takenoko's reading list

Hay, can u reed?
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takenoko's reading list

Post by takenoko » Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:33 am

Oishinbo - Japanese food

So my co-worker friend recommended this series to me. The basic premise is this guy is like the Dr. House of the gourmet world. He's basically a huge asshole but he's an amazing cook

His nemesis is his father, the head of the gourmet society. His dad is a huge dick and basically spends most his time belittling others for not having as refined a palette or cooking skills as he does

The first chapter did a pretty good job with the setup. We learn the protagonist is a columnist working to create the divine menu which consists of all the best foods. He hates his dad because he feels his dad worked his mom to death in the kitchen. His dad hates his son because he thinks that the son is stupid, plus his son smashed all his collectible pots and paintings when he left

So these two guys just happen to be in the same restaurant. The dad is being a huge dick and having the kitchen remake the food which he throws away like a child and declares inedible. The son hears about this, goes in the kitchen and wows everyone with his technique, all with his signature frowny face. His dad is amazed, but then takes it all back upon learning that the food was made by his son, banning the associate who introduced him to that restaurant in the first place

So even though the son is victorious, it's ultimately a bitter victory. You get a sense of the deep rivalry between the two. There's obviously problems there that run on multiple axises

I'm enjoying it. Everything is so overblown that it can come off as quite funny at times. I like the decisions by the translator to not hold back on the Japanese or English vocabulary (the summary had some words that I was familiar with as a native English speaker). Since the food is Japanese, there's really no point in translating it, but I wonder if any sort of explanation is given. Maybe the reader is left to look that up if they're interested? In any case, I feel like some of the meaning would have been lost if it attempted to dumb down the language to aim for a more broad audience

The second chapter has a white guy who looks like Woody Allen in it, who wants to be something called an iate. I should look that word up. Anyway, it's about sashimi, and at the beginning of the book they give instructions for how to prepare that. If you're a foodie or like assholes who are right, definitely check out this series

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Re: takenoko's reading list

Post by jolly_old_saint » Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:58 am

That's swell and all, but does one book...series...constitute a list?

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Re: takenoko's reading list

Post by [kuronogantzryu] » Sat May 08, 2010 2:24 pm

Iron Wok Jan is pretty much the same thing in manga form.
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Re: takenoko's reading list

Post by takenoko » Sat May 08, 2010 2:32 pm

Eh? Oishinbo is a manga too

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Re: takenoko's reading list

Post by [kuronogantzryu] » Sun May 09, 2010 1:22 am

*facepalm*

Do you know of a site to read it from?
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Re: takenoko's reading list

Post by takenoko » Sun May 09, 2010 1:31 am

Dunno. Viz is putting out collections so I just read those when they cross my hands

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Re: takenoko's reading list

Post by takenoko » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:06 pm

This isn't a manga, but this week I read "Looking for Calvin and Hobbes" the unofficial biography about Bill Watterson

I always like reading stories about super eccentric, private artists. The story basically follows the author's hunt for the elusive Bill Watterson. It very much reminded me of another story that I read where a guy talks about trying to track down JD Salinger

Like there's something fascinating about these men and the rules in which they play their games. You can't just call them up and talk to them, you have to prove that you're worthy of their attention.

Anyway, the research is great. It was fun to see the tidbits, trivia, and backstory that went into the creation of the man and the creation of this timeless piece of art. Then there's a section where we see interviews with fellow cartoonists that kind of works, then kind of doesn't if you've never heard of the person.

But after Watterson disappeared entirely from the public eye, there's really not much left of the story to tell. Not to the fault of the author for not trying, but there's really not left to tell at that point

Still, I'm glad to learn a little more about this thing that I loved as a child and adult. One thing that struck me about this is that Watterson just feels like he's a guy and that telling his story wasn't interesting. Like to a certain extent, that's probably true. Most people love him for his creation, do we really need to know the details of his home life to appreciate the work?

Despite that, I still love the creation enough to read a whole book about the man. No secrets are really revealed, but if you're a Calvin and Hobbes fan, maybe you'll enjoy learning a bit more about the creator?

