Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"The Walking Dead, Volume 15: We Find Ourselves" by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard

132 pages

All of the things that had been building up in the preceding issues kind of blew up at the end of the last volume. In this one, which includes issues #85-90, zombies have broken through the barriers and some important characters have been injured, while others didn't make it at all. Just as the community is trying to settle down and take care of the casualties, Nicholas begins to question Rick's leadership and stir up trouble. Somehow, even after all these issues, the series is staying fresh and interesting for me. I feel like something big--a pivotal point in the plot--is coming soon and I can't wait to see what it is!

"The Walking Dead, Volume 14: No Way Out" by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Arlard

136 pages

Issues #79-84 of the popular Walking Dead comic series are collected in this trade paperback. This volume finds the community of Alexandria becoming increasingly unstable. The residents have just recently fended off the attack of a vicious group looking to take over their fortress, and this weakens the barriers holding the undead back. Meanwhile, cold weather is coming, and food stores are getting love. One of the community members is stabbed and robbed during a run for supplies, making everyone feel even more anxious about storing things up for winter and reminding them how dangerous things still are outside the town's borders. And, as things go downhill, it becomes clear that there's plenty of danger within Alexandria as well. As always, this series had me anxiously flipping through the pages, eager for more. I'm almost caught up with the series now, and I don't know what I'm going to do when I have wait for them to come out one by one. Some aspects are starting to become predictable, but there's still plenty to keep me on my toes.

"Horoscopes for the Dead" by Billy Collins

103 pages

Collins, who was the United State Poet Laureate from 2001-2003, has always entertained me, but I was a little bit disappointed with this collection. He's still accessible and writes poems that are funny and simple but still meaningful. I appreciate that, because a lot of poetry is over my head and I just don't "get" it. "Horoscopes for the Dead," however, maybe goes too far with the simplicity. There just weren't as many poems that stood out to me and made me think as there are in the other collections of his that I've read. Nevertheless, there are a few really good ones. The title poem is one of my favorites. It's one of the more thoughtful, somber ones...and then you turn the page and find "Hell," a humorous one that compares hell to shopping for a mattress at the mall. I like the way that he mixes it up like that; the contrast makes the emotions feel more intense. The collection was definitely worth reading, but I don't think it's Collins' best work and I hope he rebounds with the next book.

Monday, November 14, 2011

"Across the Universe" by Beth Revis

398 pages

In the not-so-distant future, 17-year-old Amy, along with her parents, is cryogenically frozen and placed on Godspeed, a vast spaceship headed for a distant planet. The plan is for them to arrive in 300 years and colonize the new planet. However, something goes terribly wrong. Someone unknown unfreezes Amy 49 years too early. She would have died in her own container of unthawed fluid if she hadn't been discovered and saved by Elder, the boy her age who will one day become the new leader of the ship. In chapters alternating between the point of view of Amy and that of Elder, the two race to figure out who among the ship's 3000 residents would want to kill her--and they have to hurry, because more and more of the frozen people on board are being thawed and left to die, and Amy's parents could be next.

I really like the premise of this book and its sci-fi action had me turning the pages quickly. I had trouble feeling connected to the characters, though, especially Amy. It's hard for me to pinpoint the reason, but I feel like there's something missing there. We don't see much about her personality except determination--she just wakes up and hits the ground running, trying to uncover the mysteries of the ship. I like the strength of her character, but I wish we got to know the other parts of her as well. Overall, though, I really enjoyed this book, and I recommend it for those who like the fun, flashy parts of science fiction but get bored with lots of technical details.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bossypants by Tina Fey

I just realized I put the picture for the audiobook here...maybe I should have listened to it, but I'd probably still be laughing because just reading it was great!  I really like Tina Fey...she's kind of one of my heroes.  She seems so normal but she's brilliant.  Her "Things I Learned from Lorne Michaels" list has implications for anyone working with anyone else and the chapter entitled, "The Mother's Prayer for Its Daughter" is laugh out loud funny while being true, so very true. The stuff she wrote about her dad has just the right amount of reverence and humor. It's nice to read a celebrity book that doesn't cannonize or demonize the parents.
In short, the book is a nice, relaxing, enjoyable break from reading the hard stuff but it isn't stupid candy.  It's more like a beautifully decorated birthday cake made from the finest ingredients.  Enjoy!
Kim F
275 pp