I’ve been doing a bit of reading lately, which is actually unusual for me of late — I can’t seem to stay focused on a tale for more than an evening before I lose interest, which has killed any forays into epic fiction. I can’t explain it other than whatever I’m picking up has either been a re-read or it has had “been-there/done-that” qualities to it.
Or, as was the case for The Road, I just was… nonplussed after all that I’d heard about it. I made it a third of the way through Cormac’s book and I just didn’t much care for any of the characters. Nor was the story all that compelling to me, although I was surprised to see the phrase uttered by the protagonist’s wife, “We’re the walking dead”. I’m guessing this is about the same time or before the graphic novel series was created, so I suspect there was a little borrowing of McCarthy in the writing of The Walking Dead. Regardless, I just didn’t see it as being fantastic literature, with so missing elements that seemed like lazy omissions rather than literary genius (I don’t need the characters to know the cause of the apocalypse, but I do expect the characters to at least have their own theories about the cause years after the event, and I need to understand how clean water is easy to come by when everything seems awash in ash). So, like far too many books for me of late, I dropped it and couldn’t find the energy to get back into it.
I really wanted to like the graphic novel series, Lady Mechanika. Really. It has some nice-looking art and backgrounds, and it has some of the same feel as Monstress (which is my favorite graphic series with new issues on a consistent basis), but I felt too much was being made of the main character being a sexy-badass-chic. Her tits point to the sky, even upside down (okay, exaggeration, but they are a wee bit too perky to be real and it seems she has perpetually cold nipples), she’s got a perma-pout and, as far as character design goes, so do all of the powerful women in the series. Their bodies all seem like cutouts of each other, even if they are of different ethnic backgrounds. German, Brit, African — they all have pouty, bee-stung lips and nipples that point to the sky. And the story-writing is mediocre at best and occasionally filled with nonsense or contrived reasons for something to happen. The main character threatened to seem human on occasion, but then she turned into a hard-nose badass bitch almost right after. I made it through the first two volumes before I gave up.
Now, Monstress… a new issue came out last night and I burned through that in minutes (one of those non-story arc deals that is always too short), but I did get all teary eyed. Whereas Lady Mechanika is stone-cold 99% of the time, Maika Halfwolf has a heart, wants and needs that are very relatable underneath that cold exterior and it sometimes slips out (frequently, actually) as it did in this month’s issue. Maika is hard, but you get the feeling she needs to be to survive, not because it comes naturally to her. She’s in survival mode, with a god in one arm that likes to eat her friends and enemies alike and a bunch of people out to get her for unclear reasons. She can’t even trust her former best friend, but she needs to trust people who are intent on using her. Anyway, I love the series and we can’t be friends if you hate it. But, the story has heart (and humor), something the other series was severely lacking in.
I made the mistake of looking through some old material regarding the Matter of Britain, which loosely encompasses Arthurian myth (and beyond). I used to me an amateur scholar when it came to Isles mythology about Arthur and the older stories it was probably derivative of and conflated with. I was largely over that fascination quite a bit. In refreshing my brain on the matter, however, I developed an urge to re-read Mists of Avalon, which I hadn’t read since my foray into the semi-scholarship stuff I had read. I’m curious as to how my other reading will influence my opinion on the book, which was my gateway drug into wicca (Mists was followed by Starhawk, followed by Drawing Down the Moon, followed by Gardnarian books, which was followed by a bunch of other neopagan books, which resulted in me offending “The Official Witch of Salem”, which got me in trouble with my host because she worked at the bookstore and…. well, that’s another story).
Anyway, much of my initial stints into various religious exploration and study was prompted by reading Mists, but I haven’t gone back to it. Well, I started tonight and, so far I’m avoiding that been-there/done-that feel — the span of thirty years probably plays a role in that. We’ll see if I get past tonight. If I do, then chances are it will be smooth sailing. It doesn’t hurt that I have my curiosity to drive me to keep reading.