Neglected

That’s what this blog is right now. I haven’t updated in a week. Ack. I have been reading, really. I’ve just gotten caught up in work.

I’m almost done Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, and it is excellent. Reels you in from the beginning. I adore books that do that.

Buffy and Angel

Because Trevor and I went Androids hunting on Thursday (it took three comic book shops to get the remaining issues), I couldn’t help but keep an eye out for the rest of Buffy Season 8. True, I hadn’t been jazzed with the comics overall because it became too over-the-top-not-the-Buffy-universe-I-knew about halfway through the series, but in my mind it seemed silly to own 36 issues and not the last four, so I bought them. (It’s okay; they’re not books!)

And? The story redeemed itself in the last two issues. It brought it back to the Buffy I loved, and since I read that the first issue of Season 9 will be out in September, I’m sucked back in again. How did they do that? I bet it’s partially because Joss and the writers knew that a lot of fans were peeved with the way things went off the rails (not that fans have to like everything), and they decided to bring the story back to its roots. Whatever the reason, I’m happy.

What also makes me happy is that I found out that a new Angel/Faith comic will be published in September, too, which makes complete sense considering the events of the last couple of Buffy comics. Covers are below.

Speak

Well, I didn’t get too far with the books that I said I was going to read in my last post. Instead, I grabbed a book from the library (while paying late fines as per usual), and I devoured it instead. The book is called Speak, and is by Laurie Halse Anderson.

I never intended to check out Speak; I just happened to see it on the shelf, and the cover caught me eye. It’s a YA book published in 1999, and the copy I picked up was the 10th anniversary edition.

Essentially, the story focuses on Melinda, a high school freshman who’s an outcast because she called the cops on the end of summer party. What no one knows is that at the party, she got drunk and met a senior named Andy Evans, who raped her. What everyone does know is that Melinda called 911 and the cops arrested a bunch of students for underage drinking. Everyone is ticked.

Melinda avoids her friends for the rest of summer and basically enters high school a loner. She’s depressed, starts skipping class, retreats from her parents, and develops a horrible habit of biting her lips, so much so that they’re all bloody and scabbed. Her only somewhat happy place is art class and a small janitor’s closet that she hides in every day at school.

I won’t get into all the details, but what I liked about this book is that it felt real. I’ve never been through what Melinda went through, but the author did an incredible job of making me feel Melinda’s loneliness and isolation, her inability to speak…about anything, even mundane topics. In conversations with other characters, you’d see one character say something, like:

“I should probably get some bags to clean up this yard,” dad said.

Me:

“Want to come?”

Me:

Simple. Effective. I could see Melinda just standing there unable to say anything. She has no voice whatsoever. Her parents, teachers, and principals think she’s being rebellious. If they only knew, or took the time to ask what’s wrong.

Apparently, this book has resonated with teens everywhere. The author included a two-page poem at the beginning, taken from excerpts of poems/letters/notes sent in by readers. It’s actually quite cool. Many readers want a sequel, to find out what happened to Melinda after she finally spoke. I’d definitely be up for reading that.

Upcoming Reads: Humour and Murder

I get busy with work projects, and look what happens, I don’t blog. But at least I still make time for reading.

Finished the rest of the Androids comics, and yes, we need to get the remaining seven. I suggested to Trevor we pick them up as a happy anniversary gift to ourselves. He didn’t hate the idea.

Also finished the last couple hundred pages of Feed, and I have to say, they were much better than the first 400―so much so that I will pick up the sequel. The story finally got rolling near the end, with one totally unexpected, shocking death. Good on the author. Never thought she’d do it.

What else? I read Jacob Have I Loved, a recommendation by Reader Rabid. While I did enjoy it, I wanted to know more about the main character’s twin sister. What was she thinking? Was she purposely upstaging her sister? I wanted to see some sort of soul-bearing conversation between the two. (Though perhaps this never happens in real life, which is why the author didn’t include it.)

This seems to be a trend lately. Me wanting to know more/finding the secondary characters more interesting than the mains. Perhaps it’s because I’m riding along inside the mains’ heads and just get their perspective on the secondary characters.

