The Monday agenda 2/18/2013

MondayAgendaNot a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

Happy Monday! Three day weekend = more time to read!

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

Y: The Last Man (graphic novel series) by Brian K. Vaughan: Done! My review is here. I could not put these books down. Highly recommended.

Fairy Tales From The Brother Grimm by Philip Pullman. Making progress, bit by tiny bit.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Have only read the first few chapters, but I’m hooked.

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

First up will be to finish Wild. The first chapter was incredibly sad, but I’m looking forward to learning more about the author’s journey.

I’ll be continuing in my quest to get through my book of fairy tales, a few stories each week, until I’ve read the entire collection. Onward!

If I manage to finish Wild by the end of the week, I’ll have to make a hard choice between some of my latest arrivals. The “fresh catch” this week included two new young adult novels that I’m very eager to read: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick and Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. Both are sitting within easy reach as I write this — I’m hoping one will make it to the top of my reading pile by week’s end!

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.

Book Review: Y: The Last Man

Book Review: Y: The Last Man (graphic novel series) by Brian K. Vaughan

ylastman

You may debate whether a series of graphic novels should be counted as “books”, but there’s no question that Y: The Last Man is a gripping, inventive, character-rich story, with layers of intrigue, masterful plotting, unexpected laughs and sorrows, and plenty of thought-provoking propositions.

Originally issued as a comic book series beginning in 2002, Y: The Last Man is also available as a series of ten trade paperback collections or as five hardcover “deluxe” editions. In whatever format you choose to read these, read them you should. I read the ten TPB volumes over the course of the past week, and it was very difficult to stop for little annoyances like sleeping and eating.

Y: The Last Man begins in the year 2002, when a mass “gendercide” occurs. For no apparent reason, all male mammals on the planet die suddenly and bloodily one afternoon in July. All, that is, except for 22-year-old unemployed English major Yorick Brown and his pet capuchin monkey Ampersand. Why has Yorick survived? And what does it really mean to be the last man on earth? While any answers to the “why” are long in coming, Yorick realizes very quickly that being the sole male is not everything an adolescent’s fantasy might imagine it to be.

For starters, the world as we know it comes crashing to a halt. The majority of airplane pilots, factory workers, nuclear power plant engineers, and politicians are all male, as are most of the farmers, truckers, and others who keep the world fed and powered. Highways are impassible, due to all the crashed vehicles from the time of the big wipe-out. In Washington DC, the small minority of female Congresswomen are left holding the reins of government, but opposition is brewing — and armed. While most armies of the world are now defunct, the Israeli army, with its trained female soldiers, is not taking this sudden change in the world power structure lying down.

Meanwhile, Yorick begins a pilgrimage to reunite with his girlfriend Beth — in the Australian outback at the time of the disaster — and to help find a way for human beings to avoid extinction. Along with way, he is joined by secret agent 355 and super-scientist Dr. Allison Mann, and between these three, they just might be able to figure out what happened and what they can do about it. But not if the bad guys (yes, there are always bad guys, even if they’re no longer “guys”) get to them first.

Social commentary is threaded throughout the series. For those who think a world without men would be all peace, love, and kumbaya, think again. Arrow-wielding feminists calling themselves “Daughters of the Amazon” believe the gendercide is Mother Earth’s way of shaking off infection, and in their zeal to cleanse the world, make it their mission to incinerate all sperm banks to ensure that males never come into being again. A group of Arizona militia women cut off all trade through their state and, armed to the teeth, shoot anything that might threaten their autonomy. The religious are sure that the rapture has arrived — and left them behind. A new sex trade arises, as women desperate for a man’s touch seek out the next best thing in the arms of women who don fake facial hair and lower vocal registers. And radicals around the world sit up and take notice when rumors of a surviving male start to circulate.

The adventure is non-stop, and the action spans the globe with a large, varied cast of characters. The tension is high, but Yorick is a funny guy, even in this most awful of situations, and so Y: The Last Man crackles with snappy dialogue and moments of humor and joy, along with heaping doses of anger, sorrow and pain.

An explanation for the catastrophe is ultimately provided, although I’m not sure that all readers will find the answers convincing or satisfying enough. Still, the “why” isn’t necessarily what matters. It’s what happens next — to Yorick, to his friends, and to the rest of the world — that drives this story forward. Y: The Last Man is excellent entertainment and an incredibly compelling tale. As far as end-of-the-world scenarios go, this one is fresh, provocative, and full of endless possibilities. Final verdict? Check it out. I’m definitely glad that I did.

The Monday agenda 2/11/2013

MondayAgendaNot a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

Happy Monday! Looking back and looking forward…

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan: Done! My review is here.

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger: Done! My review is here.

I finally cracked open my copy of Fairy Tales From The Brother Grimm by Philip Pullman. I’ve only read the introduction thus far, but hey, it’s a start!

Lastly, I re-read volume one and started volume two of the graphic novel series Y: The Last Man. I’m planning a Last Man read-a-thon for the coming week.

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

First on my agenda will be getting through the entire Y: The Last Man series. The first volume is amazing — can’t wait to see what happens next!

One of my reading resolutions for 2013 was “Attack the Fairies!”, meaning, I need to force myself to actually read the book of fairy tales that I was so excited to receive back in November. I’m a terrible short story reader, and usually get impatient and walk away, no matter how good the individual stories are or how much I like the author. But in the case of Fairy Tales From The Brothers Grimm by Philip Pullman, I’m determined to actually read the entire collection. My strategy, at least for starters, is to read one story a night, rather than trying to read the whole book straight through. We’ll see how it works, and if I can overcome my deeply ingrained aversion toward all short stories.

Finally, a coworker lent me her copy of Wild by Cheryl Strayed, a book that’s been on my “must read eventually” list. I have tickets to hear the author speak in April, so now is the time to read it. Plus, this will be my first non-fiction read of 2013, and I did vow to break out of my fiction world once in a while during the current year.

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.

The Monday agenda 1/28/2013

Not a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

Happy Monday! Looking back and looking forward…

From last week:

A little slower on the book front this past week:

Just One Day by Gayle Forman: Done! I liked it much more than I’d expected to. My review is here.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich: Reading now, only about 50 pages into it so far. 

I read a bunch of my son’s graphic novels and reviewed them here.

My long-awaited new Fables paperback arrived last week! I loved Fables: Cubs in Toyland (volume 18), but now have the usual complaint — I don’t want to wait months for the next one to come out!

I also read the first volume of a new (to me) graphic novel series, Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan. Very intriguing story; I think I’ll be be reading the rest as soon as I can get my hands on them.

And this week’s new agenda:

I think it’ll take me a good part of the week to read The Round House, which is quite good, but fairly heavy.

After that, I may tackle one or two books from my TBR pile, probably An Abundance of Katherines by John Green or Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan…

…although I’m also terribly tempted by my new arrivals, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and The Child’s Child by Barbara Vine.

I believe this is what’s called an embarrassment of riches! Having too many books to choose from is definitely not a problem I mind having.

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.