Category Archives: two shoes

The Peneloppiad or How to Bore Someone to Tears for at least an hour…

So after I read When She Woke, I got all sorts of excited about Margaret Atwood again. I put a bunch of books on hold and waited with baited breath to see what came in. Unfortunately, the first thing to come up was The Peneloppiad, whose description left me excited but in actuality was AWFUL. I don’t mean like gosh I don’t like Greek poems and this is boring awful, I mean my eyes are bleeding- awful. I’m not sure if I’m conveying how much I didn’t like this book ūüėČ

Here’s the deal- Atwood decided to reimagine The Odyssey but from the point of view of Penelope. In case you aren’t up on your Greek epic poetry, Penelope was Odysseus’ wife. She was supposed to be the antithesis of Helen, she waited twenty years whilst her husband went off to fight a war, used trickery to win it, came back by some circuitous route, saved his men from Sirens, slept with a goddess to save himself and finally returned. When Odysseus returns to his home, he finds the place overrun by suitors who are literally eating him out of house and home. Understandably, he gets a little bit kill-happy and slaughters all of these rude men but then also decides to kill Penelope’s twelve hand-maidens by hanging them. All sounds interesting and exciting right? But instead of following that story, we get to stay with Penelope who has weird self-esteem issues owing to the fact that she is not as beautiful as Helen. Mostly, she doesn’t like being Odysseus’ wife or being head of household or anything. Interspersed with this story, we get to hear from the twelve hand-maidens who act as a sort of Greek chorus. If there is anything I loathe in books, it is written out songs….I’m looking at you- Tolkien! Nothing ruins a good book faster than a long epic song, but nothing makes a bad book¬†more unbearable than a Greek chorus. Ugh I hated this book, luckily it was only¬†150 pages¬†and¬†spaced out print so it only took up an hour of my life. I don’t even remotely recommend this book, this is a two shoe book – I’m only giving it that because it seemed like a cool idea, a little feminist perspective on the Odyssey. Please don’t let¬†this color your opinion of Atwood – she is normally a phenomenal writer – just read Handmaid’s Tale or Alias Grace instead¬†¬†of this nightmare…

Three Appeals : retelling of Odyssey, feminist perspective, I can only give you two…

Red Flags: Greek chorus – only with awareness can we stamp out this problem.

Anybody else read this? Did you hate this as much as I did?

Trina

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Atwood; Margaret, The Peneloppiad, two shoes

Supergods – book review

I am trying to really broaden my reading horizons and get some more interesting genres into my reportoir. So I saw many good reviews on the book Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can
Teach Us About Being Human¬†by Grant Morrison and thought this would be a good opportunity to read some non-fiction while impressing my¬†husband with my newly acquired nerdy knowledge. The title sounded so promising…

For those of us not in the know, Grant Morrison is a comic book writer – a very famous comic book writer. In fact, he wrote the best selling graphic novel of all time (Batman: Arkham Asylum) a fact which he never misses an opportunity to let the reader know. We get it dude- you have made lots of the moneys with this comic book thing and should therefore be respected. This is where the book really has its’ downfall.

The first two thirds of the book deal with the early ages of comic books – the Jack Kirby/Stan Lee dominated eras filled with the names we all know – Superman, Spiderman, Batman, The Green Lantern, The Hulk, etc… Morrison does an excellent job of detailing the genesis of the most popular superheroes. He relates it not only to what was going on in the States but also to his own childhood in England. And it is interesting! We find out what not only motivated him but what he thinks motivates anybody who is interested in comic books. I was REALLY digging this part.

Then we get to the part where he is actually writing graphic novels and we get to the self-aggrandizing/putting other people down part. This is where the book took a very steep sharp turn for the worse. Not my fave. I am willing to admit that this may be partly due to the fact that I LOVE Watchmen (arguably the greatest graphic novel of all time) and Morrison puts it down throughout the book. It is only later that you learn that Morrison and Alan Moore (the author of Watchmen) have had an ongoing feud for a good ten+ years. Enough already!

So I’m really split on this book review : I give the first two thirds a resounding eight shoes and the last third an even more deafening two shoes – barely readable.

Three Appeals: Comic book history, interesting personal anecdotes, literary quality

Red Flags: Language, Drug use – Does hubris count??

If you want to read more non-fiction about comic books then try:

1) The Comic Book Heroes: The First History of Modern Comic Books – From the Silver Age to the Present by Gerard Jones and Will Jacobs

A comprehensive history of comic books.

2) Tales to Astonish: Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, and the American Comic Book Revolution by Ronin Ro

What happened between two of the greatest comic book creators – a great feud and lots of wrangling over money.

3) Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean by Douglas Wolk

Want some non-fiction about other genres in literature? Try:

1) Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance edited by Jayne Krentz

A book of essays by romance writers on what draws readers to the romance genre.

2) Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands by Michael Chabon

A book of essays by the Pulitzer Prize winning author on his own love of different genres and how he writes his books.

3) Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader  by Anne Fadiman

A must read for anybody who loves books! This small tome is a collection of essays on reading – how it affects your life, your relationships and the relationship you can only have with a book.

My final recommendation is to read Watchmen! This is one of my favorite books of all time let alone my favorite graphic novel. It is the only graphic novel to be on the Time’s 100 best novels. It is amazing and would definitely garner my 10 shoe review. Amazing story, interesting art, engrossing characters….can you ask for anything more?

Fair warning- this is chock full of sex, violence, language, everything else. This is NOT appropriate for children.

Thanks and happy reading!

Trina

Leave a comment

Filed under book review, eight shoes, non-fiction, two shoes