In Brooke Stevens, English, Fiction, Old favourites on 2012/05/25 at 09:58
Waaaaaay back in the day, when the Internet was just something my dad did to ruin my life by hogging the phone line with his modem when I really, really needed to talk to my friend about my maybe-boyfriend, I made a zine called Great Day for Up with my awesome artist friend, L. GDFU was dedicated to “the pursuit of Dr. Seuss and smoking” and we were pretty serious about that mission statement. Fortunately, our book nerdishness could not be contained by Dr. Seuss’s oeuvre, and we devoted many a page to our love of various other delightful book-makers.
One of these book-makers was, of course, old favourite Francesca Lia Block. I was smitten and young with a venue to gush, so I sent her a letter (a letter! on paper and everything!) and asked her if I could interview her for my zine. And being the incredible fountain of everything good that she was, she sent me a card back, saying sure, call her at this number and we’ll do this thing. I think I nearly passed out from the delight of holding in my hands a card to me from my hero-at-the-time. Then I called L. and squealed, “I’m going to interview Francesca Lia Block!” It was an exciting time. Read the rest of this entry »
In Akira Uemura, Anthologies, Japanese, manga on 2012/05/18 at 09:46
I had never even heard of the anthology/magazine Manga Erotics f until Natsume Ono and Usamaru Furuya came to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival last year, and I did the interpreting thing for them and their editor, Akira Uemura. Which is a shame, because I missed about seventy issues of a manga magazine that I can finally get into.
Here is my manga magazine secret: I don’t really like them. I think it’s for the same reason that I’ve never enjoyed listening to the radio. It’s so hit and miss. One story will be totally great and I’ll be so into it, and then! The next story will bore me to tears. Like in the issue of Morning Two that I picked up the last time I was in Japan because I keep trying to like manga magazines: sixteen pages of delight from Daisuke Nishijima, whose fantastical, fairy tale like stories never fail to make me smile, followed by far too many pages of Oishii Manabiya, a plodding and artistically dull tale of hentais going to cooking school or something. I’d rather just save my money and buy the standalone book of the stuff that I do like, much like I just listen to CDs and music I buy rather than endure the stuff I hate on the radio just to hear the good song wedged in there. Read the rest of this entry »
In Boys' Love, Japanese, Keiko Takemiya, manga on 2012/05/11 at 08:55
The rollercoaster ride never stops! And I never want it to! I keep expecting Takemiya to relax a bit, give her readers some breathing space, but she just brings one shocking revelation after the other. And if you are wondering just how many shocking revelations the life of two teenage boys could possibly contain, don’t worry! Takemiya digs deep and offers up shocking revelations from the past for our reading pleasure. And what pleasure it is. As always when discussing Kaze, spoiler landmines lurk ahead along with some discussion of assault, although nothing detailed. If either of these facts are not one hundred percent with you, you should probably avoid anything after the jump.
I simply can’t get over how unrelenting this series is. This could be terrible in the wrong hands, but with Takemiya at the helm, it is an incredibly powerful way to reach the hearts of her target audience: pre-teen and teenage girls. Because this is really what it feels like to be that age, on the threshold of puberty, opening the door to adulthood and everything! is! so! dramatic! Everything is a crisis of epic proportions. You saw your friend talking to the guy you like? She’s in love with him too! How could you not have seen it??? Your parents think an unchaperoned party is not the best idea for thirteen-year-old you? Your life is ruined! Forever! You will die ugly and alone! And don’t even make me remember what it was like when a boyfriend got all tangled up in these hormones. Read the rest of this entry »
In English, Fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin on 2012/05/04 at 09:27
Fun fact: I have never read Ursula K. Le Guin before. Can you even believe that? I spent the better part of my youth with my nose firmly wedged in the pages of sci-fi and fantasy novels, thanks to my SF-loving dad. I mean, my angsty teenage self fixated on thoughts like, “No one will ever love me the way Lazarus loved Dora.” And I have long identified as a feminist because, you know, as a science-oriented tomboy, you come up that wall of “girls can’t do that” pretty early in life. And if you bring these two great flavours together, it’s usually sooner rather than later that Le Guin’s name falls off someone’s lips.
I blame the fact that I never picked up any of her stuff on Clan of the Cave Bear. Yes, I know Le Guin did not write this, but I tried reading it when I was a kid and hated it, and somehow attached Le Guin’s name to it. (This happens to me all the time. Even if two names are completely different, if I see them next to each other in just the right way, my brain flips them.) So whenever Le Guin did come up, I’d get this bad taste in my mouth and turn to some other author who was not associated with childhood trauma. All of which means that I have been missing out on a great author for a very long time. Because, dang! She is great. Read the rest of this entry »