Status Update

Every Sunday Tim compiles a report about what we read the week before. For most of the books we mention, you can expect a review soon.

Sunday Status Update: August 30, 2015

This week, Legolas gives us an insider's view of Helm's Deep.

Legolas: Journal Entry 3450023: Still in Helm's Deep. Morale is low, so Aragorn's been strutting around all day doing that thing he does where he suddenly comes over all kingly and every human in the vicinity trips over him- or herself to kowtow to him. Personally, I don't understand the reactions at all. He just sort of squints into the middle distance, sticks his chin in the air, and puffs his chest out. It's not really that impressive. But these yokels seem to love it, so whatever. Meanwhile, word has arrived that the army heading this way is even bigger than we expected, and Mithrandir has managed to cunningly slip out of harm's way by muttering vague and wizardly-sounding things about three days and dawn. The one spot of good news is that Gimli's similarly lily-livered efforts to  sneak off the battlements and "marve... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 23, 2015

Character update on break this week. I tried asking Rand al'Thor for a submission, but he wrote back with a ten thousand word diary entry in which nothing actually seemed to happen.

Jana: This week I made progress with Hilary Badger's State of Grace and began Bradley P. Beaulieu's Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, the first in a new epic fantasy series. I was also able to write and post two reviews (with Tadiana's help!), so I feel extra-accomplished. The weather's been really reasonable, too, so I've been spending a lot of time outside, exploring the trails system around the city. Knowing my luck, since this past week was so productive for me, I'll wake up with pneumonia on Monday Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 16, 2015

This week, Red Sonja encounters the concept of half-dragons.

Red Sonja: I met a woman who claimed to be a half-dragon the other day. She looked entirely human apart from purple eyes and hair that was a sort of mauve. I think she might also have had little horns, but they looked completely ornamental and she might have pasted them on. I thought she was probably just a bit odd-looking. But no, she said, she was a half-dragon. Understand that I didn't actually ask her. She volunteered this information herself. She made it sound very dramatic and world-weary. I asked her how. She asked me what I meant. I told her I was curious as to physically how. At that, she got a bit irritated and started telling me I have an overly cynical mind or something. I asked her what the hell use being half-dragon was if she couldn't fly or breathe fire, and she flounced off in a huff. You meet some weirdos in the pub, I t... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 9, 2015

Supergirl again. Original, I'm not.

Supergirl: So apparently Fantastic Four is awful. Take that, Richards, you dimension-hopping whackadoodle. That'll teach you. Who's the useless distaff counterpart now?

... all cards on the table, I have no idea what distaff means.

Brad: This week, in addition to a few random comics, some poetry, and nonfiction, I read short stories by Kage Baker (SF), Flora Fletcher (Crime Fiction), Gene Wolfe (SF), and John Cheever (neither SF nor Crime Fiction). I also started Kage Baker's first Company novel (my second attempt) on audible, now that I've finished the audible version of Paper Towns. Finally, I'm... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 2, 2015

This week, Frodo fields a question about technological advancement in Middle Earth.

Frodo: Someone asked me the other day why it is that Hobbits have things like clocks and umbrellas. Apparently he was very surprised at the sight of them, and hinted that even the most inventive dwarven craftsmen did not appear to have come up with things like that yet. How then, he asked, had Hobbits come up with such things when they are not known for their industry? Well, perhaps we aren't famed as a people for building things bigger and better all over the place, but that doesn't mean we'll have no progress at all. Honestly, Gondorians: it's been thousands of years, and Aragorn's sword is still cutting-edge (ha!). Time to start paying inventors again.

Jana: This week I made some progress in ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 26, 2015

This week, Ron Weasley (circa 1995 or thereabouts).

Ron: Y'know, something's just occurred to me. Aurors finally showed up at the school this year. I suppose it makes sense with what's been going on (dark wizard catchers for dark wizards), but it does make you wonder where they've been all this time, doesn't it? What about the second year, when students were being attacked by a mysterious monster in the corridors, and my sister got dragged into the Chamber of Secrets? Would've been nice to've had an auror or two right about then. Or that time we thought a convicted murderer was trying to slit Harry's throat. Sounds like a job for an auror to me. I'm just saying. What, were they on strike or something? Guess I'll ask dad...

Jana: My reading pace has slowed to a crawl this week, but! I'm getting much better organi... Read More

Sunday Status Updates: July 19th, 2015

Tim's off this week, but the updates continue.

