number one with a silver bullet

Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughan (#4 in the Kitty Norville series) 2008 (326 pgs)

When her mom calls with a cancer scare, werewolf DJ Kitty breaks her banishment from Denver and risks the wrath of her former Alpha to rush to her mom’s side. And then things get complicated. Kitty finds herself smack dab in the middle of not just a werewolf power struggle, but a vampire one as well. Kitty has to figure out who’s pulling the strings; how to keep from becoming anyone’s pawn; and keep herself, her boyfriend, and her family alive in the process.


you can check in any time you like…

Secret Rendezvous by Kobo Abe, 1977-Japan, 1979-English translation (179 pgs)

It begins with an un-summoned ambulance in the middle of the night. They insist on taking away their patient, although she insists there’s nothing wrong and it must be a mistake. When her husband tries to track her down in the morning, she has disappeared into a bizarre labyrinthine underground hospital. The man is soon subsumed by the convoluted bureaucracy of the hospital, where every employee is also a patient and no one ever seems to get cured. Soon the man’s search ceases to matter. He ends up not even noticing that he’s not seeking his wife anymore, or really heading much of anywhere.  It’s as if he’s fallen down the rabbit hole into something resembling a David Lynch film.

Compelling, but I’m not sure I liked it- during or after. I kept feeling like I was missing something, like if I understood the Japanese cultural landscape of the 1970s there would be a deeper metaphor contained in the book that I just didn’t catch.

if i could buy the world a comic

Oodles of GNs…

The Escapistsby Brian K. Vaughan, etal 2007

I’ve steered clear of Michael Chabon’s Escapist series, cause pulp-era comics make me wanna run screaming from the room. But I’m glad I picked this one up at a co-worker’s insistence. The tale is more about the creative process of comic creators than the actual hero The Escapist, and is as delightfully meta as Grant Morrison’s Animal Man arc.

Bookhunter by Jason Shiga 2007

Chuckle-some saga of theft and the swift justice of the library police, featuring high-octane reverse-directorizing from the back of a speeding bookmobile, a duel with card catalog drawers, and other librarical action.

DMZ vol 4: Friendly Fire written by Brian Wood, with various artists 2008

The NY war zone gets worse, as journalist gone native Matt Roth digs into a massive civilian slaughter by US troops. The stories are brutal and gritty and full of truth. Nobody wins in this war, and further entrenchment and disintegration on all sides seem the only possibilities. Remind you of any other war?

The Arrival by Shaun Tan 2007

An arresting wordless woodcut-style that resonates with the feelings of the alienation and overwhelming disorientation of a recent immigrant, told with fantastical, real-seeming un-real illustrations.

The Last Musketeer by Jason 2008

How genius can you get- the Musketeers are immortal (and because it’s Jason, they’re anthropomorphized animals). In our century, Athos is a drunken wino, nostalgically longing for the days when he was a hero. And then he gets his chance when he stumbles upon invading Martians intent on destroying the world.

Zombies Calling by Faith Erin Hicks 2007

College students during finals begin turning into mindless, slobbering freaks. And then things get really bad when they turn into zombies. A hilarious, self-aware love-letter to the zombie genre. The survivors are led by a zombie film addict, who’s studied them and knows who survives. Allllll the cliches are thrown in, but the characters know it.

Skim written by Mariko Tamaki, art by Jillian Tamaki 2008

A Japanese-Canadian, would-be-Wiccan, arty goth girl deals with your average teenage angst in this above-average GN. Kim, nicknamed Skim, struggles with falling apart from her best friend, falling in love with her (female) English teacher, and falling into depression. The art is great, and topics like suicide, teen sexuality, and gender identity are handled multi-facetly rather than with typical “issue of the week” After-School-Special moralizing.

The Number: 73304-23-4153-6-96-8by Thomas Ott 2007

Noirish, wordless tale of a man who stumbles upon a number, dropped from the hand of a condemned man at the moment of his electrocution. The number seems to eerily reproduce itself in his surroundings. He sees it everywhere, and when he follows the sequence it at first appears to lead to good luck. But when he begins to let it control his decisions, his life soon spirals into disastrous circumstances.

Water Baby by Ross Campbell 2008

Anti-hero, rude-grrl, surfer Brody gets her leg chomped off by a shark. She’s impossible to pity, not only because she’s just as fearless as before, but because she’d pound your face in if you tried. Sick of her shark-infested nightmares, frustrating physical therapy, and her couch-surfing loser ex-boyfriend, Brody and her best friend, and said loser ex-BF set out on a furious road trip to get rid of the loser.

you decide what is real, and what is illusion

Obedience by Will Lavender 2008 (287 pgs)

Students in a Logic and Reasoning class are asked to solve a hypothetical kidnapping before it becomes murder. The plot begins simply, but soon builds to a puzzle of cunning intricacy. Supposedly fictional characters start intruding on real life, and there are hints of a decade-old real murder nearby that bears striking similarity to the fictional case. Soon, three of the students (along with the reader) start to question what is real and whether there will soon be another murder. A great puzzle book that left kept me in a state of brain-buzz on a par with a good sudoku or crossword puzzle.

possession is nine tenths of the law

The Host by Stephenie Meyer 2008 (619 pgs)

When the world’s population gets body-snatched by invading aliens, a few rebel humans are forced into hiding, struggling to remain whole. A newly installed alien named Wanderer finds herself in a body whose former owner hasn’t quite vacated. What should be an effortless takeover instead becomes a battle of wills as Melanie refuses to disappear. At first biding her time, waiting for Melanie to surrender, Wanderer instead finds herself coming to an understanding and eventual affection for the human trapped in her mind. As they share memories and experiences, Wanderer even comes to love those who Melanie loves. Together they break away from the alien occupied civilization to track down Melanie’s loved ones.

I was pleasantly impressed with Meyer’s much more refined and challenging writing. This in no Twilight novel; it surpasses that series in character realism and evolution, its exploration of humankind’s capacity for cruelty and kindness, and the nature of selfhood and emotion. Billed as “the first love triangle involving only two bodies,” what could easily have become a cheesy sci-fi or sappy romance is instead a surprisingly deft exploration of identity and humanity.

we didn’t start the fire

When You Are Engulfed In Flames  by David Sedaris 2008 (323 pgs)

In Sedaris’s newest collection of essays, even the dust jacket is funny. In fact, get it just for that. Sedaris touches on why you should never take your parents to an art gallery, the perils of talking to your neighbors, the angst of being the worst student in your language class, and how quiting smoking can kill you, among other topics.

even educated fleas do it

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex  by Mary Roach 2008 (319 pgs)

Roach writes the best kind of science- compulsively compelling and delightfully accessible. In her third book, she delves into the history and current state of sex research. With short sections ranging from artificial insemination of farm animals to the study of rats in polyester pants (really!). Extremely informative, occasionally shocking, often hilarious, and always entertaining, Roach knows how to present science in a way that keeps you coming back for more.