Showing posts with label robert kirkman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label robert kirkman. Show all posts

Friday, July 15, 2016

July Mini-Reviews: Natural Parenting, An Amazing Mystery, and NEGAN!

Reading has been a bit slow lately, but I've had SO many good books on the docket!  Here's a quick rundown of 3 of my most recent reads:

Push Back: Guilt in the Age of Natural Parenting
Dr. Amy Tuteur
Dey Street Books, 2016
borrowed from the library

(Sorry, this review became a little longer than mini!)  As soon as I grabbed this one on impulse at the library, I was afraid that I might get my Good Mommy card taken away...haha.  But seriously, I saw that subtitle and HAD to read it.  Personally, I find modern-day mothering to be positively FRAUGHT with guilt that others try to impose upon your parenting style--no matter what style that may be.  But the natural parenting industry gets top marks in the guilt-mongering category.  And I say that having taken a fair number of "natural" parenting methods myself--breastfeeding, cloth diapering, blah blah blah.  However, I also picked a lot of "not natural" parenting options: epidurals, formula, the list goes on.  So, I've seen both sides.  And I never can understand why people find the need to judge so much on these topics.  Dr. Amy Tuteur delved into that issue, and what we can do to push back.

Overall, I found Tuteur's discussion to be a refreshing rebuttal to the constant sanctimommy, holier-than-thou banter that you see on social media these days.  She specifically takes on 3 aspects of natural parenting: "natural" childbirth (meaning no drugs, no c-sections, etc), breastfeeding, and attachment parenting (co-sleeping, babywearing, etc).  She discusses the actual scientific evidence that supports (or fails to support) each of these concepts, and shows how the natural parenting industry skews and misquotes these findings in order to further their agendas.  And anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE a good discussion of the actual, published SCIENCE behind a concept.  That said, women who are currently pregnant (or plan to become pregnant soon) may want to pause before picking this book up--part of me thinks I would have loved reading it before having kids, but the other part of me isn't sure, as Tuteur is very straightforward about the data behind the risks of pregnancy (mortality rates for mother and child, for example)...things that I know would have made me rather anxious while pregnant.  Something for mommas to consider.

My only hesitation in recommending this book is that Tuteur's vitriol against the natural parenting industry is a little much at times.  I would have preferred if she could have kept a more level head in her discussion of the issues, as the scientific evidence speaks for itself in many cases.  And anyone who is a hardcore La Leche League/Dr. Sears/etc. follower will likely not enjoy this.  However, if you're as sick of parent-shaming as I am, give this book a try!

Before The Fall
Noah Hawley
Grand Central Publishing, 2016
borrowed from the library

Current contender for my favorite book of the year!  Before the Fall is a positively fabulous mystery/thriller that had me reading well past my bedtime, captivated by every page.  A small private plane crashes off of Martha's Vineyard, and only two passengers live to tell about it.  What ensues is an investigation into what caused the mysterious crash, as the two survivors struggle to navigate the next steps in their lives.

Hawley's storytelling style played a major role in my involvement with the novel, as he flashes back to each passenger on the plane to show you what they were doing in the years, months, and days leading up to the crash.  You get new pieces of the puzzle added with every chapter.  The book also goes beyond being a simple mystery by making interesting commentary about the power of the media in the wake of national tragedies (sadly very relevant right now).  I won't say more for fear of spoiling this one for you, but I can't recommend it highly enough!!

The Walking Dead, Compendium 3
Robert Kirkman et al
Image Comics, 2015
borrowed from the library

Only recommended if you read the first two compendiums, but this one is SO good!!  Compendium 3 brings you up past where the TV show is now, with the introduction of Negan.  All I can say is, season 7 is gonna be a doozy FOR SURE (even if Negan's first TV victim is not the same as it is in the comics).  This collection ended on a pretty shocking note, and I know it's going to be a while before there's enough editions for a Compendium 4...so it may be time for me to start figuring out how to get my hands on individual issues!  :)  The Walking Dead is the first comic series I've ever read (my only other graphic novel/comic experience was The Watchman--also very good, though quite different), but it's got me thinking I should look into this medium a bit more.

What are you reading these days, reader pals?

