Who doesn’t love book clubs? Just kidding. Kinda. We love to read, talk about what we’re reading and hear from you about what you’re reading. On our Nerdery page you can see what’s firing up our kindles right now and sometimes get updates on our favorite Xbox or board game we’ve become obsessed with. We also feature Nerdery reviews in our monthly newsletter that you can get by signing up in the right hand column of this blog.
It takes a steady hand to string together an intricately woven, deeply nuanced plot. The number of authors who can take a handful of seemingly contrived elements and produce an elegantly composed narrative admixture are few and rare. Plot-heavy literature, when it succeeds, is a wonder to behold; but in its failure, we find little to surprise us. So when I describe Kate Beaton’s Hark A Vagrant! as paean to complex plot structures and hail it as deviously devised, I hope you’ll pay attention. The book is a marvel. – GoodOKBad
You might wonder why I choose this quote to describe this book. Answer: Because hat’s what I’ve found so far. I have been deliberately slowly working my way through this collection by only allowing myself 2 pages a day. When I hit a good patch – I laugh till I cry. Sometimes not so much. But even on the bad days, I love historical humor so it makes me smile. You can read the rest of the review by clicking here. Enjoy this teaser of Beaton’s talent with this:
WHY WE LOVE IT: Whether you’re of claw, wing, or scale, fairy tales and fables never cease to warm our hearts and fill our imaginations. Every year, we look forward to Archaia’s Free Comic Book Day MOUSE GUARD short story by Eisner Award-winning creator David Petersen. Now, four of the stunningly illustrated fables are collected for the first time, alongside two brand-new MOUSE GUARD tales in a beautiful 8” x 8” hardcover.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: If you like fantasy stories that not only feature action and adventure, but also a lot of heart, you’ll instantly love MOUSE GUARD. Fans of J.K. Rowling’s THE TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD, THE STUFF OF LEGEND, or classics like WIND IN THE WILLOWS will love this collection of tales meant to be read again and again.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Every hero was once a child, listening to stories of the heroes who came before them. It is the same with the Mouse Guard. Six mouse fables are spun to a few familiar youngfurs, reminding us all to be brave, stay true to ourselves, and follow our hearts. Brand-new stories include “Service to Seyan,” set in the land where Mouse warriors travel after death, and “Oh Day Away,” a tale of the insect faeries of the Mouse world! – Comic Book Resources
The Fables Universe is already known for being pleasantly full of strong female characters, but there’s something about a book the narrows the vision in on these women that really ups the ante. Fairest could have been the fan service title, with bosomy adventures cast across time and lands (if you know what I mean), but what we got instead was a book that took that commitment to solid character and expounded upon it.
Fairest is not just a book about fairy tale women. It’s a book that repeatedly blends ethnicities with, and infuses LGBT heroes and heroines into, some of our most well-known tales. And it consistently does so in a way that is mature, clever, and entertaining. And this third story arc from the ongoing series serves up the best yet in that endeavor. – Comicosity
In her 2002 speculative novel, Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood depicted a dystopic planet tumbling toward apocalypse. The world she envisaged was in the throes of catastrophic climate change, its wealthy inhabitants dwelling in sterile secure compounds, its poor ones in the dangerous pleeblands of decaying inner cities. Mass extinctions had taken place, while genetic experiments had populated the planet with strange new breeds of animal: liobams, Mo’Hairs, rakunks. At the end of the book, we left its central character, Jimmy, in the aftermath of a devastating man-made plague, as he wondered whether to befriend or attack a ragged band of strangers. The novel seemed complete, closing on a moment of suspense, as though Atwood was content simply to hint at the direction life would now take. In her profoundly imagined new book, The Year of the Flood, she revisits that same world and its catastrophe. Like Oryx and Crake, Year of the Flood begins just after the catastrophe and then tracks back in time over the corrupt and degenerate world that preceded it. But while the first novel focused on the privileged elite in the compounds and the morally bankrupt corporations, The Year of the Flood depicts more of the world of the pleebs, an edgy no-man’s land inhabited by criminals, sex workers, dropouts and the few individuals who are trying to resist the grip of the corporations.The novel centers on the lives of Ren and Toby, female members of a fundamentalist sect of Christian environmentalists, the God’s Gardeners. Led by the charismatic Adam One, whose sermons and eco-hymns punctuate the narrative, the God’s Gardeners are preparing for life after the prophesied Waterless Flood. Atwood plays some of their religion for laughs: their hymns have a comically bouncing, churchy rhythm, and we learn that both Ren and Toby have been drawn toward the sect for nonreligious reasons. Yet the gentleness and benignity of the Gardeners is a source of hope as well as humor. As absurd as some of their beliefs appear, Atwood seems to be suggesting that they’re a better option than the naked materialism of the corporations.This is a gutsy and expansive novel, rich with ideas and conceits, but overall it’s more optimistic than Oryx and Crake. Its characters have a compassion and energy lacking in Jimmy, the wounded and floating lothario at the previous novel’s center.Each novel can be enjoyed independently of the other, but what’s perhaps most impressive is the degree of connection between them. Together, they form halves of a single epic. Characters intersect. Plots overlap. Even the tiniest details tessellate into an intricate whole. In the final pages, we catch up with Jimmy once more, as he waits to encounter the strangers. This time around, Atwood commits herself to a dramatic and hopeful denouement that’s in keeping with this novel’s spirit of redemption. – Publisher’s Weekly
What We’re Watching
Many of you are familiar with my chocolate theory. If not here’s a breakdown: If you love chocolate – like really like it than you’re OK with that waxy junky Easter Bunny chocolate that tastes more like soap than candy. It’s not the creamy, dreamy stuff you pay $25 an ounce for in schmancy Manhattan boutique stores but it’s a reminder of what you love – so you’re OK. It’s no secret we love comics and have a special place in our hearts for super heroes and the Marvel universe in particular. So even during the slow or “bad” episodes – we’ve kept going and we’re glad we did. Aliens. Heroes. Espionage. Coulson. It’s worth it… like how a chocoholic can find a place in their heart for cheap waxy chocolate. This show is our super hero fix between awesome movies.
It’s unreasonable for me to expect them to crank out good super heroes movies every few months – let alone every week and I think we’ve seen what happens when they rush things (Yes I’m calling you out Iron Man 3). So Marvel – and ya know Joss Wheedon, take your time and we’ll enjoy Agents of Shield in the meantime.
We’re watching it on Netflix and Amazon Prime with some DVRing. New episodes are on Tuesday nights 9pm on ABC.
What We’re Playing
One of the best things about being married to your best friend who shares your interests is getting them presents that you also would enjoy but in a jerk way. We’re not talking golf clubs for your tennis playing wife scenario you’ve seen in dated sitcoms here. We’re talking about an adorable game with mice fighting or escaping mystics or something… we haven’t played this game yet so I’m not 100% sure but will this weekend.
This game promises to have all the things we love about those brave and incredibly adorable rodents battling crabs, owls, cats and each other in Mouse Guard (see Annie’s Nightstand above) but in game form and we’re dying to take this game on it’s maiden voyage. Check back to get a proper review it from us. Until then you can read all about it by clicking here.