Foglio, et al. – Girl Genius 11

Agatha Heterodyne and the Hammerless Bell (Girl Genius v. 11), Electronic ed. by Phil Foglio (story, pencils), Kaja Foglio (story), & Cheyenne Wright (colors)

Date read: 21 January 2015

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover of Foglio, et al. Girl Genius volume 11

Ebook (PDF), 172 pages

Published 2010-2011 by Airship Entertainment & Girl Genius

This material originally appeared from November 2010 to November 2011 at www.girlgenius.net

Source: Kickstarter reward for backing The Rats of Mechanicsburg game.

Lots of laughs! I think this volume had me laughing more than any other. So many good in jokes and little jabs and other humorous touches.

Maxim, Oggie and Dimo meet with the Jäger Generals. No saluting for these boys:

Dimo: “Ve vos detached.”

General Khrizhan: “Ah–Indeed hyu vos. Und hyu found uz a Heterodyne gurl!”

Maxim (looking sheepish; how is that even possible?): “Vell… Ectually she kinda found us. Doz dot still count?”

General Khrizhan: “Ho, Yez.”

Maxim (under his breath): ::whew!:: (p. 65)

Tarvek and Gil are hilarious together:

Tarvek: “… I will renounce my crown if you walk down there right now”

Gil: “… That bad?”. (p. 105)

When everyone else advocates Agatha smash up the over-sized monster cat clanks Agatha embraces her heritage:

Excuse me? Those are my fun-sized mobile agony and death dispensers. They’re works of art! You can break your own stuff, thank you very much.” (p. 107)

The Doom Bell has wrung!

By the way, I should have mentioned that the previous three volumes all won Hugo Awards for Best Graphic Story in the first three years of the category (2009-2001). The creators of Girl Genius removed themselves from consideration the next year “in order to show that the category was a “viable award”.”

This is the 28th book in my GN2015

Yoshinaga – Ōoku 3

Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 3, VIZ Signature ed. by Fumi Yoshinaga. Akemi Wegmüller (Translator)

Date read: 19-20 January 2015

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cover of Yoshinaga's Ooku 3

Paperback, 231 pages

First published in Japan 2007 by HAKUSENSHA; English language translation rights arranged. VIZ Media, 2010.

Source: Deschutes Public Library

This story continues the one in vol. 2, which I considered a distraction from where the story was heading at the end of vol. 1. But the end of this volume seems to be in confluence—not temporally but more thematically—with the end of vol. 1 and I hope they pick back up there. I am in possession of volume 4 so will learn shortly.

This volume is mostly court politics and it fills in some reasons for a few things but mostly shows the delivery/acceptance of things we’ve already taken as the state of things. Some of it is interesting but it gets old. If volume 4 doesn’t head in more interesting directions I may give up. Still. is enjoyable.

This is the 27th book in my GN2015

Foglio, et al. – Girl Genius 10

Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse (Girl Genius v. 10), Electronic ed. by Phil Foglio (story, pencils), Kaja Foglio (story), & Cheyenne Wright (colors)

Date read: 19 January 2015

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover of Foglio, et al. Girl Genius volume 10

Ebook (PDF), 156 pages

Published 2009-2010 by Airship Entertainment & Girl Genius

This material originally appeared from December 2009 to November 2010 at www.girlgenius.net

Source: Kickstarter reward for backing The Rats of Mechanicsburg game.

As the title suggests, we meet another of van Rijn’s Nine Muses. Shenanigans galore. Zola is loose. The Castle has been shut off. Airman Higgs.

Includes the short story “Maxim Buys a Hat,” colored by Katrina Hao. More Jägerkin, and assorted, backstory and just plain fun.