So, what’s next? I have The Best-Laid Plans, a Canada Reads winner, as well as a recipient of the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour. And On the Farm, the non-fiction book about Robert Pickton and the women he murdered in Vancouver; I’m reading this book in little spurts; the content is fascinating and disturbing.

More Androids

Yep, this is a bit of a follow-up post to yesterday’s ramblings about BOOM’s comic book interpretation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the novel by Philip K. Dick.

So…I’ve read the first eight comics (Trevor has 17 in total, not 14 like I thought). Anyway, I would have read them all today except I had to get some work done before we leave for a short three-day trip up north.

The comics are addictive, and I’m especially enjoying all the back matter material like the alternate covers and essays. My only gripe is that the comics are so short. I begin reading, and 10 minutes later, I’m done. I know, I know. That’s how comic books are. Besides, how can I complain when I can easily pick up the next one? It’s not like I have to wait until the following month the way I did with Buffy Season 8.

It’s interesting―I read that Joss Whedon liked the comic book medium because he could imagine and get away with more than he could on TV. He didn’t have to worry about budget or special effects limitations. And it’s true; some pretty crazy and amazing things happened in the comics.

Wait, this post was supposed to be about Androids, and it became a Buffy comic rant. Obviously, I have pent-up feelings! :) Below is one of my favourite Buffy covers, featuring Willow. Artwork is done by the amazing Jo Chen.

Dreaming of Electric Sheep

Alas, not much reading happened during the long weekend. Reading is a pretty solitary pursuit, and I didn’t feel right about cracking open my book when everyone else was being social on the dock. It felt rude. Plus, I wanted to be part of the conversation. :-)

Re: Feed. I’m only at page 296, about halfway. Unfortunately, it’s not one of those stories that I’m dying to get through so I keep putting it off. I’ll read about 30 pages before I fall asleep, and then the next day do the same. When I’m reading a book that I’m not totally jazzed about, I start looking for other stuff to read, which brings me to BOOM! Studios’ comic book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Trevor has been telling me to read this for months.) BOOM! has taken Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel and converted it into comic form. (FYI: the 1982 movie Blade Runner is based on Androids.)

There are 24 graphic novels in total; Trevor has bought and read 14 of them. I just finished the first one, and it’s different than any comic book I’ve ever read, primarily because it’s loaded with description, way more than the usual, “the next morning,” “at the police station,” etc. This is because BOOM! used the entire text of the novel; they stayed true to their source material. And I love it.

The main character, Rick Deckard, is a bounty hunter on the trail of six rogue androids who have escaped their human masters. The androids look exactly like humans; the only difference is that “Andys” aren’t empathetic, though I’m sure this will be explored as I continue to read. Case in point, in book one, we see that some humans barely register on the empathy test, leading some people to believe that bounty hunters could be mistakenly “retiring” humans instead of Andys.

The world is bleak: the earth is covered in radioactive dust; the humans who could afford to, have high-tailed it to other planets, while the humans left on Earth are slowly dying; and animals are almost non-existent, having died during the war or from left-over radiation. Animals are the most coveted possession. Every human wants one. Most can’t afford one. Our main guy, Rick, used to have a real sheep, but it died, and now he owns an electric one, which most people regard as pathetic and embarrassing, including Rick.

The themes in Androids are heavy: What makes us human? What is reality? From what I understand, these themes exist in all of Dick’s book―he wrote 47 novels and more than 120 short stories. He died at 53. Talk about prolific. Several movies that I have seen are based on his books, such as A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, and Total Recall. I had no idea.

One of the cool things about the graphic novel I just finished is that it contained short essays at the back written by big-name comic dudes giving their thoughts about Androids and Philip K. Dick. Those teasers make me want to know more about the author. He sounds like one amazingly eccentric guy!

I feel like a whole new world of reading is opening up to me. I need to finish the rest of the graphic novels that Trevor has, then we need to get the remaining ten. I think I will also put Dick’s novel, Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, on reserve at the library. It’s about a genetically enhanced TV star and pop singer who loses his identity overnight.