Superman: Doomed / Convergence – Various Authors
I read both Marvel and DC Comics, but these days I find myself leaning more toward the Marvel side of things, and stories like these are part of the reason. Both of these crossover events are written by a cadre of different writers, and the end result is less a collaboration and more a mish-mash of uneven and non-complementary writing skills. The focus is not on telling a good story, but on making you buy as many books as possible so that you get the “full story”. I realize this is sort of the point of crossover events, but I feel that Marvel has done a better job of telling a cohesive standalone crossover titles that carry the main story, while side books supplement the narrative.
Graphic Novels, Crossovers, Action/Incoherence
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo
I’d heard about this one a few months back from one of my library coworkers. It’s a short book about decluttering and tidying from a Japanese perspective. Some of the concepts are hard to take seriously (thanking your belongings for a job well done at the end of each day) but there are lots of interesting methods and information about how to choose which of your things are really meaningful to you.
Self-Help, Cleaning, Mysticism
Punisher – Rick Remender
A couple months ago, my comics catch-up writer was Matt Fraction…currently it’s Rick Remender. This run on Punisher (directly following Fraction’s run) follows Frank Castle on a vendetta against Norman Osborn (during the Dark Reign crossover event). This vendetta ends poorly for Frank…like, dead poorly. But after a little mad scientistry and a lot of stitches, he re-emerges as Franken-Castle: un-dead Punisher and protector of an underground city of monsters that really just want to be left alone.
Graphic Novels, Violent, Science-Fiction
The Lady or the Tiger, and Other Logic Puzzles – Raymond Smullyan
The Lady or the Tiger is a book-length collection of logic puzzles. These begin as fairly simple truthteller/liar puzzles (knights always tell the truth; knaves always lie), but quickly grow more complicated, venturing into realms of combinational mathematics and Godelian logic.
Logic, Mathematics, Puzzles
Uzumaki: Spiral Into Horror – Junji Ito
After reading Junji Ito’s Gyo: The Death Stench Creeps, I wondered what else the manga author had created. A quick search brought me to Uzumaki, where the same twisted, almost humorous sense of horror was unleashed upon…spirals. Spirals in all their forms: whirlpools, snail shells, hurricanes, and more. The series is bizarre and grotesque throughout.
Horror, Manga, Maybe Tongue-In-Cheek?
Many Waters – Madeleine L’Engle
When I was a kid, I loved A Wrinkle in Time, but I never read the rest of the series. In Many Waters, the fourth book of the Time Quintet, Meg’s siblings Sandy and Dennys Murry, through a quantum physics accident (be honest, we’ve all had a couple of those), end up in biblical times, where they meet Noah and his family before the big flood. Like other books in the series, there are many fantastical elements, like seraphim and nephilim, tiny mammoths, and quantum unicorns.
Fantasy, Children’s/Teen’s Lit, Romance
The De-Textbook – Cracked.com Staff
Cracked.com has long been a repository of humor, but in recent years, they’ve dipped their toes into the pools of history, science, and pop psychology. The De-Textbook collects a couple hundred pages worth of debunked science myths and unromanticized history. While its claims may not be as iron-clad as you’d like, the book does a good job of opening one’s eyes to seeing how easy it is to be caught up in over-simplified education.
Humor, History, Science, Psychology
Captain America – Rick Remender
More Remender! This run on Captain America follows Steve Rogers on a 12-year detour into a hellish dimension created by Arnim Zola, where he raises an adopted son as his own. His return to our reality brings him up against psychedelic superweapon Doctor Mindbubble, as well as the rise of Iron Nail.
Graphic Novels, Action, Sci-Fi
World of Trouble – Ben H. Winters
The end of the world is coming in a week, and Henry Palace has one last case to solve before it happens. This is the final book in The Last Policeman Trilogy, a set of mysteries that take place in the weeks and months before Earth’s collision with a life-ending asteroid. As the last day nears, the world gets more unpredictable and unusual, placing new wrinkles in the path of Palace as he searches for his missing sister.
Mystery, Pre-Apocalyptic, Last Days
The Guest Room – Chris Bohjalian
All Richard wanted to do was host a bachelor’s party for his brother Philip. He didn’t know there were going to be strippers…or that the strippers were actually prostitutes…or that they would kill their bodyguards and flee, leaving him and the fellow party attendees with a blood-soaked living room and a lot of questions from the police. Though it centers around a crime, the story is less thriller in tone than it is family drama, with chapters told from the POV of several different characters. The audiobook is performed with convincing, exciting readings from two narrators.
Audiobook, Drama, Crime, Relationships