Book 477: Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It – Anne Ishii, Chip Kidd and Graham Kolbeins

ishii-anne-chip-kidd-and-graham-kolbeins-massiveDon’t worry, I’m going to keep this response PG even though this book is definitely X-rated!

I can’t remember where I first heard about this book, but when I did I remember flagging it to look into. I’m not a big Manga reader or erotica reader for that matter, but when I found out there was an entire genre of manga dedicated to larger gay men I thought it sounded interesting. It is read like a normal manga from right to left and thankfully my earlier dabbling with Jane Austen manga adaptations helped prepare me for that. Two things to note, the word “erotic” was replaced with “Japanese” for some reason in the US Library of Congress’ database and m cover has a different beefy man on it, also drawn by Jiraiya. Continue reading

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Book 463: Drawn Together – Leah Pearlman

pearlman-leah-drawn-togetherI don’t want to generalize these books, but I know that’s what my response is going to sound like. Perhaps I’ve read too many similar to this recently, but  I’m going to start with a list of all the things this book reminded me of, but then also talk about why I felt it was different.

Prior to the publisher reaching out to me about this book* I actually hadn’t encountered Dharma Comics before, but this line drawing style isn’t anything new. It reminded me of a cross between xkcd and hyperbole and a half but with more of an intention and focus on getting through life and not just observations. And then add in that it reminded me also of books I’ve read recently such as Whose Mind is it Anyway? and How To Be Happy (Or At Least Less Sad), I’m a little surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did.

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Book 449: Whose Mind Is It Anyway? – Lisa and Franco Esile

Esile, Lisa and Frank - Whose Mind Is It Anyway?Sometimes you need to be reminded that you don’t know everything and this is one of those instances. It legitimately, is a book telling you not to always believe what you’re mind says, but to take time out and look at it from a different perspective (aka your heart) and to see what else is going on.

This isn’t one of those books I would pick up and buy for myself or even as a gift, but it’s one of those books that everyone would (or really should) read if they stumbled across it. I know if I saw it on a coffee table or in a bathroom (see photo of illustration below), I would flip through it. The publicist for the novel sent over a copy for me to check out* and it was a quick, fun and quirky read. I’m definitely going to have to check out the author’s website to see what other fun things they get up to.

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Book 412: Are You My Mother? – Alison Bechdel

Bechdel, Alison - Are You My MotherAfter re-reading Fun Home for book group I dove right into the follow-up Are You My Mother? As much as I enjoyed it and ultimately identified with it, it didn’t live up to the magical experience of Fun Home. It’s hard to say whether this lack of magic was a result of the intense navel gazing or the less compelling surface emotional story. To be honest it could be the daughter identifying with mother as this is an experience/story that I will never experience in the same way.

This being said, the story was still eloquently and humorously told! The graphics were just as poignant and detailed as those in the original. I enjoyed the complete color shift from the green-gray to the red, especially when Bechdel revisited scenes from her earlier work and the emphasis changed slightly. The book list in Are You My Mother? wasn’t quite as long as Fun Home but it was still pretty impressive at 38 separate works listed.

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Book 411: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic – Alison Bechdel

Bechdel, Alison - Fun HomeI first read Fun Home in undergrad after my friend Mia gave me a copy not long after it came out in paperback. (I’m pretty sure it was paperback and I’m pretty sure it was Mia. I wasn’t so great at tracking who, when or where books came from back then…oh the olden days :-D)

Either way, I remember thoroughly loving it that first time I read it. I even went out of my way to read Camus’ A Happy Death after I finished even though I have very little recollection of it now other than these quotes I saved on a proto-blog I had that I’m pretty sure it was called East Coast Traditional Meets West Coast Casual or something like that (I stole it from a furniture magazine.)

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Book 405: Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners – Josephine Ross

Ross, Josephine - Jane Austen's Guide to Good MannersIn honor of Jane Austen’s 240th birthday this past Wednesday I went to my shelf full of Jane Austen inspired works. There are many to chose from, but I wanted something short and light and I ended up with this lovely book.

I picked it up a kindle copy back in September 2013, don’t tell past me because I raved about how I was REALLY good and didn’t buy any books. It must’ve been one of the daily deals.

It was a very quick read, I read it all yesterday in two sittings, and it was quite informative. It explained pretty much any question you could have about manners and etiquette during Jane Austen’s time. (Seriously, see the chapter titles below.) Ross takes the advice from the novels Austen wrote and letters she wrote to her sister, Cassandra Austen, and her niece Anna Austen (janeausten.co.uk links), observing manners and habits of the time.

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Book 393: Sense & Sensibility (Marvel Illustrated) – Nancy Butler and Sonny Liew

Butler, Nancy, Jane Austen and Sony Liew - Sense & SensibilityI have finally made up for lost time. The downside is I’ve read them all now 😦 The upside is that I now want to turn around and re-read them, but I will wait a bit. It’s not like I don’t have a full shelf of Austen fan-fiction waiting on me, or that I still get to read Pride and Prejudice for Jane Austen Book Group this year.

With Marvel Illustrated’s Jane Austen books, this was the third and final illustration style. I’m not sure which is my favorite because they were all unique and each had their own drawbacks, so maybe I don’t need to pick one. I will say Marvel Illustrated and Butler got it right with all of the covers except Northanger Abbey. Which is even stranger because the cover I like the most, #4, from Sense & Sensibility doesn’t look like the illustration style inside!? It probably doesn’t hurt that the illustration cover for #4 makes me think of Wuthering Heights instead, or at least the idea of the Brontë sisters on the moors. The rest of the covers are more representative of Liew’s illustration style.

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