January 9th, 2010

The Librarian

In other reading ...

Have almost forgotten to mention ... at some point over my vacation, I read the first two volumes of Ōoku. I've taken stabs at various manga titles since I started cataloguing the public library's graphics collections (on the basis that a cataloguer should have some knowledge, etc.) and, frankly, so far I've always found them boring or unreadable or just not my type of fiction (gooey romance, etc.). "Ōoku", however, was unputdownable ... well-thought-out plot, deep characters, and a fascinating premise that jigsaws itself neatly into known history. The use of English archaisms and dialect in the translation to approximate the Japanese language's own variations is a nicely authentic touch that makes the tale even richer.

I shall be eagerly watching for the publication of volume three of this series ... and for other titles by Fumi Yoshinaga.
The Librarian

Into the woods ...

Another book has been rescued from the to-read pile and greatly enjoyed ... this time it was Bill Willingham's prose spin-off from his Fables comic book series, Peter & Max. Absolutely delicious ... Willingham has now proved that he writes just as well without pictures as he does with them (not that Steve Leialoha's illustrations weren't a welcome addition to the book, but they were icing on the cake, not an essential ingredient). Peter & Max are brothers who, in a time of invasion, conquest, and war, make their separate ways in a chaotic world ... one clinging to his innate goodness and ability to love, no matter what he's forced to do to survive, and the other embracing self-serving and -centred evil and murder ... until they meet for a final confrontation which only one can survive. And of course, this being Willingham's "Fables" universe, the brothers are both characters we know well ... or think we do, anyway. Peter is Peter Piper of the tongue-twister involving pickled peppers and Max is better known as The Pied Piper.

Excellent both as a stand-alone tale not requiring any prior knowledge of the series and as a side-tale to the main "Fables" saga.