Monday, April 15, 2013

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 4/13

It's a small batch this week -- two books and one promotional thingy for a book -- which means I should have more space and time for tomfoolery up here in the intro. But, unfortunately,  I don't have any particular tomfoolery in mind this week, so instead you get the facts:

Fact the First: Publishers send books out to various people (usually considered to be influential in some way) to raise interest and awareness, so that in the end the larger public will know about that book and buy lots of copies.

Fact the Second: I am one of those people, for very minor values of "influential."

Fact the Third: This is what I got over the past seven days.

Fact the Fourth: I haven't read any of 'em yet.

I'll start with the thingy, which is what we in the biz call a "blad" -- a small promotional pamphlet for an upcoming book, sent because the book itself is heavily illustrated or otherwise specially printed and the usual bound galleys/ARCs/whatever the jargon is this week wouldn't really reflect the way the book will look. This particular blad is for an October 2013 hardcover from Norton for a book called How Are You Feeling? by David Shrigley, author of the similarly odd book What the Hell Are You Doing? It's a pseudo-self-help book, or perhaps a parody of a pseudo-self-help book (or, perhaps even more likely, a pseudo-parody of a self-help book), with hand-lettered text and big blocky crude illustrations on brightly colored pages. Individual pages make this thing look weird, but I expect it has a stronger impact when read straight through; I don't think this format presents it in its best light. But it is a weird thing that will soon exist, and that's particularly nice for those of us who like weird things.

Next up is something called Witch & Wizard: The Manga, Vol. 3, an adaptation of the James Patterson novel of the same name (credited to Patterson with Jill Dembowski, with art by Svetlana Chmakova). There's an interesting media-studies thesis for someone in why it's valuable for an American-published right-to-left graphic novel by a mostly American team (Chmakova is Russian-Canadian) is called "manga," but that's not me today. We're far enough into the story in this volume that the back-cover copy doesn't make much sense to a new reader like me -- I can understand that "Whit and Misty's magic and their control of it have matured," but it's less clear what "helpless to prevent the one who is the one from destroying everyone and everything they hold dear" means at all. But: this is near-future YA dystopian fantasy from a bigfoot writer, so there's already a lot of people who are fans of it and him, and they'll be happy to see this paperback, which Yen Press published in March.

Last for this week is a new book from Vertical: Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, Vol. 1- Activation, the first publication in English of the recent manga version of the classic anime series of the same name. Since this is a thirty-year-old property, the credits are complex: the manga is by Yoshikazu Yashuiko, the original story was by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Hajime Yataka, and mechanical designs are by Kunio Okawara. If you like your space adventure with giant robots fighting each other, you'll want to check this out.

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