Tag Archives: Excerpts

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Batman’s mom

I’ve come across a lot of disdain for Batman: Haunted Knight and I suspect that it’s mostly because it dared to be on the same breath as the fanta-marvelous Long Halloween. I’m actually rather grateful to Haunted Knight for giving me what I’ve been looking for in the Batman mythos, high and low—Batman’s mom, Martha Wayne. Because, dammit, it’s all been about Daddy Dr. Tommy everywhere. [Continue reading.]

MOORE — Bark

Outgrowing Lorrie Moore

Days after reading Lorrie Moore’s latest collection Bark—and still lugging it around with me, because it gave me a disquieting conundrum that very much needed solving—I ran into Petra. We talked about a great many things, about cabbages and things, and she saw Bark, and she asked me how it was. I let loose everything that I had love about it, and even more lengthily about why it hurt me so. Petra laughed, asked, “Sasha? Have you outgrown Lorrie Moore?” I let that one sink in. And then I had to nod. I had outgrown Lorrie Moore. [Continue reading.]

OFFILL — Dept. of Speculation

The devastations of Jenny Offill

There is nowhere to cry in this city, Jenny Offill writes. And also: But she is tired all the time now. She can feel how slowly she is walking, as if the air itself is something to be reckoned with. But, then, also: There’s that moment, you know, for most people, where you decide you want to wake up in the world one more day. [Continue reading.]

BALOGH — Slightly Dangerous

A tall glass of cold hero

Figuring out my personal canon, here—historical romances are bound to pop up. Among the more notable: Slightly Dangerous, by Mary Balogh. It’s a love story between two very sensible adults, very much attracted to each other, very much aware of how far they’re willing to satiate their wanting. They’re two adults, too, with the necessary barricades around their hearts—and seeing them ease up, seeing them let a little of their control go—it’s so satisfying. [Continue reading.]

CHABON — The Final Solution

The old man’s mind

I am pleased to announced that my first foray into post-canon reading was a blubbery success: I’ve read Michael Chabon’s pastiche on Sherlock Holmes, The Final Solution, and absolutely loved it. It was, I think, a nice book to read in transition from the canon, to whatever reading I feel like doing next—either a reread of Doyle, or a digging up other pastiches that place their stories firmly as career stories. Mostly because it’s a nice nod to my having ended that first run through the canon—it’s a tidy novella about a Sherlock Holmes old and retired and, in fact, only alluded to. [Continue reading.]

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Girl ahoy, reading comic books

I was supposed to write just about Brubaker’s The Man Who Laughs, but then it kept swerving into a rant about “the barriers of entry” in comic book reading. So here’s that indulgent swerve. See, barriers have an amazing way of reminding you that they existed for you because a) you’re a girl, and b) you got into comics way too late to ever catch up. So, to me, even if the barriers have been tiptoed past or crashed into—out of sheer will, or through a surfeit of giddiness—those barriers keep haunting; they’re like your very own Greek chorus dispensing aphoristic helpings of an inferiority complex. Hell and damnation. [Continue reading.]

ex02 — February, Thus Far

February, thus far

I’ve kept up the wonky momentum of January—characterized by good books and really good books resolving to nudge away a smattering of meh books—up until the start of February, but I’m seeing the possibility of even that faulty system flagging. This is, I am aware, an as-faulty observation—since three of the four books I’ve read since the month began were really, really good books. It’s only that, I suppose, I’ve more recently been mired in books I can’t bring myself to care for—books that I have been excited for, and books that would really be for me if some secret thing inside me wasn’t so listless lately. I look at my bookshelves and think horrible thoughts, among them: How can I be so drawn to all of you, but nothing at this moment appeals? [Continue reading.]

PUTNEY - The Rake

On Regency drunks

For the TL;DR crowd: The Rake is a powerful and compelling exploration of a hero’s fatal flaw; the brandy-swilling hero narratively pushed to an addiction. Read it for that. And if you like long discussions of how to run an estate, idk. The romance is secondary to Reggie’s development as a character and his struggle with his alcoholism, which I understand and I respect and am actually quite thankful for—but, unfortunately, it’s a distant second within the narrative. A little more effort could have been put in to make Alys seem to me as compelling? A little more angst and love and passion? A little more conversation that didn’t involve sheep? [Continue reading.]

MILLER - Batman Year One

An education, in Bruce Wayne

The introduction Batman: Year One phrases it nicely: That if Frank Miller had rightly immortalized Batman’s Omega in The Dark Knight Returns, it only makes the most perfect sense that he could do the same with Batman’s Alpha. Year One is a refinement of Bob Kane and Bill Finger’s original Batman origin story—adding nuance where it called for it, adding grit, doing away with the slick camp of the late 1930s style, imbuing both alter egos with more gravitas. A gravitas that seems to have set the tone for all the Batman comics that would follow—fortunately for my angst-hungry heart. And. It’s the story of Bruce Wayne. [Continue reading.]

GREY — The Juliette Society

Neither porn nor romance

But Sasha Grey absolutely did not write an erotic romance in The Juliette Society; it’s more dangerous, for one, and follows more faithfully the tradition of erotica. That is: Grey’s book isn’t a romance with graphic sex scenes, which usually [tediously] involved forays into a poorly conceived BDSM culture. Sasha Grey isn’t a hanger-on of James’ [utterly frustrating] success—I am arguing that Sasha Grey, with The Juliette Society, was writing under the house of Anaïs Nin, even of Pauline Réage. [Continue reading.]