Friday, September 27, 2013

Cameron and the Girls by Edward Averett

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I stretch the muscles in my back and legs until they hurt. Physical pain sometimes postpones the mental.
But one thing I have learned is that the mental always comes.

I picked up Cameron and the Girls while taking a look around my local Barnes & Noble with my dad. The cover is beautiful, if a little unsettling, which was exactly its purpose. It's a book about an unsettling mental illness, so the cover was absolutely perfect in showcasing that.

I tend to be highly interested in books about mental unhealth and dealing with afflictions of the mind, so this was an obvious choice for me. My dad very sweetly bought it for me and I started reading it a few weeks later.

Cameron suffers from schizophreniform disorder. Schizophreniform disorder is an acute type of schizophrenia that is diagnosed in patients who show schizophrenic symptoms that appear to be short term and react well with medication. If treated, it is the most hopeful diagnosis in the fact that it can go away and the patient has the possibility to live symptom-free for the rest of their lives, though it is not guaranteed.

When Cameron decides to go off the meds his doctor prescribed for him, it isn't long before he starts to hear the voices again. But where there was only one voice to begin with, he now hears three. "The Professor," the voice he recognizes from before the meds; "The Other Guy," the dark, menacing voice that scares him; and "The Girl," the one he'd risk everything to hear all the time.

Just as "The Girl" begins butting her way into his life, another girl (a real girl) butts into his life. Nina suffers from depression and is also quite fond of stopping her meds. She begins spending more and more time with Cam, clearly growing fond of him as more than just a friend. However, it's going to take a lot to reach Cam, who is far too distracted by the voice of "The Girl" to notice how close Nina is getting.

This was definitely an interesting book. It starts off slow and it takes a while to become invested in the characters, but I believe that a good portion of this is due to the fact that Cam is such a detached observer. He's so caught up in his own mind that he could really care less about much else. The effect of the schizophreniform disorder is clear in making his thoughts more disconnected and out of order. The way the author captured that disconnect and its effect on his mind felt very raw and I definitely appreciated that.

I liked the book well enough, but it's nothing to write home about. I enjoyed reading it, but probably won't be revisiting it for a long while. If you're interested in reading more about mental illness and the like, you should try it out. If that's not a topic that appeals to you, then I'd advise skipping this particular novel.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

"I haven't done anything wrong," she wails, but I'm busy trying to snatch each of those words out of the air and throw them back at her. I manage to snag done and wrong, but the rest of them float up to the ceiling and out of my grasp.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

GNW: Mercury by Hope Larson

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In Mercury, we are told the story of two different girls, separated by time. In 1859, Josey meets a strange and intriguing stranger who promises to help her family find gold by mining on their farm. Even more important to Josey, he promises to love her and even to take her for a wife one day, a prospect which has her heart soaring. The only problem is that her mother doesn't like Josey's new suitor and isn't shy about letting her feelings known. She worries that the bad omens she has been seeing are directly related to the appearance of this particular young man and that tragedy will soon strike in his wake.

In 2009, Josey's descendant, Tara is living with her aunt and uncle after the fire that took her house left her virtually homeless. Her mother is across the country working on a temporary job and trying to find a more permanent solution. In the meantime, Tara must begin attending high school with her cousin and classmates she hasn't seen in years. When she finds an old pendant that used to belong to Josey, she soon learns it has magical properties that might just lead her to some of that gold that was once rumored to be hidden on the land where the ashes of her home now stands.

Filled with lovely illustrations, interesting characters, and a good dose of magic, Mercury is a fun graphic novel. After all, who can resist hidden treasures, intrigue, and romance? Each of these themes can be found within the pages of Mercury. The artwork compliments the story well and brings a simple beauty to the pages that ties it all together. 

Mercury was a fun, quick read that took me on a short, but thoroughly enjoyable adventure. If that isn't reason enough to give it a try, I'm not sure what is. 

