I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell

Friday, February 23, 2018

Winter Soldier: The Complete Collection by Ed Brubaker (Writer), Butch Guice (Penciler, Inker), Michael Lark (Penciler), Stefano Gaudiano (Inker), Brian Thies (Inker), Tom Palmer (Inker), Bettie Breitweiser (Colorist), Jordie Bellaire (Colorist), Matthew Wilson (Colorist), Mitch Breitweiser (Colorist), and Joe Caramagna (Letterer)

Sin, the daughter of the Red Skull has released a Serpent who has a mystic hammer that empowers Sin transforming her into the herald Skadi.  The Serpent summons his worthy causing seven additional hammers to fall across the earth.  Odin plans on destroying the Earth in order to kill the Serpent, but Thor intervenes.  Tony Stark forges a set of weapons made of enchanted uru metal to help the Avengers and they manage to hold the enemy at bay long enough for Thor to defeat the Serpent and die in Odin's arms.  One of the casualties of the war was Bucky Barnes who was the current Captain America.

The book opens with Bucky being saved by a shot of something from Nick Fury.  But they don't want anyone knowing that he is alive. Only Fury, Black Widow, and Steve Rogers know that he is alive.  They hold a funeral for him with something like a body inside.  Bucky has work that needs to be done in the shadows and it will be better if no one knows he is alive.  Black Widow is going to help him.

Someone has woken up some KGB sleeper agents that Bucky trained years ago for what they are unsure of.  When an attempt on Vicor Von Doom's life is made outside the Embassy of Latveria and Bucky and Natasha battle a gorilla wielding a machine gun they suspect that the Red Ghost a Soviet scientist is part of the plot.  Bucky and Natasha go to the auction house where the sleeper agents activation codes were sold and find out that that wasn't the only thing that the Red Ghost bought. He also bought a Von Doom bot.

Now, who has it in for Latveria?  A crazy woman with cybernetic implants named Lucia Von Bardas. She was placed in control of Latveria after the old crooked ruler was removed and the government was cleaned out.  The problem was she was worse than he was. She was selling old Doom technology to bad guys hoping to keep S.H.E.I.L.D. too busy to notice what she was up to.   They figured it out, however, and took her down. On the way to taking her to a secure location she escaped.  She plans on using the Doom bot to start a World War.

One thing they discover is that one of the sleeper agents, Novokov, woke up twelve years earlier quite violently by an earthquake and likely didn't have his memories when he did.  A few months ago while reading a newspaper he saw the ad calling him in and went in to see his handler who explained things to him and what the new plan was, but he ends up killing him.

And he is just getting started. He realizes that Bucky was around this whole time and could have saved him by waking him up at any time but didn't.  So he wants to make him pay for this.  He kills someone Bucky cares about and then he kidnaps Black Widow and has the doctor who brainwashed her when she was in the Red Room brainwash her into thinking that she is a double agent and that she was working undercover at S.H.I.E.L.D. and he completely erases her memories of her relationship with Bucky.

Can Black Widow be saved?  Will Bucky survive this and capture Novokov?  This book will break your heart. I will not tell you, however, whether or not it will mend it again.  This was truly a fabulous book. I really loved it and cannot say enough good things about it. The art is amazing and drawn in a strict fashion that fits the book.   It is by far at the top of my list of favorite comics.  You really should read this one. 

Link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Winter-Soldier-Ed-Brubaker-Collection/dp/0785190651/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1519391692&sr=1-1&keywords=the+winter+soldier+the+complete+collection

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Link Boy by Michael J. Martineck

I received this book as a pre-publication copy from the publisher. This in no way influenced my review. Set about a hundred years into the future, this interesting novel is set against a background where three corporations run things around the world. There are no more nations just these corporations. They decide what you will do with your life when you are thirteen based on your performance in school.  Teachers teach in the morning and at night.  The Catholic Church is another entity in the mix. They are quite powerful and do a lot of mediation work between the corporations.  The priests do not have to take a vow of celibacy, though some do. They have women priests, though it is still run by men. You are forced to exercise every day or face a fine and get in trouble with the corporations.  You also go and get a physical twice a year.  You also wear a link on your wrist that you get when you are born, though you can certainly change them as you grow older.  They provide you with access to the internet, books to read, information on the person you are talking to, and much, much, more.

