Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: Angel Catbird, vol. 1

Angel Catbird, Volume 1Angel Catbird, Volume 1 by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Is it a man? Is is a cat? Is it a bird? It’s Angel Catbird!

Ok, it’s a little retro; it’s kind of cheesy; there are so. many. puns! But I kind of enjoyed just seeing Atwood play with the format & the comic ties into the Canadian conservation efforts so … I’ll give this one a pass. Do whatever you want, MA.

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Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: Lovecraft Country

Lovecraft CountryLovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A novel presented in short stories/novellas, Lovecraft Country follows the Green/Turner families as they become entangled in their American heritage as descendants of slaves & whites who worshiped Lovecraftian tentacle monsters.

Right up front, I will say that I did not finish this book–I had two chapters until the end & I gave up. Not because there is really anything bad in the book; the narrative never elevated itself beyond the big ideas it sketches out. What if a black man was heir to a coven of racist old white dudes? What if a black woman could live out their fantasies of social freedom (whatever that looks like) if only for a limited time? What if you swapped stories about your painful past with a ghost who was trapped in a painful present? These are all good, interesting ideas but there was some heart or substance missing out of exploring them. Ultimately, I think when Jordan Peele adapts this into a movie or miniseries, the stories will fit into his directorial interests, so read the book now as prep & wait with anticipation.

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The Movie List (a la Rob Gordon)

So here we are, Readers.  I was doing some organizing the other day & my husband was teasing me once again about how incomprehensible he finds my DVD collection.  Which never fails to rile me up.  I demand to him that it makes sense & that it has its own internal logic.  He just says that I did so he would never be able to find anything without my help.  As a result, I sat down & wrote it out on a piece of paper for his reference & I figured I would finally get around to posting it here.  Not sure it will have any interest to strangers whatsoever, but I can’t order my Letterboxd account the same way.

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So, This is a Nothing Post

Hi there, Reader.  Let me just say upfront that this is the third blog post I’ve typed up today.  I was working on one that got away from me & that I’m saving for another time.  I wrote another based off today’s Daily Prompt that I started hating halfway through.  But, I’m already signed into WordPress & my inner critic is demanding I put something up because its been nearly a week without a post.  So, here we are, this quiet little unnoticed section of the internet.

Y’know if this was a cafe or even just a little restaurant, I’d be staring out the window, people-watching & making notes in my journal.  Or, if we were together as friends, I’d recruit you into listening into the conversations around us, so we could pick apart the minutiae of strangers’ lives & maybe feel a little superior.  It’s really not even a challenge nowadays, though, because people conduct their entire lives through the cell phones for the most part & cell phones are so ubiquitous, people think its no thing to have arguments, discuss lab results, hire a landscaper, or tell a friend about their kids’ school problems all while standing a foot or two away from you.  Trust me, I work in a library, I know a lot of stuff about my patrons I shouldn’t.

Have you ever watched House of Games?  That’s a classic David Mamet movie that shows you just how easy it can be to deceive someone.  I would imagine in some ways it’s only gotten easier, while in other ways. . . I read an article a few years back about how pickpocketing has nearly died out as a way to scam people because wallets & their contents are quickly becoming redundant thanks to cell phones.  Although, I would imagine the surveillance panic about said devices has shifted things some.  Tides come & go, right?

Let me tell you a secret about writers.  Probably an unsurprising secret.  We’re the respectable voyeurs–or at the very least voyeurs who want to pretend that we’re respectable.  Everything we read, witness, overhear, suffer & otherwise choose to pay attention to & catalogue?  It’s all material for “The Piece”.  Or at least we tell ourselves that.  It’s all going to go into words somewhere, as we try to figure out why the hell writing makes sense to us & not to others.  Which is why I brought up House of Games earlier.  It’s all about wanting to observe, collect, & understand the layers of the world around us only to discover that what is some esoteric pursuit for us is life-and-death for another person.  It’s about a girl who wants to run with the bad boys.  It’s about intention, and action, & Ricky Jay’s ridiculous Southwestern jewelry.  You should totally watch it.

Well, I think I’ve probably wasted enough time.  I’m feeling less-than-terrible about not having written anything today.  It was nice talking to you for just a brief moment, here in the maelstrom of internet.  Hope to see you again.  I promise the next post will be at least somewhat more interesting.


Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: Fatale, Vol. 1: Death Chases Me

Fatale, Vol. 1: Death Chases MeFatale, Vol. 1: Death Chases Me by Ed Brubaker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 instead of 4. Recommended to me by the awesome staff at Velocity Comics. Fatale mixes together tentacle monsters & gun-toting flatfoots in an adventure that flips back & forth through contemporary America. Picture a yellow-eyed creepy-crawly hoisting a tommy gun & if that doesn’t interest you, then skip the rest of the review.

The story follows a dark-haired dame who’s nothing but trouble as she seduces man after man to protect her & keep her from the crazy Cthulu-worshipping cultists that made her what she is. Fatale, so far, is a total pulp mash-up & as a result, the characters rarely become more than what they are meant to be. But that’s ok, I get the sense that this is really more about what cool things come out when mixing these two genres, not necessarily any deep characterization or story-telling. It’s ambitious, dramatic, & full of geeky genre fun.

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