Nikolski: Nicolas Dickner

Here is a mysterious thing about this book that has nothing to do with the mysterious story it contains: I do not know how I happened to have a copy of it in my possession. More mysterious still, the copy I have in my possession is signed by the author. One day, I was looking at the shelves of unread books (it used to just be one shelf. sigh) and there it was. How did it get there and why is it signed? Am I sleepwalking to book signings now? I have been known to do some fairly ludicrous things in my sleep (including turning on all electrical appliances, watching Dynasty re-runs, and being stuck in the entryway of my house when the locked door prevented my escape to the outside), but attending literary events had so far not made the list.

However it got to my shelf, I’m glad it did. For one thing, I don’t read enough Canadian fiction, and I definitely don’t read enough fiction out of Québec. Which alone is not enough to be satisfied with a book, of course. But Dickner brings the fun with Nikolski (an aside: since, after an incident involving liquid and my keyboard, the ‘k’ no longer works and I am forced to type control-l to make a ‘k’ now, I will hereafter refer to this book as Niolsi to make my typing life slightly easier). And Niolsi also feeds my obsession with relationships and how two people can see the same thing in two totally different ways, featuring as it does three criss-crossing points of view.  Continue reading

Hyouge Mono: Yoshihiro Yamada

Hyouge Mono  is one of those books that I feel like I should really like, but just am not into. I even forced myself to read the whole of the first book in the hopes that it was just off to a slow start for me. (After all, Monster  didn’t grab me right away, but turned into one of my favourite series. I have slow starts sometimes.) I mean, it has great art, a silly/interesting story and backstage shenanigans, plus over-the-top expressive faces, and we all know how much I love that kind of thing. Plus, this series won the 2010 Tezuka Prize, among other prizes, and they’ve already turned it into an anime. And yet…

It’s not that I hated it. There is actually a lot to recommend this series (up to Book 14 now). I love the cover design, very reminiscent of an old Blue Note LP cover. And the power of this mustard-coloured cover was enough to get me to buy the book, so kudos to whoever designed it. (Probably the author himself, given that his author picture is also set up like an old LP cover.) The English-captioned portraits on the back were very helpful when reading since I kept forgetting how to pronounce everyone’s names, and Yamada only offers pronunciation help the first time a character appears in a chapter. But I am terrible with names in all languages, so I needed much more than that.  Continue reading

The Value of Nothing: Raj Patel

I know we’ve been over this before, but seriously, can we stop with non-fiction having the two titles all the time? Why is one title not enough to stand on its own in the world of non-fiction? I mean, if your title won’t induce a reader to pick the book up, turn it over and read the back to find out what it’s about, then maybe you need to think a bit harder about that title, rather than toss an annoying sentence underneath it. Imagine if publishers did this with fiction: 1Q84, Two Moons in the Sky, This Is Not the 1984 You Thought It Was; Nikolski, A Compass That Doesn’t Point to True North Ties Three Lives Together; The Master And Margarita, The Devil Comes to Moscow and Messes With People. Nonfiction publishers, hear me! Just let a title be a title! We’ll look at the back of the book if we want to know more.

You probably guessed already that The Value of Nothing has a second title. Sigh. But like the majority of these subtitles, it’s pretty accurate: Why Everything Costs So Much More Than We Think. And this is one of those topics that’s pretty dear to my heart, which is why it was such a treat to get it for my birthday from my mom this year (along with the latest Chester Brown) (It was a good year for birthday books). Continue reading

Fluffy: Simone Lia

The reign of the lady comics continues! Long live the lady comics! Although Fluffy stars a man and a bunny of unknown gender. Nonetheless! Simone Lia is definitely of the lady persuasion and she wrote the book, and thus, it joins the ranks of the lady comics in my brain. And yes, I have The Beguiling to thank for this one too. I’m starting to feel like their unpaid PR team (my brain and I, we are a team). At least they let me have access to all their books. Mwa ha ha! I am drunk with book power!

… Ahem. Fluffy, yes. My brain recently took on the tiny rabbit known as Fluffy. It’s never really made clear just how Fluffy came to live with Michael or why the ridiculously adorable mammal thinks Michael is its father. The story just starts with Fluffy cozily sleeping in a box in the living room, a box that was clearly specially prepared for Fluffy, all pillows and blankets. Fluffy wakes up to the slamming of a door and rushes out to tell  Daddy, “I’m awake!” But runs into thon (bringing back ye olde gender neutral pronouns here!) nursery school teacher hurrying out the door for a walk of shame. So you know, this isn’t your average fuzzy bunny story.  Continue reading