This book is centered around three people: Detective Edwin McCallum, Father Demiana DeFalco, and teacher Neelesh Fhor.  McCallum gets a call to go to a house that is being invaded one night and interrupts a man who has just murdered a doctor. The mysterious figure fights with precision and uses a wire to cut his achilles tendon and get away.  This puts him off the case and on suspension until he is better. He goes home and paints and draws, something he is really good at, but he is also secretly looking into the case.

Father DeFalco is being asked to do a mediation, something she has never done before.  The mediation is between the India and Hong Kong corporation who have a problem with a nuclear reactor that belongs to Ambyr Consolidated.  The book is set where New York was which is covered by Ambyr Consolidated.  The reactor is located right on the Erie River and the other two corporations are worried that it will blow and ruin the water.  This argument has been going on for thirty years with no one getting anywhere.  DeFalco insists on going inside the plant and finds something that will surprise her as to what is really going on inside that plant.

Neelesh teaches thirteen-year-olds about the history of corporations.  He's still young enough to care that his kids learn in a fun way, but not too fun because that would go against the corporate policy.  When he tries to help a student he runs into great difficulty with the kid's father.  He has no life but visits his closelipped mother with her very nice job, every day to eat a meal with her.  His doctor pulled some strings and got him his teaching job.  His doctor is the one that was murdered and required him to run a battery of tests every year that his new doctor says are entirely unnecessary as he is healthy.

You will begin to wonder how these three threads of the story will come together, but never fear they do and in a very cool way.  McCallum will be the one to bring the three of them together.  I really loved the characters in this book. McCallum with his tough guy routine that is straight out of a 1930s mystery novel. He even has the trench coat. But he paints these beautiful pictures that he refuses to sell.  Then there's the priest, DeFalco who enjoys going to bars and listening to illegal music and drinking with her friends.  She also tries desperately not to cuss, which is so funny.  She's tough, intelligent, and smart-mouthed, which gets her into all kinds of trouble.  Neelesh is the teacher everyone should want, but no one appreciates.  He promises to himself to not lie to his students and kills himself trying to make a boring class interesting.  His teaching methods get him in trouble with the corporation of course even though he has the highest test scores. He also loves to go to the track and race his Saab.  There's this rebel with a cause streak in him. This book was the second book in the Freeworld series, though I can tell you that it doesn't affect the reading at all. I was not lost, but it does make me curious to read the first book, The Milman.  This was a truly enjoyable book and a look at where we could be headed.  And for those curious about the title like I was while reading the book wondering what it meant, it does get explained at the very end of the book.  I cannot recommend this book enough. 

Irony. Demiana had always thought that irony, as opposed to cleanliness, was next to Godliness. God wasn’t exactly clean; he put more dirt in the world than just about anything else.  Irony? He must have made that for himself.
-Michael J. Martineck (The Link Boy p 236)
Link to Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Link-Boy-Free-World-Novel-ebook/dp/B072BMVP2J/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519220145&sr=8-1&keywords=the+link+boy

Monday, February 19, 2018

From Here To Eternity: Traveling the World To Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty

 Caitlin Doughty's first book, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes [http://nicolewbrown.blogspot.com/2015/06/smoke-gets-in-your-eyes-and-other.html] dealt with her first job out of college working at a crematorium.  It seems as though she had found her calling because she went back to school to learn the funeral sciences.  Now she has her own nonprofit funeral home, Undertaking L.A.

In this book, she explores what people do with dead bodies.  For example, villages in the area of Toraja in Indonesia, the families mummify or if they can afford it embalm the bodies of the loved ones of their family and then keep them in the house for an indeterminate amount of time (it could be months or years) until the ceremony ma'nene is held and they get their own resting place. At this ma'nene animals are sacrificed in order that their soul can be released.  This doesn't mean that they don't bring them back out for celebrations and family get-togethers.

