Friday, 18 January 2019

Friday Funnies


I think we can all relate to this on a Friday morning!

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Review: Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Willowdean Dickson is perfectly comfortable in her own skin, despite being of the slightly larger persuasion. That said, a few things have happened in her life recently that have shaken her self-confidence. First, her beloved aunt Lucy passed away. She and her best friend Ellen are slowly drifting apart. And there's a very attractive boy at her work who seems to like her, but doesn't want to actually be her boyfriend. Things need to change. And to kick off that change, Willowdean is going to enter the local beauty pageant. Soon she--and a group of very unlikely contenders--are on their way to prove that they are just as worthy of the crown as anyone.

This was an entertaining read, written by the author of the brilliant Ramona Blue. Willowdean is portrayed as a very normal teenager who has her own doubts, fears and misconceptions of others that often influence her behaviour and not always for the better. In other words, she's human and that made her very easy to identify. I found the Dolly Parton influence quite endearing as well. The various subplots, featuring Bo and Ellen were handled quite well. What was really pleasing though is that the book doesn't make fun of beauty pageants or pageant queens--instead the moral is that everyone has the right to enter them and to give it their best shot. 

Feel good YA lit at its best.

Recommended.

This book was read as part of the #Dymocks52 challenge

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Review: Find Your Creative Mojo by Josh Langley

Imagine just what you could create--and how much time you could spend creating--if you let go of your self doubt about your creative works. That's the core message of Find Your Creative Mojo, an entertaining yet no-nonsense guide to mastering the creative process. Using short chapters, bullet points and plenty of his famous The Frog and the Wall comics, author Josh Langley simplifies the creative process and encourages readers and potential creative people to stop worrying about being perfect and to start creating.

This was an enjoyable and useful guide, and one that is worthy of creative people at any stage of their career. 

Recommended.

Thank you to Josh Langley for my reading copy of Find Your Creative Mojo.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2019

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Review: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Keiko Furukura is a little well ... odd. At school and university she had difficulty fitting in with her peers but eventually she found sanctuary in the most unlikely place, working at a convenience store. In this predictable, normalised environment, she feels safe

Eighteen years later, and she's still working there. Now aged thirty-six, she is single and has no interest in finding a husband or a better job. As far as her family and her friends (who all want to cure her,) are concerned, this just wont do. But when Keiko finally decides to take action, the results are darkly hilarious and reveal more than a few deeper truths about the place of women in contemporary Japanese society.

I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed this one. Anyone who has worked in any retail environment, particular in areas with a high turnover of staff, will be able to easily identify with the training and procedures that Keiko embraces, while having a little chuckle along the way. Keiko isn't a character who is begging for sympathy, rather she is one who is asking the reader for acceptance. Some of her accounts of her childhood are darkly hilarious, while her sham relationship with Shiraha broke my heart just a little. 

Often when books are translated into English, they lose a little something. This is not so with Convenience Store Woman, owing in part, I expect, the similarities between convenience stores in Japan with those in Australia. The strong feminist themes come across well--why is it that those in Keiko's circles are willing to accept her supposed engagement to a thoroughly horrible suitor, but they cannot accept that she is happy working in a convenience store? And while it is never suggested in the book that Keiko has autism (she may do, she may not do,) it also discusses something that is a reality for many women who are on the spectrum--that they will often have to lie about themselves and their interests so that they may fit in and be accepted by others.

This one is short, easy to read and entertaining.

Highly recommended.

This book was read as part of the #dymocks52 challenge

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Review: Harley Quinn Hot in the City

Pow! Bam! Welcome to Go Graphic a new semi-regular feature on the blog. In these posts, I'll be talking all things related to some of our favourite comics and graphic novels. Kicking off this week is a review of Hot in the City ...

When DC came up with the New 52 back in 2011, their masterstroke was to re-invent Harley Quinn, the unhinged girlfriend of the joker, taking her out of Gotham City and placing her in Coney Island. After a former patient leaves her his apartment block in his will, Harley gathers up all her worldly goods on the back of her motorcycle and travels to Coney Island where she begins making new friends and establishes a new career on the local Roller Derby scene. But trouble awaits when she discovers that someone has taken a hit out on her ... and it might just take her friend and occasional lover (it's complicated) Poison Ivy to help her sort it all out.

Hot in the City is a graphic novel which contains several early issues of the New 52 Harley Quinn. 

As I said, the re-invention of Harley Quinn was a masterstroke on part of DC. I quite like the new 52 variant of Harley, perhaps even more so than the rebirth version. (Sorry, but we all have our favourites.) As a character, Harley works better as an anti-hero than a villain. Plus no one deserves a date with the Joker, let alone a relationship. Of course, a big part of the magic of the character is that she gets away with saying, and doing, plenty of things that a lot of people would secretly like to do, even though they would never actually do them or contemplate it with any degree of seriousness.

In other words, the insanity works well within the pages of a comic book and its bloody entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, perhaps even more than I expected to. 

I also really enjoyed the opening pages to this, where Harley interacts with the writers and artists of the series.

Recommended.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Review: Captain Doobie Goodtime Slim and the One Thing They Had to Do Today by DC White

It's not every day that I get to review a book written by my own brother on this blog, though, admittedly, it probably won't be the last time I do this, seeing as one, I have more than one brother and two, the one who had this one published probably has another one in the works. So, forgive me if this review is a little biased.

Captain Doobie is a long-term unemployed twenty-something who has big dreams and ambitions, but can never quite be bothered getting off his bum to do anything about them. Along with his best mate, Goodtime Slim, they share a house in the outer southern suburbs of Adelaide. Things are all going well, until one day, Goodtime Slim finds them some cash-in-hand work driving a suped up Lada that belongs to a very well, unusual man, from Adelaide to Melbourne. Along the way, they fall foul of nearly everyone they pass, from the Milk Police (who are not impressed that they've been stealing crates from Chakraborty's Deli,) to the Centrelink employee who goes to extreme lengths to find out why Captain Doobie didn't keep his appointment, and the Russian Mafia. Oh, and there's a woman who thinks she's a pirate thrown into the mix as well. 

This was a very funny novel that will no doubt resonate well with male readers who are looking for a novel that values fun over being offensive. Readers from Adelaide and South Australia will appreciate a number of in-jokes that are inserted throughout the novel. 

Recommended.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2019