Thursday, 7 July 2016

My last 5 books: Biographies, comics, classics, and Japanese

1. J.K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter, by Marc Shapiro.
This is an unauthorized biography, which means that Shapiro has taken every interview and news snippet he could find and pieced together the story of J.K. Rowling and how Harry Potter became the phenomenon that it is. I have the updated version which was published just after the release of Deathly Hallows in 2007. As much as I know about Harry Potter and his fictional world, by reading this I discovered that I didn't know much about Rowling and I enjoyed getting to know her (albeit through the eyes of another). The book was alright, though it contained a few things that were obviously nothing but speculation on the author's part. It was also obvious that it was written so that the many children who enjoy Harry Potter could enjoy it. The language was simple, which felt very unprofessional after coming directly from an adult biography about Alice Cooper. But I really did enjoy reading it.

2. Alice Cooper: Golf Monster, by Alice Cooper with Keith & Kent Zimmerman.
My second Alice Cooper biography and I liked this one a lot more than Welcome to My Nightmare. In general they both talked about the same things. But Golf Monster was written with the help of the man himself and so it feels more personal and it has more details than Welcome to My Nightmare. Golf Monster stayed on the course of Coop's life, while Welcome to My Nightmare strayed into the changing music scene over the decades and started describing how that affected Alice. Which was interesting as well, but not nearly as much as reading about him. I haven't read many biographies, but this is the best one I've read!

3. Fables: The Deluxe Edition, vol 1, by Bill Willingham.
I got interested in reading the comics after I played Telltale's The Wolf Among Us. The game is based off the comics. I found this at Swedish Comic Con in Stockholm about 2 years ago and bought it then, but I haven't gotten around to reading it until now. The comics are very good and I didn't want to put it down once I started. I know a lot of fairy tales, but there are some nursery rhymes that have never been translated to Swedish (simply because they don't work in translation) and so I was never introduced to them growing up. So I know the fairy tale characters (even the slightly obscure ones like Rose Red), but I know hardly any nursery rhyme characters. I loved the relationship portrayed between Snow White and Rose Red, and I also enjoyed discovering how the relationship between Snow and Bigby differed between the comics and the game. I'm definitely looking forward to picking up the next volume!

4. The Three Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas.
This was a major project. When my grandmother moved from her big house to a small flat, she gave away a lot of her things to her family and to charity. I picked up this beautiful collection of the Three Musketeers translated into Swedish in the early 60s, so the language is somewhat old-timey but not really old style. Does that make sense? I started reading this in May and I finished just last week. I was half expecting the books to be dull (French writers were really ruined in my eyes after university French), but they turned out to be very exciting and I couldn't put them down. I remember watching the movie (The Man with the Iron Mask) when I was little and my favourite back then was D'Artagnan, but after reading the books my favourite became Athos. Also because of the movie, every time the books mentioned Porthos I got a picture of Gerard Depardieu in my head. I originally thought the 16 books were parts of the same book (Les Misérables was 2000 pages long so...), so imagine my surprise when in book 6 everything starts to pan out and be resolved and there's an epilogue! I continued reading the books of course and realised that the other 10 books were part of the sequel Twenty Years After. The suddenly new setting messed with me, and to begin with I really didn't like the new setup, but it grew on me and after a while I was back to not wanting to stop reading. Checking it out on wikipedia made me realise that there's actually another story that takes place 10 years later. I don't think I'll be able to find it as part of my beautiful collection, but now I just really want the last part.

5. Durarara!!, vol 1, by Akiyo Satorigi.
I watched a few episodes of this anime back in 2010 and it grew on me. So when I found the manga in Japanese I decided to read it. My general opinion is that "maybe it gets better in the next volume". This first volume was basically just an introduction to the characters, and while the characters are interesting it became a mess to keep the names apart after such short introductions. It sets the stage that something is off in Ikebukuro, and presents the mystery that is the Black Biker. This volume is just a major stage setting, if the story kicks off in the second volume it will probably be better.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Three Musketeers, I really need to reread it. I've seen Man in the Iron Mask more times than I can count (I mean, it's almost embarrassing), and I loooved the Three Musketeers Musical that ran a couple of years back, but for some reason I've only read the book once. Maybe that should be another summer project ...


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