and intriguing and I inhaled them. (This is around the time Cabal came out, for reference.) I thought they were edgy and sophisticated and a bit terrifying, especially as they introduced me to ideas I hadn’t really considered before.

I probably should have left it there, in my teenage years. Because slogging through The Scarlet Gospels felt a bit like looking at your old yearbook pictures. You know, the ones with the fucked haircut and a carriage informed by what you believed was cool before you realised cool is bullshit. (more…)

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…)

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?

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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.)
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Goodreads review: The Night Ocean

The Night OceanThe Night Ocean by Paul La Farge.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Remember ole H.P. Lovecraft? He’s the guy who’s incredibly influential – cosmic horror as we know it really came about because of him – despite being a faintly awful writer. I mean it: I dig a lot of his work, but his writing is stilted and often ludicrous.

The worst mistake you can make, Kroeber taught, is to see another person through the lens of your prejudices. And the second-worst mistake is to think you aren’t looking through the lens of your prejudices.

As befits a misanthropic nihilist, he was also pretty mad racist – and not a lover of jazz – though to mention this seems to attract its fair share of pitchforks. (This is a pretty great article, now deleted, about the topic.) (more…)