Thursday, December 20, 2012

Six Mini-Reviews



Between packing a house, driving extra distance to work, playing with a toddler, searching (and finding) a new home, dealing with a six-month-pregnant bride, and sundried other things, I’ve not had much time for reading, let alone writing reviews.  However, I have read a few things and am offering some short, concise reviews/impressions.

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The Great Hunt, by Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time #2) – I read this book a year ago and mocked it the whole time.  It was trite and uninteresting and I abandoned the WoT series for naught.  On a whim while perusing the audio section at the library I decided to pick up the book and try again.  And wouldn’t you know that the thing captured me this time.  The two narrators did a great job and helped make my commute time much more enjoyable.  I actually found myself wondering about the world when I wasn’t in the vehicle.  Still clich├ęd and somewhat juvenile, but there is plenty within to enjoy.

The Dragon Reborn, by Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time #3) – After enjoying the audio of The Great Hunt, I happily picked up the third book in the massive WoT series.  The audio was still working for me, and the plot was still keeping me interested.  Rand, Mat, Perrin,  Egwene, and Nynaeve all are woven into the pattern for different purposes, and The Dragon Reborn continues exploring the world when an ancient darkness is threatening to spill out and blot the light.  I'll definitely be moving to the next book.

The Walking Dead Volumes 14 - 16, by Robert Kirkman – I’ve grown rather tired of this series.  The story has stalled and I feel like certain plots are being rehashed over and over again.  I’m ready for something more than what I’m getting.  Volume 16 takes the Reader up through Issue #96 of the series.  If Volume 17 does nothing absolutely brilliant and game changing, then I might just quit.

Batman: Arkham Asylum, by Grant Morrison – Dave McKean illustrated this.  My first exposure to him was through Gaiman’s Sandman series.  Because of that, I can’t help but feel like I’m reading a Vertigo imprint of the Bat as opposed to DC.  The dark themes also seem more Vertigo than DC.  Regardless, Arkham Asylum is like looking inside the mind of someone who’s gone crazy.   The panels, text, drawings, colors, and fonts all add to the illusion.  The story is jumbled and largely left up for interpretation.  Loosely, all the inmates of Arkham Asylum have escaped their cells and are holding the place captive, demanding Batman come in and join them.  I found the book readable, but mostly as a work of art as opposed to a coherent story.  This is apparently a landmark Batman title, but it’s just another Batman book to me.

Celebration of Discipline, by Richard Foster – I read Foster’s Celebration of Discipline as part of the weekly Coffee Talk group read.  Foster, a Quaker, writes with passion and eloquence.  His words are challenging, and his practical advice for living a life as Jesus’s disciple is very applicable.  This book is a great read for those wanting to grow in their faith through discipleship and following Christ.

The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer - This is another Coffee Talk book.  Written by the famous Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran who stood up to Hitler during the height of the dictator's power, Bonhoeffer's words read almost as if they were written this year.  His examples and illustrations are perfectly applicable, and his insight was particularly beneficial to me.  The book is definitely not for the faint of heart, nor the feeble minded, as Bonhoeffer was a professor as a German seminary and writes like one.  While I theologically disagreed on some of his teachings (i.e., the sacrament chapters towards the end), I very much enjoyed the challenge of this book. 

The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft, by H.P. Lovecraft – This book is available for free from CthuluChick.com.  Collecting all the works of Lovecraft in chronological order, I started this book during RIP.  I read the first nine stories and enjoyed two – “The Tomb” and “Beyond the Wall of Sleep.”  The problem is that Lovecraft uses the exact same structure for nearly every one of these stories.  A guy is retelling a story about some horror he witnessed and is now going crazy.  The POV needs to change occasionally, or the passive verbs need to capture my attention more or something.  I abandoned the book and may or may not try it again down the road.

3 comments:

contemplatrix said...

sounds like a lot is going on, and most all of it good--hoping the packing and the commute is going good, and the lovely bride is in good health.

Sean and his dad are WoT fans, but add heavy tome to epic series and I feel faint. anyway, Sean says you become attached to a few characters and that compels you to keep reading. He and his dad both are very pleased with Sanderson's follow through.

Admittedly, I haven't read much Batman, two of Miller's, and Moore's. but I think much of Arkham Asylum's status as a landmark piece has to do w/ McKean's work on it. Still, The Joker, Cavendish, and Two-Face are haunting to me. Have you read Black Orchid (Gaiman/McKean) set in Arkham?

I like Lovecraft, but admittedly in bursts.. and I've never attempted an in order of works read either.

I hope you and yours have a Happy Christmas, Logan!

~L

logankstewart said...

Thanks, L. I'll have to check out Black Orchid. Sounds familiar, but I have no clue about it. I can see how McKean's work gives credit to the landmark status. Pretty surreal stuff.

Carl V. said...

I'm so very happy you gave Lovecraft a try. I only generally read a handful of his stories at a time, in part because there is a similarity but also because I want to savor them. He certainly isn't for everyone though.