Book Haul… whoo

A colleague of mine discovered that there was a big book sale being held just a few minute drive from our office, so we decided to venture over after work one day this week. It was one of those big “library sale” type charity sales with tons of tables, thousands of books, and just about as many readers looking for a deal. Unfortunately I wasn’t savvy enough to remember to take pictures or video of the experience. But, I should at least be able to show you the spoils!

I went, of course, in hopes that I’d find some manga. I didn’t. That was disappointing. But, I did find 1 graphic novel:

“The Sculptor” by Scott McCleod. I hate to say that the only graphic novel I’ve read by this creator is still his non-fiction title about comic books and graphic novels “Understanding Comics”. I’ve been wanting to read anything else of his since… and that was probably over a decade ago. This is one I’ve heard great things about, and it was in perfect condition. Plus, I only paid about $2 for it which, frankly, is a steal! I couldn’t pass it up!

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I’m participating in a graphic novel readathon, called PanelAThon, at the end of the month which this is a good candidate for. Although, now that I think about it… I might also have about 50 holds at the library for other graphic novels I’m currently interested in reading…

Did I mention that I’m in the mood to read right now?? This is a phenomena I haven’t experienced in a few years. I really don’t feel like doing anything else. I just want to read. I want to read everything. And, I want to read it all right now. I think this is the form that my mid-life crisis is going to be taking… I guess it could be worse!

I did get a handful of Japanese art and language books as well. They aren’t the most current books (At least the art books aren’t), but they are actually all really intriguing… at least, if you’re an art nerd like me.

I broke up a nice looking “Art of the World” series that had several books focusing on different cultures for this one on Japan. There’s quite a lot of colour plates in this book, and there seems to actually be a decent amount of text, so I’m hopeful to learn something new.

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“Japanese Art” and “Oriental Lacquer” both feature a lot of full colour plates, which is very gratifying. There’s a lot less text in the Lacquer book, and it focuses more generally on East Asia, particularly Chinese lacquer. I think if neither have enough good information in them, they’ll still be pretty nice to cut up and use in paper crafts…

The Japanese language book “Jazz Up Your Japanese with Onomatopoeia” by Hiroki Fukuda is actually a book I’ve been wanting to own, but I believe the last time I looked on amazon, it was out of print. This particular series of Kodansha language books are my absolute favourite English-to-Japanese language resources.

Lastly, I bought three, kind of, wild cards: “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck. I have read MOST of “East of Eden” and have been hoping to read more by this author. Actually, I had no idea that this book was as long as it is. It, like “The Sculptor” is in perfect condition. It doesn’t look like it’s been read, and it hasn’t yellowed at all, so I figured it would do alright on my shelves.

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“The Cosy Tea Shop in the Castle” by Caroline Roberts is probably the most outside my wheelhouse in this haul. I just wanted something random, and silly… and the plot of this sounds like just that. A girl opens a tea shop in a castle which has a very grumpy owner/Lord… who she will sweeten up by the charm of her cupcakes (not a euphemism). Haha. I can’t even. It sounds so corny. I love it. I expect I’ll give it a quick read before it gets a new home.

The last is the most unique title “What We  See When We Read” by Peter Mendelsund. It is a mix of text and illustrations, and appears to be an examination of the reading experience. How do people read? What influences their experience reading? Why does someone see different things in books? If it’s as good as I hope, then it will be a fascinating experience. Sometimes these more “philosophical” examinations of experience are just a bunch of gibberish. I’m crossing my fingers for this one!

So, that’s it. It only cost me about $25 (Canadian), which is fantastic! Especially considering that May is often my most expensive month.

I’m actually expecting to go to another similar sale next week and am expecting many more comics. I’ve also got an order in at Book Outlet for more books…not manga.

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I’m excited about all this new reading I’m going to be doing.

So, of course I can’t end this without a little question:

What is the last book (not manga) that you bought and are really excited to read?

Quick Thoughts On: A Girl Called Echo, volume 2 by Katherena Vermette

Red River Resistance

Red River Resistance by Katherena Vermette

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This title is an absolute must for any school library or public library in Canada. With the 150th anniversary of the Red River resistance occurring in 2019, and the major focus of the Canadian government on reconciliation, this comic couldn’t have come at a better time. I am so pleased to be finding so many new comics and graphic novels by indigenous creators, and the fact that is title focuses on Métis history is fantastic!

This title is the second in a series about a young Métis girl, Echo, who finds herself in some sort of foster care. While there she is attending high school and “experiencing” the history of the past, most notably the events surrounding the controversial and tumultuous Red River resistance.

I did read the first volume of this series, and I was very excited about this next installment. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I think my main problem is that this seems to be focusing on telling the story of the Red River resistance very quickly, but in doing so, it has forgotten to develop the characters. It also takes for granted that you have some background in this history.

Sadly, this means that the characters are little more than shells. Even the main character, Echo has less than a personality. I feel like she was beginning to be explored in the first volume, but her personality just fell flat in this one. There is so much more that could be done with this story without exaggerating or undermining the important history that is being explored. I wanted so much more!

Because of this, I feel like it’ll lose some of its audience. This comes off more as an educational work, and less as something to pick up for pleasure. However, as an educational work it is invaluable, and would do very well to be included as supplemental material in Canadian elementary and high school classrooms.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing a digital copy for review.



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Review: The Tipping Point / by Naoki Urasawa (and others)

The Tipping PointThe Tipping Point

by Naoki Urasawa et. al.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a mixed bag for me, but that makes a lot of sense considering how many artists were involved in the creation of the work. I’m not going to go too into detail of each story, just that I enjoyed the art in about 80% of the stories… and I enjoyed the stories (or at least appreciated) the stories in about 40% of the works.

I didn’t do any research into this work before I bought it. None. So, I was a bit surprised to find that it wasn’t a single work by Naoki Urasawa. Unfortunately, his was not the strongest work in the compilation. So, I guess it’s good that there were other creators involved.

By far my favourite titles were:
Hanako’s Fart / Taiyo Matsumoto
The Awakening / Emmanuel LePage
The Child / Bastien Vives
Fish / Keiichi Koike

The production though, was very beautiful. Thick glossy pages. Large trim size.

It’s strange to me to read Japanese works in the English left to right orientation, but that’s the nature of compilations. I’m glad to see a work like this that takes creators from all over the world and puts them next to each other. I don’t know too many other publications that do the same.