REVIEW: Primates by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks

REVIEW: Primates by Jim Ottaviani and Maris WicksPrimates by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks (Illustrator)
Published by First Second Books (2013), Hardcover, 133pg
Filed under: Biography, Children's, Graphic Novel, History, Middle Grade, Non-Fiction
Got my copy from: Freebie
Buy your own copy at Amazon or BookDepository (affiliate links | info) or add it to your Goodreads shelf


Jim Ottaviani returns with an action-packed account of the three greatest primatologists of the last century: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas. These three ground-breaking researchers were all students of the great Louis Leakey, and each made profound contributions to primatology—and to our own understanding of ourselves. Tackling Goodall, Fossey, and Galdikas in turn, and covering the highlights of their respective careers, Primates is an accessible, entertaining, and informative look at the field of primatology and at the lives of three of the most remarkable women scientists of the twentieth century. Thanks to the charming and inviting illustrations by Maris Wicks, this is a nonfiction graphic novel with broad appeal.

I don’t know much about primates. Monkeys, apes, whatever: besides what little I know from watching a few specials on the Animal Planet channel I caught years ago, they’re basically a mystery. I know even less about the three women who researched primates SO HARD they’re still creating shockwaves.

Primates is an adorable and informative biography of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas, with a mini-bio of Louis Leakey thrown in for kicks. It’s adorable because of the art style, which makes everyone looks slightly chubby and round. It’s friendly! Everybody looks friendly, even when they’re poaching animals.1 The colors are bright and clear and the whole look of it makes me smile. And then…

REVIEW: Saga Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

REVIEW: Saga Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona StaplesSaga, Volume 1 (Saga #1-6) by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Illustrator)
Published by Image Comics (2012), eBook, 160pg
Filed under: Action, Adult, Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Romance, Sci-fi
Got my copy from: Bought
Buy your own copy at Amazon or BookDepository (affiliate links | info) or add it to your Goodreads shelf


When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From New York Times bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

This is another one of those series that everybody’s been telling me to read because of how amazing it is. And it is pretty darned amazing!

The first thing that struck me about Saga was the art. omg, so pretty. It’s bright and shiny, but not in an overly cartoon-y way. It’s stylish!

I love the way the characters look like futuristic mixes of scifi and fantasy, too. Which, considering they live in a universe where science and magic are at war with each other, totally makes sense. There is a robot prince with a head like a TV screen!! So cool! And then…

REVIEW: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

REVIEW: Steve Jobs by Walter IsaacsonSteve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Published by Simon & Schuster (2011), eBook, 630pg
Filed under: Adult, Biography, Non-Fiction
Got my copy from: Scribd
Buy your own copy at Amazon or BookDepository (affiliate links | info) or add it to your Goodreads shelf


From best-selling author Walter Isaacson comes the landmark biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

In Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography, Isaacson provides an extraordinary account of Jobs' professional and personal life. Drawn from three years of exclusive and unprecedented interviews Isaacson has conducted with Jobs as well as extensive interviews with Jobs' family members and key colleagues from Apple and its competitors, Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography is the definitive portrait of the greatest innovator of his generation.

I have a love-hate relationship with Apple in that I love their products when they work, but hate them when they don’t. More importantly, though, I’m super interested in the history of technology, especially computers! I’ve been wanting to read this Steve Jobs biography for a while now but got discouraged because the hardback is frickin’ heavy; luckily there’s an ebook version on Scribd, so I read it on my iPhone instead.

Steve Jobs was a total dingleberry. I would NOT have wanted to work for him. Not only did he refuse to wear deodorant or shoes for about 20 years, he yelled, belittled and was generally a huge pain in the rear towards everyone he met. He also didn’t like blinking and ate way too much fruit.

He ALSO lead the way to designing some really great devices and changing the way we interact with technology on a massive scale, so I guess it worked out. And then…

Why do you write reviews?