Rating: ★★★★☆

Monday, September 23, 2013

Banned Books Week

An excerpt from Americus, a wonderful graphic novel about banned books

There's a difference between banning books and parenting.

As a child, I was not allowed to read Harry Potter. This was because my parents didn't believe it was proper reading material for me("witchcraft" and all that). Admittedly, they were operating out of ignorance, but they were operating with my best interest at heart and that is their job as parents. (Since then, each of my siblings and I have become steadily addicted to everything Harry Potter and my dad has finally started reading the books as well. He loves them.)

The censorship we are talking about when we discuss banned book week is the kind where a person (almost always someone who hasn't actually read the book in question) tries to get a particular book banned from schools and/or libraries because they happen to find that particular book objectionable and carry a twisted belief that it is their job to keep every other person from reading it as well.

For example, Rainbow Rowell (author of Fangirl and Eleanor & Park) was slated to speak in the Anoka-Hennepin School District in Minnesota. Though the speaking engagement had been planned months in advance (to take place this week-during banned book week), as the event drew closer, the author began getting the silent treatment from everyone in that area. It wasn't until the National Coalition Against Censorship became involved that she found out a ruckus had been made about the fact that she was invited and a parent had become upset over the profanity in Eleanor & Park, even going so far as to demand that the librarians who set up the original speaking engagement be disciplined.

You can read more about this very interesting (read: appalling) ordeal here: "Talks Cancelled for YA Authors Meg Medina and Rainbow Rowell." You can also check out this lovely interview with Rainbow Rowell herself, in which she discusses her books as well as censorship and gives a bit more detail concerning this ordeal in Minnesota. The interview can be found here: "Talking With Rainbow Rowell About Love and Censorship."

 When we ban books, we band knowledge and ideas. That's not fair to the person who is banned from reading it, to the people who ban it, or to society in general. So much can be found through access to good books, whether they are controversial or not.

For me, personally, books have always been my lifeline. They are how I thrive and grow, how I find inspiration to create and understand the people around me. Books are everything to me. So when you censor my favorite book, "Perks of Being a Wallflower" because of its drugs, sex, and violence, are you guarding me from harmful material or leaving me defenseless in a world where those very themes run rampant? Are you cutting me off from the things that will harm me or from ideas that scare you? And what if those very ideas are the ones that help me make it through this unforgiving world we live in? What if those themes that run along the border of obscene or offensive tell me exactly the things I need to hear to get me through from one day to the next?

Everyone deserves access to the knowledge and information hidden within the pages of our favorite books. That's what libraries and schools are designed to do: introduce us to new ideas and information we never would have accessed otherwise. If we are constantly knocking those books out of the hands of students, what can we expect but that they'll eventually stop picking books up altogether? And if they stop picking up books, they will forever doom themselves to ignorance.

I could go on and on about this, but I won't. Instead, I'll leave you with a few lovely resources I've managed to come across in the last couple of days. I won't leave you with a list of banned books you ought to read, because you can find that with a quick Google Search. (Though I do hope that you'll pick up a banned book this week in honor of the occasion, which is exactly what I intend to do as soon as I finish reading American Gangster by Mark Jacobson. If you need help finding one for yourself, I do have a "Banned Books" tag on my book reviews that you can search.) Instead I'll leave you with some other lovely pages about censorship that you can check out for yourself:

If you're reading a banned book this week, I'd love to hear about it. I think I'll be picking up I Know Why the Caged Bird sings by Maya Angelou. What about you?

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

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At first, women were reluctant to talk. They were a little shy. But once they got going, you couldn't stop them. Women secretly love to talk about their vaginas. They get very excited, mainly because no one's ever asked them before.

I had heard of The Vagina Monologues once or twice before, but never really noticed until I saw the title peering out at me from the Women's Studies section of my local Half Price Books. It's a relatively small volume and sounded interesting, so I picked it up and added it to the pile.

