Wednesday reading — dragons and death

Hey, books! Remember when I used to read them and not just try to write them?

What I've been reading

I reread The Saga of the Volsungs for reasons loosely connected with my NaNo. I feel bad for Signy's first two sons, though. "I don't wanna visit Uncle Sigmund! His flour is full of venomous snakes!" "Eh, go ahead and kill this one." "Waaaaaaaah!"

I reread Jeeves in the Offing, which is very much a sequel to The Code of the Woosters. I had completely forgotten that Bertie strikes up quite a cordial relationship with Sir Roderick Glossop while the latter is pretending to be a butler named Swordfish, which is a wonderful example of a platonic crack pairing.

I read the complete run of Avengers Arena, where Marvel comicsverse meets The Hunger Games. Actually, it turns out that it's more Marvel comicsverse meets Catching Fire, since they manage to break out of the arena and end the games with more than one (or two) survivors. It was interesting to read at the end that Dennis Hopeless had actually pitched a teen drama comic, with a sort of Triwizard Tournament-gone-wrong plotline potentially way down the line, and his editors were all, nah, skip everything else, write that instead! I think I would have enjoyed that original comic more, but I think enough of the origin comes through in this version to give it some depth.

I read the novella "The Princess and the Queen" from GRRM's newly-edited megathology. Thirty-five thousand words and it still ends with "and then a bunch of other stuff happened, la la la"? Does he know how to write any other endings?

I read Boxers & Saints, Gene Luen Yang's companion graphic novels about the Boxer Rebellion. Actually, I read Saints first, and I think that reading order makes more sense when it comes to understanding the scenes that take place in both, but I didn't consult my self in an alternate universe who read them the other way round. They're both good, but they sit kind of oddly next to each other—Boxers is almost twice the length of Saints, to begin with. Both Little Bao and Vibiana have (what are presented as) real magical/spiritual experiences, but they don't seem very equivalent—Little Bao has a ritual he can teach to other people to possess them with the spirits of legendary fighters and build a formidiable army while saving a lot of training, whereas Vibiana just gets to hear the story of Joan of Arc's life and death from her visions of Joan before she, too, dies. But, I mean, they're both still beautifully told and drawn.

I also read all three parts of Gene Luen Yang's second arc of Avatar: The Last Airbender comics that continue after the end of the show. These ones finally tell the story of Zuko's mother. These are really nicely done, and the next best thing to having more shows about Aang et al.

I read Up All Night, an okay YA short story anthology about kids who (wait for it) stay up all night, for one reason or another. It had a short Gene Luen Yang Monkey comic in it, and also a really cheesy David Levithan short story.

What I'm reading now

Image on the Edge: Margins in Medieval Art

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