 In Japan, the crematory rate is 99.9%.  Until the current Emperor, the Emperors have all chosen a burial.  They do have places where you can place your bones.  In Japan, they see ashes as being unclean and they only keep the bones, which is done by the family at the crematorium by using chopsticks to place them in the urn.  At Ruriden columbarium they have slots for your bones with Buddhas in front that light up.  The entire place changes colors according to the season by the use of lights.

She also encountered a corpse hotel in Japan where different rooms are set up to your different tastes and needs. Some have showers, kitchens, and mats for people to sleep on which if you have out of town family members there for the funeral this would be a place to put them.  You can have the room for up to four days.  They will bring the corpse into the room whenever you want.  At American funerals, you barely get to spend any time with the beloved before they are buried. In Japan, you get to truly say goodbye.

Doughty explores some ways in America that people are trying as means of disposing of your corpse after death.  She also examines practices in Mexico dealing with Dios de los Muertos, in Spain where they keep the corpses behind glass and Bolivia where they have the belief in the natitas, the skulls of the dead who help others with problems they might have.  This book was utterly fascinating and incredibly interesting.  It will even give you ideas about what to do with your own body after its gone.  It did for me. This book was just as good as her last book.  I highly recommend it.

Link to Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Here-Eternity-Traveling-World-Death/dp/0393249891/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519046849&sr=8-1&keywords=from+here+to+eternity+caitlin+doughty&dpID=51dk%252BlELWfL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

Friday, February 16, 2018

Spider-Gwen: Vol. 3 Long Distance by Jason Latour (Writer, Artist), Robbi Rodriguez (Artist), Chris Visions (Artist), Rico Renzi (Colorist), VC's Clayton Cowles (Letterer), Travis Lanham (Letterer), Chris Brunner (Artist), Emi Lenox (Artist), Olivia Margraf (Artist), Annapaola Martello (Artist), James Harren (Artist), Michael Walsh (Artist), Javier Rodriguez (Artist), Alvaro Lopez (Artist), Veronica Fish (Artist), Rico Renzi (Colorist), Jordie Bellaire (Colorist), Jim Campbell (Colorist), John Rauch (Colorist), Veronica Gandini (Colorist), Tom Taylor (Writer), Marcio Takara (Artist), Mat Lopes (Colorist), and VC's Cory Petit (Letterer)

In the last comic, Gwen's powers were stripped from her by Cindy-65 and agent Jesse Drew of SHIELD gave her some isotopes that will give her her powers, but she only has so many.  Frank Castle has figured out who she is and Gwen's father is arrested for aiding and abetting Spider-Gwen.  Pushed into a corner, Gwen takes the offer from the Kingpin of Crime, Matt Murdoch to defend her father and get him out of this mess--for a price.

At Thanksgiving time, Aunt Mae lets Gwen know that she knows she is Spider-Gwen and that she supports her. Gwen spends the holiday with Spiderwoman and her husband and child. Later at Christmas, she encounters ninja fighters on the rooftop and must use one of her isotopes. Who sent them and why?

This book also includes two dossiers on Aunt Mae and S.I.L.K., the Spider-Gwen Annual #1 which takes place right when she has gotten her powers and decides to use them in the wrestling ring fighting She-Hulk, a Captain America with Sam, The Watcher, a week in the life of Gwen, and an all-new Wolverine Annual #1.  While it seems jammed packed, the storyline is a little skimpy, but then it only includes issues #14 and #15. I found the art lacking a bit in some of #14 especially with the drawing of Spiderwoman.  But overall the art was good.  I can only half-heartedly recommend this book. It could have been better.  Hopefully, the next book will be an improvement.

Link to Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Spider-Gwen-Vol-Long-Distance-2015-ebook/dp/B0725GZXH4/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1518787815&sr=1-6&keywords=spidergwen

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Siren's Call by Jayne Castle (aka Jayne Ann Krentz)

