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review 2019-02-17 23:37
YA graphic novel about the teenage Catwoman; falls short of expectations, lacks depth, and is full of foul language
Under The Moon: A Catwoman Tale - Lauren Myracle,Isaac Goodhart

Life pretty much sucks for Selina Kyle, at least for as long as she stays living at home with her mom and the endless stream of boyfriends she brings home. None have been as bad as the latest guy, Dernell, who’s cruel and will even lock Selina up in a closet when he wants to teach her a lesson. When something happens to Selina’s new cat, she can’t take it anymore; life on the streets will surely be better than staying where she feels so unhappy.

Selina joins a small ‘pack’ of street kids, learns parkour, gets close to an old friend and takes on the new name and persona ‘Catgirl.’ Usually more of a loner, she begrudgingly learns she has to trust others if she is going to survive. And she also plans to carry out some not-so-small heists in gritty, crime-addled Gotham City.

 

This YA graphic novel is fresh from the DC Ink line and is written by author Lauren Myracle, who is no stranger to teen and tween lit, writing the bestsellers ttyl, ttfn, l8r, and g8r. This also means some pretty high expectations, because of Myracle’s familiarity with her audience and her success.

‘Under The Moon’ also happens to be about probably one of the coolest female comic book icons, Catwoman, although here we really have a version of her unlike any that has been seen before. Since this Selina is only fourteen years old, she really is a girl, and so calling it ‘A Catwoman Tale’ is definitely a bit of a stretch. And so begins the problems, because if anyone has read or seen any incarnation of this character before, it’s really hard to remove that image or knowledge (only just recently Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas came out as #3 in the DC Icons series).

 

In previous comics and the novel I just mentioned, we see an older Selina, who takes care of her younger sister and is trained under Carmine Falcone, as well as a past that included her mother dying, being a prostitute, as well as training and living in Europe.

 

‘Under the Moon’ gives us a Selina with a wealth of issues: she’s a runaway, she stops going to school as a result (making her a high-school dropout), and resorts to cutting to relieve her emotional pain. While I understand the notion of presenting a teen character who has the inclination to run from her home situation (abuse in the home is a pretty valid reason), or has a problem with self-harming (I will warn readers now about this, because it’s a big trigger), since these may be relatable issues for some readers, I also take issue with that being done in a responsible manner. I feel like these are risky, BIG topics to so lightly insert into a slim 96-page graphic novel, with very little insight. It’s irresponsible to add in a topic like self-harming so casually.

 

Since this is aimed at teens who are 13 to 17, I also feel like the flagrant use of foul language was wholly unnecessary. Unlike another teen DC graphic novel coming out soon after this, Kami Garcia’s ‘Teen Titans: Raven,’ that doesn’t have expletives and talk about things like penis size thrown in, this probably will be the reason for reconsideration for libraries (especially school libraries) carrying this book. I am not naïve about the use of swearing in YA lit, but it seems excessive in ‘Under The Moon’ and distracted me from the story, being used in a way that seemed like it was used to pander to  young readers (who may think it’s ‘cool’ to talk like this).

 

I also got a very mixed notion as to who Selina is because of the swings in her characterization. Her portrayal is quite inconsistent, at once dismissive of the few friends she has, then she acts the opposite way soon afterward (although her compassion towards Rosie in the latter part of the novel is heart-warming). The self-harming comes out of nowhere. She is sometimes self-assured and then not remotely confident. And her connection to Bruce Wayne, which apparently starts in preschool, feels more confusing than it ever is in most literary and cinematic portrayals of Catwoman so far. Him being at public school is yet another diversion from his own origin story.

Something else that irritated me, is Selina’s inconsistent connection to CATS. I wasn’t convinced entirely by the way she came to call herself ‘Catgirl’ despite the event that preceded this juncture.

 

I wanted so much to love this graphic novel: the sentiments of her being a stray and her loneliness are powerful, with these being reasons for her ‘cat-burglar’ behavior, but I found too many problems that I couldn’t look past. Fleshed out and with paying more attention to the deeper issues in this story I would maybe go along with Selina’s backstory, but I can't recommend this, as it is right now (*as always, edits may be made before publication), to the targeted reader group.

