marlowe1: (Maggie)
37.Act of God by Jill Ciment - This book opens with the kind of people that I normally don't like - Brooklyn gentrifiers complaining about their place. You have twin sisters who find a mushroom and kill it with bleach and an actress who lives upstairs and owns the building and doesn't know that a Russian is living in her guest room. Then the mushrooms turn out to be toxic and everyone is pushed out into hotels and friends' couches. The back cover blurb claimed that it is a screwball comedy but since most of the humor comes from characters getting on their feet only to have their momentary respite ruined by more glowing mushrooms, I am thinking that 'screwball" was not the best term. Regardless, I have been having a problem with books and movies that were cool until they snapped into place and got very boring. The cool diving book turned out to be about a chump getting played by a woman who wanted to kill her boyfriend. Dr. No reveals his evil plan. Unfriended is scary until the main killer is revealed. At very least this book does not give up and turn easy. Even if the plot seems to have gone to the most logical place it's still a surprise throughout.

38.A Bag of Marbles by Joseph Joffo, Kris & Vincent Bailly - One of the strange paradoxes is the fact that many Holocaust memoirs are written by the lucky ones. And it's very hard to think of people who lost their relatives and friends to the fucking Germans as lucky ones but by virtue of living they are lucky. In this case, we have two brothers trying to hide in Vichy France and worried about their parents and cousins. The main story is more important than entertaining but the true beauty comes from the artwork where every panel is like an impressionist painting.

39.Batman The Dark Knight Vol. 4: Clay by Gregg Hurwitz and Alex Maleev - There are three stories in this volume and they do sort of fit in with the theme of the other two books (I’m not just trying to make an excuse to putting three books in the same entry). In the first story, Clayface is out of jail and trying to kill people. The “how do we get Clayface back into a cell” story is secondary to Clayface whining about how he wanted to be an actor damnit and why is everyone screwing with him. The next vignette is one of those wordless comics that artists love so well. This time it’s about immigrants who end up being exploited in a sweatshop that is either owned by The Penguin or the rival billionaire. Anyhow, happy ending – Batman saves them and then they are given jobs at Wayne Enterprises because there’s a belief that you can be a billionaire and not exploit people. The last story is about a new Man Bat – the father of the original Man Bat – with all the Oedipal implications since there’s a lot of “Bruce Wayne should have been my son, not a wimp like you” verbiage coming out of Daddy Man Bat. Anyhow, this has a silly ending where Batman injects himself with the Man Bat cure in anticipation that Man Bat was totally going eat him but not so much that he wouldn’t be fine the next day.

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Tim Lieder

September 2017

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