Jayne Castle is the name Krentz uses for her books that take place in the future when a group of humans left earth and landed on the planet Harmony and set up a base there.  But the curtain between the planet and earth would close and these colonists would be stuck with each other, for better or worse.  Aliens had once lived on this planet long ago and left it.  They are believed to have lived underground in the catacombs that are made of some kind of green mineral.  Over the years, the humans began to develop psi abilities which allowed them to use amber to "rez up" things such as cars, microwaves, cell phones, locks, etc... Some would develop particularly strong psi talents, such as tuning amber (it has a unique frequency and if you go into the catacombs without tuned amber you will wander around until you go mad and die), read auras, handle and create "ghosts" (electrical energy that manifests in the form of a ghost) in the catacombs, music talents, botany talents, the ability to find and handle minerals, the ability to use alien technology.  The list is pretty endless. There are also dust bunnies, mysterious creatures with an endless apatite, who come and go as they please, collect the oddest things and form attachments with humans. They have the loyalty of a dog who always knows when you need him and the independent streak and the insistence that you take care of his needs first of a cat. They're adorable.

The founders also insisted on what is called a Covenant Marriage.  If you have one of these, it is nearly impossible to get out of.  You can pay to get out of one, but you will be broke by the end of it. The founders believed that close connections were important if they were going to survive. And these days no one gets out of being nagged by some family member about getting a CM, even the gays.  The founders also set up what is called a Marriage of Convenience, which was basically a classy way of saying you were shacking up with someone.  It could be broken at any time, by either party.

Ella Morgan comes from a very famous musically talented family, but her talent has been kept secret.  She is a siren.  Something that is not supposed to exist.  She has resigned herself to not marrying, as from what she has read, men either fall slavishly and obsessively in love with sirens or head for the hills as fast as they can.  So far all the men she has dated seem to be the runaway type.  Her talent allows her to see people's auras and so she has gone into the dreamwork business, which means that she helps adjust their auras while they dream.  When she goes into business for herself, her first client is a dust bunny.  She borrows a sled to go into the catacombs and follows the bunny to a cave where other dust bunnies are being held in cages and alien technology is lying around.  It appears that the bunnies are going to be used as test subjects. Ella uses her voice to melt the special glass cages and when she is confronted by the owner of the weapons, she is forced to use her voice in self-defense and kills him.

In walks, Rafe Coppersmith who is doing a consulting job for the FBPI (and Hard Joe Harding, himself, whom those who have read her early Harmony books may remember not so fondly as the glory hound who takes all the credit) and he is really not happy to find the man dead.  It has ruined the whole sting operation he had planned.  Rafe recognizes her from a news story a while back where she stopped her friend from marrying a serial killer at the last minute and then was taken hostage by the groom who suddenly had a "stroke" of some sort and ended up in the mental hospital.  He's figured out pretty quick between that story and the melted glass that she must be a siren.  However, a group of mob men are coming to buy the alien artifacts and Rafe quickly takes over the role of seller, but when things go wrong, he grabs the artifacts and touches Ella's shoulder and a blast explodes killing all the men.  Rafe's ability is to handle minerals and alien technology.  He promises to keep her secret if she'll have coffee with him.  But she does not hear back from him.

Soon after this, Lorelei, her first client, and dust bunny companion, brings her a hunk of red crystal that is worth a lot of money and Ella is able to move her business to the best neighborhood, which is good, because, in her business, people will only take you seriously if you have a fancy office to work out of.  Three months later in walks Rafe Coppersmith to ask her for a contract for her services as a music worker. The problem is, he does not look so well. Ella can tell in his aura that he has a psi fever which occurs after a burn-out when you have overloaded your talents to the point that they might never come back, you might develop an uncontrollable new talent, or go mad.  She can quickly tell that he is in control and not about to go off his rocker, but still can't help but still feel a bit peeved that she never heard back from him. She thought she had felt a real connection between them.  Of, course he has never forgotten her and he cannot tell her that his talent is gone and he has no idea what is going on with him.

The project is on the island of Rainshadow, which has a very dangerous forest preserve where people are not supposed to go into (there's a fence for a reason) and now a bizarre place dubbed Wonderland, where the aliens are believed to have first, began their bio/psi experiments with creatures, only they seemed to have failed and put the animals in stasis and their habitat was killed off.  Well, now its a land of crystal and quartz and blue energy and the animals have been awoken and they resemble dinosaurs--who now do not have anything to eat and are making their way out of Wonderland and killing people.  Coppersmith Mining wants to explore the minerals but they need to be protected from the dinosaurs.  The dinosaurs use singing to communicate and to put the put their prey into a trance.  Rafe's idea is that Ella will be able to tune their frequency to amber and provide it to the scientist to use as a repellent to the dinosaurs.

