Monday, July 21, 2014

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 7/19

Every week, I list the stuff that came in my mail, since I'm lucky enough to get books show up in my mail unexpectedly for free. It's that time again now.

I haven't read any of these books yet, but I'm trying not to let my preconceptions about them color my descriptions too much -- unless I think I can be more amusing that way. As always, I hope you'll find something intriguing that you wouldn't have known about otherwise.

First up is a standalone single-volume manga -- you could call it a graphic novel if you wanted; that works, too -- by Moyoco Anno. In Clothes Called Fat was one of her first works, a black comedy of manners that I suspect centers on body image and eating. It's available now from Vertical, who also published Anno's super-geek story Insufficient Direction earlier this year.

Also from Vertical: From the New World, Volume 5 with story by Yusukue Kishi and art by Toru Oikawa. It's adapted from Kishi's popular dystopian novel, about near-future teens in the usual crapsack world, living under arbitrary and capricious rules of the adults that constrain the vast and amazing powers of those kids. (I reviewed the second volume of the manga adaptation earlier this year.)

Also also from Vertical is Mitsubisa Kuji's Wolfsmund, Volume 5, continuing the bloody retelling of Guillaume Tell and his battles to free one small piece of Switzerland from the heavy, bloody hands of the evil Hapsburgs. (I reviewed the third volume back in February.)

There's a Maze Runner movie coming very soon, and I got a small stack of books related to that. Most obviously, something called Inside the Maze Runner: The Guide to the Glade by Veronica Deets (who doesn't get cover credit). It's a small paperback explaining the set-up of the series: a group of teen boys stuck in a "glade" in the middle of a gigantic ever-shifting killer maze that none of the boys have ever escaped from. (If original author James Dashner ever read Rogue Moon or The Man in the Maze, I will be greatly shocked.) This book seems to mostly focus on pictures of the young men, all looking very Twilight-cuddly and making me think the audience for the movie is mostly teen girls. This is from Delacorte, which also publishes the original Maze Runner novel and sequels.

And speaking of that, Delacorte also has two new editions of The Maze Runner, and they were nice enough to send me copies of both of them. (So I really shouldn't make fun of their property.) Both the $17.99 hardcover and the $10.99 trade paperback feature the movie's poster art on the front and an eight-page insert of photos from the movie in the middle. The novel itself is clearly the same as it was when it was originally published in 2009, but movies always attract new audiences, and these editions are poised to aim those audiences to exactly the book they're looking for.

And last for this week is a picture book -- the oversized, fully-illustrated books most associated with smaller children, for those of you not up on publishing lingo -- from Ben Hatke, creator of Zita the Spacegirl. Julia's House for Lost Creatures is published by First Second, and it's a sweet little story for kids, as you'd expect from the format, with lively watercolors and a gaggle of interesting and odd creatures coming to the title establishment.

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