Monthly Archives: April 2015

Flight – Book Review

One of my favorite genres is the graphic novel. I love picking one up and enjoying not just the story but the art. The Watchmen, Blankets, The Sandman – all have been great reads. Today, though, is about one of my absolute favorites: Flight.

Flight is actually a series of graphic novels based around the theme of, you guessed it, flight. Each book is a collection of short form graphic stories from various artists and authors. The art is consistently beautiful and wonderfully varied, letting you get a glimpse into the style of multiple artists.

Perhaps my favorite of the stories is by Vera Brosgol. It is the story of a young woman who wakes up one day with wings growing on her back. She and her friend explore the implications and possibilities. Brosgol’s art is fantastic and I recommend checking out all of her works. Her early work, Return to Sender, was one of my favorite web comics and I have always been sad that she left it unfinished. However, she has followed it up with a wonderful career including Anya’s Ghost and work for the movie studio Laika, makers of Coraline and The Boxtrolls. Check out her blog at www.verabee.com.

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What I’m reading now

I’ve fallen a bit behind on my blogging, but it’s for good reason. I’m working on reading some new titles to share with you! Since I’ve been spending so much time on fiction, this selection is devoted to non-fiction.

I’ve been wanting to get back into pottery for the last few years. I loved it back in high school, working on projects nearly every day. I’ve corresponded with a couple potters I know trying to figure out what I’ll need for a home studio. The main thing I’m debating about is the type of kiln to purchase. To help with that decision I picked up a book recommended by one of them called Glazes: Materials Recipes and Techniques. It’s a collection of articles from the magazine Ceramics Monthly, something my art teacher subscribed to and I have read many issues of. It’s a great read, although a bit technical. Unfortunately it is out of print and hard to find, so I don’t have any copies in stock. However, it is available in PDF form from the publishers of Ceramics Monthly. If you are interested in ceramics, particularly glazes, I highly recommend it.

I’m also reading Waging Peace by a good friend of mine John Lamoreau and his friend Ralph Beebe. John was a peace activist during the Vietnam War and holds a Masters of Peace Studies, so he’s quite knowledgable on the subject. Although written from a Christian perspective I believe the book should be a great resource for anyone who wants to work towards a more peaceful world. Unfortunately this seems to be a blog post of hard to find books. John tells me some copies are still available, so if you are interested please contact me and I will get one for you. It may even be autographed.

What are your current reads? Please share in the comments so readers can get even more recommendations.

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Karen Lord – The Best of All Possible Worlds – Review

Karen lord has about as diverse a history as a person can. She has been everything from a soldier to a diplomat, settling now on writing and research consultation in Barbados. Redemption in Indigo, her debut novel, won the 2008 Frank Collymore Literary Award, the 2011 William L. Crawford Award, and the 2011 Mythopoeic Fantasy award for Adult Literature. It was also nominated for Best Novel in the World Fantasy Award.

Her 2013 novel, The Best of All Possible Worlds, was an engaging and beautiful read. Her prose and ideas are on par with Ursula K. LeGuin, and although it is not a sequel it is a worthy follow up to Lord’s first novel. Science fiction of the thoughtful, rather than action-adventure variety, a nice change from what we see on the big screen these days as the Star Trek franchise becomes a series of action flicks and Marvel superheroes dominate the box office.

Much like Asimov’s Foundation series, The Best of All Possible Worlds takes place in a galaxy populated largely, if not entirely by humans. However, each branch of humanity has unique traits that distinguish it from the others. There are the Sadiri, mentalists focused on building and perfecting the power of the mind, telepathic, with great mental discipline and emotional control; the Ntshune, a branch with great understanding and control of emotions; the Zhinuvians, masters of the body, both human and artificial, and the Terrans, our own world, a blend of the four fond of debate and action. Our story, however, excludes the Terrans, placed under quarantine until their society matures, with the exception of small groups spirited away by the mysterious Caretakers. The novel opens with the complete destruction of Sadira and the scattering of the remaining Sadiri throughout the galaxy.

Although the background is sweeping, and Lord has obviously put a great deal of thought into the larger universe of this tale, the story focuses on two individuals on one planet, Cygnus Beta. Dllenach, a Sadiri, and Grace Delarua, a woman of mixed descent who identifies merely as Cygnian, are partnered to oversee the development of Sadiri homesteads on Cygnus Beta. Soon a plan is developed to form a team to travel the planet looking for taSadiri, humans of Sadiri background with some remnants of Sadiri culture, with the hope of finding women who would be appropriate and willing to marry Sadiri homesteaders. The majority of the book takes place during this expedition.

The expedition, although moving the story forward, merely provides a framework for the true focus of the story – the characters and their relationships to one another. The growth of the friendships, the love among the characters, and the depth to which these people grow together is where Lord’s storytelling truly shines.

Although some of the outcomes in the book are apparent from the beginning, that did not detract from the joy I found in seeing things develop. I recommend this story to anyone, not just science fiction lovers, who wants a break from pulp fiction and action adventure, and instead wants to dive deeply into human relationships and emotions.

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