Tezuka – Ode to Kirihito

Ode to Kirihito by Osamu Tezuka; Camellia Nieh, transl.

Date read: 26-27 January 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc 2016transl

Alternate cover image of Tezuka's Ode to Kirihito

Paperback, 822 pages
Published 2006 by Vertical (originally serialized in Japanese as Kirihito Sanka in Biggu Komikkui, Shogakkan, 1970-71)
Source: OSU-Cascades at Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [CASCADES PN 6790 .J33 K5713 2006]

Rape, murder, conspiracy, intentional infection, pride. No doubt, there are probably several other “deadly sins” in this work. I quite enjoyed this. Do not be put off by its size; it took me maybe three hours to read it.

People in a remote village in Japan are turning into dog people and then dying. A promising young doctor is dispatched to determine the vector of Monmow disease. From that remote village we travel the world with a small cast of characters all connected in various ways. The disease is found in a remote mining operation in Africa. What is the cause? Can it be cured or at least halted?

The author, Osama Tezuka (1928-1989), is “the godfather of Japanese manga comics. He originally intended to become a doctor and earned his degree before turning to what was still then considered a frivolous medium” (back inside flap). So he is imminently qualified to write a medical thriller.

This book is not in manga form and I assume the original was since we get this disclaimer on the title page verso: “The artwork of the original has been produced as a mirror-image in order to conform with the English language.”

Highly enjoyed it. Not for children: sex, naked bodies, more than one rape scene. I need to look into more work by Tezuka, including “his eight-volume epic Buddha, winner of the Eisner and Harvey Awards” (back inside flap).

This is the 8th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 5th book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Pond – Over Easy

Over Easy by Mimi Pond

Date read: 25 January 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc

Cover image of Pond's Over Easy

Hardback, 271 pages
Published 2014 by Drawn & Quarterly
Source: Deschutes Public Library

A fictionalized memoir of the late 1970s placed in California when hippies were becoming punk rockers, drugs were rampant, as was causal sex still. Running out of money to attend art college, Madge gets a job at the Imperial Cafe where there is non-stop drama between the regulars and staff.

Enjoyable.

This is the 7th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

Modan – Exit Wounds

Exit wounds by Rutu Modan; translation by Noah Stollman

Date read: 22 January 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc 2016transl

Cover image of Modan's Exit Wounds

Hardback, 172 pages
Published 2007 by Drawn & Quarterly
Source: Deschutes Public Library

I enjoyed this. I don’t feel like I can say a lot about it without giving away the story, though.

This has been on my to be read list for a while now but I recently read Modan’s The Property so I went ahead and moved this one to the top of the heap.

This is what I said about The Property and I think it equally applies, although the walls and directions are different in this earlier work:

“I quite enjoyed this quick read; I read it in [just] under an hour.    Walls are put up only to be dismantled from another direction. Affections of all kinds, and how quickly we can gain and lose them, are beautifully illuminated. Old animosities are reinforced and challenged. It is a properly complicated look at our world and some of its complications.

The art work is lovely and effective at conveying subtle and rapidly changing moods.”

The ellipsis covers the few story detail I gave which are different, of course. For this one let me quote from the publisher’s blurb on the back cover:

“In modern-day Tel Aviv, a young man, Koby Franco, receives an urgent call from a female solider named Numi. Learning that his estranged father may have been a victim of a suicide bombing in Hadera, Koby reluctantly joins Numi in searching for clues. As Koby tries to unravel the mystery of his missing father, he fide himself not only piecing together the last few months of his father’s life, but his entire identity” [back cover, Exit Wounds].

Accurate as such. I think “entire identity” is a bit of a stretch but you will learn plenty.

Recommended if you like reading graphic novels that help illuminate what it is to be human. I think I enjoyed The Property just a bit more.

Talented author, indeed. Checking library catalog(s) for other works…

This is the 6th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 4th book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables

Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables John J. McKendry, selector

Date read: 18 January 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016transl, 2016gnc

Cover image of Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables

Hardback (Museum issue), 96 pages
Published 1964 by The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Source: COCC Barber Library

Gorgeous in so many ways! Boy did I luck out listening to the universe on Friday.