A friend came over a few days later and started reading a random monologue from it while I was cleaning my room. It was the monologue entitled "The Little Coochi Snorcher That Could," which happens to be quite a sad story, though it ends in the woman's healing and restoration.

That was the point at which I was certain I would enjoy this book. I knew it would introduce me to more women like this and make me sit back and think. That's exactly what it did.

The Vagina Monologues is exactly what it sounds like. It's a series of monologues all about vaginas originally performed by Eve Ensler. It is a collection of stories, of moments, concerning women and the various relationships they have or have had with their vaginas. From the girl whose husband forced her to shave her vagina, though it was uncomfortable and upsetting for her, to the one whose boyfriend taught her that her vagina wasn't something to be ashamed of, but something beautiful; these stories are the stories of women who have been systematically told that their vaginas are dirty places that should never be spoken of, when the truth is exactly the opposite.

I really enjoyed Eve Ensler's collection of monologues. Each was heartfelt and portrayed women from every end of the spectrum. It was absolutely what one would call art; poetry about a faction of humanity that has been taught that the very thing that makes them who they are is something to be ashamed of.

It is absolutely worth reading, for men and women. It opens your eyes, makes you sit back and think. Ensler may not have realized the power she tapped into when she began her "vagina interviews," but it is raw and untamed and exactly what I had hoped for when I cracked open The Vagina Monologues.

Rating: ★★★★☆

We forget the vagina, all of us 
what else would explain
our lack of awe, our lack of wonder.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

GNW: Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer [Illustrated by Rags Morales]

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 The Justice League has seen its fair share of deaths. This is no surprise. When you put your life on the line on a daily basis against villains who are willing to go much further than you ever will, you are ready to expect the worst. That's why most of the caped crusaders wear masks; and all of them have high-tech security for their friends and family members. Because it's bad enough knowing that you're putting yourself in danger. It's another thing entirely to understand that you're gambling the lives of everyone near you.

That's why, when Sue Dibny is found murdered in her apartment, the entire Justice League jumps into action. The wife of Elongated Man, Sue Dibny was an honorary member of the Justice League, having been a part of it from its very foundation. She never fought, but she has come under fire more than once and was well protected.

The League moves in to investigate, but they can't find anything. There's not a single breach in a system that can even keep someone from phasing through the walls (among other things).

As if that wasn't enough, it isn't long before The Atom's wife is attacked in her own home and rescued in the nick of time. Once again, there is no trace of the attacker. But, unlike Elongated Man, Atom's identity wasn't public. Whoever attacked his wife knew who he was; and that person undoubtedly was the same person who had attacked Sue.

Soon the League realizes that their family and friends are under attack. No one is safe until they find who killed Sue Dibny.

This is by far one of my favorite Justice League graphic novels. It's heart-wrenching and heavy, the type of story that sits with you long after you've finished reading. Identity Crisis highlights the danger that comes with putting on a mask and reminds the reader just why those heroes keep their identities so secret in the first place. It's exactly the type of story that reminds people that comics aren't for kids anymore.

The artwork is superb. Sharp and clear on the covers (like the one you see above) and almost gritty in the story itself, showcasing just how dark and gritty the story itself is. It's the perfect compliment to a story this intense. Don't be surprised if you find yourself pausing just to admire how well the artist captures the emotions and the aura of the scenes themselves.

If your a fan of superheroes and dark stories filled with hard choices, you need to pick this one up. It'll crush your heart and make you question everything you thought you knew about the Justice League.

Monday, September 16, 2013

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare

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"Every teenager in the world feels like that, feels broken or out of place, different somehow, royalty mistakenly born into a family of peasants. The difference in your case is that it's true. You are different. Maybe not better - but different."

I've been meaning to read this book for ages. I heard about it quite a long time ago and kept reminding myself that I needed to get my hands on it, only to have it pushed back on my reading list once again. Finally, the movie adaptation came into theaters and I figured it was about time I buckled down and read it. I don't intend to see the movie until it comes out on DVD and I've read the second book (because movie adaptations are notorious for using bits from later books to cushion the first and I don't want any spoilers), but I figured it was about time I got started.

