Books

Book 565: Superhero Ethics – Travis Smith

With my vested interest in the multi-billion dollar Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) (aka I see all of the films as they’re released) and my passing interest in the DC universe now Wonder Woman has made her powerful interest, of course I had to say yes when the publicist reached out about this book.*

After saying yes and reading this, I’m not sure I should have. There were some major flaws in this book mostly having to do with gender and misogyny. I don’t want to harp on about this, but that’s probably what this post is going to end up being. Smith chose 10 comic book heroes (first appearances): The Hulk (1962), Wolverine (1974), Green Lantern (1940), Iron Man (1963), Batman (1939), Spider-Man (1962), Captain America (1941), Mr. Fantastic (1961), Thor (1962), and Superman (1938), and pitted them against each other in an “epic” ethics battle. What’s the obvious thing about these ten heroes? They’re all men. [Want to skip this tirade? Skip 6 paragraphs down.

Continue reading “Book 565: Superhero Ethics – Travis Smith”

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Books

Book 560: Camp Austen – Ted Scheinman

I reached out to the publisher for a copy of this book when I saw the author, Ted Scheinman, was going to be in Boston giving a talk at the BPL.* Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it as it was the same day we moved houses (in a snow storm no less), but if you’re on the west coast, he’ll be talking about this at Skylight Books in LA this Saturday, July 21! (Skylight Books LA website)

I’m torn about my review. I’m wondering if I had the opportunity to hear him speak about the book and his experience, if my response would be different. I read his interview with the Jane Austen Summer program, but there are things you can only tell when you listen and watch someone interact with others.

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ARC, Books

Book 554: Grief Works – Julia Samuel

Grief Works cover artWhen the publicist reached out with a copy of this, I wasn’t sure I was ready after my mother’s death at the end of last year.* They reached out within the first couple of weeks and I was so caught up in dealing with everything you have to deal with from a planning and organization perspective that comes with death, that I wasn’t even really thinking about the physical and emotional perspectives. Ultimately, I said yes thinking I would eventually need something like this, but not sure when.

When we packed for our trip to Mexico I threw it in our bag, I figured what better place to open up the emotional turmoil than on a beautiful beach hundreds of miles away from everywhere to start processing things. And that’s sort of what happened, but not really. Continue reading “Book 554: Grief Works – Julia Samuel”

Books

Book 549: No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics – Justin Hall (Ed.)

I randomly stumbled across the Kickstarter for the documentary version of this book. So of course I had to see if the library had it and it was in the one near me so I walked down and got it at lunch. It was a quick read and covered a wide variety of comics.

I mean 40 years in LGBT/Queer history covers so much from AIDS to decriminalization to marriage to adoption rights to the wonderful coming of age of trans* comics. (For more information on the asterisks check out this graphic (It’s Pronounced Metrosexual link). The anthology did a great job by dividing the comics into three era’s of queer comics:  1) Come Out: Gay Gag Strips, Underground Comix, and Lesbian Literati (1960s-1970s); 2) File Under Queer: Comix to Comics, Punk Zines, and Art During the Plague (1980s-1990s); 3) A New Millennium: Trans Creators, Webcomics, and Stepping Out of the Ghetto (2000s-today?). I listed all of the authors at the end of this post because they all deserve credit in this wonderful anthology.

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ARC, Books

Book 547: Thriving Through Uncertainty – Tama Kieves

Another ARC/Galley off the list. Sometimes I wonder why I read these unsolicited books sent by publishers*, but then I remind myself that I’m always trying to expand my views and experience of the world. In this instance I probably should’ve given up after the first 50 pages because this just wasn’t for me even though it was a relatively fast read.

Along the same veins of The Self-Love Experiment I read earlier this year this book just rubbed me the wrong way from the start. I have a lot of ideas why this bothered me below, but I can’t put my finger on any one thing. Maybe it’s just me being a grump when I read this, but if that were the case you’d think I could use a little enlightenment. Read on to find out why this book irked the hell out of me.

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Books

Book 544: Jane Austen at Home – Lucy Worsley

With this, I’m crossing another review copy/ARC/galley off my list and with this I only have two trailing from last year and then on to the so many more I have from this year. I barely got it through before the one year mark. I got this back in July of 2017.* I’ve pretty much shut down unsolicited reviews until I get through them with the caveat that Jane Austen is a plus (I have two waiting) and authors I’ve previously read I actually have to think about it before I say no.

I requested this after I heard about the BBC series Jane Austen: Behind Closed Doors (BBC link), which I still haven’t watched, but thought it sounded interesting. I wanted to see this “new” take on Austen and her life and it was better than I thought it would be.

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Book 541: How to Own Your Own Mind (The Mental Dynamite Series #2) – Napoleon Hill

Starting this book felt like I opened a door mid-conversation almost a century ago. Behind it were two gentleman sitting in a preserved gentleman’s lounge or office. I could almost smell the old leather furniture and the faint scent of cigars and I could see the wood paneling vividly as the two men leaned in to confer about titans of industry. And this is the problem with The Mental Dynamite series.

When I got my copy from the publisher*, I wasn’t sure I was going to read it. After the first book, The Path to Personal Power, and my not great reaction to it, I wasn’t sure I wanted to trudge through the racist, misogynist, heterosexist past. It’s not like they went out of their way to be these things and I’m not excusing them, but it’s rough to read. Continue reading “Book 541: How to Own Your Own Mind (The Mental Dynamite Series #2) – Napoleon Hill”