July 24, 2008

You Asked; I'll Tell

So many questions on that last post! I haven't gotten to all of them yet, but here are some preliminary answers.

Eva says:
You make me feel so much better about having 56 to be reviewed! Most people only had a few on their list. :)

A ha ha. Why yes, they did. I will assume that I read more books, since it's so obvious that I'm not just super lazy at reviewing. Ahem.

Eva also asked some other stuff:
What did you think about Asleep? I’ve been thinking about reading Banana Yoshimoto for awhile, mainly because of her name, lol.

Asleep was interesting. Like most of the books I've read that have been translated from the Japanese, the language was very formal -- I'm not sure if that's a translation thing or a Japanese writing thing. It was a pretty quick read; it's a shortish book and it's split into three separate stories, each focusing on a different young woman with some sleep wackiness going on. I sent the book to someone so I'll have to see if I can just remember, but I think the stories are about a woman who starts sleepwalking after a breakup, a woman who's having an affair with a man whose wife is in a coma, and a woman who believes she is being haunted in her sleep by another woman with whom she used to share (yes: share) a man. Asleep is pretty weird, actually. But it's an enjoyable sort of weird. I'd recommend it.

It might also be worth pointing that I also started reading Banana Yoshimoto because of her name. Best pseudonym ever? I think so.

Jackie asked,
I’ve seen the trailers for V for Vendetta and it looks really good. Is the novel better than the movie? Did the produces stick pretty close to the book? How would you describe this novel to someone who hasn’t come across it before?

I haven't see the movie version of V for Vendetta either, so I can't really answer the first part of this question. But my brother did! Here's his take:
The graphic novel is better than the movie. The movie is also really good, and sticks fairly closely to the story. It does cut a few minor plotlines (mainly for time reasons), but it’s still quite good.

For the most overall enjoyment, I’d suggest seeing the movie first, and then reading the graphic novel. That way, you won’t be disappointed with the changes the movie makes.

Thanks, dude. As to the last part of Jackie's question, I'm not sure how I would describe the novel to someone who hadn't come across it. That would depend on whether they were familiar with graphic novels in general, I think -- because if not, then you have to start at the beginning ("Okay, so it's like a comic book, but really thick, and not really a comic book because it's all wordy and has more plot, but there are still lots of pictures, you should see the way the setting is set with just a single panel sometimes...").

But if they were familiar with the genre, that's more to build on. And then I'd have to start using words like "dystopia" and "alternate history" and "gritty" and "dark" and "deeply disturbing, but also kind of weirdly inspiring." It's definitely literature that makes you think. And I'll warn those who are usually called "more sensitive readers": the "graphic" in "graphic novel" is, in this case, apt on several different levels.

Nymeth had a follow-up V for Vendetta question:
Also, do you think that V for Vendetta would be a good introduction to Alan Moore?

This is the first Alan Moore I've ever read -- so I have to say yes!

bkclubcare asked about my reading habits:
I see a lot by same authors - do you plan it that way or just get on a roll and can’t stop? I personally have to switch it up and do not like to see trends in style - it makes me analyze the author rather than the story.

It's a combination of planning and inertia, I think. With some authors, there's a definite pattern: Terry Pratchett is the most obvious example. We only discovered Pratchett in my house last Christmas (I know! Such literary deprivation!) and at least three of us are bound and determined to read them all. We've made a good dent, I think!

Sometimes it's a lot more random. There's all of the first part of the Chronicles of Amber on my list; I decided to reread the series on a whim and knocked them all back in two days. There's a lot of Elizabeth George up there as well; when I helped a friend move some months ago I got to pick through the books she didn't want anymore. I like mysteries and so I jump-started my George reading that way. Since then I've picked a few up second-hand, one new, and read another one or two that are in our office library. So I've read a lot of her books, but I've read them piecemeal.

As well, I'm doing an English degree, and a lot of the books I read are on compulsory reading lists. I still take pleasure in reading most of them -- but all the same, I have to do it!

Speaking of series, Joanne wants to know,
What a fantastic list - you have a lot of Discworld novels there so I’m assuming you would recommend it as a good series to read, but is it necessary to read them in order?

Not at all! In fact, I would recommend skipping The Colour of Magic entirely, or at least holding off on it for a good long while. It's funny but it's not nearly as good or as funny or as smart as Pratchett's later work, and I think that if you read it first you might get a skewed impression of what Discworld books are like. I've read them all completely out of order, and I don't think I've suffered for it. They all stand alone very well. If you'd like to start reading Pratchett, I'd personally recommend any of the following as good places to start: Night Watch, Soul Music, Jingo, Feet of Clay, or Monstrous Regiment. But actually, just read any of them. Read them! They're so good!

(Incidentally, this is probably why I don't review Pratchett very often: because most of the time I think it would just turn into AAAAAA TERRY PRATCHETT IS A GENIUS HE MAKES ME LOL SO MUCH ROFL ROFL ROFL. Which is not particularly informative.)

So that's part one! I hope to answer more questions over the next few days -- and write some longer reviews as requested. And if there's more you want to know, it's not too late to ask (on this post, or that post, or any other really).

2 comments:

bkclubcare said...

Great post. To be honest, Pratchett didn't mean anything to me before I read this - now those books will be making my tbr. thank you.

Eva said...

Belated comment, due to no internet and feeling icky, BUT I totally think it's because we read more! And Banana Yoshimoto is definitely the best pseudonym ever. I actually like the formality of most of the Japanese books I've read (Norwegian Wood didn't seem formal to me), so I'll be checking this one out. Thanks. :)