Bill:I've been traveling out west for those past three weeks, so not a lot of reading and I've missed some status reports. But in that time I did finish up:

The Book of speculation by Erika Swyler, which fell a little flat despite promising elements
Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola and illustrated by Emily Carrol, a relatively weak MG/YA graphic
The Adventures of Basil and Moebius Vol 2, by Ryan Schifrin and Larry Hama: another graphic, relatively uninspiring and even a bit dull, though solid enough I suppose
On the Origin of Superheroes by Chris G... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 12, 2015

We’d like to introduce and welcome our newest reviewer, Tadiana Jones. You can read about Tadiana and learn about her reading tastes on her reviewer page. Welcome, Tadiana!

Brad: This week I read The Divine, an excellent comic by Boaz Lavie, Asaf Hanuka, and Tomer Hanuka. See yesterday’s review. I also read Mark Millar’s fast-paced and fun MPH, a five-issue standalone trade collection that’s going to make a fun movie in the not-too-far future (Most of Millar’s books end up as movies, and Marvel’s Avengers movie Universe is partly based on Millar’s work The Ultimates). On audible, I’m listening to Rachel Pollack’s Godmother Night. Finally, I’m reading too many book... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 5, 2015

On the road again this week, so character update is on break.

Brad: This week I read and reviewed the first volume of The Tarot Cafe by Sang-Sun Park. I’ve also been reading some short stories by Harlan Ellison (it seems like I’m always finding my way back to his short stories). I’m also reading The Greater Trumps by Charles Williams, because I’ll read just about anything that involves tarot cards! In comics, I’ve just started Batman Eternal, a recently-ended weekly series put out by DC. I’m also enjoying some old Dr. Fate comics, too. Rachel Pollack has been teaching me about Tarot cards through several of her works, including Tarot Wisdom. And I’ve been greatly moved by Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 28, 2015

Today, Supergirl's back for the first time in a while. Yeah, I had no other ideas, so we're going to fall back on mocking superhero costumes.

Supergirl: Apparently, while I was looking the other way, everyone got a new costume from somewhere or other. Superman is in jeans and a t-shirt, Batgirl's in a caped tracksuit, and even Wonder Woman has traded in that idiotic bustier for some kind of pauldroned weirdness. I'm sure someone'll get to redesigning my look soon too. No more dumb Kryptonian cheerleader outfit. We're on top of this, right? Uh... right?

J... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 21, 2015

Character update is on break this week.

João: Not much reading done this week, mostly due to this being the last two weeks of this semester and me studying for five exams all at the same time, and because the book I am reading is Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which so far has been somewhat of a bore. Maybe this isn't the right time to tackle this book, and I knew it would be a slow read from the start, and yes, it doesn't help that the first 300 pages are about a character who is designed to be as boring as anyone can be, but I will still keep on moving forward because I want to be able to form my own opinion of this one based on my reading of it all. Maybe now that Strange is appearing it will get more interesting.

Kat: My kids are on summer vacation, so my daughter and I had some time to listen to a coupl... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 14, 2015

This week, Sir Bors reflects on the legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Bors: So Gawain finally got back from that stupid business with the green knight who can reattach his head. Yes, I'm as surprised as everyone else. Though really, it was his own fault. Everyone else knew enough not to get mixed up with a bright green man whose idea of an after-dinner game was a beheading contest. At first we were all eager to learn how he'd survived, but then we saw he was wearing a bright green garter. I think we all decided on the spot that we could live with ignorance.

Jana: I haven't had a lot of time to read -- I've been busy with projects around the house. Painting, landscaping, electrical work, etc. I did mange to finish Slow Bullets, by Alastair Reynolds, and read through The Library at... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 7, 2015

This week, Tarzan. 

Tarzan: This week, Jane is once again in peril and I must hurry across the length and breadth of Africa to save her. Naturally, those two perfidious Russians (who I think of, I admit, as Dumb and Dumberov) are once more to blame, somehow. Also, yet another barbarian queen has fallen in love with me, so I'm forced to keep fending off her advances while I search for Jane. This barbarian queen, mind you, is very well-spoken. I have to focus on not paying attention to her when she points out that she probably wouldn't get kidnapped as often as does Jane. I am of course devoted to my wife, but the thought is not unappealing... no. No weakness. Onward. Rescue wife, defeat Russians, save day.

