Sunday, January 19, 2014

4. Hard Ground by Tom Waits and Michael O'Brien

Hard Ground by Tom Waits and Michael O'Brien

5/5 It was Excellent!

Easily one of the most powerful books I have experienced. The subject matter is not easy but the photography captures it with perfection and with a soul that words could never do justice. I came across this initially because of the tie to Tom Waits, who contributes some solid poetry, but O'Brien's photography is the standout. This is a book every person should see and feel. I can't give it higher praise.

3. Parker: Slayground by Darwyn Cooke

Parker: Slayground by Darwyn Cooke

2.5/5 It was OK

This was a weak showing. I hate to say it, because I love everything about every aspect of this series and Darwyn Cooke's art is always spot-on, but this was just not up to par with the previous books. Not by a long shot. It feels rushed and nothing is allowed to develop or breathe and when you step back the actual plot is so very thin and basic that it would barely make a good one-shot monthly comic of twenty pages or so. Definitely a rare miss. The art is good but I also found it lacking in places which is even more rare. Worth reading if you are a fan of the series but hard to justify a purchase.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2. Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle

Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle

4.5/5 It was great!

I'm a massive Guy Delisle fan, and this book is easily tied for one of my favorites of his. It is a bit longer and covers a little more than usual since instead of him making the journey alone to work on a project he is a passenger along with his wife who is traveling to Burma to work for Doctors Without Borders. He also has his young son in tow which doesn't add a ton but does add another dimension. The artwork is on point as always and his minimalism and attention to detail at the same time is in perfect balance here. Definitely check this out!

Monday, January 6, 2014

1. Goliath by Tom Gauld

Goliath by Tom Gauld

 3/5 It was OK.

  The artwork is solid as always from Tom Gauld, but the story just doesn't quite do enough. It is a great concept and executed well in a very minimal and beautiful way. It is definitely worth checking out but not his finest work.

2013 Wrap-up

I failed to keep up my list last year but I did log most in GoodReads so here is the link to the 44 books I read in 2013:

I plan on not just keeping up in 2014 but to exceed 52 books! Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

9. Life on a Rock

Life on a Rock by K. A. Albury

I read a lot of travelogues and have traveled to similar places myself so I was very interested to read this book when I stumbled upon it, unfortunately it didn't live up to what I had hoped for. A number of the exceedingly high reviews and comments come from people that seem to know Mrs. Albury personally, and I have to say that probably has an effect on their ratings. As a completely objective reader I did find the writing to be just OK, more in line with a travel journal a family member might write on vacation than anything. It also must be noted that much of the book really goes nowhere or accomplishes anything of real value, and many stories abruptly end or major events that get built up to and then are never explained. There are some small vignettes of specific events and happenings that are very engrossing and enjoyable, exciting even, but they are few and far between and get mired in a lot of repetitive bits. It also is very hard for an unbiased reader to not pick up on some glaring issues and themes. These are relatively well-off people that are not used to manual labor and actual work, and for all of the complaining and whinging it is hard to feel sympathetic. The author attempts to portray herself as a sympathetic figure but it just falls entirely flat. There are complaints about money throughout being tight but they buy a 19' Mako boat on a whim, take trips all over the place, own a horse, fly whenever/wherever they want, and more. It really is just a rich couple having to live like normal people, and still far above the level of most around them. That brings me to my next issue, and one another reviewer of this book mentioned. The portrayal and attitude towards the local staff members comes off very poorly. I won't go so far as to say racist as someone else did but that isn't far off. This book has some good aspects to it but on the whole it is tedious and tiresome and there are just so many truly wonderful books in this genre that it isn't worth the effort. 2/5 (Poor)

8. An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington

An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington by Karl Pilkington

An Idiot Abroad is an excellent show that I can't recommend highly enough to everyone. Rarely does a show consistently make me laugh so hard that I have to pause multiple times, every single episode. I also adore travelogues and love to experience new places and cultures myself. I received this book as a gift and had no idea what to expect going into it. Unfortunately it doesn't hit the same beats as the show in text. There were a few laugh out loud moments but few and far between and the whole thing seems a bit hastily thrown together, which I'm sure it was. Pages upon pages of filler phone conversations transcribed and some bits used and re-used in the text turned me off a bit. It does offer a little insight to some behind the scenes happenings during filming as well as some adventures that didn't make it to air but again it feels a little weak when all is said and done. It is an OK quick read for fans of the show, but I wouldn't go out of my way to read it. 3/5 (Good)