City of Bones is told from the perspective of Clary Fray, a teenage girl who witnesses a murder in the back room of a New York City club she visits frequently with her best friend, Simon. Only, this isn't a normal murder. How could it be? After all, she is the only one who can see the murderers. And the boy who died? He disappeared seconds after he took his last breath.

Only a few days later, Clary comes home to a demon that seems to have killed or taken her mother and threatens to end her as well. She barely manages to kill it before it kills her, but not without collateral damage. It has managed to wound her pretty badly and who should come to her aid but one of the murderers from the club.

As it turns out, the boy whom she saw killed was actually a demon in disguise. Jace, the one who comes to her aid after her own brush with a demon, explains that he and his friends are Shadowhunters, descendants of the Nephilim and sworn to protect humanity from the demons who threaten to overrun it. By inking special runes on their skin, they can make themselves invisible to mundanes (humans) or demons, stronger, or a number of other things. The thing that neither of them can figure out, though, is how a mundane like Clary could possibly have seen them or the demon in their home.

The more she sees the more she wonders what connects her to this world of strange mythical creatures and seeming humans with inhuman power. And why has she never seen them before now? Clary soon realizes that her mother has kept far more from her than she could have ever dreamed and the only way to get answers is to find the person who kept the questions from her in the first place.

I had really hoped I would like this novel, which made me more than happy to find myself with my nose in this book at every given opportunity. I simply could not put it down!

I love the entire paranormal mythos that is presented in this book. There are fairies and pixies, vampires and werewolves, even demons and intensely creepy monks. Though these themes are common in fantasy as of late, it is in no way campy or unoriginal. Clare puts her own spin on the creatures we've heard about since childhood and weaves it all into a deeply enthralling tale that will keep you wanting more.

There is so much I could praise about this book: its original take on well-known tales, its characters' vast differences and similarities that make them each profoundly human and realistic, the gray areas that remind the reader that there isn't always a black and white answer. I could go on, but I won't. If you're not convinced this is a worthwhile read already, then I'm not sure what else I can say.

The point is that this book was immensely satisfying and definitely worth giving a read. It won't disappoint.

Rating: ★★★★★

"Instead his father took the bird, now tame and trusting, in his hands and broke its neck. 'I told you to make it obedient,' his father said, and dropped the falcon's lifeless body to the ground. 'Instead, you taught it to love you. Falcons are not meant to be loving pets: They are fierce and wild, savage and cruel. This bird was not tamed; it was broken.'
"Later, when his father left him, the boy cried over his pet, until eventually his father sent a servant to take the body of the bird away and bury it. The boy never cried again, and he never forgot what he'd learned: that to love is to destroy, and that to be loved is to be the one destroyed."

Friday, September 13, 2013

House of Many Ways (Howl's Moving Castle, #3) by Diana Wynne Jones

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"I never talk nonsense." the creature said. "All is mine. You are mine." Wings whirring, it began to stalk towards her on most unnatural-looking wiry blobs of feet. "I shall come to claim my own very soon now. I claim you first." It took a whirring stride towards Charmain. Its arms came out. So did a pronged sting on the lower part of its face.
Charmain screamed, dodged and fell of the edge, scattering flowers as she fell.

[Click here to see my review of book 1: Howl's Moving Castle and book 2: Castle in the Air]

When Great Uncle William falls ill, Charmain Baker is tasked with the responsibility of taking care of his home while he's away with the elves who are trying to heal him. Charmain jumps at the chance to get out from under her mother's thumb and go to a place where she can read and eat to her heart's content.

Upon arriving at Great Uncle William's home, she soon learns that caring for the home of the Wizard of High Norland isn't quite so easy a task as she had anticipated. After all, the house is filled to the brim with magic (which she is unaccustomed to entirely) and filled with secret passageways and hidden rooms that could take her days to navigate her way through. Soon, Charmain finds herself dealing with a magical dog named Waif, little blue men who seem determined to make her life more difficult, and a boy who only seems to be able to irritate her and keep her from settling down with a good book.

