In English, Fiction, Karen Thompson Walker on 2014/03/07 at 09:02
To be honest, I wasn’t going to write about The Age of Miracles at first. I mean, I enjoyed reading it, but I didn’t feel particularly blown away by it, and it’s already gotten a ton of press. It was on the New York Times bestseller list. It does not need my brain to give it any extra attention. And books with the first ten pages of the paperback full of delirious blurbs tend to just annoy me. All that exuberance makes me want to put the book right back on the shelf.
It also makes me wonder if it sells enough books to make it worth the cost of throwing in the extra pages. Has anyone studied this? Has anyone been brought off the book-buying fence by “[t]he next big female novelist”? (Taken straight from the praise pages of this particular book, the only thing that blurb makes me want to do is stab the person who wrote it. Hats off to you, Rolling Stone, for making sure we know that women will always be “female novelists” and men will be regular novelists. Thanks for that.)
Fortunately, this purchase was the result of a birthday gift card to an online retailer, so these “stunning” and “transcendent” comments could not affect my decision to read this, a decision that was made, like pretty much every book-reading decision I make, somewhere in the depths of my mind after hearing rumours of the book in various online fora.
In Doujinshi, Japanese, manga, Yumiko Shirai on 2014/02/28 at 10:37
You guys! How come no one told me about this book? I feel like I am the last person to the party and everyone’s walking out the door just as I’m walking in. I picked this up on the strength of the cover alone (a frequently used book buying method; don’t let anyone tell you not to judge a book by its cover) although I was a little apprehensive about it. Because I have seen covers that have this kind of more artistic style, but then the manga inside is all sharp lines and standard style. Plus, given the young face looking a bit dirtied up against that knife, I worried that it might end up being some children battling it out in an apocalyptic future. And sure, I could’ve read the jacket to find out if either of these concerns would prove to be true, but I try not to read book jackets. I like to be surprised by stories.
And this story surprised me in many pleasant ways and got me all excited and ready to cry for its publication in English (to be translated by me, obviously). But before I came here to rant and rave, I wanted to learn more about this incredible artist who I have never heard of before, so naturally I turned to Google. And discovered that this book was published in English. Nearly four years ago. And it won a major Japanese manga award. And Shirai is the woman behind Wombs, which was serialized in IKKI and is one of those series I always see in the bookstore and wonder if I should pick up before getting distracted by something shinier.
In Anthologies, Boys' Love, Haruko Kumota, Keiko Fukumoto, manga, Miho Kigoshi, Takako Shimura on 2014/02/21 at 10:57
I’m not going to lie to you: I grabbed Fubin BL on one of my many book shopping trips in Tokyo because of the “The Latest BL from Takako Shimura” splashed across the obi in enormous letters. Shimura is always one of those artists I just enjoy reading, even though I rarely go out of my way to hunt her stuff down. But I love the perspective on sexuality and gender she brings to pretty much all of her work (like in Wandering Son, which I think is her only work in English) and the thought of a new BL piece from her after she has spent all this time really honing her gender-coloured storytelling seemed like too spectacular a gift from the BL gods to pass up.
On first glance, I also thought the title was Furin BL (Adulterous BL), which made it sound like something along the lines of the Dame BL anthology. So all the way home, I was wondering to myself just what exactly adulterous BL was, only to discover when I pulled it out of the bag that it was actually Fubin BL (Compassionate BL). (The characters actually don’t look that much alike; I just wasn’t paying that much attention.) The idea of compassionate BL deflated my balloon a little, but either way, the collection does still have Takako Shimura and Haruko Kumota, another favourite, so I decided to give it a chance and learn what makes BL compassionate.