Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What I Read This Week – Mar 13

So, I am a day late this week because I am starting a new job! Nothing fancy, same company, different position and title. Currently I work in the ‘services’ division and tomorrow I will work in the ‘corporate’ division. Normally this isn’t a big deal but my company is fairly large so the two divisions are across town from each other. Such a little distance and the divisions are soooo different… and the crowd screams HOW DIFFERENT ARE THEY? Well, let me tell you..

First, ‘Services’ has a pool. Granted the pool is part of a training facility in which we hope no one drowns but it’s still a pool. ‘Corporate’ tore out ½ the parking spaces in order to build a little picnic area for us to use during lunch hours. It’s actually a nice idea except for the fact that they didn’t put in any trees or shade of any sort so in the summer, by noon the metal seats are too hot to sit on without burning yourself.

Second, ‘Services’ is a wee bit more casual. There is a better chance I will meet someone in jeans carrying a spit cup than someone with a collar. ‘Corporate’ is as corporate does and ties are commonplace.

But the biggest difference is… and y’all knew this was coming… is the bathroom. In ‘Services,’ if you go to the bathroom on the corridor to the training center, occupy stall #3, then use the long handled plunger to pop ceiling tile #4… voila down drops the current issue of Muscle and Fitness. Usually the limited edition bikini special. Oh it’s a fine, fine, fine magazine.

Now, the reading material in ‘Corporate’ is slightly different. In this case you have to go to the second floor, center bathroom. In there you will find a handicapped stall, and located on the metal railing… open to the best article is an issue of Readers Digest. I can’t make stuff this good up.

I am certainly going to miss life in ‘Services.’ Anyway, this week I managed to read The Replacement God, Salvatore: Vol. 2 - An Eventful Crossing, and surprisingly The Hunger Games. You can see what I liked below the break.

The big event was that I managed to read an actual chapter book! With the movie coming, and a super cool premise I couldn’t pass up a chance to read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

In the future, the 12 districts are governed by the Capitol. To control the people, the Capitol ‘hosts’ the Hunger Games in which each district ‘volunteers’ two contestants aged 12-18. The rules are simple, kill all your opponents or die.

I should have known when I saw that it was published by Scholastic that this wasn’t for me. This isn’t to say the book is bad it’s just very simple and sanitized science fiction story for the tween crowd. I have to admit that I enjoyed the first half of the book very, very much. The setup of the game, the selection of the contestants, and even the start of the game was all very good. But once the game starts it all comes screeching to a… not a halt… more of a 25 mph speed limit school zone.

The problem with the game is the nature of the book. This was written for tweens so the language isn’t complicated and if you can’t describe a thing or place in two sentences then there isn’t a description. Of course, the majority of the violence is omitted. The true angst of having to kill another person is omitted. The sadness at a friend dying is there but even that is watered down.

It’s fine for what it is but that’s about it. If you want the adult version I suggest reading Battle Royale (see semi-literate review of the first book here.) which is truly adult version of the same story.

The Replacement God written/illustrated by Zander Cannon, published by SLG Publishing, 216 pgs, $20

In a far off land, the King has ruled for 900 years but his reign is about to come to an end. Once the Replacement God emerges a new age will be ushered in. All the King has to do is kill the new god before he figures out his role in everything. Enter Kneut who has been a slave in the castle for… well forever and has attempted (unsuccessfully) to escape over 300 times. In a moment of happiness the King frees Kneut, who, unknown to the King is the Replacement God. So starts the hunt for a boy who’s never been in the real world by beatnik visigoths, hippie fairies, and a whole lot of other people.

This big trade paperback collects the eight Amaze Ink issues of Replacement God which another one of those series that always had good word of mouth. I am here to say that it is indeed as good as ‘they’ all said. The Replacement God is a fun filled adventure romp in line with Bone, the Myth-adventures, and a host of other fantasty-humor series. Kneut, our supposed lead, is little more than a cipher at the end of the book but the supporting characters have taken over the book. Cannon develops the cast so well that I actually cared more about them than the lead.

The art is very strong and you can see why Cannon went on to bigger, better things like Alan Moore’s Top Ten. There are some rough spots but over all it’s very good. The book also contains an excellent afterward in which Cannon talks about each issue and what he was trying to do and his influences at the time. There is nothing better than reading a book, then having the author discuss it with you.

Overall the is fun filled read that you will enjoy. My only quibble is that the story isn’t finished. There isn’t a cliff hanger but there isn’t a conclusion either. And, since the original stories were published over a decade ago, I doubt there is any chance of a conclusion. But that’s ok because it was fun getting there.

Note:  Way back in the day this was an indie pick (see here) and Gwen said she was waiting for my review.  Well here it is and you should read this Gwen you will really really like it.

The best book of the week by far was Salvatore: Vol. 2 - An Eventful Crossing written and illustrated by Nicolas de Crecy, published by NBM, 112 pgs, $15

Sadly, if you haven’t read volume 1 (which I reviewed here) then you aren’t going to have a clue about what is going on. Luckily, volume 1 is great too so this is a win-win for everyone. If, by some chance, you did read the first book then you are in for a treat because this book is just as good is almost a completely different way.

Picking up where the last book left off, Salvatore our hero continues on his journey to find his lost love. He is driving to South America via the Bering Straits because he doesn’t like crossing the ocean. In the meantime, Amandine the Sow is desperately trying to find her lost piglet Frank to the point of ignoring the rest of the litter. In the meantime, the rest of her litter sick of their mother’s incompetence is busy in a lucrative endeavor of bio recycling. Which means repackaging ordinary products and calling them organic.

To say this book is a humorous romp through life with a bunch of whacked out characters doesn’t do it justice. Each and every incident in the story is just ludicrous and de Crecy plays each one straight. For example, Amandine hires a private detective to find her lost piglet Frank. The detective is convinced the piglet is in the sewers (he’s not) so each of them, weighing well over 200 lbs each, dressed in wetsuits try with limited success to catch a cab. It makes perfect sense within the story and you can help but chuckle at the ridiculousness of it. And that was one of the tame situations. It gets crazier.

I cannot recommend this series enough. It’s full of life, wonderful characters, and situations that will amuse you to no end.

And that’s all for this week.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks goodness someone besides me didn't like the Hunger Games. I was beginning to feel as if I was the only adult in the world who hadn't thought it was amazing.