The Language Learning Challenge had a theme last month of reading about the history of the region, culture, or our target language. My target language of focus for the month was Japanese, so I tried to find books about that culture. I’m going to change up what I would typically write as only a review… Continue reading Zen for Beginners by Judith Blackstone & Zoran Josipovic
No longer a slave but now an magus’ apprentice, Chise Hatori has been introduced to people and creatures of many sorts, including fae royalty. We start where we left off with the King of Cats and the blight haunting the cats’ home. As the story goes on, she learns about more of the cruel effects of being a sleigh beggy, a person who can generate and use tremendous magic. This second volume of The Ancient Magus’ Bride, by Kore Yamazaki, continues one story line and shows more of the side effects of being a sleigh beggy.
I first learned about The Ancient Magus’ Bride anime from akidearest, but I decided I would watch it when it becomes available on a platform I have access to. Then I saw the manga at my library and checked it out. The recommendation I heard for the anime was that it gives you a sense of wonder and tells you just what you need to know for current events and feel there’s still more to the fantasy world, and the manga delivers on that too.
After reading Hostage by Guy Delisle last year, I wanted to read more of his graphic novels, which brought me to Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea. This one focuses on the Delisle’s adventures while working at an animation studio in Pyongyang. He deals with corrections to animations, being followed everywhere, and seeing attractions and behaviors that glorify the leader of North Korea. This travel memoir gives an unsettling look at North Korea.
Ever since I saw the review for Blue Is the Warmest Color on From Isi, I wanted to read it. Before this, I only saw the movie listed on Netflix. I checked the book out from the library and enjoyed it. In a colorless world, Clementine, a high school junior, has a family, friends, and a boyfriend she can’t reciprocate feelings for. She breaks up with him. Her gay friend takes her out to a gay bar where she meets Emma, the confident art student with blue hair. This event starts Clementine on the path of self-discovery and love. Narrated in diary entries, this graphic novel is a love story about two women in France in the ’90s.
Haruhi Fujioka is a scholarship student at a rich kids’ school who has to work for the Ouran High School Host Club to repay the debt she owes for breaking a priceless vase. On top of that, she has to keep it secret now that she is a girl. But now it’s time for physical exams. How is the club supposed to keep the doctors and their customers from finding out Haruhi is a girl? As the official start of a series plot, the second volume of Ouran High School Host Club, by Bisco Hatori, throws new issues at the Host Club to develop characters who did not get as much page-time in the previous book.
One day in a programming class in Flagstaff, Arizona, a guest speaker visits to get the girls in the class to play as female characters in Coarsegold Online. Anda Bridge decides to play the game and quickly levels up in her guild by killing gold farmers for money. She meets a gold farmer, a person who illegally collects rare items and sells them to other players, from China and learns that life isn’t easy for everyone. In Real Life, by Cory Doctorow and illustrated by Jen Wang, examines a culture clash, workers’ rights, and a black market.
Ghouls look like and live like humans, except they eat human flesh. Ken Kaneki is a human-Ghoul hybrid due to an accident that gave him the organs of a Ghoul. He is learning about life as a Ghoul by learning to act human, seeing the humanity in Ghouls, and avoiding contact with the “Doves,” investigators who kill and torture all Ghouls without consideration of which is good and which is bad. Volume 2 of Tokyo Ghoul, by Sui Ishida, is the volume that humanizes Ghouls.
Society contains humans and Ghouls, who look and behave like humans most of the time. One problem: the Ghouls must eat humans to survive. Ken Kaneki, a human in this society, is thrilled to go on a date with the woman he likes, but it turns out she only wants to eat him. After an accident and a dubious rescue, he transforms into human-Ghoul hybrid. Now Ken has to survive Ghoul wars, learn the ways of Ghoul society, and come to terms with his existence as a half-Ghoul. The first volume of Tokyo Ghoul, by Sui Ishida, explores a transformation into that of a monster and the way one man copes with this horrific change.
In 1997, Christophe André was working for a humanitarian NGO in the Caucasus when he was kidnapped and held hostage by some Chechens. He finds himself trapped in a room, handcuffed to a radiator, not knowing when he will be rescued from this Hell. While trapped, he thinks about possible escape plans, keeps track of the date, and entertains himself with his knowledge of world history. Guy Delisle recounts Christophe’s story as he was told it through a graphic novel.