Aardy R. DeVarque (aardy) wrote,
Aardy R. DeVarque

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Books that I read in August

Books that I read in August:

53. Miltz, Stephen & Wayne Miltz. Crazy Things Parents Text (333 p.)

54. Stasheff, Christopher. The Warlock Unlocked (Warlock series) (282 p.)

55. Stasheff, Christopher. The Warlock Enraged (Warlock series) (251 p.)

56. Cook, Robin. Coma (309 p.)

57. Cline, Ernest. Ready Player One (374 p.)

58. Baltazar, Art & Falco. Aw Yeah Titans! (Tiny Titans) (128 p.)

August total: 1,677 pages
2013 YTD total: 19,644 pages

Crazy Things Parents Text is exactly what it says on the tin; funny, embarrassing, clueless, or otherwise crazy things found in IM conversations between parents & their children.

The Warlock Unlocked takes our hero plus three of his four children to an alternate dimension where he meets his dimensional doppelgänger and learns how to work "magic" himself as part of his attempt to both save the country from the forces of evil in this dimension, but also find his way home and save that country from an attempt by the Church to stage an armed insurrection akin to the wars fought between the Pope & the Holy Roman Empoeror in our own history. Good stuff, especially working in the extra characters of his family without losing or overly diffusing the focus of the main protagonist--a lesson a lot of fantasy & science fiction authors could stand to learn & practice.

The Warlock Enraged manages to retread the series' standard plot of "time-travellers from the future are trying to mess up the quasi-medieval fantasy present and only Our Hero stands in their way" while adding enough changes to keep it interesting. Case in point, instead of Our Hero flying pretty much solo except for his robotic Horse Friday, now (as with the previous book) for most of the story he has his very capable wife & four children along for the ride, helping him out. It's refreshing to have a character happily married and raising a family over the course of a series, without being fairly quickly broken up to return to the status quo--or in this case, he's having difficulties because of some pretty serious anger-management issues that may or may not be caused by outside influence, but most importantly, he's actively trying to deal with his problems and his family stands by him.

I dimly remember seeing the movie version of Coma years ago, and decided to take a crack at the book. It's very good and could almost take place in the current day, except the blatant misogyny on the part of some characters probably would be a lot more subtle now, and several scenes would have to be totally reworked to account for cell phones, the Internet, and modern computers.

If you're a child of the late 70's & early 80's and feel gobs & gobs of nostalgia for movies like Star Wars, WarGames, & The Breakfast Club, music by Rush & Duran Duran, and computer games like Zork & Pac-Man, then you absolutely must read Ready Player One at some point. Take Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, The Westing Game, The Matrix, and World of Warcraft, and a metric truckload of 80's pop culture & the 70's pop culture that was still considered "cool" in the 80's, put them in a blender, and you get Ready Player One.

Aw Yeah Titans! is more fun with the Tiny Titans. I enjoyed it, but I think that, despite being an Eisner winner for "Best Publication for Kids", the Tiny Titans series sometimes has some serious flaws that act as major roadblocks for enjoyment by kids rather than by adults who are still kids at heart. Most important are: sometimes requiring detailed knowledge of 1960s & 1970s Teen Titans continuity in order to understand why the juxtaposition inherent in the situation & characters on which a joke is built is funny, and sometimes using words that many or most kids of the age the artwork is aimed at will stumble over and which they can't easily work through to figure out pronunciation from sounding out & meaning from context. I tried reading some of this book with my daughter (who's 5 & a half, fairly bright for her age, and has been reading since she was 3), and that's how I discovered that the stumbling blocks really are stumbling blocks--she started out liking it, but kept asking who the characters were, why they were doing what they were doing, and what those long words meant; to the point where she fairly quickly got tired of it and asked to read the DC Super Pets stories instead--which are by same artist, have the same level & type of humor, but are written specifically for children to read. In short this is good, clean fun, but probably will be best appreciated by adults who are nostalgic for the 1970s and kids somewhat older than my daughter--but not too much older, as then they may be turned off by the artwork that comes off as "for little kids".

Feudalism: Serf & Turf
Tags: books, reviews

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