The thing about reviews is that I don’t think people read them unless

a) they’re your really good friend and are thus interested in everything you blog about
b) they’re already interested in the book you’re reviewing and want to know more about it or
b2) they’ve read the book already and want to see how your thoughts match up with theirs
c) you’re the NY Times or some really big review blog with a whole heap of pull (Dear Author, for example)

I basically only write reviews for my personal satisfaction, with a side bonus of getting some discussion (see b above). They’re the least popular posts on my blog (not counting the hits I KNOW are people Googling for help with their school projects) and yet they’re the ones I spend the most time on. So why do I keep writing them?

Writing reviews helps me keep track of my thoughts about a book! I have a pretty good memory for books anyway, but I don’t always remember WHY I liked (or disliked) a book. Because I write reviews for most of the books I read, I’m able to refer to them later on and refresh my memory. I also think reviews are great for spreading the word about an awesome but underrated book, especially backlist titles that need a bigger fan base.

I think also it’s a good idea for me to think more critically about the media I consume. It stretches my thinking muscles, and it makes the enjoyment (or non-enjoyment) of something more visceral and enjoyable as a whole.

Why do you write reviews?

Currently reading: some comics I’m in the middle of!

Reading single issues on Marvel Unlimited is fun, but confusing. I’m more used to reading collected trade paperbacks and/or graphic novels, where all the issues are in one bound book and I know where to stop. Nowadays, with MU, I’m reading for as long as I can stand staying on one series and then I switch to another.

This means that I’m reading a lot of comics, but I’m stuck in the middle of a lot of TPB. Here’s some of what I’m currently into:
wolverine old man logan
Wolverine: Old Man Logan by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven. This is a sub-story or alternate arc or SOMETHING (idk the correct term) in the larger Wolverine series. I like sub-stories because it makes it easy to drop into a long-running series without having to start all the way from the beginning. Old Man Logan is particularly good because it doesn’t have a lot of crossover elements from the larger Marvel universe– like, it’s tied into the whole universe, duh, but you don’t have to know everything that ever happened and every character that ever existed in the MU to enjoy reading about Wolverine and Hawkeye being old and kicking post-apocalyptic butt.
gambit once a thief
Gambit, Vol. 1: Once A Thief… by James Asmus, Clay Mann and Diogenes Neves. (one of) Gambit’s solo series! This is fun and silly and everyone wears fashionable-but-impracticable clothing to run around in the jungle.

I like Gambit! I’m fond of thieves and con artists, especially when they thieve and con stylishly. Bonus points for NOT having him talk in that horrible dialect like he does in some other series.

runaways vol 5
Runaways, Vol. 5: Escape to New York by Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona and Takeshi Miyazawa. I’m not as enamored with the second Runaways season as I was with the first. I think maybe the dialogue is getting worse. I may end up DNF’ing it, except that now the kids are in New York fighting with Spider-man and Captain America and it’s still kind of awesome despite the badness?

I also just read the first issue of Marvels, which was AMAZING. It’s a retelling of major events in the Marvel Universe through the POV of a non-superhero. And– surprise!– nobody’s just like “omg they’re amazing yay!” Plus, the art is fantastic.

What’re you reading this week?

REVIEW: Runaways, Vol. 1-3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona

REVIEW: Runaways, Vol. 1-3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian AlphonaRunaways, Vol. 1-3 (Runaways Vol. 1 #1-18) by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona (Illustrator)
Published by Marvel (2004-2005), eBook, 432pg
Filed under: Contemporary Fantasy, Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, GLBTQ, Graphic Novel, Sci-fi, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Got my copy from: Marvel Unlimited
Buy your own copy at Amazon or BookDepository (affiliate links | info) or add it to your Goodreads shelf


When six friends discover their parents are all secretly super-villains, they run away from home and straight into the adventure of their lives – vowing to turn the tables on their evil legacy.

Okay, so this is the first major story arc for Runaways (I think). These three volumes comprise a complete story, so theoretically you could stop there and be perfectly happy!1

I was perfectly happy, because I love stories about teenage superheroes having personal problems. The fact that their personal problems consisted of evil supervillian parents was just icing on the cake. Other personal problems: friendship, learning to trust, betrayal, romance and squishy teenage feelings, sometimes sounding like they spent too much time watching Dawson’s Creek or whatever show was popular back when this series ran, and not being particularly good at the homeless teenager lifestyle. And then…