Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Null Set by Steven Seidenberg

Spooky Actions (for which I am an editor) has published a new book by Steven Seidenberg titled Null Set. It's a hand-stitched chapbook in three sections with an accordion-fold cover with art by Sarah Hobstetter. 

It's a gorgeous book with gorgeous (though sometimes disruptive, energetic, troubling ) poems which I really do think you should read! Intrigued? Click here to go to the Spooky Actions site! 

Want a copy for reviewing purposes? Send me an email! 

Monday, February 03, 2014

A brief review of the American Library Association Mid-winter 2014 Conference

I have been waiting on this post. Initially, I had intended to blog from the conference itself (which turned out to be pretty unrealistic for this humble blogger) and then to write immediately upon returning; somewhere there is a draft which is really more of a list--events, sessions, etc. And while this may be interesting to some, it obfuscates the most important lesson I took home (and no, it had nothing to do with better shoes for polar vortices--though I did overpack--in cold weather just bring warm shoes and leave it at that).

from the Latvian Society of Pennsylvania.
EveryLibrary / Mango Afterhours Film Fest
 For transparency's sake, I am a member of LITA, YALSA, AASL, GamesRT, and the New Members Round Table--which means there are usually multiple simultaneous sessions which I find interesting; there were award ceremonies and free books (thanks YALSA!), great discussions around gender and technology, work which was accomplished, and plenty of social events. Which brings me to the idea I wish to promote. In previous years, I have attended conferences, listened to really smart people, and have brought some of that experience and learning back to my community (I work at a independent high school). But thus far, I have been really more of a consumer, or, perhaps better, a messenger: I receive ideas, contain them, and ferry them back to my library.

This year, I decided to dip my toes into getting involved. And it could not have been a better choice! I wish I had done so sooner! I learned so much about the structure of ALA by attending the New Members Round Table; was excited to help plan events for the annual in Las Vegas, and was stoked to help work on a beginning stage of a youth advocacy packet with YALSA. Not only that, but attending library-related social events meant that I could meet so many interesting people who were just as interested as I am in similar things--everything from a Tublarian meet-up to a YA librarian social at the Mutter Museum to dinner with friends at great restaurants.

ALA's next conference is in Las Vegas, and if you're an information professional, not only do I think you should go, but I think you should get involved! People want to hear you, want to talk with you, and want to share ideas with you--you just have to start a conversation. And if you're going to the summer conference, let's talk!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Thor: god of thunder review

Thor: God of Thunder /
The god butcher
Collects issues #1-5
Jason Aaron & Esad Ribic
$24.99 (Hardback)
124 pages

With the popularity of Marvel Comic's movie machine, Thor is certainly gaining some readers. For those interested in what propels this character, Jason Aaron's run of Thor: God of Thunder is a great place to start. The narrative twines three versions of Thor from different times in his life. We get to know the young Thor who cannot yet lift Mjolnir, the Avenger's Thor, and finally a older almost broken Thor (now one-eyed and ruling what's left of Asgard).

These stories are held together with a villain named, rather bluntly, Gorr, but who nonetheless is an intriguing character: during one scene in which he's bound our young Asgardian hero and is busy inflicting pain, Gorr is interrupted by Thor's followers and pleads with the berserkers to not fight as he is trying to free them, insisting, "Do not throw your lives away on something as useless as a god! He isn't worth your devotion!" Gorr thinks mortals' lives would be better without any gods and all and is busy ridding the universe of what he considers a dangerous pest. As the story progresses, Aaron deftly builds our sympathy while balancing the actual atrocity of this character's actions--intent and impact on a cosmic scale.

Supporting Aaron's writing is Esad Ribic's art (who some may recognize from Wolverine, Loki, and Uncanny X-Force). His work here is impressive--adeptly shifting perspectives and including enough detail to encourage looking again without drowning the composition. Colorists Dean White and Ive Svorcina need a shout here as well as coloring is gorgeous.

While the first trade-paperback is a pretty fast read, the series is in-depth and worth checking-out, and is a good addition to your library's (or your own) collection.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Review of Yolotl

Jenny Drai over at Stiched, Stapled, Bound has written a terrific review of Yolotl by Lourdes Figueroa that y'all should definitely check out!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review of Battling Boy by Paul Pope

image from battling boy

Battling Boy 
By Paul Pope
202 pages
First Second 2013
Ages: 12 - 112   

Paul Pope is one of the rawk stars of the comic book world. One of his first works, THB, blended a manga pace with a continental flair, and since then he's definitely honed this aesthetic and narrative style. What really excites me about Battling Boy, besides being a complete Paul Pope vehicle published in quite a while, is the unabashed youthful quality of the book. While many of Pope's other titles deal with sometimes pretty adult themes (I'm thinking of you 100% and Heavy Liquid), Battling Boy immediately announces itself as a story for kids, but still enjoyable for readers who enjoy a loose expressive and fast-paced style twined with an adventure / coming -of-age narrative.  And for those of us a little older it's also a lot of fun to just look through the book and be reminded of all those awesome 70s record album-covers! 

Battling Boy is actually a young god, or perhaps a demigod, who on his thirteenth birthday is dropped off on an earth that is similar to ours yet beset by monsters. As Battling Boy's dad puts it, "...grim for now a plague of monstrosities pours down upon her [Arcopolis], battering her buttresses under abusive burden." (A lot of alliteration there, and perhaps a little over-wrought but I keenly recall noticing the differences in vernacular between adults in my life and myself. Plus his dad looks even more heavy-metal than Thor.) Like many current YA dystopian narratives,Battling Boy begins with the death of a hero, and while this early tragedy is perhaps a little easy, it does set the tone so that we understand that at least some of the monsters, despite looking a little silly, mean business. As well, it provides a plausible narrative for the next hero, Aurora Haggard. Anyway, our young hero is given several t-shirts each with a different beast upon it (an orangutan, t-rex, fox, etc.) which imparts a particular strength; yet when BB first encounters a large car-devouring monster he is tossed around like a doll and must surreptitiously call upon his father for help. From here, the narrative takes off and nicely sets up future volumes. There's a lot to discover in Battling Boy and it bears multiple reading.  It's a great book, and I highly recommend giving it a read or adding it to your collection.