But when Charmain is summoned to the castle to help the King sort out his library, she learns that the king and his daughter are searching for the elf-gift, a weapon that could help save High Norland from ruin, and she might just be essential to locating it. She isn't the only one who has come to help, though, and soon Charmain finds herself under the speculation of a Mrs. Pendragon and her fire demon, Calcifer.

I really loved this conclusion to the Howl's Moving Castle trilogy. Charmain is a wonderfully stubborn and irritable protagonist who isn't exactly the best at being kind, though she tries to get better at it. She stands her ground, even when she's scared, and she'll sate her curiosity if it's the last thing she does. She is profoundly human and I love that about her.

I mentioned before that I wasn't a big fan of the second book in this trilogy because I felt it opened slowly and dragged on for a bit. This was absolutely not the case with House of Many Ways. I felt like I was pulled in from the get-go and loved everything about the story. It was a satisfying read and one I highly recommend.

Rating: ★★★★★

"Who are you?" the demon said.
Charmain's heart thumped a little, although Waif seemed perfectly calm. If I hadn't just met a lubbock, Charmain thought, I'd be quite frightened of this Calcifer. "I... er... I'm only the temporary help in the library," she said.
"Then we'll need to talk to you later," Calcifer crackled. "You reek of magic, did you know? You and your dog."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

GNW: Nothing Could Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen [Illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks]

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Nate gives Charlie rides home from school because they live just across the street from one another, but it appears that is where the similarities end between them. After all they come from entirely different social circles. Nate is the unpredictable and slightly insane robotics club president. Charlie is the captain of the basketball team and prefers to fly under the radar if at all possible.

When word gets out that the school is letting the student council decide whether the student group funding will go toward the robotics competition or new uniforms for the cheerleaders, Nate declares war on the cheerleaders and runs for student body president. But the cheerleaders (whose captain is Charlie's ex, Holly) have a different idea, and somehow Charlie finds himself running for president against his will.

It's not long before the campaign gets dirty and toes are stepped on all around. It's not long before the school begins threatening to take away the funding altogether. And then where will they be? Nothing could possibly go wrong, right?

Filled to the brim with great writing and wonderful artwork, Nothing Could Possibly Go Wrong was such a joy to read. I loved the characters and how different each of them were. I loved that the basketball captain was more afraid of the cheerleaders than the robotics club president and the latter was more confrontational than the former. I even loved the way older nerds picked on younger jocks at one point, because they felt like they finally had the upper hand. (Not saying I enjoyed the verbal bullying, but that I loved that it's something that happens and it was portrayed in the negative light it deserved.)

All around, there were quite a few things I adored about this graphic novel, but if I listed them all, I would spoil a good portion of it for you. And I'd hate to do that, because it is wonderful and very well done. I adored everything about it.

Don't miss picking up this story. It is absolutely worth your while, whether you're a big fan of graphic novels or are wondering what all the hype's about. This is one of the best I've read. Go ahead and give it a shot.

 Rating: ★★★★★

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Warrior Heir (The Heir Chronicles, #1) by Cinda Williams Chima

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"You look like a boy who has eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge and doesn't like the taste." 
Jack studied the old man, hunting for any sign of wizardry. He was aware of a bright intelligence, nothing more. 
Nick was watching him keenly. "How are you, Jack?"
"Just great," Jack snapped. "I'm lying to my mother, going against doctor's orders, and being hunted by wizards. Matter of fact, when I'm not being hunted by wizards, I'm hanging out with them." 

After reading book two in this series (The Wizard Heir) before I realized it was a sequel, I eagerly anticipated reading the first book. However, the library had quite the waiting list and I only managed to get my hands on it recently. Of course, I dove into it, eagerly anticipating more of the world I had been introduced to in its sequel and excited to see Jack's backstory, which had been heavily hinted at in The Wizard Heir.

