Current Reading Update 5/23/17

Wow, has that much time since my last post passed already? Clearly, my life is not moving into a state of relaxation over the summer. Anyway, I thought some people might be interested in discussing some of what I’ve been reading lately.

Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo  – Yes, a third Percy Jackson Camp Half-Blood series! This one features Percy a little less than the first two, but I’m still enjoying it. I love how Riordan has completely different interpretations of some of these mythological figures than I do without me seriously disliking any of his takes, and he definitely knows his stuff much more than Wikipedia does. One day I’ll find a book of Greek myths or take a class that will fill me in as much, but until then Riordan’s novels are one of the best sources I’ve found for Greek mythology. Book 3 (13?) comes out May of next year.

Miss Marvel: Generation Why and CrushedKamala has been on my “to read” list for ages and I picked up No Normal back at Geek.Kon 2016 (wow, has it been almost a year already?). I was browsing at Barnes & Noble while promising to myself that I would spend at most $20 and I picked up the Trials of Apollo novels, a book on learning Japanese, Doctor Who: Engines of War, and the second two Miss Marvel trade paperbacks. (It feels kind of odd that by the time the Carol Danvers Miss Marvel makes her way to the movie-viewing public, the current generation of nerds will have grown up on Kamala.) These entries lack the novelty of the first, which is pretty much what’s always going to happen, especially since this is a small-scale book. Kamala is a street-level hero with a very small entourage, so there’s not much in the way of new dynamics being explored with each issue. What’s most interesting here tends to be the way Kamala deals with her family, though hints of her upbringing are sprinkled elsewhere (such as her reaction to finding extremists in her fellow Inhumans). I do hope the stakes are raised a bit for book 4.

Harry Bates’ Farewell to the Master – I picked this one up in preparation for my class on Science Fiction and Film Adaptations and I’m looking forward to the discussion. I actually haven’t seen either version of The Day the Earth Stood Still and I’m going to make sure I’ve watched both this month if we don’t do so in class. It always stands out to me now how much calmer the pacing is in older Sci-Fi than writers are told we can get away with now (there’s one scene where Cliff notices four times that he forgot to take a photograph of the action; no editor in 2017 would let that pass). Still, I like the mysteries that the story posits, and the way it plays with assumptions in a way that could easily be translated into a modern-day racial parody. (If this doesn’t make sense to you, imagine Gnut as being a “black strongman” stereotype standing next to a white, bearded Klaatu.) The story doesn’t feel sufficiently detailed for a full movie adaptation, which tells me that the movies probably took some very interesting liberties that I look forward to seeing.

Neil Gaiman’s American Gods – I’m finally getting around to starting this one, and I expect a great experience. I’m going to be starting and stopping this one, considering that I have four other novels that I’m required to read over the next four weeks, but I expect to be done with this one by the end of June.

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