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text 2017-10-17 15:02
Reading progress update: I've read 144 out of 288 pages.
Batman by Ed Brubaker Vol. 1 - Scott McDaniel,Ed Brubaker

Bonus, who knew there was a Deadshot story in here! it's mostly been the Penguin, and this new threat, Zeiss, with the upgrades and the goggles. I actually remember the 2-part Deadshot tale, but I remember the pictures, not the words. I think I had flipped through these comics when I saw Deadshot on the covers, but he didn't appear to be in the story much, so I passed. Suicide Squad had had quite a successful run, but been canceled, and that's where the character had become much more popular, and got a lot of "air-time". a Batman tale, with Floyd back on the streets taking contracts and coming into conflict with the Dark Knight, was not, at that time, enough for people like me, who had been spoiled.


now that I've read the 2-parter, it was actually quite good. most of the Deadshot appearances that came up in that period between successful Suicide Squad series treated the character as if he mattered, and yet they didn't turn him into a "good guy", just because he had sort of become someone to cheer for on the Squad. here, he pretty much outsmarts Batman and fulfills his contract, while even Batman acknowledges to himself that he is facing a better opponent, who seems to have learned a lot. anyway, I would have liked more panels with Deadshot actually in them--but, overall, that wouldn't have helped this particular story, and it was an unexpected surprise to suddenly turn a page and find a Deadshot story that was fun, and which I had ignored years ago.

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text 2017-10-16 23:33
Reading progress update: I've read 88 out of 288 pages.
Batman by Ed Brubaker Vol. 1 - Scott McDaniel,Ed Brubaker

gosh, I'll tell ya--when I took my bag o' reading options out to the coffee shop just a little while ago, A Watery Grave looked nothin' but mighty tempting, especially after I polished off a short story. I mean, think about it--do you see the allure, even in the title...A Watery Grave. says it all. huh...yah? A Watery Graaaaaaaaaave. A. Watery (not Earthy, not Airy, not Fiery). very Watery (I'm just assuming; I could be way off). Grave (ya can't have a grave without a body, and that means someone has to get something sorted).


but, I went to Batman. and now I don't regret it, because the first few comics in this graphic novel were fun, and I'm looking forward to more. maybe I won't take any kind of break from superhero shenanigans in print, after this. maybe some Aquaman. Aquaman! Sea Devils! Sub-Mariner! Triton of the Inhumans! watery super-heroes--and, A Watery Graaaaaaaaave (very soon)....

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text 2017-10-15 16:32
Reading progress update: I've read 6 out of 288 pages.
Batman by Ed Brubaker Vol. 1 - Scott McDaniel,Ed Brubaker

hope it's entertaining, because (gasp!) I may be taking a break from superhero comics for a while, after this. meanwhile, this should keep me busy until everyone has a certain novel for a Buddy Read.

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review 2017-10-13 20:38
The Fifth Element by Jørgen Brekke
The Fifth Element: A Novel (Odd Singsaker) - Jorgen Brekke

I started reading this in Norwegian shortly after it came out four years ago, but then my Norwegian neighbour wanted it back to lend to someone else, as I was taking too long. So when I saw it had been translated to English, I immediately put it on my 'to-read' list, and I'm glad I did. The American English translation is excellent.


The book isn't written chronologically, but jumps back and forth in time from different POV's. It takes some getting used to, but, once done, it's an absorbing read. 


It's very 'Scandi noire': short sentences, spare descriptions that let the reader fill in the blanks, yet always enough to keep building the pressure in some areas, yet letting it out in others.


For me, the underlying theme is, what is evil? Is it banal, as Hannah Arendt wrote? Do good people do evil things, and evil people good things? When do we cross the line from good to evil? Are we all a mix of both? There are no answers here, just many questions, if the reader is one who muses over those sorts of things.


But that's the subtext. The plot itself is a good, solid thriller. Here's the American publisher's blurb:


Police Inspector Odd Singsaker has been captured, imprisoned on an island off the Northern coast of Norway. He wakes to find himself holding a shotgun. Next to him is a corpse. But what events led him to this point? And how did he get here?

A few weeks earlier, Felicia, his wife, disappeared. Though he didn’t know it, she was trying to find her way back to Odd to reconcile, but then she vanished into a snowstorm. Possibly involved is a corrupt, coldblooded cop from Oslo, a devious college student who’s stolen a great deal of cocaine from drug dealers, and a hit man hired by the drug dealers who have been robbed. All of these lives intersect with Odd’s as he searches for Felicia.


The Fifth Element is ultimately the story of what happened to Felicia Stone. Within that journey, brutal crimes are uncovered, tenacious love shines through, and chilling characters with nothing to lose will stop at nothing to get what they want. Jorgen Brekke once again delivers a chilling thriller that readers will tear through to unravel what happened-and why.


I can understand why the existential undertones of the book are played dow--they wouldn't exactly sell it to an American market, but I've been living in Denmark for so long I've come to expect them. The first books I ever read in Danish were Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö's, which, I later read, are the pillars of crime fiction from the 70's on. 



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text 2017-10-09 18:33
Haruki Murakami, everywhere

One thing I've noticed after looking at a lot of blurbs, descriptions, and reviews of Japanese novels in translation is that so many of them include some mention of Haruki Murakami. The basic formula looks like this: [New-to-reviewer Japanese author] is a blend of Haruki Murakami and [first big-name author the reviewer can think of whose primary genre is the same as the Japanese book being reviewed].


I've never read any of Murakami's books or stories, so for all I know some of those other Japanese authors' works do have something in common with his works...but probably not all of them. The most amusing blurb I've come across so far was the one that said Koji Suzuki's Ring was a blend of Haruki Murakami and Stephen King. It's been a while since I've read any of King's works, but Ring didn't remind me of them in terms of content or style, so I doubt the comparison to Murakami was any better. It was basically just "this author is like the first Japanese author I can think of and the first horror author I can think of."

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