Then, probably, do it all again in a month or two.

João: Last week I fi... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 31, 2015

Apologies for the tardiness this week -- technical difficulties. This week, the character update -- speaking words that are not his to my recollection but could have been -- is Azhrarn the Beautiful, creation of the great British fantasist Tanith Lee, who died one week ago today.

Azhrarn: Though we come and go, and pass into the shadows, where we leave behind us stories told – on paper, on the wings of butterflies, on the wind, on the hearts of others – there we are remembered, there we work magic and great change – passing on the fire like a torch – forever and forever. Till the sky falls, and all things are flawless and need no words at all.

Jana: This week I managed to finish the books I've been reading, and have begun to prepare reviews. Actually writing the reviews down, as opposed to composing them in my... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 24, 2015

This week, Red Sonja again. Yeah, I don't know.

Red Sonja: A duke contracted me this week (good thing too -- I was almost back to turnips three meals a day) to find his daughter, who had apparently been abducted by a dragon. I've never been exactly clear on why dragons want girls (if they're not going to just eat them), or in fact how they always seemed to latch onto a nobleman's daughter. Did a bit of digging and it turns out she went of her own accord. There's apparently some kind of thriving subculture of bored (read: rich) girls writing about romance with dragons, and dragons turning into particularly studly men, and that sort of nonsense. So anyway, dropped by the cave, had a chat with the dragon. Nice bloke, couldn't be happier to get rid of the girl. Unfortunately, the little idiot spotted a vampire when we were halfway back and decided to elope, so now she's quite a bit paler and breathing... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 17, 2015

Today's update contains a mild spoiler for A Song of Ice and Fire. Both TV show and books are well past this point, however.

Danaerys: Today I woke up and decided "You know what? Forget Meereen. I'm leaving. It can burn to the ground for all I care. I'm going to Westeros." I'm quite pleased with this decision, actually. I feel like I'm finally back on track. Oh, and while I'm at it, I'm issuing a royal decree: no one gets to say "words are wind" anymore. It was a good fad, we all had fun, but it's over now.

Brad: I'm currently re-reading Cat's Cradle, a novel I read many times in high school and in college. Back then, though I understood its dark humor on a logical level, I mainly experienced it as a wacky humorous book. Now that I'm 44 and have two young children, its da... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 10, 2015

Character update on break this week. 

Jana: This week, for FanLit, I continued reading Hannu Rajaniemi's Collected Stories, which are enjoyable and imaginative. I'm looking forward to sharing my thoughts on it. Thanks to my local library, I was able to pick up the last three volumes of Y: The Last Man, with words by Brian K. Vaughan and colors by Pia Guerra (and others), which is a series that I stalled on at Vol. 7 simply because I hadn't gotten around to buying the rest of the series. I love the premise (massive plague kills off every animal with a Y chromosome, save one young man named Yorick and his Capuchin monkey, Ampersand; strife and adventures ensue) and the art is wonderful, bu... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 3, 2015

This week, Captain America sinks deep into denial. Because there's some little arthouse film under the radar that I thought should be brought to everyone's attention.

Captain America: We have a new mission. Something about collecting Loki's scepter. Possibly there are robots involved. Fortunately, the team is prepared for trouble and I think it should be a good clean operation with nothing getting blown up and no cities getting demolished. Yes, our city-demolishing days are definitely behind us.

Jana: This week was a slow reading week for me. With the weather finally feeling spring-like, I've been working on landscaping/finishing up some home renovation projects in addition to my normal end-of-the-semester workload. I'm not complaining, though--I love all the sunshine and rain, and so do my flowers! For FanLit, I read Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 26, 2015

This week, Galadriel returns.

Galadriel: Well, I've finally met that questing band Mithrandir (RIP) organized. They've got Legolas with them -- still as ditzy as ever -- and Gloin's son. Gimlet or whatever. He kept staring at my chest, though possibly that was just an eye level thing. Arwen's new boyfriend was there too, looking even seedier than last time (if possible). Still can't remember the poor man's name for the life of me, so I've kept up with the "elven nickname" nonsense. We're calling him Elessar (Elfstone), which is maybe a bit cheesy -- Celeborn thinks it sounds like a wrestler name -- but His Scruffiness doesn't seem to have noticed. Then there were these four halflings (no, really, four. I know Mithrandir was quite enamored of their pastoral quaintness or whatever, but four. On a quest). I've got the Ring-bearer's name, but I can't for the life of ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 19, 2015

This week, Lady Jessica.

