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review 2018-12-14 20:22
Ancient History comes alive
The Silence of the Girls - Pat Barker

So to start a quick recap of Ancient History... Agamemnon and Achilles come from different backgrounds, but the war in Troy brings them together. ... Without Achilles, Agamemnon is losing. It isn't until Achilles' companion and best friend Patroclus is killed that Achilles rejoins the Trojan War. And Agamemnon, realizing that Achilles is needed, returns Briseis to him. What was all the fighting about? here is a synopsis According to classical sources, the war began after the abduction (or elopement) of Queen Helen of Sparta  by the Trojan prince Paris. Helen’s jilted husband Menelaus convinced his brother Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, to lead an expedition to retrieve her. Agamemnon was joined by the Greek heroes Achilles, Odysseus, Nestor and Ajax, and accompanied by a fleet of more than a thousand ships from throughout the Hellenic world. They crossed the Aegean Sea to Asia Minor to lay siege to Troy and demand Helen’s return by Priam, the Trojan king.

 

So a beautiful telling of an ancient story woven expertly into The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker. However if we delve deeper this is more a novel about the women of those ancient times and how they were (mis) treated sold to the highest bidder to be abused, raped, discarded when their bodies and not their minds were of no further use. The narrator is Briseis who herself becomes involved in a love triangle/struggle between Agamemmon and Achilles. Through her eyes Barker strips away the hero qualities that have often been laid at the feet of Achilles and shows him for what she believes he is an intolerant butchering brute...."I'd been afraid ever since the cities of the Trojan plain started falling to Achilles; every burning, every sacking brought the war closer. But my fear that night was of an altogether different order, more sharply focused than it had ever been before. I knew my presence in the compound no longer reflected well on Amamemmon. Rather the opposite, in fact I was a constant reminder of the quarrel that had brought the Greek army to the brink of defeat. My only potential use, my only value to him- since he certainly didn't want me in his bed- had been as a possible bargaining chip in future negotiations with Achilles...."...."Achilles kept his word, everyone he promised Patroclus he did. He cut the throats of twelve Trojan youths, dragging their heads back by the hair and pulling his knife across their throats as quickly and cleanly as if they'd been goats".......

 

A lively colourful short novel with a profound message makes The Silence of the Girls a very enjoyable read that could possibly take the author in a different direction leaving the way open for many sequels. Recommended.

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review 2018-12-10 06:54
Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun (manga, vol. 9) by Izumi Tsubaki, translated by Leighann Harvey
Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, Vol. 9 - Izumi Tsubaki

(This isn't all of the things that were covered in the volume, just the things I managed to write down.)

Mikoto can't bring himself to tell Waka he owns figures and plays dating sims. The girls try to figure out how to do a proper sleepover. The Drama Club has an improv day. Waka keeps randomly falling asleep, and Seo discovers her power over him. Kashima dresses more femininely, and Mikoto kind of hopes he'll get to see Hori acting jealous. Hori realizes Kashima is physically both his ideal guy type and his ideal girl. Bonus: the volume ends with comics featuring Chiyo's little brother meeting Nozaki. He misunderstood and assumed Nozaki was a model, so he's surprised at how ordinary Nozaki is.

(spoiler show)


As a Hori/Kashima fan, my favorite part of this volume was when Kashima dressed more femininely and Hori had his revelation. Will Tsubaki go anywhere with this? Who knows.

I liked getting to see Chiyo's brother, and there were a few good moments throughout the volume, but it's probably a good thing that this was the last Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun volume in my pile, because I suspect I reached my burn-out point. It seems it's never a good idea for me to read too many 4-panel comedy volumes in a row.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-12-10 06:42
Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun (manga, vol. 8) by Izumi Tsubaki, translated by Leighann Harvey
Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, Vol. 8 - Izumi Tsubaki

(This isn't all of the things that were covered in the volume, just the things I managed to write down.)