Monday, April 11, 2016

3 Minis: A New Release, an Old(ish) Release, and More Zombies!

Hola, readers!  Most of my reviews lately have been for TLC Book Tours (which means they are a bit longer), but I finally have another set of mini reviews here for you today.  I hope you like reading them as much as I like writing them...sometimes it's nice to keep it short & concise!

Alice & Oliver by Charles Bock
Random House, 2016
received from publisher for an honest review

I read this book and now I am broken inside.  /review

Okay, I'll add a little more, but really, this book is heart-wrenchingly amazing.  I requested it via NetGalley and quickly realized that the online description of the novel does not do it justice.  Quickie synopsis: Alice and Oliver are happily married with a baby daughter, Doe, when Alice is diagnosed with cancer.  Alice & Oliver is not only the tale of their physical battle with the disease, but also a penetrating look at what happens when relationships are pushed to the brink.  It takes much more than physical strength and fierce mental fortitude to survive such suffering, and Bock's novel illustrates this better than any other that I've read on the subject.  I loved Alice.  I didn't love Oliver, but did come to understand him a bit more by the end.  Together, they have a connection that is uncommon, but is still illustrative of the myriad ways that couples muck their way through difficult, seemingly impossible problems.

There are parts of this book are funny, unique, and thought-provoking.  There are also parts that are harrowing, sorrowful, and difficult to read.  Read it anyway.  You'll likely be seeing this on my best-of lists at the end of the year.

All The Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld
Pantheon, 2014
borrowed from the library

This is the latest pick for my MOMS Club book club.  I'm interested to see how our discussion goes in a few weeks, because this novel left me feeling half in awe, and half totally scratching my head.  Jake Whyte is the female protagonist, currently a sheep farmer on an island off the coast of the UK.  However, she has a shady backstory that goes back several years and thousands of miles.  As present-day Jake tries to find out what is killing the sheep on her farm, the chapters also alternate back to her past, slowly opening the story of what brought her to the sheep farm, and what demons may still be lying in wait.

I was half in awe because this book is BEAUTIFULLY written.  It's a fairly quick read, but there is not one wasted word on these pages.  And I love how the chapters alternate between Jake past and present--the structure was perfect, as the action peaked in both timelines right at the end.  Jake is a fantastic character, terrifically complicated--watching her develop is amazing.

BUT (my one "but"): the ending.  Like really, what WAS that ending?  I am all for not tying up the loose ends and giving the reader something to chew on, but this was too much.  I could have used a little less symbolism and a little more closure.  Still--I'm happy I spent the time on this one, because it's a stellar read, the final pages notwithstanding.

The Walking Dead: Compendium Two by Robert Kirkman & co.
Image Comics, 2012
borrowed from the library

I've already discussed with you my recent love affair with The Walking Dead comics (here).  The affair has only grown as I finished the second compendium of the series.  It has been awesome to watch the major characters grow and change, and to see how well many of the comic scenes were translated to TV.  (And on the flip side, how many of them never even made it to TV.)  Gotta say that one of my favorite characters so far is Andrea--what a bad ass!  And that's hilarious, given how much I despised her TV persona.  I'd say the one downside is that I think Rick's character waxes philosophical on the same topics a bit too much--it gets repetitive after a while.  But beyond that, I'm loving this view of the Walking Dead world.

(And, for those who follow the show--this compendium ends just after Rick's group starts interacting with Hilltop.  Um, I NEED to get Compendium Three before Season 7 starts!!!  EEEEEKKK.)

What are your current reads?  Do you have any 2016 reads so far that you think will be on your end-of-year favorites list?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

We NEED to talk about The Walking Dead COMICS!

Hello, reader friends!  As I mentioned last week, I have recently delved into the comic book world of The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman.  I've been watching the TV show on AMC for quite some time, and I always knew there was a comic series, but not being much of a comics fan, I didn't see the need to seek them out.

Initially.

Now, as Season 6 of the show has taken me on a wild roller coaster of flesh-eating-zombie emotion, I've found myself more and more curious about the comics that the series is based upon.  It's hard not to hear fans comparing the show to the comic fairly constantly, and so I finally decided to make some time to check them out myself.

OH MAH GAH.  I am HOOKED.  Why didn't I start these up sooner???

I am reading the comics as "compendiums", which are basically huge collections of a lot of issues of the comic (makes it much easier than having to hunt down each individual issue).  There are 3 TWD compendiums currently, and my local library system has the first two (I'm currently on the second).