Jessica: I feel as though I'm having some sort of midlife crisis. It occurred to me today -- with sudden, terrible violence -- that great events are occurring all about me, are indeed bearing me up like a spar on a turbulent sea of Caladan, but I have no part in them. I seem to spend all day, every day, standing around providing internal commentary on whatever my son happens to be doing at the time. Sometimes I feel like a Bene Gesserit sports broadcaster, endlessly pronouncing judgment on this gambit or that. Oh well. Maybe I need some recreation to find my balance. I'll go glare sternly at Chani for no reason. That's always fun.

Jana: I had to grab my book-reading notebooks and date-check the notes I scribbled down because I couldn't remember what I read this week. (Yep, I take copious hand... Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 12, 2015

Character update on break this week. That blasted reality-warping machine has sprung a... well, I suppose it's a gasket or something, though it's not leaking water so much as lots of those pink elephants from Dumbo.

Jana: Calloo-Callay! I feel tremendously accomplished, even though I only read three of the books that I started last week. One of those, however, was Alex Marshall's A Crown for Cold Silver, for which I'll post a review later this week. I also read Genevieve Valentine's The Girls at the Kingfisher Club (and loved every word of it), Bill Bryson's Shakespeare: The World as Stage, his biography of Shakespeare (witty, but didn't tell me anything new), and started Bryson's second book on the English language, Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 5, 2015

Happy Easter, for those who celebrate it. This week, Harvey the Rabbit. Or Phouka. I always found Harvey a little bit of a creepy idea for some reason. Crazy, right?

Harvey: Pardon me, human, but could you move over? I can't see the screen if you sit like that.

Brad: This week I got a chance to reread some of my favorite Vertigo comics, since we just covered Vertigo in the survey section of my Comics and Visual Literacy course. We read selected Swamp Thing, Hellblazer, and Sandman issues, and since we could read only a handful of issues in each series, I tried to give the students some continuity by having them read issues in which John Constantine appeared. We read his first full debut (but second appearance, if you want to be picky) in S... Read More

Sunday Status Update: March 29, 2015

This week, Red Sonja addresses the hallowed seasoned warrior/brash youngster pairing.

Red Sonja: I'm not an adventurer anymore. I'm some kind of social worker. Seriously! I can't use the privy without stumbling over three vulnerable teenagers, and all of them seem to be hinting that I should play the old wolf, teach them about being women, and all that sort of thing. Gods damn it, I'm a thirty-year-old mercenary who runs around in her underwear killing monsters! You think I've got a handle on things? I don't want to be your cool aunt. Leave me alone! Look, new rule: when I'm not actively killing something, I just want to unwind without someone pestering me.

That goes for you too, Conan. There's only so long anyone can buy your "serendipitous coincidence" line on why we keep ending up hired for the exact same jobs. Getting a little obvious, buddy.

... Read More

Sunday Status Update: March 22, 2015

This week, Cinderella, because there's a new movie and I like to be all topical.

Cinderella: You know, you have to wonder about my Fairy Godmother. Now I don't want to seem ungrateful, of course -- getting me ready for the ball was ever so kind of her -- but... well, I mightn't have needed her help at all if she'd just put in a few magic sparks a bit earlier on. The dress, the pumpkin coach, the slippers... lovely things all. But could I have found a few, you know, non-makeover uses for incredible cosmic power over the course of my life? Yes. Yes, I probably could've. Just saying. I might have a few non-rodent friends, for example. That'd be nice.

João: Finished Darin Bradley's Chimpanzee, which I enjoyed... Read More

Sunday Status Update: March 15, 2015

This week, in honor of Terry Pratchett, we have Death and a quote from Reaper Man


Brad: This week I've been reading early, mostly wordless comics by Jason, and they are fantastic. I've also been reading long realistic fiction in graphic novel format: Box Office Poison and Tricked, two excellent works. I also read Brooklyn Dreams, a coming-of-age autobiographical graphic novel. I recommend all of these (and they are available for reasonable prices on Comixology). Finally, I started reading some Elric stories again.

Jana: I finished Deadpool by Danie... Read More