Friday, November 21, 2008

Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War

By Geoff Johns and David Gibbons and Peter J. Tomasi

Art by Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, and Ethan Van Sciver

After reading Marvel’s space opera, Uncanny X-men: Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire, I decided to read DC’s take on the genre. Like Marvel’s X-men story, DC’s Green Lantern epic is in several volumes, and has not yet been concluded.

First off, I have to admit to some bias, as I’ve always been a Marvel fan and only followed DC sporadically. I grew up with the Marvel characters and can fully appreciate the history and references. When terrible things happen to them, I feel like it is happening to people I know. I don’t have that connection with the DC characters. So, despite a great many terrible things happening to the Green Lanterns (the body count is high), it doesn’t resonate fully with me. That said this is a roller coaster of a tale, with plenty of action and the dark, grand scale you expect of a war story. There are lots of splash pages, but they aren’t wasted. They are crowded with creatures from hundreds of worlds battling each other, or filled with alien vistas, or those huge gotcha story moments -- all of which contribute to the realization of the cosmic world of the embattled Green Lanterns.

For those like my self, who aren’t as familiar with the DC universe, Sinestro is a former Green Lantern who was stripped of his ring when he abused his powers. That's his very angry face in the picture. He was Hal Jordan’s mentor in the Corps, and it was Hal who realized Sinestro had gone from helping keep order to imposing order, and turned him in. Needless to say, the former Green Lantern has a special animosity for Hal. And with the help of some fairly powerful villains, Sinestro forms an anti-Green Lantern Corps, whose mandate is to spread fear.

As far as the art goes, let me just say I’m adding Ethan Van Sciver and Ivan Reis to my favorite artists list. Wow! I could heartily recommend this book on their work alone. It is reminiscent of Neal Adams, but more detailed. Van Sciver especially so, and plus he has a talent for making the horrible really creepy. Compare his full page splash of the Parallax host in the Prologue of Volume One to Reis’ in Chapter One of Volume One.

To reserve Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War Volume One, click here; for Volume Two, click here; and for Tales of the Sinestro Corps, click here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"A Possum in the House" Read by Charles Ghigna @ HPL

Charles Ghigna, a local Homewood Alabama author, reads one of his poems, "A Possum in the House". It is always a joy to see Mr. Ghigna and his wife, Debra, who visit Homewood Public Library weekly.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

I just finished reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. I have also decided never to read another book described as "The Great American Novel".

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle isn't bad. It was praised by the New York Times and received the coveted Oprah endorsement. It just isn't exceptional, which is what you hope for when you invest your time into almost 600 pages.

The title character, Edgar, is born mute, and can only communicate through sign-language. He and his mother and father eke out a living breeding and selling dogs in rural Wisconsin.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is an American adaptation of a famous play by Shakespeare. I won't say which one, but once you learn the characters' names (Claude, Trudy, Forte, etc.) you'll have no problem figuring it out. This is the biggest disappointment. Once you realize the basis for Wroblewski's story, you already know the ending, the EXACT ending, which is frustrating, especially after trudging through a lengthy and unnecessary adventure through the woods with Edgar and his dogs, only to find that you knew what was going to happen 300 pages ago.

Character development is also lacking. Maybe Wroblewski assumes that when we stumble on to the Shakespearean theme we'll understand on whom the characters were based, but none of the characters learn or grow.

There are also a few supernatural happenings (apart from the one necessary to Shakespeare) that seem to be forced into the plot. So forced I can't really even explain why they're there. Again, frustrating.

Animal lovers will be moved by the relationship between the Sawtelle family and their dogs, especially Edgar and his dog Almondine, and what little Edgar's character develops in the book is reflected in his unique ability to train the dogs without a voice.

The most intriguing part of the novel is Edgar's fathers near obsession with perfecting his breed of dog, which Edgar discovers while going through some of his father's old letters.

It is an enjoyable, but not a necessary read. It is definitely American, complete with woods and barns and tragedy, but the comparisons to Jack London are a little premature.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

NEW! Like Culinary Mysteries?

NEW! Like Culinary Mysteries? Then see who our Author of the Month is in the Adult Dept. Hint.........................>
Reserve these in Encore.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Bridge to Terabithia is a really good book about a young man named Jess Aarons and his friend Leslie Burke. The only thing that Jess hopes will happen is that he will be the fastest boy in his grade. Jess lives out on a farm all alone until Leslie moves in the house beside him. They become great friends until something tragic happens. So after the incident Jess is forced to pick a new queen for his made up city. That is all I will tell you without giving the story away. I hope you will read this book!!!
~Chris S., 7th Grade, Homewood Middle School

Tangerine by Edward Bloor

Have you ever been in a town where you wake up to a cloud of smoke? In this book 12-year-old Paul Fisher has moved from Houston, Texas to Tangerine, Florida to play soccer. When he ends up being picked on in his new school he has to overcome that problem. In the end there are some exciting twists that will change Paul's life forever. If you are looking for a book with exciting cliff hangers and great adventures, then this book is for you.
~Cade, 7th Grade, Homewood Middle School

Thief in Retreat A Sister Agatha Mystery by Aimee and David Thurlo

Archbishop Miera has enlisted the help of Sister Agatha and Pax, the white German Shepherd. When the Church sold the former Monastery of Saint John in the Pines to Mr. and Mrs. Luna it became an inn called The Retreat. The Archbishop assigned Sister Agatha to examine and catalog crates of artifacts left behind by the monks. He also sent her to help solve the theft of several art pieces at The Retreat and a ghostly appearance. When Sister Agatha and Pax arrived they caused quite a stir- a nun riding a red Harley with a German Shepherd riding in the side car. Everyone who met them there were automatically put at ease by this unique pair. Sister and Pax took up residence in the library where she worked with the artifacts belonging to the Church. Pax was on guard when she was out. Since she tended to be up late at night she had occasion to see Juanita, the ghost. Writers at a conference being held at The Retreat gave imaginative theories for the mysterious happenings. Rumors explained who Juanita had been and why she roamed The Retreat halls. But they did not explain the disappearance of sacred art or the substitution of fakes. While Sister was there the thefts continued, a manuscript disappeared and so did people and then a body was discovered. Now the local sheriff was called in on the case. And he did not like the interference of Sister Agatha at all. But she was on duty for the Church and continued her investigations along with her protector, Pax.