Fans of the show (but not the comic) may be wondering: what makes the comics worth reading if I'm already quite happy with the TV series?  That's a GOOD question.  Here's the reasons I've come up with so far, as a former skeptic myself:

1. It's interesting to see the origins of TWD: the initial tone, the motivations of each character, etc.  I've found that in some parts, the comic is WAY more campy than the show.  In other areas, the intensity and violence is far beyond anything you've seen on TV.  It's cool to read it one way after having watched it another, and dissect why there may have been differences created between the two.

2. Comparing the characters.  This is obviously the MOST fun reason to read the comics.  Some of the characters are pretty much exactly as you'd expect, with their story line largely unchanged thus far (Rick, Carl, Shane, Glenn come to mind).  And then there are some that are just like, WHAT??  CAROL??  IS THAT EVEN YOU??  Ditto for Dale, Hershel, Andrea (happy to report that Comic Andrea is 1000x less annoying than TV Andrea), Tyreese, and a whole host of others.  Plus, TV Governor is child's play compared to Comic Governor.  ((shudders))  And this doesn't even get into the differences in who lives and who dies.  (Or who keeps appendages, and who doesn't...)

Oh, and there's no Daryl in the comics.  I KNOW.

3. With books, the common mantra is "the book is always better than the movie."  In TWD, I don't think you can necessarily say that the comic is better than the show, or vice versa.  The comic certainly has been able to do some things that the show can't, especially when it comes to toeing the line with violence.  But the show does just as good a job of delving into each character's background, and hitting the primary high points of the comic's story line.  Comparing and contrasting these two mediums based on what they can provide is fun brain food.

Basically, this entire post is a push to all you TWD TV fans to get out there and READ the darn comics, if you haven't already.  If you think you'll be bored because you already know what happens...trust me, you are wrong!

Any other Walking Dead fans out there?  Have you just watched the show, just read the comics, or both?  What do you prefer?  And either way--if you were stuck in the zombie apocalypse, which Walking Dead character would you want to be stuck with for survival?  YOU CAN PICK TWO.  (Because it was too hard for me to only pick one.  I have to go with Carol and Daryl, but the rule is that they're not allowed to fraternize as long as I'm around.)

Monday, February 29, 2016

A Leap Day 'What Are You Reading?'

Um, more like what am I NOT reading this week?  I've had a whole bunch of fun reading adventures going on lately.  Time to share!

What am I reading now?  Currently reading 3 different books...I know, craziness.  I've been trying to avoid multiple books at the same time lately, because it fries my brain and usually ends up making me dislike at least one of the books because I'm not paying it enough proper attention.  But sometimes you just can't stop yourself.  The three I'm currently immersed in:

1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: Been on my TBR for YEARS, been listening to many many friends telling me how I need to read it for YEARS, and have been avoiding it...for yes, years.  I've heard great things, but the books in this series are so long, it felt like a giant commitment to start.  Not sure what finally pushed me to go for it, but I'm easing into them.  I'm about 150 pages in and have to be honest--I don't see the hype yet, but it's still very early on.  I enjoy historical fiction but I'm not a big fan of romance, so I could see this going either way for me.  I'll push on and let you know what I think at the end.

2. The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer: Just started this for a TLC book tour.  A mystery/thriller involving a mom and her missing daughter sounds like a good match for me!  Too early to give much of a reaction, but you'll have a full review in a couple weeks.

3. The Walking Dead: Compendium 1 by Robert Kirkman: I've mentioned here a few times that I LOVE LOVE LOVE The Walking Dead (TV show).  I knew about the comics and always meant to pick them up, but just never got around to it.  I finally put the first compendium (collection of the first 48 issues) on hold at the library and picked it up this week.  I'll admit that I was likely pushed into this by my curiosity over Negan, who is being introduced to the show soon and all the comics fans are FREAKING THE FRICK OUT over.  Plus, I'm just really excited to see the differences between comic and TV!

Up next?  After all that reading, I've got a couple books from the library that I'm hoping to get to: The Last Pilot by Benjamin Johnscock, and The Vacationers by Emma Straub.  If I like Outlander, I'd like to try the second book in the series (Dragonfly in Amber).  And I also have another TLC tour for the end of March, All Stories are Love Stories by Elizabeth Percer.

The reading is GOOD right now, people!  What are you reading this week?
 
Imagination Designs