Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Injustice: Gods Among Us (Year One, Volumes 1 & 2) by Tom Taylor

17671993Superman and Lois are in love, married, and expecting their first child. It's beautiful and short-lived. The Joker brings a quick end to Lois and Superman's happy ending, killing Lois and destroying Metropolis. Superman goes berserk. He takes swift and fatal revenge on the Joker. If it had ended there his actins might have been if not acceptable, at least understandable but it doesn't end there. Superman decides he wants to make sure no one else has to suffer the pain he is going through. He decides he will do whatever it takes to bring peace to the world. Sounds great right?

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year One, Vol. 2It is not great. Batman sees the situation for what it is immediately. Superman's intentions may be good but his actions are not. His peace is brought about and enforced through violence. People who disagree with Superman and his friends are labeled as terrorists. Luckily humanity has Batman on its side.

I can't remember what attracted me to this series. Maybe it was the artwork or that it was a complete series by the time I came across it, which meant no waiting to see how the story ended. (This is only Year One, there are four more years left for me to read.) Whatever it was I wasn't expecting anything more than a fun superhero story. Did I mention that this series is based on a video game?

The best stories make a reader think. Injustice made me think. Like many I've wondered why Batman never puts a permanent end to the Joker and his deadly antics. Here we get an answer. Batman is not a murderer. Batman understands that he has to stick to a moral code or he would be no better and no different than the criminals he fights. Superman doesn't get that, at least not yet. But again the series isn't over yet so maybe he will eventually. I am eager to find out.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Novel Cure by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin

Product DetailsFrom Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You

Are you dealing with a loss of faith or the loss of a loved one? Do big books frighten you or are you having trouble concentrating? Are you a compulsive book buyer? (That's a yes on that last one for me.) Whatever it is that ails you or whatever conundrum you find yourself in, there is a book for that according to Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin.

Apparently the idea of using books as a cure for emotional or mental turmoil is known as bibliotherapy. I'm not sure to what extent bibliotherapy is actually used as a genuine treatment option but I do believe that sometimes the right book at the right time can be just what you need when you can't sleep, are sad, lonely, or confused. It can calm a person down or spur her into action. The Novel Cure can help you find that book when you need it. Even just reading The Novel Cure might be the cure you need.

Berthoud and Elderkin have taken great care in not only putting together a selection of books for a variety of ailments, but explaining the reasoning behind their selections. Their reasons are funny, insightful, and gently admonishing when necessary. One of my favorite examples is the entry for vengeance. For that they recommend Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. In explaining the general plot of that, ahem awful, novel they explain the utter futility of seeking vengeance. 
I have one small quibble and it is really more a question of format rather than context. There is no table of contents, at least in the paperback edition I have. I read the book page by page which is fine for an initial read through but it would be great to be able to quickly skip to a wanted section. There are author and title indexes but they are not as useful as a table of contents would be. Beyond this one tiny quibble I would absolutely recommend The Novel Cure to just about anyone. I would especially recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Nancy Pearl's Book Lust. If Book Lust is an appetizer, The Novel Cure is a three course meal plus dessert.