Hayden – The Story of My Tits

The Story of My Tits by Jennifer Hayden

Date read: 07-08 February 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc 2016nfc

Cover image for Hayden's graphic novel The Story of My Tits

Paperback, 352 pages
Published 2015 by Top Shelf Productions
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Graphic Novel HAYDEN JENNIFER]

I quite enjoyed this graphic novel. Well, as much as one can enjoy a book so full of disease and death. But it is also full of strong women (and a few strong men) who find ways to deal with what life throws at us; which makes it utterly full of life.

Jennifer Hayden was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 43. Her mother had already had a mastectomy just after Jennifer had graduated from college. This book is about how one small group of family and friends and their caregivers handle cancer and all that comes with it.

The book actually deals with many other issues around family, parenting, and everyday living.

Recommended.

This is the 15th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 9th book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Williams & Crowell – A Pictorial History of the Bend Country

A Pictorial History of the Bend Country by Elsie Horn Williams and Jim Crowell

Date read: 15 January – 05 February 2016
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016nfc
No pic available
Hardback, 223 pages
Published 1998 [Rev., 2nd ed. cover title: The Bend Country: Past to Present] by The Donning Company Publishers
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [F 884 .B38 W54 1998]

I enjoyed this well enough; it had its moments. To either side of the pendulum. I learned a few things about Bend I hadn’t known and had a few others reinforced.

Contents:

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • I. 1825-1877
  • II. 1877-1900
  • III. 1900-1904
  • IV. 1904-1911
  • V. 1911-1915
  • VI. 1915-1920
  • VII. 1920-1933
  • VIII. 1933-1950
  • IX. 1950-1970
  • X. 1970-1983
  • XI. 1984-1998*
  • Bibliography
  • Author Biographies
  • Index

* Rev., 2nd ed. Ch. XI 1984-1998 (c)1998 by Jim Crowell. 1st ed. was 1983.

This is book of photos of the Bend area and its residents, along with captions providing context, divided up into chronological order. The photos within sections—and even across once or twice—are a bit looser.

Recommended if you are interested in Bend history. Not exactly a history as such but it is captioned historical photos.

[Of interest to no one except other book metadata geeks]

As a cataloger, let me say that this book is a mess! It does not help that the work itself doesn’t do the best job of representing itself, at least in the rev. 2nd edition I have at hand. There are records for both editions in Worldcat but the title is clearly different in the newer one. Or is it? The title page still says “A pictorial history of the Bend Country,” which according to the records should be the title of the first edition. But clearly on the cover, the spine, and the dust jacket of this edition it says the title is: “The Bend Country: Past to Present.” Title page verso has LC CIP which has the title as “Bend: a pictorial history.” Considering we use the title page as our main source it is correct. The MARC record does have an alternate title for the cover title. Still. Publishers you need to understand how things are cataloged if you want to rename works. Or generally.

This is the 7th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Modan – Jamilti & Other Stories

Jamilti & Other Stories by Rutu Modan

Date read: 06-07 February 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc 2016transl

Cover image of Rutu Modan's Jamilti & Other Stories

Hardback, 174 pages
Published 2008 First hardcover edition by drawn & quarterly
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Graphic Novel MODAN RUTU]

This is my fourth Modan book this year. I also read The Property, exit wounds, and the children’s book Maya Makes a Mess. In general I quite liked them. The children’s one not as much but the others all got 4 or 5 stars out of 5.

This is a collection of seven short graphic stories:

  • Jamilti 2
  • Energy Blockage 1
  • Bygone 2
  • The Panty Killer 1
  • Homecoming 2
  • The King of Lillies 1
  • Your Number One Fan

Translation credit: 1 Noah Stollman, 2 Jesse Mishori

Most of these are a slight bit twisted, to say the least, but they provide some interesting commentary on assorted aspects of modern Western culture, and on Israeli culture in particular.

Jamilti describes a day in the life of a couple trying to plan their wedding. Based on the course of the day I’d say things aren’t looking up for the prospective groom. Very powerful.

Energy Blockage has to do with our search for solutions to well-being, charlatans, and the damage families do to themselves for some sort of closure.

Bygone is about mothers and daughters, or sisters, and the secrets families keep.

The Panty Killer is about the differences between an adult’s and a child’s version of memories and how they impact us in the longterm.

Homecoming. Well. I’ll let you read it and decide. There are some things I would like to say about this and some aspects of several of the stories but the topic is beyond fraught. Whether justified or not, there is a lot of Israeli aggression in this book, as one might expect.

The King of Lillies reflects on plastic surgery and the ideal of beauty, especially as embodied in an unrequited love.

Your Number One Fan visits the topic of fandom and the relations between Israeli Jews and the Diaspora.

All in all, I really enjoyed this and highly recommend it, particularly if you are interested in translations and/our perspectives from other cultures.

This is the 14th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 7th book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Wang – Koko Be Good

Koko Be Good by Jen Wang

Date read: 01 February 2016
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc

Cover image of Wang's Koko Be Good

Paperback, 1 volume unpaged
Published 2010 by First Second
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [PN 6727.W284 K65 2010]

A sort of -coming-of-age story and one of finding oneself in the world. It was alright but between the artwork and even the narrative I was lost far too often. I either had no idea what took place to generate some reaction in one of the characters or I could not understand their motivation when I did.

