20th Century Boys

20thcenturyboys01This is the best comic book I have read for years. I hesitate to call it manga. It is manga but banish thoughts of Naruto from your mind. This is grown up stuff — compelling, scary, Eisner winning stuff. 20th Century Boys (a reference to the T.Rex song) tells the story of a group of childhood friends who as adults confront a mysterious and murderous cult-leader known only as “Friend” who himself seems to have some connection with their childhood memories. Who is “Friend” and what set him off on his murderous spree?

Told in three time-periods and covering 22 volumes, this is a manga comic to spend a month enjoying.

The Greatest of the Great Gatsby

In honor of the new movie, I’m posting here my favorite quotes from this, my favorite of all American novels. If you have other nominations, post them in the comments.

I was rather literary in college—one year I wrote a series of very solemn and obvious editorials
for the ‘Yale News’—and now I was going to bring back all such things into my life and become again that most limited of all specialists, the ‘well-rounded man.’

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A Memory of Light: A Review and a Look Back

jeremy_saliba_aiel_take_2

I have now finished this final book in The Wheel of Time series, and I’ll get right to the obvious question: Are all the questions answered and all the loose ends tied up in the end? Well no, obviously, but the book does an admirable job of tying up most of the loose ends and bringing the series to a reasonable conclusion, though of course there are some questions that still remain. I won’t spoil the ending for anyone that is still reading or plans to do so in the near future, but I will say that the ending surprised me very much in some respects. There is one aspect of it that I honestly can’t figure out any explanation for, and I am wondering what Jordan’s intentions were, but overall, I found it satisfying and it made the journey through this series worthwhile. Continue reading

A Conversation With The Dragon

Rand_al_thor_by_DMantz

My name is Monar Kamelias. I was given an opportunity to talk with The Dragon Reborn, Rand al Thor, and I make these notes of our conversation in the hope that a record will survive and be of use to those in the future who wish to know about this terrible time. I have come to the field of Merrilor as captain of the second range of the Cairhien Guard, after having studied under Herid Fel in the School of the Dragon in Cairhien. Since the murder of professor Fel, I have tried to make a historical record of events as I have observed them. I believe the professor was murdered by our enemies because of the things he was working on, so I take his final charge to me as a command.

I asked The Lord Dragon to allow me to ask him some questions and document his answers and he has agreed to do so as his time permits during our wait for the beginning of Tarmon Gaidon here on the field of Merrilor. I am meeting with The Lord Dragon in his tent, which is an average size tent near the center of the field, and is guarded by Aeil Maidens of the Spear. With us is his consort, whom he introduced to me as Min Farshaw. I am familiar with the Lady Min, as she was a visitor at the school in Cairhien and a particular favorite of the professor. The lady Min did not participate directly in my discussion with The Lord Dragon, but sat nearby studying a well-worn volume of The Prophesies of the Dragon. Continue reading

Towers of Midnight – Book 13 of The Wheel of Time

The latest book in the Robert Jordan series The Wheel of Time has been out for a few months and I finally finished it, which at 800+ pages is somewhat of an accomplishment .  We talked about book 12 here

This book is the next to last book in the series and the word from Brandon Sanderson, the LDS author and BYU creative writing instructor hired to finish the series after Jordan’s death, is that the 14th and last book in the series, A Memory of Light, will be out around March of 2012. 

Which means that this current book is essentially the middle book in a trilogy that Sanderson has been writing as the conclusion to this overgrown series.  Cue alarm bells. 

The good news is that, as he did in the last book, Sanderson performs a yeoman effort at searching out and tying down the plethora of flailing strands of character and narrative that Jordan left him with.

The bad news is that Sanderson can’t completely escape from the trap that writing the middle book of a trilogy places him in, partly, I assume, because this trilogy is  one that is both highly anticipated and fraught with enormous deadline pressure and fan expectations.

This means that the book is concerned primarily with moving all of the chess pieces to the required locations so that the scene is set for the last battle and other scenes that are to take place in the final volume. Continue reading

The Gathering Storm – Book 12 of The Wheel of Time

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The Gathering Storm, Book 12 of the successful Wheel of Time series was recently released, which is a neat trick, considering the fact that the author of the series, Robert Jordan, passed on some time ago. Jordan’s widow asked Brandon Sanderson, a successful author in his own right, to complete the series. Sanderson intends that the series will be complete with book 14. Continue reading

Desert Island Discs

The BBC had this great show that I sometimes listened to as a lad back in Canada called Desert Island Disks. It’s reportedly the longest running music show in history. The basic idea is that you pick eight albums you take to a desert island. You then have to say which is your favorite. Then they say what book they’d take. (The show assumes you are allowed to take in addition the Complete Works of Shakespeare and the Bible so as to not get stuck in a rut with those) and one luxury item.

Here’s mine:

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Open, by Andre Agassi

Sports autobiographies generally occupy a rather sad, narcissistic, ghost-written corner of the literary bookshelf. It’s the obligatory thing to do after you hang it up; write a tell-all memoir (with a proven co-author) that is part reminder to your fans of how great you were and part pot shot at all those a-holes who gave you insufficient adoration during your halcyon playing days. Continue reading