🍿 movieblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

- kudos:

I don’t know (or care) much about D&D worldbuilding, and I’m not going to let Hasbro off the hook for their OGL nonsense, but this was a fun movie, and I’m glad I finally got to watch it.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Chroniques de jeunesse, by Guy Delisle

- kudos:

J’ai déjà lu cet album cette année, mais comme j’étais en mode « Guy Delisle », j’ai décidé de le relire. C’est bien différent que ses albums de l’étranger, mais c’est tout aussi émouvant. J’aime beaucoup.

📺 tvblog: ❤️❤️🖤🖤🖤 for The Mandalorian (Season 3)

- kudos:

I don’t even remember when this season ended, but it took a while to convince myself to get through it. The first season of this show was near-perfect, but it’s gotten dumber over time, and this season was particularly disappointing. It felt stuffed with fanservice and worldbuilding I didn’t care about, indecisive and self-contradictory, and like everything proceeded on the logic of plot. Makes me miss Andor.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Pyongyang, by Guy Delisle

- kudos:

I’ve read this a number of times already, but after reading Delisle’s “Jerusalem,” I had to revisit it. It’s the wild, literally incredible story of the two months he spent in Pyongang supervising a team of North Korean animators who were doing work for the French animation studio Delisle worked for. The art is excellent, the writing is good, the story is bonkers. One of my favorite comics.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City, by Guy Delisle

- kudos:

I have been a fan of Delisle’s for quite some time, but I’m still blown away by how good this is. The book isn’t political or polemical, but a slice-of-life comic done by a cartoonist living in East Jerusalem for a year brings walls, checkpoints, rockets, and attacks on Gaza to life in a subtle, compelling way. I used to follow this news a lot more, and Delisle made me feel like there was a lot I missed even then.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for But Where Is the Lamb? Imagining the Story of Abraham and Isaac, by James Goodman

- kudos:

A friend recommended this book to me, and I’m very glad I tried it. It’s a broad consideration of how the Binding of Isaac has been interpreted, imagined, and portrayed over the centuries—combined with the author’s personal struggles with the story. It was difficult sometimes as an audiobook (while I appreciated its breadth, it sometimes felt repetitious), but I got a lot out of it.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for I Was Their American Dream, by Malaka Gharib

- kudos:

I wish I had read this before Gharib’s second comic memoir, because there’s a progression there (in terms of both the quality of art and adding detail to story) that makes it unfair to judge this one after reading it second. I think “It Won’t Always Be Like This” is better, but this comic is so good, too. Great story, distinctive art, great overall product.

📺 tvblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for The Diplomat (Season 1)

- kudos:

I really enjoyed this show! It veers from realism but into the fun thriller, and while its dedication to drama is obvious, it’s not always a bad thing. I enjoy a show that rewards the viewer for knowing the difference between the FSB and the GRU, and I’m really looking forward to the second season.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Dragon Hoops, by Gene Luen Yang

- kudos:

Everything about this is good: The writing, the art, the mix of the external story and the personal elements that Yang puts in. I wasn’t sure about a basketball comic, but I knew I could trust Yang to pull it off, and I was right.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Passion for Peace: Reflections on War and Nonviolence, by Thomas Merton

- kudos:

It took me six months to finally read this book, but it’s exactly what I hoped for, so it was worth the wait. Some of Merton’s essays are more compelling than others, but his fierce condemnation of war and advocacy for peace is moving. I’m sure I’ll be coming back to this.

🍿 movieblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Elemental

- kudos:

Lots to love in this movie: The animation is gorgeous, the concept is interesting, the metaphors are well-meaning, and there are plenty of funny bits. There seemed to be too many subplots, though, and when any of them saw a shake-up, it didn’t always feel deserved. It also feels essentialist in the way that D&D does—yes, differences make sense in the fictional world, but since we’re meant to read them onto the real world, it doesn’t always sit right.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, by John Le Carré

- kudos:

I believe this is the third time I’ve read this book, and I’ve also enjoyed its BBC television and radio adaptations a lot. The first time I read it, I didn’t get it, the second time I loved it, and this time I see why it’s such a classic. It was fun to read the original after watching and listening to the adaptations pretty regularly over the past several years. Le Carré does well with detail, and I’d forgotten the subplots and side comments that get left out—but that add so much to the characters, the plot, and the overall feel of the book.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️🖤🖤🖤 for Swarmwise: The Tactical Manual for Changing the World, by Rick Falkvinge

- kudos:

