the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Ai Yazawa’ Category

Hubby and I spent the weekend away and had a delightfully nerdy and book-wonderful weekend.

Saturday was a board gaming party, where much Vegas Casino building, nun chasing, alien blasting and monster slashing fun was had by all. Also pies. I never realized there was such a thing as too much pie.

Sunday we found ourselves on the outskirts of Michigan State University. Had someone told me the MSU campus was that lovely, I’d have ended up there instead of my alma mater. so many brick buildings! We went to Curious Books, where I picked up a Steven Brust, some Cordwainer Smith, some Neal Asher, a Peter Watts, and a few other goodies. Great bookstore. if you are in Lansing, hit up Curious Books. Nicely organized store, friendly and helpful staff, and half the basement was old scifi magazines and anthologies, how sweet is that?  North edge of campus, down the street from the super awesome bubble tea place and the very strange looking art museum, you can’t miss it.

After Curious, we hit up Schuler’s books and music. not much of a scifi section, and very much with the vibe of a chain bookstore, this isn’t my usual hangout.  Ahhh, but this afternoon at Schuler’s was so very different.  they bring in plenty of authors, but the woman they brought in this past Sunday, is someone very special and dear to my heart. Her books have held my heart in their pages, have caressed my face with their imagery, and they usually make me cry at the end. tears of agony, tears of happiness, tears of beauty, sometimes all at the same time. She’s an amazing author, and a friendly, funny, snarky, darkly brilliant person.

here’s a hint:

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Because I have a digital camera and I know how to use it!  (Ok, I sort of know how to use it)

I’ve still got The Wolf Age by James Enge and Mountains of Majipoor by Robert Silverberg topping the TBR list,  but here are some new goodies on deck, double deck, and triple deck for the next little while:

There’s something in that photo that I’m super crazy excited about, can you guess what it is?  Hint: It’s from the friendly folks at PYR.

I hadn’t planned on buying Grey, but I recently read some good reviews of it, and it was on the dollar table at Bargain Books because the cover was a bit marked up.  Also from Bargain Books, the Ai Yazawa.  I’m undecided on Bargain Books – no service, but tons of random cheap stuff that’s usually in mint condition.   A consumer’s dream, or a nail in the coffin of my favorite independent bookseller?

Oh, and I got seduced by this too:

I just can’t help myself when it comes to Robin Hobb.  You’re looking at the Soldier Son trilogy,  book 1 of which I’m about 150 pages into.   I probably won’t read these books one right after the other, but I hope to get to all of them, eventually.

So If I don’t get (too) distracted by anything else in the next week or so, you should expect to see reviews of at least a handful of the stuff mentioned or  pictured in this post.

Behold!  LRR’s end of year listy thing!  (Yay peer pressure!)

Favorite book of 2010: Zoo City by Lauren Beukes.  Words can not describe how much I loved this book. It turned me into a blabbering fangirl.

Favorite newly discovered author of 2010Joe Abercrombie.  Okay, so his First Law trilogy was published before 2010, but I read, no, I devoured this trilogy during the second half of 2010.  this is the uncut good shit.

Best twist in a SF/F novel:  Mark Hodder’s Springheeled Jack. If you’ve read it you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t read it,  you still have a few days of vacation left, so what are you waiting for?

Favorite newly discovered character is a  Big ole tie between:  Joe Abercrombie’s Sand dan Glotka, Lauren Beukes’ Zinzi December, and Mike Resnick’s Doc Holliday. Me, have a weakness for tragic characters? no way!

Favorite graphic novel Rising Stars by J. Michael Strazcynski.  It’s not new, but it was new to me.

Favorite Manga:  Nana, by Ai Yazawa.  I love Shojo.  Who knew?

Book most looking forward to in 2011: Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss

what were your favorites for 2011?

if I haven’t mentioned it before, this is quickly becoming my favorite manga series. Yazawa puts in all the funny and emotional details of the characters lives. She must remember what it’s like to be twenty, to have selfish moments, to wish you were someone else, to get a reality check, to have your heart broken. And the fashion pr0n, don’t even get me started on the punk fashion pr0n! 

Nana K’s life couldn’t be better. She’s found a great job in a hip furniture store, she’s just gotten a live performance from her punk rocker roomate Nana O, and her boyfriend Shoji is holding down a resturant job while attending art school full time. And you know what they say about things that are too good to be true. Her relationship with Shoji is doomed – she whines that he doesn’t make time for her, but when they are together she constantly accuses him of cheating. When the store she works at closes, she realizes she’s spent all her savings and can barely afford her rent.

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Welcome to Graphic Novel November! A month of graphic novels, manga, and other illustrated fun! Check the main Graphic Novels / Manga page for the full list of reviews and other fun stuff.

One of the best selling shojo titles, Ai Yazawa’s Nana follows two friends along their path to their dreams. Sometimes the path to your dream takes the long way around, and as Yazawa loves to remind us, sometimes what you thought you wanted isn’t want you really wanted at all. Full of friendship, partying, fashion and drama, you can’t help but fall in love with Nana and Nana. I usually say “I don’t like any of that girly crap”, and then I read some Ai Yazawa, and now I can’t get enough of the stuff.

We spend the first half of Nana Vol 1 getting to know Nana Komastu, a 19 year old love hungry teenager. After spending all of high school falling in love with any guy who would give her a second glance, Nana wants to start fresh. She attends a technical art school (in western terms, this would be a community college or vo-tech school) with her best friend Junko, and instantly falls for the handsome Shoji. But Nana is self centered, clueless, disorganized, and a horrible student. For Nana, “school” is all about drinking and partying, so it comes as no surprise to anyone but her when she doesn’t get into any Tokyo art universities. As her relationship with Shoji starts to fall apart, and Junko prepares to leave for art school in Tokyo, Nana is afraid to be left behind in their home town. Her and Shoji try to make the long distance relationship thing work, and when the time is right, she’ll do her best and move to Tokyo!
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After professing my love for shorter casual reviews, here’s a super long, more formal review. My exuse being I wanted to put in some cultural tidbits. Look for the italics.

Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa is the story of Yukari as she survives her senior year of high school. It’s the perfect length at five volumes: short enough that you can read the whole thing in one day, but long enough that you get a completed storyline that finishes well. Yukari is your typical Japanese high school student – school, cram school, chores, homework, repeat every boring day, spend weekends at the library studying for college entrance exams. She’s been crushing on handsome Hiroyuki for years, and maybe, finally, this year, she might get up the guts to ask him out.

Japanese cultural tidbit: Especially in the larger cities, University entrance exams are a BIG DEAL. Much bigger deal than ACTs or SATs in the United States. Many high school students sign up for cram classes that meet a few days a week including Saturdays.

One afternoon Yukari is approached by some very strange looking students who half demand, and half beg her to help them. Thus we meet Isabella, Miwako and Arashi, who are all seniors at a fashion and textiles specialty high school. Their senior project involves a highly competitive fashion project led by their team leader George, and they need a fashion model for the show. Miwako explains their fahion line is called Paradise Kiss, and they feel Yukari would be a perfect fashion model for their show. Will she help them? Read the rest of this entry »


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.