 

**Points/extra star for cool artwork.

 

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/38452822-under-the-moon?ac=1&from_search=true
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video 2019-01-15 07:01
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review 2018-10-22 05:47
The Pharaoh's Treasure: The Origin of Paper and the Rise of Western Civilization by John Gaudet
The Pharaoh`s Treasure - The Origin of Paper and the Rise of Western Civilization - John Gaudet

TITLE:  The Pharaoh's Treasure: The Origin of Paper and the Rise of Western Civilization

 

AUTHOR:  John Gaudet

 

DATE PUBLISHED: October 2018

 

FORMAT:  Hardcover

 

ISBN-13:  9781681778532

_____________________________

DESCRIPTION:

"For our entire history, humans have always searched for new ways to share information. This innate compulsion led to the origin of writing on the rock walls of caves and coffin lids or carving on tablets. But it was with the advent of papyrus paper when the ability to record and transmit information exploded, allowing for an exchanging of ideas from the banks of the Nile throughout the Mediterranean—and the civilized world—for the first time in human history.  

In The Pharaoh’s Treasure, John Gaudet looks at this pivotal transition to papyrus paper, which would become the most commonly used information medium in the world for more than 4,000 years. Far from fragile, papyrus paper is an especially durable writing surface; papyrus books and documents in ancient and medieval times had a usable life of hundreds of years, and this durability has allowed items like the famous Nag Hammadi codices from the third and fourth century to survive. 

The story of this material that was prized by both scholars and kings reveals how papyrus paper is more than a relic of our ancient past, but a key to understanding how ideas and information shaped humanity in the ancient and early modern world.
"

_______________________________________

Gaudet has written a delightfully interesting and informative book that covers everything papyrus in terms of paper.  He covers topics such as the ancient locations of papyrus; it's various uses; the invention and evolution of papyrus paper; the business of manufacture and distribution of papyrus sheets from Egypt, across the Mediterranean region and beyond; and it's eventual eclipse by rag paper.   The numerous historical stories about archaeological discoveries, daring "rescue" attempts and some horror stories are well told and make this book something other than a dry rendition of the evolution of the papyrus scroll.  Of course, you can't have a book about papyrus paper and not mention the numerous ancient (and not so ancient) libraries that stored them.  This book compliments the author's previous book [Papyrus: The Plant that Changed the World: From Ancient Egypt to Today's Water Wars] which deals more specifically with the papyrus plant; as well as Keith Houston's book [The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time] which deals with paper and the evolution of the book, but doesn't not spend too much time on papyrus paper specifically.

 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-10-21 13:04
Review: Day By Day Armageddon: Beyond Exile
Day by Day Armageddon: Origin to Exile - J.L. Bourne

This was an amazing follow-up to "Armageddon"!  Our protagonist and group survive the incursion of hostiles, regroup and keep on keeping on.  They do more reconnaissance and perform a fee rescue, one of which involves military personnel.  This eventually leads to our protagonist returning to active military service and becoming the ranking officer on the ground, which put him in charge of many soldiers and civilians.  There is a small contingent of military (on destroyer ships) still active and trying to do what they can to protect the remaining living and take out the threat of the dead.

 

After a search mission gone bad, our protagonist is separated from the group, on his own, injured and on foot, hundreds of miles from home.  It's a harrowing experience and he almost dies several times.  Then his luck changes and he gets help from an unknown group, with experimental tech.  He picks up an ally along the way, and they work together to get back to safety. 

 

He makes it back to the bunker after being gone for 45 days.  Once back and rested they learn that the group that 'helped' him get back home, had ulterior motives, and the bunker comes under siege.  They are able to escape and get evacuated to the war ships.  There we learn that they are planning a mission to China to retrieve patient zero--because of course it always starts in China!  And this all started because scientists found a non terrestrial vessel in a block of ice and just had to investigate it.  They didn't follow protocol, this the outbreak of an unknown disease that brings the dead back. *sigh*  That explanation was unexpected, but not necessarily a bad one.  At least this series gives an actual explanation as to where this outbreak came from.  Now our protagonist is commissioned to the mission to find patient zero and perhaps a cure, or vaccine.  Can't wait to see what happens next!

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text 2018-10-21 02:24
Reading progress update: I've read 319 out of 513 pages.
Day by Day Armageddon: Origin to Exile - J.L. Bourne

Things I have learned from this book:

  1. 1. If the zompoc happens, launching nukes at major cities is a bad idea
  2. 2. Fuel spoils and becomes unusable if not properly treated.
  3. 3. TBC...
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