I really want to like this book. I am sympathetic to pirate politics, and I’m impressed with its sudden surge to power in Sweden and elsewhere. I even think many of the ideas in here are compelling and will probably come back to it despite my relatively negative review. The thing, though, is that I struggled through it, so it took me so long to read it that I probably don’t even remember enough to give it a fair review—except that that is itself kind of damning.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for It Won't Always Be Like This: A Graphic Memoir, by Malaka Gharib

- kudos:

I find memoir (and other non-fiction) comics to be hit or miss; I’ve even passed up Gharib’s earlier memoir a number of times because I just wasn’t sure. I don’t know what stood out to me about this one, but I went for it and I loved it. I love getting a taste of meaningful events in someone else’s life, and Gharib does such a great job telling her story. It even made me wish I’d taken more Arabic classes in college so I could follow some parts better.

📺 tvblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Silo (Season 1)

- kudos:

I read these books ages ago, but I can hardly remember any of the details, so it’s been fun to revisit this world with flashes of familiarity but mostly just waiting episode to episode to figure things out. The set design is great, the acting is good, and the music is compelling. I don’t know exactly why I’m not giving it full marks (it feels a bit strained and overcomplicated sometimes, but I think that captures the source material from what I remember), but I’m looking forward to future seasons!

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Born Both: An Intersex Life, by Hida Viloria

- kudos:

I finally read this book weeks after picking it up from a local library and knowing I’d enjoy it. Viloria’s life story (like so many others’ stories) casually destroys sex and gender binaries. Reading about the experiences of intersex people was an important part of my beginning to reject those binaries several years ago, and I think anyone clinging to those binaries ought to hear from voices like Viloria’s. That’s not to say that other queerings of that binary are any less valid than being intersex, of course!

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Silverview, by John Le Carré

- kudos:

I’m continuing my journey theough Le Carré, and I thought I’d give his last, posthumous book a listen while waiting for my hold on Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy to cone through. It’s so interesting to compare this last book of his to his earlier works: There are more women (though I still don’t think it passes the Bechdel Test), more cell phones, and more swears than his early stuff, but the sense of inevitable plodding toward a disappointing end (for the protagonists at least) is just as strong as ever.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Autobiography of Elder Charles Derry, by Charles Derry

- kudos:

This is a fascinating bit of history. Derry was an early convert to Mormonism who emigrated from England to Utah, became disgusted with polygamy and what he saw as an abusive system of tithing and church governance, and returned to the American Midwest, where he joined the RLDS church and became a leader and missionary in that denomination. Like The Giant Joshua, it’s odd to read something that is so clearly “a pioneer story” but isn’t uniformly positive.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Blacksad: A Silent Hell, by Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido

- kudos:

I guess this is interesting enough to keep reading, but my verdict is still the same. Great art, interesting premise, but I don’t know if it goes further than that.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Blacksad, by Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido

- kudos:

I stumbled upon this series on TVTropes and was happy to see it’s available through Hoopla. I get why it gets the praise that it does, but it just didn’t land with me. The art is gorgeous and the premise (a noir detective in a 1950s America populated by anthropomorphic animals) is bold and compelling. I don’t know that noir is my genre, though—it feels more like tropes strung together than an actual plot, and it sometimes goes out of its way to be lurid.

🍿 movieblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for The Super Mario Bros. Movie

- kudos:

I’d been meaning to watch this, and kiddo was happy to walk me through it (she’d seen it in theaters). The animation is beautiful and there are lots of fun in-jokes and shout-outs. At the end of the day, though, the plot was thin and the characters flat (though they could have done much worse by Peach). It’s probably the best one could do with the source material, but that doesn’t mean it’s great

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Meanwhile, by Jason Shiga

- kudos:

I read through this with kiddo this morning, inspired by our recent discovery of Shiga’s new Adventuregame Comics. I was surprised by how little I loved it. Don’t get me wrong: it’s an amazing concept, an interesting story, and it deserves the praise it gets from folks like Gene Luen Yang,Scott McCloud, and others. However, revisiting it after his newer work in this subgenre, I think he does better with Adventuretime Comics!

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Adventuregame Comics 1: Leviathan, by Jason Shiga

- kudos:

I don’t remember how I first discovered Jason Shiga, but I do remember working my way through his interactive puzzle comic Meanwhile one summer, some of it while purportedly completing an internship. Meanwhile is one of the first comics I added to my collection and one of the few of my early acquisitions that I still have. Anyway, all of that is to say that when I saw this comic in the new children’s books area at a local library, I immediately grabbed it.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Legends & Lattes, by Travis Baldree

- kudos:

I checked this out from Libby after hearing about it on The Incomparable, where all the panelists had good things to say about it. The premise of the book is fun: an orc warrior in a D&D-type adventuring party retires to start a coffeeshop, coffee here being a gnomish delicacy that isn’t well known. I don’t drink coffee and I don’t really patronize coffeeshops, but this book kind of made me wish that I did!

