July 04, 2004
A few weeks ago my parents had some folks over for dinner and I got to meet Walter Wick, the person responsible for the I, Spy and Can You See What I See? books. One topic that night was 'What is art?' and at one point we got to talking about comics and manga. He asked me if I'd read Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. I'd heard numerous people I know discuss it, but I'd never actually picked it up. So at his recommendation I picked it up a few days later.
The first surprise I got was that the whole book is written in the style of a comic. For some reason, I hadn't expected it (though it makes perfect sense). McCloud first asks "Just what is comics?" and the follows it up with a history of comics and look at just what it is that makes this art form special. The thing I really liked is that it felt like more than a book about comics. After reading this I felt like I had a deeper understanding of both art and storytelling. And I think the chapter discussing time and that space between the frames of a comic was the one that struck me the most. But the beauty of this book is how it slowly takes apart what makes a comic and then shows you how it all works together.
So even if you've never picked up a comic book in your life. Or think there isn't much too them. I recommend this book. Now I've just got to see if I can get my mom to read it. And I think I've also got to read Will Eisner's Comics & Sequential Art.
January 15, 2004
Getting back up to date
I kind of forgot this page existed for a while. But was reminded of it upon discovering Allconsuming.net, which lets me track the books I'm reading currently. And I did finish Hard Boiled Wonderland and loved it. I remember that it didn't end the way I expected, which I liked a lot.
August 03, 2003
Hard Boiled Wonderland - Initial Impressions
One thing I've decided to do with this book blog is to use it for more than reviews. I'd like to also write about books while I'm reading them, as well as note books that I'm interested in reading. This post is my first try at the first of those ideas.
I believe I first became aware of Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami from one of Piro's posts over on MegaTokyo. The book supposedly was an influence for a wonderful anime series titled Haibane Renmei and so far I can already see the influence of the book on it.
So far I'm completely entranced by the book. At the moment there seem to be two different stories being told. The first takes place in (I think) the near future and has to do with this guy who 'launders numbers' and this strange old scientist he's doing work for. The second takes place in this remote village in some fantasy world. I really haven't read much about the village lately so I'm still getting a feel for that story line. I'm sure the two storylines with relate to each other, but I just haven't quite gotten far enough into it yet to see how.
One thing that has really caught me about the book so far is his writing style. There's something very intriguing in it that just draws you right in. The book starts off with one of the characters on an elevator. An elevator that is moving so slowly he can't tell if he's going up or down. And within just the first few pages I had a very vivid image of what this elevator looked like, and every scene afterwards felt the same way. Many times when reading a book I have a hard time visualizing the settings. I get a rough idea of what they look like, but it tends to be fairly nondescript. So far that has not been the case here, which is probably another reason I've found the book so enthralling.
One last note I'll make is that this is a translated work. And it has me wanting to learn to read japanese even more than before. Someday.
July 27, 2003
The other night I finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Overall I thought the book was pretty good, though I really think she could have shortened it by a bit. The only thing I can imagine is that a lot of the little details she set up in the book are things that will be addressed in one of the next books. One thing I did like is that she really has made her world into quite a dark place. Well, it was getting dark by the end of the last book, but definitely got darker in this one.
On the things I didn't like. There were lots of things that happened in the book that just felt too obvious. I wasn't really surprised by much of anything (as I was in the last book). This one also just felt a little weaker than the last one. Even though you find out a lot about why things are happening by the end of the book, it just didn't really wow me.
Overall, if you're a fan of the series it is a pretty good book. Even if I didn't find it as engaging as the last one.