At sixteen, Jack is a semi-popular soccer jock who has had to take heart medication every day for as long as he can remember and whose greatest concern is dodging his obsessive ex and trying to catch the eye of the new girl. That is, of course, until he forgets to take his heart medication one day. Instead of the myriad of things he had expected to go wrong, he realizes that he feels stronger and more powerful.

It's not until Jack's Aunt Linda comes into town for a visit that he finds out what's really going on with him. He learns he's a Warrior, one of the five guilds of the Weir and the rarest. As if this wasn't more than enough information to send him reeling, he discovers that he is being hunted by Wizards, who have a long history of oppressing the other guilds and forcing Warriors to fight their battles for them. But Jack was born a Wizard, turned Warrior by the tampering of another, and that fact might be the one thing that can save his life, or at least prolong it.

When I started reading The Warrior Heir, I was a little worried that I wouldn't be as interested in this book because I already knew how a good portion of it would end up. As I've already mentioned, the second book heavily hints at the contents of this one and I was worried that would spoil it for me. Thankfully, it did not.

I really loved this book! Jack is an intensely relatable character and the type you can sympathize with right off the bat (or at least, I could). He takes each challenge as it comes and faces them head-on, though not without a fair amount of fear. His determination to do what he sees as right and to protect the people he cares about immediately endeared me to him.

Cinda Williams Chima does a wonderful job weaving a tale filled with believable characters and a plot that had me biting my nails even though I knew a great deal of how it would turn out. Her concept of magic and the way the guilds work is original and captivating. I'm already immensely pleased that she decided to expand the storyline, taking it from the trilogy it was originally meant to be to a full-blown series. I cannot wait to see what she has in store for us next.

Rating: ★★★★★

[Click here to see my review of book 2: The Wizard Heir]

They fought because they loved the dance, and the weight of the sword in their hands. The clash and spark of metal and hiss of flame was like music written just for them. They fought for glory, but not for blood. They were Weirlind, heirs of the warrior's stone. And they always slept better with blades beneath their beds.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Confessions of An Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire

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"Don't be ridiculous," snaps Iris. "You don't want to be caged in the shell of some stupid marriage, Clara, but don't be caged by your own limited experience, either."

I picked up this lovely volume in the Amsterdam Waterstones. I had begged my parents to let me visit that particular bookstore and was thrilled when we had the chance to drop by on our last day in the beautiful city. While I was exploring the fabulous four-story shop, I happened upon an entire shelf dedicated to literature based in the Netherlands, so of course I had to select one. When I spotted Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and noticed that the author was the very same who wrote Wicked (which I have seen the play of, but have yet to read), I had to snatch it up.

Iris knows she is ugly. She doesn't need reminders, though everyone is more than willing to give them anyway. She's clever though, and her sisters needs her. That's what keeps her going. That's what consoles her when she watches others praise Clara, her step-sister, at every turn for her stunning beauty. For Clara, her own beauty is merely a gilded cage and she likes it almost as little as she likes those she comes in contact with. She has convinced herself that she is a changeling and therefore despises nearly everyone. After all, she's really only loved her father and step-sisters, whether she knows how to show it or not.

When a Prince comes to Haarlem to find a wife, Iris is told by her mother that she must do what she can to be his choice. Iris is confused by this advice, knowing that her mother must be losing her wits and her sight if she thinks a prince would choose her over any other number of choices. Beyond that, her heart belongs to another, though he too is blinded by the light of Clara's good looks. However, Iris begins to understand that this prince's arrival might just be the escape Clara has been looking for, that is, if Clara can be convinced to attend the ball at all.

I'm a huge fan of fairytale retellings in general, especially ones done well. So I knew I would like this. After all, how could the person who wrote Wicked possibly mess up a retelling of Cinderella? Let me tell you: I was right.