I generally really liked the artwork but sometimes it just wasn’t clear what was going on.

Your mileage may vary.

This is the 13th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

Way and Bá – The Umbrella Academy, volume 2: Dallas

The Umbrella Academy, volume 2: Dallas by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá

Date read: 30 January 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc

Cover image of Way and Bá - The Umbrella Academy, volume 2: Dallas

Paperback, 172+ pages
Published 2009 by Dark Horse Books “This volume reprints the comic-book series The Umbrella Academy: Dallas issues #1-6, and a story from MySpace Dark Horse Presents #12, “Anywhere but Here,” published by Dark Horse Comics.”
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Teen GRAPHIC NOVEL WAY GERARD]

I read the first volume of this 2-3 days ago; review here.

A rampaging Lincoln. Kennedy assassinated and not assassinated. And then…? A black and white line drawing God. Atomic annihilation of the Earth. Vietnam. And more.

I am looking forward to further volumes but am guessing that I will have forgotten it all by the time another arrives. Although, poking Wikipedia further and doing a search on the proposed title of the 3rd volume is not promising.

All in all, a couple good reads but I would’ve liked another volume or two for further character development. Ah well.

This is the 12th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

Modan – Maya makes a Mess

Maya Makes a Mess by Rutu Modan

Date read: 30 January 2016
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc

Cover image of Modan's Maya makes a Mess

Hardback, 32 pages
Published 2012 by A Toon Book (imprint of Candlewick Press)
Source: Deschutes Public Library [J GRAPHIC NOVEL MODAN RUTU]

This is by the author of Exit Wounds which I read about a week ago. It is a book for those learning to read still. It is labeled as: Easy-to-Read Comics Level Two; that is Toon into Reading Level 2 (Easy-to-read comics for emerging readers), which equates to Grades 1-2, Lexile BR-170, Guided Reading G-J, and Reading Recovery 11-17 (per inside back cover).

Maya’s parents are trying to instill manners in her at the dinner table and her father says, “You need manners! What if you were eating dinner with the QUEEN?!” Of course, in the next frame there is a loud DING DONG! at the door and the story is off and running.

I only gave this 3-stars as I’m not sure what the moral is, or, less haughtily, just what is being communicated to the “emerging reader” by this story, fun as it may be. This is the first children’s book that the author has written and drawn.

This is the 11th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

Abouet & Oubrerie – Aya

Aya by Marguerite Abouet & Clément Oubrerie (illus.); Helge Dascher (translation)

Date read: 29 January 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc 2016transl

Cover image of Aya by Abouet & Oubrerie

Hardback, 96+ pages
Published 2008 (2nd hardcover ed.) by Drawn & Quarterly
Source: OSU-Cascades at Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [CASCADES PN 6790 .C854 A92 2007]

A slice of a coming of age story set during the late 1970s in the Ivory Coast, which was undergoing profound economic growth. That growth faltered and now economists term this as “growth without development” (from Preface by Chase, iv).

Despite that, this is a fairly timeless story primarily focusing on a couple young women/teenage girls. Making out, male harassment, unwanted pregnancy, thwarted desires, etc.

Recommended for anyone wanting stories from outside their own backyard, so to speak.

This is the 10th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 6th book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Way and Bá – The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite

The Umbrella Academy, volume one: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá

Date read: 28-29 January 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc

Cover image of Way and Bá's The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite

Paperback, 1 volume
Published 2008 by Dark Horse Books [This volume reprints the comic books series The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite issue #1-6, and the story from the 2008 Free Comic Book Day book, published by Dark Horse Comics. This volume also includes The Umbrella Academy short story originally featured on darkhorse.com.]
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [PN 6728 .U43 M39 2008]

Here is the description from the back cover:

“In an inexplicable worldwide event, forty-three extraordinary children were spontaneously born by women who’d previously shown no signs of pregnancy. Millionaire inventor Reginald Hargreeves adopted seven of the children; when asked why, his only explanation was, “To save the world.”

These seven children for the Umbrella Academy, a dysfunctional family of superheroes with bizarre powers. There first adventure at the age of ten pits them against an erratic and deadly Eiffel Tower, piloted by a fearsome zombie-robot Gustave Eiffel. Nearly a decade later, the team disbands, but when Hargreeves unexpectedly dies, these disgruntled siblings reunite just in time to save the world once again.”

The author of this is (or was) a supposed rockstar according to the various commentaries in the book. Not even sure I ever heard of the band (My Chemical Romance) but whatever. According to those same commentaries, he had this world and its characters fully fleshed out in his head. I think a bit of that might’ve been lost in the translation, so to speak, but it was definitely interesting enough that I have requested the second volume from my public library.

I have heard of the artist, Gabriel Bá, and have read a couple books done by him.

According to Wikipedia there are two extant volumes and two in development, along with a TV series in development. This volume also “won the 2008 Eisner Award for Best Finite Series/Limited Series.” [Wikipedia]

I did enjoy this and want to see how it is further developed.

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

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