Rafe's job is to get her out of Chrystal City and to Rainshadow Island and into Coppersmith Security hands.  Ella, however, has two conditions. One is that she has to go to an important academic dinner that night that will be important to her career and two that she needs to be back by a certain date because a friend is having a covenant wedding in which she is once again the bridesmaid (it seems to be her permanent role).  Rafe explains that the reason she needs security is that there is an organization called Do Not Disturb that believes in leaving all alien things alone.  They're a bit of a low rent wack job group, but you never know.

After an interesting dinner, they leave only to be snared in what appears to be a kidnapping attempt.  With Ella's ability to melt glass, they escape the limo and hide out in an abandoned building when two more men arrive with an alien bell whose ringing does not affect Ella, but begins to make Rafe want to follow the sound.  When he holds on to Ella's hand while she sings, however, the sound is dimmed and he is able to use his stun gun to knock the two men out. He searches the men and takes all the technology they have on hand and in the process notices that they both have tornado tattoos.  He turns the matter over to the FBPI and he and Ella head out of town.

Rafe's psi burn is causing him to hallucinate again and he is beyond tired, since every time he tries to sleep he doesn't get very far before he has what he calls "waking nightmares".  Ella insists on driving and just like Rafe said, after twenty minutes the nightmare seemed to begin and he started saying a few words including "ghost city" and "sing for me siren". So she began to sing and patched up his aura a bit and he went into a peaceful sleep and stayed there for the next three hours until they got to the airstrip. Rafe cannot believe what has happened; he can finally sleep again. Ella is worried though.  Ghost City is a legendary place where treasure supposedly lies and the few people who are said to have found it has come back mad.  Eventually, Rafe will tell her that he was sent by his father on this expedition right after meeting her and he ended up in a psi storm, which will basically kill you.  To escape, he dove into a crystal pool.  In his dreams, he sees a place, but he does not believe it is real.  He grabs a piece of grey mineral and with that is able to walk right through the storm and back to the team. Ella tells him he is coming into a new power and that the hallucinations are really visions that are a part of his new talent somehow.

Someone on the island takes shots at Ella's window on her first night and a body is discovered.  He is a member of DND.  But there are others on the island and something larger may be going on.  Coppersmith may be compromised.  It appears there are people working for them who are really in the employ of others.

Rafe finally takes Ella into Wonderland with a team to find a dinosaur and see what she can do.  Quickly she is able to find the harmonic of their song and tune it to the amber.  It is given to the scientists who believe that they might even be able to hunt them now.  It's over and now Ella can go, but Rafe realizes he's not ready for her to go. But Ella has a covenant wedding to go to and of course, Rafe will follow her.  Along the way, he will have to figure out how to use his new talent, even if he does think it is stupid and useless.

Ella keeps insisting that men just don't want to make a commitment to someone like her, but as you will realize, she does an awful lot of pushing away.  Rafe, meanwhile, can be the typical man at times: I've lost my talent (manhood) I am not a real man and not worthy of someone like Ella.  But you know they are made for each other if for the only fact that he can listen to her sing and not be affected by it.  His talent makes him immune in some ways.   The twist at the end (there always is one) was unexpected for me. I went one way, the book went another, so I was pleasantly surprised.  I really enjoyed this book. The banter between the two was sharp and witty and the woman rescued herself for a change.  Ella can and does take care of herself, but as the song goes "she gets by with a little help from her friends".  This is a wonderful addition to the Harmony series, which you do not need to read in order, by the way.