Nozaki tries to pick a theme for a short story. Waka learns that Mikoto is one of Nozaki's assistants, the one who does the flowers and who is the unwitting inspiration for Mamiko. Kashima helps out at Ryousuke's cafe. Ryousuke meets Waka and thinks Waka and Seo are in love with each other. Mikoto and Mayu go on a group date. Seo tries to be "nice" to everyone equally. Nozaki tries to come up with extra material (sidebars) for his manga. Hori gets drunk on Kashima's brandy cake. The volume ends with several pages of 4-panel comics mostly focused on Yumeko, Nozaki's shojo fan younger sister who refuses to believe he's the creator of her favorite manga.

(spoiler show)


This volume was a bit short compared to the previous few, but still fun.

Drunk Hori was adorably loving, and he and Kashima were cute together. I realized at the end of the volume that both Kashima and Chiyo get hugs from their crushes (if you count Hori as Kashima's crush) in this volume - Hori because he's drunk and Nozaki because he's crushed that his assistants think working for him is embarrassing.

I laughed at Ryousuke's pity for Waka. Even though his interpretation of the situation isn't quite correct (Waka's feelings for Seo are complicated and debatable), Waka really is an idiot.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-12-10 05:06
Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun (manga, vol. 7) by Izumi Tsubaki, translated by Leighann Harvey
Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, Vol. 7 - Izumi Tsubaki

(This isn't all of the things that were covered in the volume, just the things I managed to write down.)

Nozaki is considering upgrading his characters' flip phones to smart phones. Hori realizes that Waka and Seo are in Nozaki's manga, as well as who they are. Miyako goes out drinking with her college friends, who still think she works as a hostess, and ends up with embarrassing pics of her and Seo's brother, Ryousuke. Chiyo and Mikoto ask Mayu to help them exercise. Waka gets set up with Seo by his teammates and learns that he can make her run away by asking her out. Nozaki wants firsthand experience with bullying for his manga. Hori doesn't realize that Kashima has his ideal legs.

(spoiler show)


I continue to enjoy this series. I love it when Tsubaki gives readers views of both what really happened (for example, Mayu saying stuff Nozaki could say to Chiyo to motivate her) vs. what others see and how they interpret it (Mayu's friends thinking he's asking a high school girl out while they're both running).

I also kind of liked getting to see more of that idiot editor, Maeno, vs. Ken, Nozaki's current editor. I can't help but wonder what sorts of experiences Tsubaki based Maeno on. Considering how awful he is, it's a wonder Ken gets anything done while he's around. I laughed at the revelation that Maeno's mangaka turn their stuff in early because they know he's a flake who probably wouldn't even think to build a cushion into the due dates he gives them. Poor Ken is forced to suffer because he's actually good at his job.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-12-10 04:56
Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun (manga, vol. 6) by Izumi Tsubaki, translated by Leighann Harvey
Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, Vol. 6 - Izumi Tsubaki

(This isn't all of the things that were covered in the volume, just the things I managed to write down.) Nozaki attempts to find inspiration for a special horror issue of his manga. Miyako's male classmate and one-time date totally misunderstands her relationship with Nozaki. Chiyo (or Sakura - I'm totally inconsistent about the name I use for her, sorry) misses Nozaki when he goes home for a bit. Nozaki pretends to be a female basketball coach. The editors at Nozaki's magazine pick a theme for a special edition. Mikoto needs a fake girlfriend to get a girl who likes him to go away. Mayu, Nozaki's 15-year-old brother, is forced to text Mikoto for hours - both of them think the other is a girl.

This was a really refreshing read. I had forgotten how enjoyable this series could be. The artwork was great, and the humor usually worked for me.

Nozaki, as usual, was entertainingly dense, and I was amused at the realization that, by this point, Chiyo probably wouldn't believe him if he flat-out told her he was in love with her and wanted to go out with her.

Hori and Kashima are my favorite possible couple, even though Kashima would probably give Hori an ulcer. I enjoy Hori's relative normality and the moments when he and Kashima almost click as a possible couple. Of them all, he's the least over-the-top character.

The part of the volume where Mayu texted Mikoto for hours was funny but seemed a bit out of character for Mayu. I couldn't believe that a guy who's generally pretty lazy wouldn't somehow find a way to bow out of a never-ending texting session.

The one part of the volume that had me going WTF was the revelation that Nozaki once wrote

a pedophile romance in an effort to push the envelope in a "love with an age gap" special manga. You'd think even Nozaki would have realized that that was going to far.

(spoiler show)

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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