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, by John Le Carré

- kudos:

The movie adaptation of this book is what really got me into Le Carré. It’s twisty and cynical and compelling—just a great book. Not perfect, of course: Its age shows uncomfortably in some places, including the way it entirely fails the Bechdel Test. I can’t help but give it a full rating, though.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Marry Me a Little: A Graphic Memoir, by Rob Kirby

- kudos:

This comic memoir of (same-sex) marriage has excellent art, tells a good story, and hits on very important points for the time we’re in. I picked it up on a whim and really enjoyed it.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Call for the Dead, by John Le Carré

- kudos:

This week, it felt like it was time to revisit George Smiley. Smiley has been something of a comfort read these past several years, but it’s been some time since I visited the actual books, instead preferring the BBC Radio 4 dramatizations. They are superb, but I decided to listen to the “full” audiobooks this time through. Not all are available theough my library, but the best ones are, and that works just fine for me.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Ex Machina (Book One), by Brian K. Vaughn and Tony Harris

- kudos:

I recently read a lot of Saga, it’s not too long ago that I gave Y: The Last Man a readthrough, and I’ve tried this series before, so I was expecting to like this. I did see enough in there to see why it’s so often hailed as a classic, but I found it too edgy for the sake of being edgy or editorial when opportunity allowed. Lind of disappointed, and not planning to read further.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition, by Julia Kaye

- kudos:

I am not normally a fan of the comic strip genre of comics, but this was a good and important read.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Strong Female Protagonist (Book Two), by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag

- kudos:

I’ve skimmed the archives for this webcomic several times in the past, but I’ve never gotten this far in the story, and it was a delight to do so now. I was not sure this would live up to the first book, but it’s so, so good at using superhero tropes to explore philosophy and ethics. I really, really like this series.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Strong Female Protagonist (Book One), by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag

- kudos:

I hadn’t realized this webcomic had been released in print volumes, and I honestly couldn’t remember how far I’d made it through the webcomic archives, so I leapt at the chance to read a collection. I think I might like this deconstructive “realistic” take on superheroes more than any other. The questions are interesting, the art is uneven but compelling, and the characters resonate with me. It’s a great read.

📺 tvblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Ted Lasso (Season 3)

- kudos:

This was an uneven final season for a show I really enjoyed. I wish they’d made it tighter and better structured, and maybe it doesn’t deserve the score I’ve given it. I’ve enjoyed the whole of these three seasons (and so many small moments in this one) too much to rate it any less, though.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for How to Resist Amazon and Why (Updated & Expanded), by Danny Caine

- kudos:

Look, this is the kind of book that I bought knowing already that I’d agree with its thesis, so maybe you shouldn’t read my review of it. Nonetheless, I think Caine does an excellent job of bringing together many of the arguments against Amazon. This company is bad news, and while it’s hard to escape it entirely, I think the world would be a better place if more of us did less to support it.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Eternity in the Ether: A Mormon Media History, by Gavin Feller

- kudos:

I have been looking for this kind of book for a long time, and some of my recent publications would have been stronger if this had come out in time for me to reference it beforehand. It’s not perfect: Some wording is awkward and the conceptual framework (while interesting) could be stronger. However, it’s invaluable for the history it offers and I expect to cite it regularly in the future.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Restoration Scriptures: A Study of Their Textual Development, by Richard Howard

- kudos:

I picked up a copy of this book at the 2023 World Conference of Community of Christ, after it being on my wishlist for some time. It does an excellent job of examining the subjectivity of Restoration scripture by tracing its evolution over time. I remarked to a friend earlier this week that it’s a shame it was written in the 90s (and originally, the 60s) rather than now, when there’s so much more available to do this kind of work.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Astro City (MetroBook 3), by Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, and Alex Ross

- kudos:

This is new Astro City material for me, even though it’s been around for a while. There’s still a lot of what makes Astro City great in the long “Dark Ages” story, but not enough to make it shine. I think I like Astro City best when it takes a quick dive into an interesting story, plays with some tropes, and just hints at a broader world and continuity. This tries to explain too much and be too connected, and in doing so, I think it loses a lot of the magic.