Lawless March 11, 2010Posted by huymix in Books.
Tags: Criminal, Heroes World, Lawless, Markham, Tracy Lawless
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I’ve only recently been back to reading any graphic novels and “Lawless” has been one of the best I’ve read so far. My approach has been just to go to my local shop (Heroes World in Markham! Say hello to Andre and Jon if you plan on stopping by) and asking for any recommendations. I really liked this book because:
- It’s got a noire/Dirty Harry/Payback feel to the action. Very intense, short bursts of violence followed with a lot of character.
- It does not unfold the way I thought it would. Seriously, I’ve seen enough that I’m not surprised very often. The way the book ended I did not expect and was happy that it ended that way. For the main character, Tracy Lawless, a formulaic ending would just seem wrong.
- No baggage on or off the ride. What I mean is I went in with no real preconceived notion of expectation and left without having to remember the fine details for other books. Sometimes it’s nice to have a self-contained story like that.
While I trust Andre and Jon with their recommendations, I was initially skeptical when I got this book. After reading “Lawless” I know to almost completely trust their judgment. Pick this book up and enjoy the ride.
The Killing Joke March 9, 2010Posted by huymix in Books.
Tags: Batman, DC Comics, The Joker, The Killing Joke
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This week I have a theme of comic book compilations otherwise known as graphic novels. One of the most discussed graphic novels is “The Killing Joke” because:
- It reveals the “origin” of the Joker (at least to the extent people accept this version). It’s not just the reveal but how the Joker reacts and flashes back to his origin. It’s almost to the point of making him a sympathetic character. Almost.
- It’s not actually very violent. Sometimes I think fights are just ways of having pretty panels without having the work of story. Sometimes that’s awesome and what you want, and in other times violence in a measured thoughtful way is better. The Killing Joke definitely has its share of violence but it is in service to the character and the story.
- Ambiguity, the idea that the Joker brings up that he and the Batman are really just 2 lunatics but one likes to think he’s rational is not a terribly new idea. However, the book does have a highly debatable ending. Much like the ending of the Sopranos, it’s up to you to decide how this went. Sometimes this is frustrating but I think the ambiguity fits.
In some ways I think the Joker you saw in “The Dark Knight” is inspired by the Joker in “The Killing Joke”. As great as Heath Ledger’s performance is in the Dark Knight, I feel like I understand the Joker character even better after reading The Killing Joke. Definitely give this book a read, it’s short but sweet.
1984 (Book) July 30, 2009Posted by huymix in Books.
Tags: 1984, Big Brother, classic novel, Conspiracy, fiction, George Orwell, hippies, Inner Party, Lord of the Rings, outer party
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I’ve always heard people talk about how great 1984 was and I never really understood why. I mean, I understood they really believed it was good, but I suppose it was never properly articulated to me why I should read or care about 1984. Having recently finished 1984 I can say these are the reasons why I enjoyed it so much:
- Its fast paced. So the timeline of the story does occur over a while, but the plot does not seem to linger too long (ahem Lord of the Rings).
- The visuals. So maybe visuals is not the right word, imagery is probably accurate. There are many stark icons in 1984 that I almost dread watching the movie because I don’t want to see another persons version of any icon (the poster, the viewscreens, the giant pyramids full of inner party people, etc.)
- It parodies groups I do not like. What I’ve taken away from all of the descriptions of the book is that it has parodies of certain groups’ beliefs. Specifically, conspiracy theorists and hippies. What I mean is, George Orwell’s description for a huge government conspiracy in 1984 to change information or make stuff up is so ridiculous that it is a parody. Also, the ideas that capitalism is evil and how the government was able to form the way it did on the basis of pretty much hippie talk is also a parody. In case you didn’t know, I’m not a fan of either conspiracy people or hippies.
Much is made of the ending to 1984 with good reason. Unfortunately, I don’t believe I should recommend you read a whole book on the basis of its ending. Rather, the road to the ending in 1984 (i.e. the book) is by itself worth your time. Some people read this book in connection with high school, if you did not, try to make this a book you actually read instead of one you always meant to read.
No Logo March 16, 2009Posted by huymix in Books.
