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text 2017-12-13 18:38
Perfectly suited to be a Shonen Jump Manga
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Manga Classics - Mark Twain

*Disclaimer: reviewing uncorrected eARC via NetGalley.

 

I loved this so, so much. Huck Finn was always my favourite Twain book, so this got a boost just for being imho a great story. I really liked the art style; basically Tom & Huck can be read as mischievous, good-hearted but troublemaking Shonen Jump heroes anyways, so it's just a super fun ride.

 

The subject matter and choices in adaptation deserve some comment, though. There's definitely what we'd call in 2017 "problematic" content around slavery and the portrayal of black people in general. Maybe it's just because I haven't re-read this book as an adult, but I really appreciated the way the Manga Classics adaptation helped the satire of the story stand out, making it clear how crazy the white kids' approach to their situation was, how little true empathy they had for the black (slaves') experience when it came down to it, and how illogical and absurd much of the adults' behaviour was as well. I remember reading this and watching movies a couple decades ago and thinking it was mostly a fun, at times emotional, kids adventure story. Reading this adaptation, it's MUCH clearer to me that Twain was commenting on slavery and a transformation in one boy's understanding of his world, justice and ethical behaviour. Huck learns to see Jim, the "runaway" black slave, as a full human and feels empathy for him by the end of the story, a big transformation from where he makes fun of him and treats him like something less-than-human at the beginning.

 

Appreciated the artist & adaptation notes at the end that spelled out some of the decisions that went into making the adaptation and grappling with how to tell the story. I thought this had great pacing (especially compared to some of the other Manga Classics adaptations that are obviously summarizing and racing through large portions of the story), the art was lovely, dynamic or funny and always expressive, depending on what the scene called for. I'd watch an anime based on this.

 

Language use is preserved from Twain's original, which at times is hard to puzzle out, since it's diving into some pretty heavy accents or dialects. Between that, N-word and the content around slavery, I wouldn't recommend this for cautious/beginning readers. But again, I loved it, so if you're up to sounding out the words and playing some guessing games as to content, definitely give this a shot.

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review 2017-12-13 12:37
How to Fight the Presidents
How to Fight Presidents: An Illustrated Comedic History of the Wildest, Toughest, and Most Interesting and Badass Facts About Every US President - Daniel O'Brien

Total. boy. humour.  And it's hilarious.  Really stilly and did I mention the boy humour?  There's a lot of it.

 

At a guess I'd bet that maybe 60% of the information in each section covering each president (except those that are still alive - is that for legal reasons, do you think?) is probably factual.  20% is blatantly called out by the author himself as just wishful thinking, bu the other 20% could go either way.

 

But I hope nobody thinks they're picking this up in order to expand their factual knowledge  of presidential history.  There's a lot of good stuff I didn't know before, but the focus is very narrow and aimed solely at making the presidents all look like bad asses.  How to Fight Presidents is a fun, entertaining, wishful thinking sort of book that will accidentally import some small inconsequential facts into the reader's brainpan when they aren't paying attention; guaranteed to make them only slightly quirky at the next cocktail party, or the dark horse at their next trivia night.  Or maybe just slightly better prepared should he or she accidentally find themselves in a dark alley with a sitting president-pretender. You never know I guess.

 

 

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url 2017-12-04 20:22
Giveaway for my new book, The Fatness
The Fatness - Mark A. Rayner

There's three copies up for grabs -- enter to win a paperback version of The Fatness, a satire about concentration camps for fat people and bureaucracy gone mad. (A love story.)

 

 

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text 2017-12-04 12:28
Reading progress update: I've read 135 out of 385 pages.
The Science of Discworld - Terry Pratchett,Jack Cohen,Ian Stewart

Well, so far the science writing is pretty neat for what it set out to do, and this one will definitely replace my Newtonmas read for the 16 Festive Tasks.

 

Still, can I just say that I nevertheless prefer the Discworld chapters?

 

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review 2017-12-04 09:41
Hogfather
Hogfather (Discworld, #20) - Terry Pratchett

I was supposed to be doing this as a buddy read with everyone, but I've not been keeping my end up at all.  The cold I thought I'd beaten down made a comeback at the end of last week, so I kept falling asleep every time I tried to get stuck into Hogfather.  Which sounds like a terrible condemnation of the book, but is really is NOT.  The book was excellent.  I'd prove it's excellence with quotes, except all my reading buddies beat me to all the quotes I liked the best. 

 

There's mischief afoot in the Discworld, and the Hogfather is missing.  Death decides to step in and play the Hogfather's role, visiting houses, filling stockings and doing his best to ensure that belief in the Hogfather never falters, while his grand-daughter Susan and a host of others do their best to thwart the mischief so Hogfather can come back.

 

This is a brilliant story - practically flawless.  My only two complaints are that:

 

1. Teatime is a little too evil; it adds an edge to the story that I freely admit is necessary; without it the whole thing would be a little less brilliant.  Nevertheless, His story line was the fly in my lemonade; I'd be reading along having a rollicking good time and then he'd show up being manically evil, and it felt like someone let the air out of my balloons. 

 

2.  The book kept referring to both dollars and pence.  Either this was done on purpose, because it's the discworld and can use any form of currency Pratchett would like, or else it's an editing error that wasn't caught during a transition from UK to international editions.  If it's the former, well, that's totally fine.  But I don't know, so I kept wondering if it was the latter and I kept getting tripped up by the discrepancy.

 

In the grand scheme of things, these are inconsequential - this is, hands down, the best discworld book I've read so far.  But Teatime's rain on my holiday parade does keep me from going the whole 5 stars.

 

If you like silly fun with a side of very deep philosophy, read this book.

 

There's one quote I don't think anyone has beaten me to yet:

 

Humans need fantasy to be human.  To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.

 

That might very well be my favourite quote of the book. 

 

 

 

 

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