Iris is a smart and savvy heroine with a desire to take care of her family, specifically her older and developmentally delayed sister. She has seen the hardships that have befallen her small family and, after coming to England after the brutal murder of their father, does everything in her power to make sure they don't have to face that sort of terror again, though it makes her fearful and convinces her that danger lurks in every corner.

I particularly enjoy the way that Gregory Maguire makes his characters real people. By this, I mean that they make real choices, real mistakes. Their motives for any single action aren't always pinned down or for the reasons they want them to be. There is a little bad mixed into every character and no one makes all the right decisions.

The story itself was a very interesting and gritty take on the Cinderella fairytale. He did a fabulous job on this book and anyone who is even remotely interested after hearing the summary really ought to get their hands on it. It's absolutely worth your while.

Rating: ★★★★☆

But I suspect, some days, that beauty helps protect the spirit of mankind, swaddle it and succor it, so that we might survive. Beauty is no end in itself, but if it makes our lives less miserable so taht we might be more kind--well, then, let's have beauty, painted on our porcelain, hanging on our walls, ringing through our stories.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

GNW: Wonder Woman: Who is Wonder Woman? by Allan Heinberg [Illustratedby Terry & Rachel Dodson]

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When Diana Prince (aka. Wonder Woman) chose to kill Maxwell Lord, the world turned against her. It didn't matter that she had been raised a warrior. It didn't even matter that she had done so because she knew it was the only way to stop him and keep the world safe from his tyranny. The only thing that seemed to matter to anyone was that she was a superhero, a member of the Justice League, and she had crossed the line.

So Diana decided to take a step back. She walked away from the role of Wonder Woman and gave the title to her young protégé and  sister, Donna Troy. She stepped into the shadows so Donna could shine and chose to pursue her task of bringing peace to the patriarchal world on other ways: namely in becoming Agent Diana Prince of the Department of MetaHuman Affairs, where she can help save the world in more discreet, out of the spotlight, avenues.

However, it isn't long before her rogues are calling for the "real" Wonder Woman, eager to call their old foe out of hiding and destroy her. Though Donna is a force to be reckoned with, she is overpowered by the villains, whose powers have somehow doubled in strength since they were last seen.

When Cassandra Sandsmark, current Wonder Girl and daughter of Zeus, is also taken, Diana finds herself unable to dodge the role of Wonder Woman any longer. Forced to team up with the arrogant demigod turned god (read: powerful misogynistic asshole), she must find the Cassie and Donna and discover who or what is the source of the power behind her rogues before it's too late.

Wonder Woman comes under some fierce speculation, both in her own world and in ours. She's been a feminist icon since the day she showed up and, being the only woman in the Trinity (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman - the three most powerful members of the Justice League), she takes a lot of flack about everything from her wardrobe to her Themysciran background.

That's what was so great about this particular graphic novel. The writer takes all of that scrutiny, all of that judgement, and bundles it up into the question of "Who is Wonder Woman?" A question which Diana is even asking of herself.

It's one of those great stories that reminds us exactly why Diana is considered one of the most powerful DC heroes in existence. She is a powerful force to be reckoned with.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Merch Mondays!

A Shakespeare & Company paper bag.
I have found some pretty awesome book-inspired jewelry, t-shirts, phone cases, etc. over the past few years. What better way do I have to share them with other book-loving people than by sharing them on my blog?

Thus, I have decided to start Merch Mondays. From now on, I will be posting a Merch Monday post about some place or another where I found awesome book-inspired greatness for all of your bibliophile needs. I have some pretty amazing places to show y'all, so you should definitely be excited.

I will try to do this consistently from month to month, but there is always the chance that I will run out of cool places to tell you about. In these instances, I will simply post a review instead, as if it is any other Monday, and resume Merch Mondays the next time I find something to share.

I look forward to sharing all the places that have make this book junkie's heart go aflutter. Keep your eyes peeled on the first Monday of October for my first Merch Monday post!