Tags: Naomi Klein, No Logo
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I haven’t finished reading this book. I’m about let’s say 200 or so pages in. Despite the grade, I will try to finish this book but there a few things that drag this book way down and I doubt the rest of it will be any different. They are:
- She’s very wrong about the way the future unfolds. Her predictions in the book have in many ways gone the complete opposite (some she is dead on though). Overall, very wrong.
- She’ll assume certain entitlements that I don’t think most people would assume. Example, she wrote that it was censorship to kick out protesters from a mall. I’m pretty sure the mall isn’t a public space and they can kick out who they like, that behaviour isn’t censorship.
- The book has aged horribly. Pop culture references only work in the now and this book was written 9 years ago.
I really wish I could even listen in on a conversation with Naomi Klein to see how she feels her book holds up to today’s reality. Even without that, I would love to discuss the details of this book and its many contentious points. Unfortunately, I fall on the opposite side of her view on many points.
Note: I would have put as a point against No Logo that it doesn’t do a good job explaining the impact of these “terrible” trends. She offers the idea that marketing has become more branding than the goods themselves but has not shown how that has tangibly negatively impacted the world. I left this point out only because I haven’t finished the book and there is still a chance a chapter that does show impact will be included.
Banana Boys February 26, 2009Posted by huymix in Books.
Tags: Banana boys, Canadian, CBC, Venn Diagram, Waterloo
This book was more than half amazing because it had many moments and character attitudes that I could relate to. Even though its been a while since I’ve read it, I still remember the book fondly for the following reasons:
- Very closely matched my own life! Like the characters, I am a CBC and went to Waterloo etc. If you want an idea of my experience in university, this book will give it to you.
- I understood the implicit motivations behind some of the characters decisions even though it was not necessarily spelled out to the reader. Admitted I did project myself onto the characters a bit.
- The Venn Diagram showing the intersection of racial group hook ups, while not factually true, is definitely in the spirit of many CBC boy’s thinking. Although it does not hold for my own brother! He broke out of the Venn Diagram and everyone who has seen the diagram, and is CBC, has been suitably impressed with him.
I don’t think I could say any one of the characters was very close to who I am, but I definitely recognized their position on a ton of stuff. If you’re a CBC this is pretty much a must read, if you’re not, read it anyway.
It’s website: http://www.bananaboys.com/
Shampoo Planet February 17, 2009Posted by huymix in Books.
Tags: Douglas Coupland, Non-Fiction, Washington
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I liked this book, but for some reason I put it down for months and did not touch it even though I was about 50 pages from the end. I just finished it last night and I still remembered the story and the characters. That alone is enough to justify and F+, but here are some additional reasons:
- The ending is unexpected and great.
- The main character is not fully likable but I saw and understood his point of view.
- No real dead zones of filler.
Anyways, its a book that’s not hard to read and is thoroughly enjoyable, you can borrow my copy because I’m pretty sure I’ll remember the story without having to reread the book.
Outliers February 5, 2009Posted by huymix in Books.
Tags: Afro, F+, KW, Non-Fiction
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Outliers: The Story of Success
This book was pretty enjoyable, it gets an F+ because:
- Easy to read, I never felt swamped with jargon.
- Combined ideas I had learned previously into a cohesive presentation (generally cohesive).
- Other people are interested and that means you can find someone to discuss the book.
This book is not expensive, and you can finish it with more than enough time if you check it out at the library. Gladwell also represents Elmira of the K-W area so that gives him extra bonus points (so does his hair).
Watchmen (book) January 23, 2009Posted by huymix in Books.
Tags: DC Comics, graphic novels, superheroes, watchmen
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Ultimately, this book was overhyped, its ok but I could have spent my time doing something way more enjoyable than reading this. Here’s why:
- Art was not very interesting, I think the heavy amount of text tried to compensate for the uninteresting art direction.
- Story drags on and on… I can appreciate some insight to these characters, but my god after awhile I just could not care any less.
- Conclusion and motivation made no damned sense. For the smartest man in the world, his whole plan was pretty poor.
I guess, I read this because the movie was coming and the good word of mouth. The time for this book has passed.
Btw, Rorschach rules.
Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmen
Watchmen Official Movie: http://watchmenmovie.warnerbros.com/