Four stars as many of the morals are as or more cryptic than the fables themselves.

There is a five plus-page introduction by McKendry, the Assistant Curator of Prints, that does a wonderful job of situating Aesop’s Fables as possibly the finest work to show “the history of the printed illustrated book,” along with providing an overview of the evolution of the illustrations made for it and the various translations, along with revolutions in printing and image-making technologies that accompanied it.

In this lovely edition the images paired with the fable are fairly contemporaneous. For instance, the first eight are translations by William Caxton in 1484 with illustrations from four different sources, with the biggest difference being all of thirteen years. There are a couple at the end translated by Marianne Moore in 1954 with the illustrations from between one and nine years difference.

The introduction mentions that:

“Although the fables had been illustrated from early times, the invention of the printing press produced a virtual onslaught of the illustrations and made them a major par of our pictorial history. Before the end of the fifteenth century, there were over twenty different illustrated editions of them. The earliest editions are those of Mondavi, Ulm, and Verona, all published between 1476 and 1479, which are among the best books of the fifteenth century” 97-8).

Holy cow! That is insane and seriously supports the selectors contention regarding their importance to the history of the printed illustrated book.

There are forty fables included, with translations ranging from William Caxton (1484) to Marianne Moore (1954) and including ones from every century in between.

If you read this book PLEASE read the introduction. It provides so much context and makes watching the evolution of printing/image-making technology as it advanced and is represented by the included illustrations far more understandable and interesting.

The copy COCC holds has a bookplate which states: “Donated by Dr. Orde Pinckney to Central Oregon Community College Library.”  

Highly recommended but more for its description and depiction of illustrated book history than for the fables, many of which are in hard-to-understand English, irrespective of when translated.

There seems to be copies in some shape that are affordable. May look into acquiring one.

This is the 3rd book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Brrémaud and Bertolucci – Love, volume 2: The Fox

Love, volume 2: The Fox by Frédéric Brrémaud and Federico Bertolucci

Date read: 17 January 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc

Cover image of Brrémaud and Bertolucci - Love, volume 2: The Fox

Hardback, 74+ pages
Published 2015 by Magnetic Press (first published in France in 2011 by Ankama Editions)
Source: Deschutes Public Library

Highly recommended for all ages. But in a bit of social responsibility I will quote the ratings sticker: “This book contains depictions of violence and survival within nature. It is intended for ALL AGES.” So perhaps if you don’t want to explain a pod of killer whales attacking a baby whale and its mother to your young child or grandchild then wait a couple years. They may well miss some of that anyway. They won’t miss the two bears fighting though. Or the ….

It says it was written by Brrémaud and illustrated by Bertolucci. I guess they mean storyboarded or such as there is no story in the strong sense and there are no words, except for an epigraph and epilogue. But it is full of amazingly gorgeous illustrations of assorted animals and their varied habitats. There is conflict, terror, natural disaster, violence and the turning away of violence. And there is love.

The illustrations pay dividends by spending time with them. Even so, it is can be a fairly quick read by oneself. With a child on one’s lap or by your side it could take hours. That would be a grand thing; but only if you are prepared to explain some of the natural world to your young charge.

There is also a Love: The Tiger as the first “in a series of wildlife books, each focusing on a day in the life of a different wild animal across different natural habitats. I think I’ll try to get my hands on that one also. Yep. Just placed a request from Deschutes Public Library. According to Goodreads there is a 3rd volume out, Love: The Lion, but it may only be in French for now.

Highly recommended. One of the most beautiful looking books I have read in a long.

This is the 5th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

On why Aesop’s Fables

I wanted to make myself a quick note so I could remember in the future why I chose to re-read Aesop’s fables in the upcoming immediate future.

Friday morning (Jan. 15, 2016) I wrote this in my journal:

“11:12 AM Just had my third Aesop’s reference this morning! The beer place, Brontë, and now my crossword.”

