Playing catch-up

July 5, 2006

Sure, rave reviews in The New York Times are nice, and cracking the BookScan list is always a good sign, but I’ve got incontrovertible evidence that Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (Houghton Mifflin) has achieved cultural critical mass.

My partner mentioned it to me.

He was driving home from Ohio and heard an interview with Bechdel on NPR, and he wanted to make sure I knew about it, which was sweet. His usual response to graphic novels is to stack them neatly somewhere out of sight or resignedly suggest that we need more bookshelves. I felt kind of guilty that I’d already ordered it, and since it was due to arrive in less than 24 hours, I really couldn’t pretend that this was the first I’d heard of it.

But seriously, that’s some impressive saturation. And it’s a really good book, too.

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We went to see The Devil Wears Prada yesterday, and it was worth it for Meryl Streep’s performance. It’s kind of an icky downward-mobility comedy, where real-life glamorous, wealthy celebrities ridicule fictional (or mostly fictional) glamorous, wealthy celebrities. A.O. Scott at The New York Times has it exactly right when he notes that Streep’s Miranda isn’t anything near a cartoon monster:

“With her silver hair and pale skin, her whispery diction as perfect as her posture, Ms. Streep’s Miranda inspires both terror and a measure of awe. No longer simply the incarnation of evil, she is now a vision of aristocratic, purposeful and surprisingly human grace.”

Anne Hathaway is fine, but she doesn’t really have any choice but to cede the movie not only to Streep but to Stanley Tucci and Emily Blunt as well. She does so with good grace, and she at least gets to outshine the poor, stranded actors who have to play her love interests.

There’s just something really likeable about Hathaway. She seems smart, has good comic timing and goofy charm, and is probably one of only a handful of actresses who could make this character appealing. (Picture it with Kate Hudson. I dare you.)

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Like everyone else, I’m relying on Pata at Irresponsible Pictures for reports from Anime Expo. But I’m also enjoying comments on the announcements from David Taylor at Love Manga and Brigid at MangaBlog.

The highlight for me so far has been the announcement of Go! Comi’s new titles, if only because I know they’ll do such a good job producing and packaging the translations. The publisher seems to be expanding into new genre areas.

And yay! A Paradise Kiss anime is on the way from Geneon Entertainment!

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Do new comics arrive today or tomorrow? I’m confused. I’m even more confused because most of the stuff slated to show up this week actually arrived here last Wednesday. Anyway, regardless of when it gets here, there’s plenty of good stuff:

Someday I’m going to have to catch up with the Flight anthologies. The third comes from Ballantine this week. I enjoyed Paul Sizer’s Moped Army, which probably means I should give the Little White Mouse Omnibus Edition (Café Digital Press) a look.

The third volume of Love Roma (Del Rey) is delightful, and I’m not going to complain about it arriving early. A new offering from Fanfare/Ponent Mon is always worth considering, though as usual, the price point on Oda Hideji’s A Patch of Dreams is a little daunting at $22.99. (And when is The Building Opposite ever going to show up? It feels like it’s about a year late.)

Tokyopop rolls out a Gravitation novel. Viz has new volumes of Death Note and Hikaru No Go.

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Last but not least, it’s been a while since I plugged the MangaTrade Yahoo Group, so consider it plugged. There’s been a nice flurry of activity there lately, and I’ve really got to hit the post office today to ship off some books.