Men are remarkably oblivious about a lot things, provided the sex is good.
--Jayne Castle (Siren’s Call p 45)
Oh, shut up, I’m not upset, I’m stone-cold furious.  There’s a difference.
--Jayne Castle (Siren’s Call p 126)
“A music talent who does dream analysis, remember? The reason I’m good at dreamwork is because music energy travels on the currents of dreamlight.”
“I didn’t know that,” Rafe said.
“Not many people, including the researchers, have figured it out. But for me, it’s obvious. I see the connection every day in my work. Think about it—music takes a  direct paranormal path to the senses.  It can give you chills or make you cry or induce a kind of euphoria or a sense of transcendence—all without having to be interpreted by logic and reason. Just like dreams.
--Jayne Castle (Siren’s Call p 135-6)
Why couldn’t I just have normal hallucinations like normal, ordinary psychos?
--Jayne Castle (Siren’s Call p 224)
“Does it occur to you that all we ever do when we go out is run from bad guys?”
“One of these days we’ll do coffee.  I swear it.”
“Promises, promises.”
--Jayne Castle (Siren’s Call p 229)
Carbs and caffeine—two of the basic food groups.
--Jayne Castle (Siren’s Call p250)
Wonderland and the Preserve and the Rainforest are all dangerous places. Heck, the catacombs are dangerous.  Since when has danger ever stopped people from investigating secrets? Humans seem to be on an endless quest.  Probably something in our DNA.
--Jayne Castle (Siren’s Call p 309)
“You ready to sleep yet?”
“No. You?”
“No. Still pretty rezzed.”
“Me, too.”
“I can think of one way we could take the edge off.”
“You’re talking about us having sex?”
“The thought did occur to me.”
“To take the edge off.”
“Sex can be very relaxing.”
“You and I have never had relaxing sex.”
“I know. We should probably try it sometime. But tonight I’m fine with our regular sex.”
--Jayne Castle (Siren’s Call p 310)
Link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sirens-Call-Rainshadow-Book-4-ebook/dp/B00QH8324K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518614514&sr=8-1&keywords=sirens+call+jayne+castle

Monday, February 12, 2018

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

This book gets its title from the Martin Luther King Jr. quotation "If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way."  Ruth Jefferson was raised by a mother who worked her ass off as a maid to a very rich family and she raised her daughter to do "small things in a great way".  She pushed her daughter to succeed academically and she got scholarships to go to private schools. Her sister Rachael, not so book smart, went to school in Harlem. Rachel had friends, while Ruth really didn't. Ruth was light skinned and Racheal was dark skinned. Rachael always accused Ruth of trying to fit into the white world and forgetting where she came from.  Ruth would go on to get a degree in nursing from Yale and get a job at Mercy-General Hospital in Vermont.  Ruth is a war widow with a teenage son, Edison who is preparing for college.  She's saving money from her job as a labor and delivery nurse to help pay for it.  

Then one day she goes into the room of a woman, Brit Bauer who had recently delivered a baby boy, to come in and give it an exam and try to get it to start breastfeeding.  She senses some tension in the room and the parents are discussing something angrily when she takes the child over to the table to examine him. When she goes to try to get the child to breastfeed, the father, Turk, explodes and demands to see her supervisor. When her supervisor arrives he tells her he does not want a black person touching his child or wife.  Marie, her supervisor, buckles under the pressure of this man and puts a note in the file that no African Americans are to touch the child. And Ruth happens to be the only African American working on the floor. 

Ruth is highly upset about this, of course. She's their top nurse and has been there for twenty years and to be told she cannot do her job based on her skin color?   Then when Ruth is taking a break during a double shift, the Bauer baby is wheeled into where she is. He has just had his circumcision. Corrine the nurse watching him when suddenly she has to go to do an emergency c-section with Marie in tow leaving Ruth the only person to watch over the Bauer baby.  Suddenly he goes into respiratory failure and Ruth is confronted with a dilemma of whether or not to risk her job and her license by touching the child and going against orders.  She does but stops when Marie comes in and says she was doing nothing so she wouldn't get in trouble. A code is called and Ruth does compressions.  The Bauers hear the code and come into the room to see Ruth touching their child and then see their child die.  

The Bauers would seek to have Ruth charged with first-degree murder and negligent homicide due to her hatred of them and the belief that she did nothing when the baby went into distress.  It is believed that she deliberately compressed down too hard injuring the baby.  Ruth will get a public defender, Kennedy McQuarrie, a white woman whom she must try to learn to trust and somehow get her to understand her world and what it means to be black. Kennedy does not want to play the "race card" in the courtroom because you cannot win that way, but Ruth demands it because she wants to have her say.  Can these two women find a common ground?

