Skip to main content

Rooks, Stars, and a Spider-Man

I've been thinking a bit lately about how many books I will never get to read. That's not a new idea, of course, but it's one that makes me sad from time to time. A good way to combat the feeling is to start reading a book and have it be one that I really like. Here are two such books I read recently...

I'd heard some buzz about Daniel O'Malley's The Rook before the end of the year, enough to request it at the library. It's a book about a secret government organization in Britain called the Checquy that is responsible for fighting off supernatural menaces and the like (there's also an American Checquy). We learn about this world through the eyes of Myfanwy Thomas, who is also learning about this world. The thing is that Myfanwy isn't exactly Myfanwy. Myfanwy Thomas is a Rook in the Checquy, a position of great importance and power. The Myfanwy we meet at the beginning of the book has the body of Myfanwy but is a completely new personality. The original Myfanwy was warned that she would be overwritten and took the opportunity to write to her replacement, telling her everything she would need to know. O'Malley uses this to give the reader info-dumps while the main character is getting her info dumps. At first, I found the technique ingenuous and then a little far-fetched before settling into the story. O'Malley makes it okay that there is so much information in the letters. He also has crafted an engaging story, not only in the trappings of the fantasy world (there are references to previous stories within the universe that would be cool to read about) but in the story of the emerging Myfanwy, who is very easy to like and to root for. I ended up really liking this book and hope for a sequel.

I've known about John Green for a number of years, having read reviews of his previous novels. It's only been in the last few years that I've come to read YA fiction again, thanks in large part to the Harry Potter novels, so I decided I would dive into Green's work with his new novel, The Fault in Our Stars. It is the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, teenagers suffering from cancer who meet and fall in love. They are very articulate teenagers of the kind that you hope to meet in real life (and which there are many of, I'm sure) and their story is completely believable. It's not a novel to really talk about in terms of plot; in any event, I would recommend it for the writing, for the humor, for the seriousness, for the sadness, and for the joy. I liked it a lot and will definitely be reading Green's other novels.

I've liked Spider-Man since I was a kid and really, what's not to like? I've never, however, been a dedicated reader of comics starring Spider-Man. I don't have an explanation for it. My brother bought various Spider titles back in the 80s which I would read and I have picked some up over the years, most notably Ultimate Spider-Man in trades for a time. This week I picked up Amazing Spider-Man #678 and #679 on a whim and was glad I did. The story is a two-part time travel story, which I'm a sucker for. Peter Parker is working for a think tank of geniuses called Horizon Labs and one of his co-workers invents a door that goes into the future. It all seems innocuous and awesome until Peter steps all the way through, causing the scene to shift from the next day's break room to the utter destruction of New York City. Why? Peter stepping through the door meant he wasn't around for 24 hours, which somehow lead to the disaster. The remainder of the story has Peter and Grady Scraps (the inventor) trying to figure out a way to prevent what's coming. It's a smart, fun story by Dan Slott and has the fun art stylings of Humberto Ramos. I think I might have to keep reading the title.


Popular posts from this blog

Sunday Shuffle #413

Summer is here and I'm happy that it is. Jill finished school this week, but Grant and I have to go through Friday. I have the week off from my TTT course, so I'm going to catch up on some reading and TV. There was baseball I could watch yesterday and I can watch some again today, so you can bet I'll be doing that. Few things bring me joy more than baseball and a book in my lap for between innings.

Here's today's ten...

1. I 4 U & U 4 Me (Home Demo)/The Decemberists (15) - last played on 8/19/15
2. Part One/Band of Horses (6) - last played on 5/7/16
3. Shame Chamber/Kurt Vile (5) - last played on 7/23/15
4. In the Eyes of My Friends/Sugar (2) - last played on 10/5/14
5. I Could Have Done This Myself/Lightspeed Champion (4) - last played on 9/1/14
6. Nonstop Disco Powerpack/The Beastie Boys (10) - 5/15/16
7. Mountain/Lucero (7) - last played on 4/29/12
8. Evergreen/Matthew Sweet (1) - played countless times on CD
9. The Sleeping Beauty/American Music Club (4) - …

Sunday Shuffle #474/475

I'm ready to put this feature on hiatus for a while, but I didn't want to end on #474 for now, which means I'm bringing back the "double issue" for today. The previous one was on Dec. 18 of last year. Normally, I do 20 songs on these editions, but since it's going away for a while, let's bump it to 25 today. Why not?

1. Price Tag/Sleater-Kinney (17) - last played on 3/24/17
2. The Indie Queens Are Waiting/Dan Mangan (5) - last played on 5/26/15
3. Ain't That Enough/Teenage Fanclub (31) - last played on 7/30/17
4. Dead Smile/Matthew Sweet (6) - last played on 9/10/17
5. Don't Need You/Alejandro Escovedo (4) - last played on 6/30/13
6. Jackson Cage (live)/Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (2) - last played on 1/25/16
7. Beast/Ex Hex (20) - last played on 8/3/17
8. Be Good/Tokyo Police Club (8) - last played on 11/3/16
9. Accidental Life/Teenage Fanclub (15) - last played on 11/24/17
10. The Good That Won't Come Out/Rilo Kiley (3) - last …

Sunday Shuffle #468

I have a busy day ahead, so I'm just going to get right to today's ten...

1. AT&T/Pavement (14) - last played on 7/24/16
2. Streetlights/Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (11) - last played on 3/15/17
3. The Government Darling/Spoon (12) - last played on 3/11/17
4. See My Way/Nude Beach (27) - last played on 9/27/17
5. Beach Baby/Bon Iver (4) - last played on 3/13/15
6. Radio/Teenage Fanclub (10) - last played on 10/15/16
7. With Or Without You/U2 (9) - last played on 12/18/16
8. Keep On Running/The Smithereens (11) - last played on 11/2/14
9. St. Apollonia/Beirut (5) - last played on 2/21/16
10. Got To Get You Into My Life/The Beatles (11) - last played on 1/29/17