This is the 26th book in my GN2015

David and Lopez – Fallen Angel Omnibus Vol. 0

Fallen Angel Omnibus Vol. 0 by Peter David, David Lopez, others

Date read: 17-18 January 2015

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cover of Fallen Angel Omnibus Volume 0 from David and Lopez

Paperback, 444 pages + 24 plates in the Art Gallery

Published 2010 by IDW Publishing

“Originally published by DC Comics as FALLEN ANGEL Issues #120″

Source: ILL via COCC Barber Library and King County Library System

I quite enjoyed this but I’m not sure how compelling of a narrative it was in the long run, which is why I marked it down a star. It was interesting while it happened and was full of action with some drama, suspense and pathos. Mostly action. Not for children: sex, torture, violent killing for fun, ….

Recommended for non-squeamish adults who like their hero/ines flawed.

This is the 25th book in my GN2015

Foglio, et al. – Girl Genius 9

Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm (Girl Genius v. 9), Electronic ed. by Phil Foglio (story, pencils), Kaja Foglio (story), & Cheyenne Wright (colors)

Date read: 16-17 January 2015

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover of Foglio, et al. Girl Genius volume 9

Ebook (PDF), 148 pages

Published 2009 by Airship Entertainment & Girl Genius

This material originally appeared January-November 2009 at www.girlgenius.net

Source: Kickstarter reward for backing The Rats of Mechanicsburg game.

Somehow this volume sees very little of the Jägermonsters. That’s almost enough to mark it down a star—OK, maybe kidding—but the authors include some assorted Jägeriana at the end to attempt to make up for it. We get some Jägershots. which was their first attempt at a webcomic; an interesting jelly label from 2002;  a full-page portrait;  full-page ad for Mamma Gkika’s; and a very short hat story. Good times.

The baron’s monster hunter, Othar Tryggvassen, the Castle, impostor met, Agatha’s death ray, chromatic Tarvek, cheeky little clank, Gil and Tarvek, reserve power problems, the waters of the Dyne and the first brewing of the Jägerdraught, “Free!”.

“Delightfully done, my lady. Your enemy is thoroughly crushed.  You are a true Heterodyne” (54).

“And you know what? I can work with that!” (55).

“Spooky girl’s all yours, pal” (91).

I can hardly get enough of this stuff! Highly recommended.

This is the 24th book and will thus earn me the Bronze Age level (24) in myGN2015

Joining the 2015 Nonfiction Reading Challenge

Thanks to Joining the 2015 Nonfiction Reading Challenge, a post by my friend, Angel aka The Itinerant Librarian, I learned about the 2015 Nonfiction Reading Challenge.

I believe I will join.

Traditional Chesterfield armchair

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Rules: The Challenge: Read any non-fiction book(s), adult or young adult. That’s it. You can choose anything. Memoirs? Yes. History? Yes. Travel? Yes. You get the idea? Absolutely anything that is classified as non-fiction counts for this challenge.

This challenge will last from January 1 to December 31, 2015. You can sign up anytime throughout the year.

I am not limiting the challenge to bloggers. You can also link to a review you wrote on another site, such as GoodReads or LibraryThing.

Crossovers with other challenges are acceptable, and feel free to read your books in any format you like.

Levels:

  • Dilettante–Read 1-5 non-fiction books
  • Explorer–Read 6-10
  • Seeker–Read 11-15
  • Master–Read 16-20

All the above from the sign-up post at The Introverted Reader.

I am signing up at the Seeker level. A) I like that level title best, although Explorer could be cool; B) I have already finished one nonfiction book this year and am currently reading six, four seriously, one I may stop soon, one maybe I’m still reading; and C) I may have already finished 24 graphic novels but take a look at this Reading goals for 2015: there are only four works of fiction.

Morton – Tortillas: A Cultural History

Morton, Paula E. 2014. Tortillas: a Cultural History. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Date read: 16-31 December 2014

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cover of Paula Morton's Tortillas: a Cultural History

Cover of Paula Morton’s Tortillas: a Cultural History

Paperback, xxiii, 157 p

Published 2014 by University of New Mexico Press.

Overall I enjoyed this book. Throughout it kept me exceedingly hungry for “proper” nixtamilized corn tortillas made completely from hand. Of course, the horrifically gendered work that went into them is a non-starter. The work that went into them—no matter who’s doing it—is a non-starter.