This book is told through the eyes of Ruth, Kennedy, and Turk. It's hard reading the Turk parts because some of it is so vile in its racist rants and actions. But you also see the Turk who loves his wife and his dead son whom he is mourning just like any parent.   Kennedy at the beginning suffers from the "white knight" syndrome and thinks she's the least racist person she knows, but she will learn to see race differently as the book progresses.  Ruth learns to accept help from others and perhaps trust others.  

This book will have you examine your own views on racism. It doesn't just come in the obvious packages like Turk Bauer's skinhead.  It comes from the storeowner following you or demanding to see a receipt just because you are a person of color.  It's noticing that there is one person of color in your office but not ever asking why.  This is a powerful book that examines all sides fully and shines a light on something Americans like to avoid talking about: race.

I fold my arms and stare down at the newborn. Babies are such blank states.  They don’t come into this world with the assumptions their parents have made, or the promises their church will give, or the ability to sort people into groups they like and don’t like. They don’t come into this world with anything really, except a need for comfort. And they will take it from anyone, without judging the giver.
-Jodi Picoult (Small Great Things p 102)

I pound this stranger into someone who will never be recognized, since it’s the only way to remember who I am.
-Jodi Picoult (Small Great Things p 166)

If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.
-Martin Luther King Jr.

Maybe however much you’ve loved someone, that’s how much you can hate. It’s like a pocket turned inside out.
-Jodi Picoult (Small Great Things p 685)
 Link to Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Small-Great-Things-Jodi-Picoult-ebook/dp/B01AQNYZ3I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518445906&sr=8-1&keywords=great+small+things+by+jodi+picoult

Friday, February 9, 2018

Black Panther Volumer 4: Avengers of the New World Part One by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Writer), Wilfredo Torres (Penciler, Inker), Chris Sprouse (Penciler), Jacen Burrows (Penciler, Inker), Adam Gorham (Penciler, Inker), Terry Pallot (Inker), Walden Wong (Inker), Karl Story (Inker), Dexter Vines (Inker), Laura Martin (Colorist), Andrew Crossley (Colorist), and VC's Joe Sabino (Letterer)

"In the aftermath that set change against tradition, the nation against their king and even the living against the dead...Wakanda must rebuild."  With the arrest of Tetu, one of the rebellion leaders, the air has been let out of the rebellion.  The entire country is hoping to put this whole thing behind them and move forward as one nation.  T'Challa starts this process by calling together a council of new representatives from each region to write a new constitution and enact a new government.  When he cannot be there in the council meetings his mother, Ramonda acts in his stead.

T'Challa is talking with Ororo about something that has him worried. The Wakandian gods, the Orisha, including Bast, the Panther Goddess from which he derives his powers from, seem to be missing.  When the rebellion was going on and they fought the ancestors rose up to fight with them, but the Orisha were mysteriously absent and T'Challa isn't the only one who noticed that.

On top of that, the rains won't stop in Birnin Kashin. There is also a door that has opened there where half snake half man creatures called Simbi, have come out of. Black Panther killed them off, but when he did one of them said that it was useless that the "Originators" were returning.  While the door is open more of these creatures can come through.  Worse, more doors are opening across Wakanda and when the shamans tried to close it by praying to the Orisha, they were struck down dead.

While T'Challa seeks out an ancient sorcerer who might be able to help them, Doctor Faustus, the explorer of minds, is hiding out in the enemy nation of Wakanda, Azania, looking to grab a Wakandian citizen to work on.  And he has just the perfect one picked out.  This comic takes the story of Wakanda into a new and refreshing territory.  The scenes with Storm are incredible to see. They crackle with the vibrancy of her personality in the drawings and colors depicted.  This is a fabulous book and I can't wait for Part II to come out where Coates takes the story to next.

Link to Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/gp/buy/thankyou/handlers/display.html?ie=UTF8&asins=B06XKJ8BSM&asins=B077R8VKBC&isRefresh=1&orderId=114-0068156-3523432&purchaseId=106-3855976-0529053&viewId=ThankYouCart