I figured the universe was trying to send me a message of some kind so on Friday afternoon while at work I grabbed myself a copy of Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables, selected by John J. McKendry and published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1964.

My first reference came via Facebook to the article “Napa’s Mad Fritz brewery stakes out new terroir” in the San Francisco Chronicle. Mad Fritz’s beers are named after specific fables from Aesop, such as The Larks in the Corn, or The Viper and File. All in all, the brewery and beers sound fantastic and I might have to put a little effort into getting my hands on some. The labels are also beautifully illustrated and “The moral takeaway is noted on the back label.”

My second reference came while reading further in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. On page 95 of the Oxford World’s Classics edition we read,

“If life promised no enjoyment within my vocation, at least it offered no allurements out of it; and, henceforth, I would put my shoulder to the wheel* and toil away, like any poor drudge of a cart-horse that was fairly broken in to its labour, and plod through life, not wholly useless if not agreeable, and uncomplaining if not contented with my lot.”

In the Explanatory Notes on p. 424 we learn that “put my shoulder to the wheel” is a “proverbial expression, from Aesop’s fable of Hercules and the waggoner. ODEP, 729.” [ODEP is the Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs, 3rd edn. (1971).

The third reference came as I waiting on my sandwich bread to toast for lunch. I was working on the 2 September 2015 Los Angeles Times crossword when 65 across popped up with “Greek storyteller” as the hint and who, of course, should be the answer? Our friend Aesop.

I’m not one much for “signs” but something was prodding me here.

I went with it. I hope that I can find what it is the universe may have been pointing at.

I have since seen several other Aesop references but that is the way these things go, isn’t it?

Lee and Hart – Messenger

Messenger: The Legend of Joan of Arc by Tony Lee and Sam Hart

Date read: 16 January 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc  2016nfc

Cover image from Lee and Hart's Messenger

Paperback, unpaged
Published 2015 by Candlewick Press
Source: Deschutes Public Library

Another quick read which I quite enjoyed. I am counting it under my 2016 Nonfiction Challenge also as it is based on historical facts. Clearly, the conversations are not “accurate” and so on but that could be the case in any biography. Just because a biography is relatively short and adapted to a graphic novel format does not mean it is no longer a biography nor no longer nonfiction.

This is maybe an hour read so still not a ton of time invested. I am sure I could have found some other way to learn as much about Joan of Arc in as little time but the Wikipedia entry would not have been near as entertaining.

The final page is also accurate but oh so highly entertaining. The things the Church does in the name of God. History weeps.

Recommended.

This is the 4th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 4th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

MacLean – ApocalyptiGirl

ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times by Andrew MacLean

Date read: 16 January 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc

Image of cover of MacLean's ApocalyptiGirl

Paperback, 89 pages
Published 2015 by Dark Horse Books
Source: Deschutes Public Library

Aria is a tracker. Of what? For whom?

The back cover blurb states that it “is an action-packed exploration of the extremes of humanity and our desire for a home in a world beyond repair.” I can’t argue, or improve, on that.

There is certainly more going on than that though. Both in the story and via the story. That is what gives this quick read—you can probably read it in somewhere around 30 minutes—its depth and boosts its intended message. Not a preachy book by any stretch; not trying to suggest it is. There are as many questions left open as there are answered; although, thankfully, the ones resolved are of more importance to the story, in both aspects of “in” and “via,” then the ones left open.

Recommended.

This is the 3rd book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

Hester – Vegan Slow Cooking

Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just for You: More than 100 Delicious One-Pot Meals for Your 1.5-Quart/Litre Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester

Date read: 14 January 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016nfc

Cover image of Hester's Vegan Slow Cooking

Paperback, 175 pages
Published 2013 by Fair Winds Press
Source: Crook County Library via Deschutes Public Library

The author also writes the blog Healthy Slow Cooking.

It seems I had looked at this book almost exactly a year ago and was not impressed. This time was seemingly (perhaps) different.