Despite being on an academic press this is definitely a general audience book. There is a notes section in the back with a couple of paragraphs per chapter but not proper notes. There were one or two claims made that I wanted to look into but could find no references to them.

I chose a lot of categories for this post as the author does cover issues of gender, language and word issues, pop culture, technology, and so on.

The book is an easy read but I really wanted more out of it. A bit more scholarly, perhaps, but not enough to throw most people off. The author is a journalist so it has some of that feel. My biggest gripe is the easy nonchalance in which the author reported on wholesale cultural genocide. “Aw, shucks. It happens eventually to everyone [paraphrase].” The sheer bloodiness of European expansion into Central America and Mexico is enough to make us sit up and reconsider our own cultural heritage. At the least. And as European expansion was pretty much bloody everywhere, it simply cannot be “Aw, gee shucks” awayed.

Near the end as she’s wrapping up loose ends (somewhat) and bringing us fully up-to-date, the author provides some statistics. I believe they are completely and utterly incorrect and highlight an utter fail of editing (on everyone’s part):

“In 2002 in Mexico the average daily consumption of corn tortillas per person was 548 pounds. In 2010 the daily consumption was 346 pounds, according to the Mexican National Household Income Expenditure Survey (ENIGH in Spanish)” (124).

Um, No one, I say no single person, is (or was) eating either 346 or 548 pounds of tortillas per day! Not even once on one day. That figure could be the annual total per person perhaps or it could be the weight eaten by all Mexicans in a day but for that it seems way low. Either way, that last cock-up sealed the feeling I’d had about the book all along. I wanted—I expected—more. So I only gave it 3 stars.

Still I learned a fair bit and will be on the lookout for much better tortillas on occasion.

Mori – A Bride’s Story 6

A Bride’s Story 6 by Kaoru Mori. Translated by William Flanagan. First Yen Press ed.

Date read: 15 January 2015

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cover of Kaoru Mori's A Bride's Story 6

Hardback, 196 pages

Published 2014 by Yen Press. First published in Japan in 2014.

It appears that only six volumes are out so far. Mori said in the afterword that the next book would check in with Mr. Smith and Ali progress towards Ankara.

This volume wraps up the story of Amir’s family trying to forcefully take her back. And you just have to love Karluk’s bad-ass, ram-riding grandmother. She did it in the previous volume (I believe it was) too. That time was for a rescue; this was not.

I truly did enjoy these books and they certainly help bump up number of translations read and also manga, although I have never counted the last before. But then total before this year (2015) would have been a handful perhaps. I’m pretty certain that between these and the Ōoku volumes I have doubled my lifetime total of mangas read.

This is the 23rd book in my GN2015

Vehlmann and Kerascoët – Beautiful Darkness

Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann, Kerascoët and Marie Pommepuy. Translated by Helge Dascher.

Date read: 14-15 January 2015

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cover of Vehlmann and Kerascoët's Beautiful Darkness

Hardback, 94 pages

Published 2014 by Drawn & Quarterly

Dark. Very dark.

Very dark, which I liked. But a bit “skittish” or something that bothered me while reading.

Not for children; young adults if they can handle grim. Not for anyone who can’t do grim.

This is the 22nd book in my GN2015

Foglio, et al. – Girl Genius 8

Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones (Girl Genius v. 8), Electronic ed. by Phil Foglio (story, pencils), Kaja Foglio (story), & Cheyenne Wright (colors)

Date read: 13-14 January 2015

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover of Foglio, et al. Girl Genius 8

Ebook (PDF), 140 pages

Originally published 2008 by Airship Entertainment & Girl Genius

“This material originally appeared from February 2008-November 2008 at www.girlgnius.net”

I love it! Lots of Jaegers. The Castle. Lots of cross purposes. Zeetha! Mamma Gkika’s. Mamma Gkika! Airman Third Class Axel Higgs. The Chapel of Bones. Torchmen. Agatha’s face coming out of the Chapel of Bones; well, the entire panel. Violetta, the Smoke Knight, rocks! Gilgamesh’s hat. An arrival.

This is the 21st book in my GN2015