Monday, November 28, 2011

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 11/26

It's a short list this week -- which may possibly have something to do with the major American holiday on Thursday -- but I'll give you the usual introductory bafflegab anyway, just to make sure it's all clear:

These posts go out every Monday morning, listing the books that arrived during the previous seven days. Typically, those books were sent to me by the friendly publicists of The Wonderful World of Publishing, in hopes that I will read and review them. I have not yet read any of these books, though -- I refer you again to the point where they just arrived -- so the below is what I can tell you about them from my prior knowledge, from supposition, and by squinting really hard at them.

First up this time is a new novel for younger readers -- teenagers, to be more specific -- by Stephen Emond, WinterTown. (His previous novel for teens was Happyface, which I reviewed last year, and he's also known for the comic book Emo Boy, which he wrote and drew.) Like Happyface, WinterTown is heavily illustrated, with a few pages in comics format and many more illustrations -- but, unlike Happyface, this book seems to be told entirely in the third person. Evan is our central character, a high-achieving late teen who looks forward to the annual visit from Lucy, his childhood best friend who moved away years ago. But this year Lucy has returned completely changed, as a sullen Goth all in black. I suspect this pushes Evan to both try to "save" Lucy and to date her, but the book is clearly all about their changing relationship, and that late-teens time when the world can seem to be either opening up or completely closing down. WinterTown is a hardcover from Little, Brown, publishing in December.

Osamu Tezuka, I hope you recall, is the godfather of Japanese comics (aka manga) -- creator of Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, Phoenix, plus dozens of other stories in both printed and animated form. And his most popular series among Japanese adults has long been Black Jack, a series of thrilling stories about a scar-faced "underground surgeon" who travels the world committing unlikely surgeries in odd places, to save lives and otherwise do astonishing medical work. This month sees the end of that series's first complete publication in English with Black Jack, Volume 17 -- a book that also includes an appendix listing all of the Black Jack stories (including a few untranslated and uncollected titles) and placing them in order of original publication for the completests out there. (I reviewed the first and second volumes of the series a few years back.)

And last for this week is a book I don't know if I can adequately express my feelings about: Piers Anthony's 35th Xanth novel, Well-Tempered Clavicle, which was published by Tor in hardcover on November 22nd. I'm reminded of a celebratory luncheon that took place before my publishing career began, among some women thrilled not to have to be professionally connected with a book entitled The Color of Her Panties, and feel the only safe thing to say is something along the lines of "My, isn't that a baby!"

No comments:

Post a Comment