:: :: Below 19 January 2015 Skimmed :: ::

Is for 1.5 quart/liter slow cookers; ours is 3.5. While I’m not saying some of these don’t sound good I doubt I’ll be making Pear Rose Cardmom Oatmeal or Chocolate Pumpkin Brownie Breakfast Quinoa or Winter-Spiced Butternut Squash Pecan French Toast. Not in the slow cooker or probably at all.

Not for me.

:: :: This is what I wrote this morning after realizing I had written the previous last year and having a good laugh at myself :: ::

15 January 2016 Sara asked me to look this over yesterday and I ended up writing down a bunch of recipes, um, including that Chocolate Pumpkin … one. I was wondering while I was reading it last night whether that was just some crazy late evening approval of something I would wake up to and be disgusted by the idea of. Or maybe I’m just getting a little more liberal in my imagining of porridge.

Again, I found lots of possibilities but no idea if keepers. We have been having some issues with assorted recipes we’ve been trying lately as in they taste like crap or have bad textures or both.

The other issue which I need to go revisit is how many of these do I want for the recipe but will need to scale up for the larger slow cooker? There were some of the recipes which seemed to make sense in the one-two person size but we also do a lot of this to have leftovers so ….

:: ::

Anyway, I have potentially revised my opinion significantly on this one. I also can easily envision storing a smaller slow cooker. What I really want is a BIG one to get even more leftovers but I have a much harder time imagining where we might store an even bigger one in our small house.

Recommended if you cook for one or two and are looking for a range of slow cooker recipes that you could build off of. I mean it isn’t like you have to make Pear Rose Cardamom Oatmeal or Chocolate Pumpkin Brownie Breakfast Quinoa or Winter-Spiced Butternut Squash Pecan French Toast. You could tone those down, or up, as you see fit.

Contents:

  • 1 The Little Slow Cooker that Can!
  • 2 Budget Rescuers: Easy DIY Staples
  • 3 Morning Delights: Wake Up to Breakfast
  • 4 Dip Dinners: Appetizers or a Meal
  • 5 Soul Satisfiers: Soups for All Occasions
  • 6 International Eats: Stews, Curries, and Chili
  • 7 Tasty Fillings: Sandwiches, Tacos, and More
  • 8 Family Favorites: One-Pot Pastas, Risottos, and Pasta Sauces
  • 9 Vegan Squares: Full Meals Layered in the Slow Cooker
  • 10 Sweet Treats: Drinks, Syrups, and Desserts
  • Spice Resources
  • About the Author
  • Acknowledgments
  • Recipe List
  • Index

This is the 3rd book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Harris – Integrating Reality

Integrating Reality by Roy Harris

Cover image of Roy Harris' Integrating Reality

Date read: 05-13 January 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016poss 2016nfc

Paperback, 141 pages
Published 2012 by Bright Pen
Source: Own via Amazon

Contents:

  • Preface
  • 1 Integrating Reality
  • 2 The Truth Unvarnished
  • 3 Empiricism and Linguistics
  • 4 The Grammar in Your Head
  • 5 Systems and Systematicity
  • 6 Meaning and Reification
  • 7 Language and Languages
  • References
  • Index

Preface

“The theory of integrationism defended is that expounded in Introduction to Integrational Linguistics (Harris 1998), Rethinking Writing (Harris 2000) and After Epistemology (Harris 2009a). The basic points will not be recapitulated here.

    Instead, attention will be focussed on the more controversial corollaries of integrationist doctrine, and how they conflict with orthodox linguistics and orthodox philosophy of language” (1).

In chapter 1 Harris states “The following chapters discuss the ontological commitments of integrationism” (3). I would argue that the book just as much discusses many of the epistemological commitments, but rather in a more negative way by rejecting much of the epistemology of its chosen interlocutors.

This volume was a great improvement over Integrationist Notes and Papers 2013 as for having an intact scholarly apparatus. I only found four citations not in the References and one of those was twice to the same resource.

Not a great starting point into Integrationism but a good volume nonetheless if you know your way already or if you just want to read some critiques of standard linguistics and its varied (and often conflicting) ontological commitments.

This is the 2nd book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader