Friday, January 16, 2009

Blame it on Chris

Yes, really, it's all his fault -- Chris of Stuff as Dreams Are Made On, that is. Not that I'm not guilty of influencing a few people to buy books, but this time it's just weird. Are you ready? I bought three graphic novels, last weekend!! How bizarre is that?

I just decided that balance isn't truly balance unless you're willing to expand your horizons a bit, and that means branching out into territory that I've previously resisted. So, I asked Chris for a suggestion, browsed two bookstores and ended up buying American Born Chinese (which Chris recommended as a starting point -- but I couldn't find it at the first store so . . . ) plus two other graphic novels that looked mostly harmless. Three! Seriously, I swore I'd never touch the things, which just goes to show you that you really ought not to ever swear. Or, at least, I shouldn't.

Here's what I bought, last weekend:

I finished Flight, Vol. 1 on Tuesday and am in the midst of Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall. The Kiddo read both Flight and Fables on the drive home from Jackson. He declared Flight, "awful" (I liked it) and said Fables was really pretty terrific, but it surprised him that both were anthologies rather than a single story. I've read a tiny little bit of American Born Chinese and I can already see why everyone has raved about it. What little I read made me chuckle. I'm saving it for last, simply because it appears to be the best -- which may be a little odd and backwards, but I've never claimed the guys in white coats shouldn't come to "take me away, haha, hoho, heehee, to the funny farm where" . . . where, etc. I don't remember the words.

Last night, I finished reading Daylight Runner by Oisin McGann (his first name has an accent over the second "i", but I don't know how to add it, sorry Mr. McGann). It's a dystopian YA novel that I read for Estella's Revenge (really liked that -- look for a review, later this weekend or early next week). And, tonight I finished a "sneak-in" -- a library check-out that I honestly shouldn't have read if I were to be totally honest with myself, since I really need to focus on hacking down the ARC piles. It was the right time for the book, though. When I was out shopping, last weekend, I just happened to be in the mood to read Austenland by Shannon Hale and was all set to buy a copy. But, I liked the glorious blue cover of the hardback edition and when I saw that chintzy white cartoonish paperback cover (only the paperback was available), the money in my pocket screamed, "No way!!" So, I put it back and checked out the pretty copy. What do you think of the two covers?

Of course, now I want to own the book. Figures.

I'm off to read more of Alpine Americas, a coffee-table book that deserves to be read, not just admired. Happy weekend, everybody!


  1. Anonymous7:21 PM

    My problem with graphic novels is that they're expensive considering the length of time it takes to read them. I realize there's a lot of work involved in creating all of the art, but I paid $17 for American Born Chinese and it took no time at all to read it.

  2. Kathy,

    That's one reason I've resisted, but I've been avoiding bookstores and my husband said I've lost a little of my joy since I stopped browsing. In fact, he even encouraged me to buy for the fun of it. Wild, eh? So, this was a slightly unusual splurge. I'll probably reread these. They seem like good potential "brain break" reads, for when I need a break from novels.

  3. Anonymous8:02 PM

    Ack! I love your husband! I mean, not really, or maybe only sort of. BUT it is so cool and cute that he recognized your joy or lack thereof and that is a sweetie sweetness of a hub if I ever saw one (or read one. whatever) that would 1. recognize you HAVE a joy and 2. when you have a lack of it. ah, you get it.
    My hub is such a sweetie.
    Then again,I just read this while hub has Airplane2 on so I might have a humor influence to the nutty factor.
    I am intrigued re: graphic novels and I just read my first one. I want Watchmen next and V is for Vendetta.
    I SO GET you order of reading these and I have no issue with you getting on on flight cuz you love flight, right?

  4. You may yet turn me on to graphic novels. I'll probably look for American Born Chinese the next time we stop in a book store.

    BTW, love the picture of the pointing hands at the top!

  5. Yeah, go ahead an blame me :p Everyone's doing it these days, lol. You made some fantastic choices!! American Born Chinese was wonderful. IT's one I'll go back to again. And Fables is currently my favorite Graphic Novel series!! I'm just starting the third book in the series right now actually. I'm going to read Snowfall after I've finished the other books in the series. Glad to hear that your son enjoyed it! I've had my eye on Flight...I've flipped through it a couple of times, but haven't picked it up yet. I just ordered Persepolis from Amazon and can't WAIT to read that one!! I highly recommend Neil Gaiman's Sandman to you too. It's a fantastic series.

  6. I don't think you're odd or backward...I'm a big time "save the best for last" kind of gal myself. Sometimes to my own detriment, but I just can't help it.

    Looking forward to hearing about Daylight Runner! You know, because one's wish list can never be too long, right?

  7. Yay! There's always a steady supply of graphic novels coming into my home thanks to my husband. Sometimes he even picks up one for me or recommends a favorite. I haven't read the Fable ones, but my husband speaks highly of them.

  8. ... where life is beautiful all the time and I'll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats...

    I blame you for reminding me of the Funny Farm song, making me google it and then watching a YouTube video and getting it stuck in my head!! Argh!

    But yay for Chris getting you to try some graphic novels. I hope to get my hands on American Born Chinese this year. You'll have to read Maus and Persepolis!

    Oh and for names with accents, I google the name and invariably some link comes up with the accent included and then I just copy and paste.

  9. I've seen Fables a lot but I haven't picked it up yet. Have fun reading!

  10. I'm glad you are enjoying American Born Chinese; however, of the 7 I've read, it was my least favorite in the graphic novels genre. And, yes, I'm by far in the minority on that. It just wasn't my thing. On the other hand, IMHO, you have many, many terrific graphic novels to look forward to. I'm so glad you decided to add some balance to your reading life. :) :) :)

  11. I'm the same way re: graphic novels. Had no interest in them at ALL, none, nope, nada. Now, I'm starting to think maybe they're something I should at least check out...

    Sigh. More to be added to the TBR list.

  12. Yayyy! I'm glad you took the plunge and decided to give graphic novels a go. You know I love me some Fables (need to re-read 1001 Nights), and I just finished a Bibliobuffet column about graphic novels, specifically Maus and American Born Chinese. I think you'll love it!

  13. You know I'm still not one for graphic novels. Now, mind you, I haven't tried many but I've given a few a shot. I like the art usually, just not the rest. I think I will just stick to sinking my teeth into a good, long book. I really want to read Austenland one of these days too and the first cover far beats the second one.

  14. Care,

    We both have many flaws, but I do appreciate my husband's ability to zone in on what gives me joy and the fact that he encourages a little indulgence for the sake of not turning into a weeping puddle (which isn't very fun for either of us). LOL

    You are in a nutty mood, for sure! Yep, I like flying things, so that's why Flight appealed to me. I'll have to look up Watchmen and V for Vendetta. Oh, no. You're being a bad influence, too!


    I'll tell you what I think of American Born Chinese, when I finish -- but do tell me what you think when you flip through it!

    Isn't that cute? I googled for images of pointing fingers and that image was my favorite. Whoever I snatched it from didn't mention a source or I'd give credit to the person who made the sculpture or took the photo.


    Now, now, don't go making things worse! You're already guilty enough. LOL Thanks for the recommendations, though. I'll probably end up coming back to this post and regretting it. I feel like I'm regressing, but now I suddenly remember . . . there was a point I really loved comic books, so why not have fun reading books with pretty art? It's something different.

  15. Debi,

    That's a good way to put it. I've always gone out of my way to save the best for last -- usually, that has to do with food, but it's the same concept. Troublesome, though, when you save that perfect bite of your dessert and the teenager leans over your shoulder, grabs your fork and eats it. I was afraid he was going to do that with my graphic novels -- walk off with them before I got a chance. I lucked out, this time.

    Oh, yes, the wish lists cannot end. The world would explode. I'll see if I can help you. Daylight Runner is intense, but I thought it was really good.


    Well, that's handy! So, if you decide to get into graphic novels, you just have to say, "Hey, honey, recommend something," right? Very cool. I'm sure the name Fables sank in from last year's blog reading. Honestly, I really thought I'd never touch those things, but they're kind of nice for a change of pace!


    Hahaha! I just looked Funny Farm up on YouTube, too. It does sort of get stuck in your head, doesn't it?

    I got a copy of Maus when we had a salvage store and they got in a huge book stock, but I'm pretty sure I actually decided it was a bad purchase and got rid of it. Silly me. I do that, though -- periodically get rid of things I haven't read. I wish our library carried graphic novels.

    Oh, that's a good idea googling for a name. I'll have to try that, thanks!

  16. Tink,

    I'd never even bothered to pick up any graphic novels and look through them (apart from Maus, which I bought probably 12 years ago and never read). I figure it's worth a try. :)


    You and I almost never agree on our opinion of reading material, so maybe that's a good sign! LOL So far, I really liked what little I read, but I haven't gotten far. We shall see. It's just one of many ways I'm trying to improve myself, this year, reading some things I've resisted.


    I know, it's a killer, isn't it? Everyone starts reading something and you fight it, but then . . . in the end most of us end up paying to find out what the big deal is. LOL

  17. Andi,

    It's probably at least partly your fault, too. :) I know you love your Fables! I'm looking forward to American Born Chinese. Oh, good, can't wait to read your column!


    I don't think there's anything on the planet that's right for absolutely everyone, but at least you've given the graphic novels a shot! I'm enjoying them, so far, but I'm still new to this world and not sure how much I'll want to dig into it or whether I'll find something that truly resonates. We'll see!

    Oh, good, I'm glad someone agrees with me about the Austenland covers! It surprised me that I was so turned off by that white cover that I was actually willing to pass it up completely. I don't know why that surprises me, but it does!

  18. I only started buying graphic novels this year, myself. I am in love with Fables, though... I haven't read the one that you have, I think that was in a prequel of sorts, but I have read the first five books in the actual series and I am hooked already! I still think graphic novels are expensive considering I can read them pretty fast, but that is not stopping me from reading them!

  19. Nancy
    I like the blue cover better too. I have heard of the book but I have not picked it up yet. I have read The Goose Girl which was pretty good.

    I read my first graphic novel last year for a FIRST tour. It is a Ted Dekker book Infidel in graphic form. So there are the books then the graphic novel based on the book. I really liked which surpised me. They are really expensive so I am not sure I will buy any but I am def. checking the books out at the library starting with the Circle trilogy. :)

  20. Anonymous5:12 PM

    That Chris. He is such a devil. :)

    Austenland was a cute book. The paperback copy is much prettier.

  21. Kailana,

    Well, then, we're all fresh and new in the graphic novel world, you and I. I tried to look at them today, but there was someone sitting right in front of them. My son does that, on occasion. Now, I know to tell him to go find a chair!! LOL

    Oh, careful, I don't want to get sucked into reading the whole Fable series. That would cost too much moola. I do think they're too expensive, but it was fun to splurge that one time!


    That makes three of us for the blue cover. I've got The Goose Girl on my shelves and even put it on a challenge list, last year, but I never did get around to reading it. Hopefully, this year. I love Shannon Hale's writing!

    Oh, oh, oh! That would be great if they'd tour another graphic novel with First. That's the best way -- get it free to review. They are definitely expensive. I've already got a spot picked out on the living room shelves for mine. I'll just reread them, at least for a while. One splurge every 6 months is more than enough for me.


    I know. That stinker.

    You're confused, dear. It's the hardback cover that's pretty. Hez must have walked across the keyboard when you were looking.

  22. I'm proud of your money standing its ground! Sometimes they just need to leave a book cover alone!

  23. I think this definitely classifies as a Wahoo post :)

    Glad to hear you are branching out into graphic novels territory. I haven't read those but have heard lots of good things about them, especially American Born Chinese.

    Enjoy your books!

  24. Oh gosh, that's a shame about the Austenland covers. The hardback one is really cool and the paperback cover just doesn't do it for me at all. I hate to be one of *those* people who judges books by their covers but I think that second cover would put me off giving the book a fair shake!

  25. The blue cover by all means!
    Wow, I had no idea graphic novels were so pricey...

  26. Maggie,

    My money thanks you. I was really stunned at how dramatically different the paperback cover looks. The hardback is so appealing! I definitely think they should have left that one alone!


    It may be a brief jaunt into new territory, but I'm enjoying it and that's the whole point, right? Definitely a wahoo! :)

    Everyone seems to have heard of American Born Chinese!!!


    I hate to judge a book by its cover, too, but I know I've done it before. Last year, I passed up Divisadero (a book I was aching to read) because of the cover and ended up buying a book that I still haven't talked myself into reading. Sucky, but it's really quite fascinating to examine how those covers effect our decision to buy or not to buy, isn't it?


    The blue cover is winning by a mile. LOL Yep, graphic novels are expensive, all right.

  27. Excellent, another Fables convert!

    I've got the blue-cover edition of Austenland, and I much prefer it - it's better at hiding the fact that it's chick-lit than the cartoony one. :)

  28. Fyrefly,

    I forgot to say that I suddenly understand the big fuss about Charles Vess. His artwork is pretty amazing.

    Yep, I guess the "obvious chick lit" covers are kind of annoying, in general. Good point. Cartoonish covers are bad for the author, in my humble opinion. Why make it obvious how narrow the audience is likely to be?

  29. Oh I'm with you, I like the blue Austenland cover.

    I just gave you an award.

  30. Chris,

    Thank you! On the covers . . . I've been thinking about it and I think the building and blue sky are more Austenish. They give Austen fans a sense of dropping into her world. The cartoonish cover kind of makes fun of Austen fandom. But, that's just my crazy thoughts. :)

  31. Hope you enjoy American Born Chinese--I've heard good things about it. I'm still really wanting to read Maus, but I can't easily find it at the bookstore (yes, I'm lazy and haven't asked yet). But I did pick up Watchmen recently and can't wait to dig in (although I'm a little intimidated by it).

  32. Trish,

    I'm still reading Fables -- it's secondary to the ARCs, so I pick it up and read a small bit, now and then. I'm looking forward to American Born Chinese, too. I used to own Maus, before graphic novels became the in thing, but I think I got rid of it. It's been around for at least 10-15 years, so that's probably why it's a wee bit harder to find. Watchmen looks kind of scary on the outside! I couldn't get past the little kid reading on the floor to pick up a copy and flip through it, last weekend. Darn. I'll look forward to seeing what you think about it.


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