Showing posts from February, 2015

Faith In The Extraordinary

Ms Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona The new Ms Marvel is Marvel's first Muslim character to head their own series. She is a Pakistani-American from New Jersey with shape-shifting powers, and she embodies all the angst that is appropriate for her role. Kamala Khan [Marvel never miss a good alliterative name!] is an ordinary teenager who is desperate to try something different. From the very beginning we see her wanting to step outside her cultural boundaries at the mere smell of a BLT. Zoe Zimmer [there it is again!], the not so culturally informed teenager leads Kamala on to what will be her origin story. The Khan family cover all aspects of a family, an overbearing mother, concerned yet easy going father, devout son and the questioning... soon to be super-powered daughter. When she thinks there's no way to talk sense into her family she descends the tree outside her window and goes to the party that all the cool alliterative kids are going to. But her e

The Great Graphic Novel Debate

What is a graphic novel? Graphic novels [GNs] are a format of book rather than a genre. GNs tell a story through sequential art and are complete stories, as novels would be. GNs can be fiction or non-fiction, colour or black and white. Not to be confused with comics. Comics also use sequential art but are usually monthly of weekly periodicals, some of these are complete stories [one shots] but most follow a continual story. What is manga? Manga translates as "whimsical drawings"or "impromptu sketches", and is a Japanese style of comic/GM aimed at children and adults. Manga is read in the traditional Japanese pattern from top to bottom, right to left. This means that you will start a manga book from the back. Manga is generally in black and white. Not to be confused with Anime. Anime is a Japanese style of animation for film and TV.  ----- The hesitation behind embracing GNs has lifted steadily over the past years. Many have regarded them as comics o

Someone Called, Did You Take A Message?

So I am having a reading success story this week, I read the graphic novel version of An Inspector Calls [quick text edition] for work. It was never something I studied in school so I was going into it blind. On first glance I like the style of this series. You also get a biography of JB Priestley at the end and a piece on page creation that gives you great insight into how a graphic novel is produced. There's a small piece of comparison between this quick text version and the original text version. At the beginning of the book you have the character list that you would find at the beginning of a normal play script, but with the addition of sketches. The colouring of the illustrations is very earthy, browns, reds, purples, greens. While I like the illustration, some of the faces seem a little obscured by the thick shading and dark colours. You can sense family tension right from the beginning of the book. Arthur Birling is very power crazed and you can tell that he thinks

Dome Day

The day is finally here... I finished listening to... 39 and a bit hours... It took dedication and some rewinding to relisten to little bits again. This I feel is going to turn into a bit of a book-tv show crossover review, so my apologies in advance. Firstly, having seen the show I was prepared for it to not be like the book. To change a book into a film they butcher things but the general outline is still the same. To turn a book into a show of several seasons is going to need a lot of reworking. When I went online to find some images and other people's thoughts I came across a letter that Stephen King wrote  and I can see where he's coming from. Unfortunately if you watched it then read it, the whole thing is VERY confusing at first. So, I erased the whole TV show from my mind and started listening to Under The Dome in my commute time. The reader on the audio was not in my opinion the best choice, he had a tendency to blur his character voices into the non-dialog

It Never Rains But It Pours

I love my job, it gives me the opportunity to get hold of advanced copies of a variety of books. After having read book one in this series, The Rain, I had my fingers crossed for this one and I may have done a little jig when I got this one. So, The Storm by Virginia Bergin... Ruby's isolation has taken its toll. She's done some sensible things with her time. The library has been a source of research, and she's picked up some handy pointers on car maintenance and survival techniques. The rest of her time is less productive. “The thing about going a bit mental is it's hard to realise that's what's happening.” Planet Ruby is a lonely place, and since her first tale she now has no mission apart from to stay put and wait. As you read on, the question that comes to you is how long has she been waiting? It's clear that she is not coping. She's cried the pain away and now she's crying because of the stress. She's crazed and her memory is s

It's In The Rain

I saw this book come up on my bestsellers at work and was intrigued by it. I realised that I had a copy of it from Netgalley that I'd never managed to read. I opened it up on my iPad, and I'm so glad I did. Even the cover made me want to read it, simple but effective design and a nice apocalyptic tag line! I was interested to see what other people had thought about it when I'd finished, so I Googled for reviews. Never ever do this... it will only annoy you. Only do this if you didn't like something, at least then you might find something that you missed. I did a course on critical reading this weekend and learnt about how people approach reading depending on their attitudes to the document they are reading. Everything I discovered in the course made sense, but it came into reality when I read one review. The tag line to it was "This book might be worth trying if you are into science fiction, but alas, this book wasn't for me." I read the rev

Encouraging Children To Read

This is a small article I wrote for my work's website with handy hints for encouraging children to read. Reading trends with children are always changing. Favourite authors jostle for position and new titles power up the listings. Frequently I’m asked what books are popular and which would get boys reading… never girls though. It seems to be a barely covered topic, as I have discovered while trying to do research. While girls are still generally accepted as being better and more frequent readers than boys, they are by no means all readers. There is a lot of research out there that would try and give you reasons why children [mainly boys] don’t read as much. I’d be hard pushed to say I agree whole-heartedly with any one article. Having spoken with teachers and parents over the years many different pictures evolve, from these experiences I’d say the following things. Let them have the choice. Many times I’ve had parents come to me with their children and ask me to recommend

The Little Things

Life deals us some shoddy hands sometimes. That's why we should remember to enjoy the simple pleasures and triumphs in life. There's nothing like the feeling of putting a USB stick in the right way round first time. There's nothing like a drive through town with all green lights. There's nothing like a sunbeam... they're not just for cats. Finding an old favourite in the back of the wardrobe, trying it on, and seeing it fit. Watching snow fall at night. Looking out on fresh snow before anyone stands in it. Picking the right switch out of two that you can never usually remember. Sitting down to read a book for ten minutes and realising it's been two hours. Puppy head tilting. Holding a warm cup when your hands are cold. Taking your shoes and socks off after walking all day and putting your feet on a tile floor. Any moment where you can laugh until you cry. Moments that save your faith in humanity. It's easy to be angry at the world, but it t