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review 2017-11-18 08:05
William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return: Star Wars Part the Sixth
William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return - Ian Doescher

—O knavery

Most vile, O trick of Empire’s basest wit.

A snare, a ruse, a ploy; and we the fools.

What great deception hath been plied today—

O rebels, do you hear? Fie, ‘tis a trap!

~Admiral Ackbar, Act IV, Scene 3

 

Yes, good Admiral, ‘tis a trap! I was lulled into a false sense of security by the general awesomeness of Star Wars meets Shakespeare and everything was going swimmingly—until I was forced to picture Harrison Ford as Han Solo singing a jubilant love song. A trap indeed! Minus half a star for that!*

 

*Not really for that. I just enjoyed this slightly less than The Empire Striketh Back and slightly more than Verily, A New Hope, so I rated accordingly.

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text 2017-11-18 05:53
Reading progress update: I've read 545 out of 735 pages.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling,Kazu Kibuishi,Mary GrandPré

Nifler

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review 2017-11-17 16:58
Fathers and sons in America: A Matt Phelan Masterpost
Bluffton - Matt Phelan
The Storm in the Barn - Matt Phelan

I had said in last week's post that today I'd be writing a Matt Phelan 'masterpost'. Typically this means that I cover 3+ books by a single author (or multiple authors writing together in a series). However, today I'm just going to talk about 2 books because honestly that's all I could get my hands on and so that's all I managed to read. :-) I picked up Bluffton: My Summers with Buster Keaton and The Storm in the Barn with fairly high expectations based on the work I had seen by Phelan in the Comics Squad compilation I read and reviewed not too long ago. On the one hand, I was not at all disappointed. The illustration style is most definitely up my street. He is excellent at drawing evocative expressions on people's faces. I think where I was let down was on the overall reading experience. Let me take each of the books separately so that I can (hopefully) explain what I mean.

 

I read Bluffton first because it featured a circus and I am all about that circus lifestyle. Firstly, when I grabbed this book I somehow missed the subtitle and therefore was shocked to discover that one of the main characters in this book is that famous star of vaudeville, Buster Keaton. Secondly, I went into this book expecting a rollicking good time and instead got a somewhat borderline depressing narrative of what the childhood of Buster would have entailed since he was a performer from infancy. It's about the expectations that a parent has for their child and how those might be vastly different from the aspirations that the child holds for themselves. It's also about the nature of friendship and jealousy (especially when one of the friends is an itinerant performer). It's a coming of age tale that paints a rather grim picture of child stardom and how the experiences of our youth shape us into the adults that we will one day become.

 

Then there was The Storm in the Barn which I can only categorize as a Debbie Downer type of book. I'm not sure that this falls under any one genre. It's most certainly historical fiction as it depicts a little boy, his family, and his community as they struggle during the time of the Dust Bowl in Kansas circa 1937. However, it also contains fantasy elements of which I can't really go into without spoiling the plot... It's certainly rooted in reality because Phelan does not shy away from the harsh conditions that these characters face (don't even get me started on the rabbits). He covers bullying from both peers and parents. The protagonist is forced to watch a beloved sister struggle with a possibly fatal illness. The entire plot is fraught with tension and a dark cloud seems to hover over every page. What I'm trying to say is that if you're looking for a light read to send your tots to sleep at night then you should probably keep looking. BUT if you wanted to teach your kids about an era of history that's not usually dwelt upon in the classroom then this might indeed be the right selection for you.

 

I'd rate both books about the same. In terms of imagery and writing, they're both 10/10. The issue is that I held expectations about these books (as readers do from time to time) and I finished both of these feeling somewhat let down. I understand that not all books are going to be rosy, sweet, and fun. I know that not every book has a happy ending. And yet when these two books delivered hardship, sadness, and loss I was ill prepared and disgruntled. I can't honestly flaw these books and say that from a reviewer's standpoint they were faulty...but I still find it difficult to give them full marks just the same. Does this make sense? I guess my point is that a book can tick off all the boxes and still fall short based on the assumptions of the reader and/or their relative mood when they picked up the book. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

 

Now let's take a look at Buster from Bluffton followed by a page from The Storm in the Barn:

 

Source: YouTube

 

 

Source: books4school

 

What's Up Next: Ghost Waltz: A Family Memoir by Ingeborg Day

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Kid Authors: True Tales of Childhood from Famous Writers by David Stabler

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-11-17 14:46
Neverwhere
Neverwhere: Author's Preferred Text - Neil Gaiman

I enjoyed this after a bit. The first 30 to 40 percent I found slow. But the book picks up momentum and I liked how we get to see more of the London Below via other characters when we're not following the main characters of Richard and Door.

 

Richard Mayhew finds himself helping a young woman one night and it changes his life forever. Without realizing it, helping the woman named Door will cost Richard his life as he knows it when he finds himself pushed out of his reality. Being lost about what to do, Richard goes looking for Door and finds out about London Below.

 

I liked Richard though I found him to be a little slow on the uptake sometimes. But I think that Gaiman did a good job of having a readers see things through Richard's eyes.

 

This book is told in the third person, and we get to follow a number of characters around. We have the Lady Door, the Marquis, and a woman called Hunter who's the best hunter in London Below. When Door goes on a quest to figure out who killed her family and why these four characters end up going on a series of mini-quests.

 

I kind of like how Gaiman mixes history in this book along with some cultural significance to people who are from Britain.

 

The writing was good, but as I said above, the flow was off for me for a good portion of the book.

 

The setting was awesome and I found myself interested in finding out more about those who live in London Below.

 

The ending felt a bit anti-climatic to me. But all in all, this was a pretty good story.

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review 2017-11-16 02:54
A Court of Mist and Fury - Sarah J. Maas

I loved Tamlin in the first book, but I also loved Rhys. This series really makes me rethink my need for sleep. I have to be at work by 6 a.m. tomorrow, I don't need to sleep for a 14 hour shift, nope, not at all. On to book 3. Then I will switch to the audio book and run the sound through my blutooth headset so no one knows I am listening to anything, just waiting on a phone call. It'll work!

 

I can't believe I thought this series was for young adults.

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