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Re: takenoko's reading list

Post by EndlessWaltz24 » Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:53 pm

I don't really know about too much about Watterson (personally, I prefer Jim Davis), but all I can say is if he's really like Salinger, don't expect too much because these guys kind of made it a mission for no one to ever find them or bother them. In addition, most people with fame are really just guys with that extra little something, whether it be luck, perserverence, or whatever, and that's usually what makes them stick out compared to others.

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Re: takenoko's reading list

Post by takenoko » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:07 pm

Since I refer to it, here's the story I read about JD Salinger. It includes a wonderful photo:
http://nymag.com/arts/books/features/65210/

I dunno, these guys are amazing to me. I don't even like Catcher in the Rye. It's just, there's something fascinating about these men because of how different they are

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Re: takenoko's reading list

Post by EndlessWaltz24 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:42 am

Wow, that was a good read. Thanks for the post link! Honestly, I agree that people should be left alone to their private lives, and I agree with the author of the article about the blame. However, at the same time, I find it kind of unfair to the author for what Salinger did.

One of my pet peeves is seeing a guy act all superior or entitled, which is kind of an ironic description of Salinger because he certainly made it his job to be modest. However, as the author of the article was describing Salinger's demands, it became somewhat reminiscent of those parodies that people have of celebrities where they get to do and have whatever they want (in this case, the lettering, the price, etc.). I always found this to be a tremendous character flaw in Salinger where he writes and has certain pieces published, but he makes it feel like people aren't allowed to read what he has published. In addition, he makes it seem like a crime for people to hold even the slightest bit of admiration for him. I mean, for someone who tries to hold to the virtue of humility and modesty, I find it extremely insulting and ironic that he has the nerve to dictate how other people should think.

However, all bashing aside, I also completely understand, as I've mentioned before, that the guy wants to be left alone. The author's inexperience and small bit of ego at the time made the author act in a way that went against Salinger's ideals which, essentially, burned the bridge, and as we know, Salinger isn't the type of guy who restores lost trust.

I don't know, I mean, I liked Catcher in the Rye, and I too find the especially eccentric artists fascinating, but at the same exact time, I guess I'm just too conformed (or w/e), and that leads me to hate on eccentricity that begets self-entitlement. Anyways, thanks again for the read take!

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Manga: From Far Away

Post by takenoko » Sat Jul 30, 2011 1:24 am

So this is a series that I return to from time to time. It's a series in our children's manga section and we seem to have a good chunk of it, maybe 13-14 volumes.

The story is pretty much Fushigi Yuugi/Red River-ish. Girl is whisked away to a fantasy world, she meets a handsome guy, they go on adventures.

For the most part, the story and characters are very vanilla for quite a while. Nothing significant or outstanding really happens, but then something changes around volume 9-10 and suddenly the hero and heroine are a lot more likable. It's very strange, but I guess either it was a slow character development arc or the mangaka just found a better way to write characters. I'm sure it's no coincidence that the main arc of the story becomes more apparent here and the reader really gets a good grasp of the evil menace that is threatening the world.

My favorite part of the last few volumes that I read involve the heroes fleeing to a village. They're trying to escape the bad guys so they're incognito. Meanwhile, the villagers are terrible gossips, so every few pages, they have a new theory on the identities of the hero and heroine. It's just funny in its outlandishness and it makes for good fodder for the heros to show off their playful or funny personalities.

It doesn't really stand out in any way, but it's a fun shoujo manga that gets better if you stick with it.

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The Sense of an Ending

Post by takenoko » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:14 pm

Again, not a manga. This is a British short novel about a dreary man recounting his life. Except he's an unreliable narrator and basically learns that his recollections of the facts don't necessarily match reality's. Overall, I can't really say if I'd recommend this to other people. You sort of have to get through his unremarkable life to get to the second part, which occur 40 years after the events of the first part. It's a short book though, less than 200 pages, so you can power through it in a few days if you really wanted to.

Basically, it kind of unravels like a mystery. He's constantly uncovering new details that shine light on a greater truth... but he's also an unpleasant detective. He bullies and annoys the facts out of people. He's manipulative and cowardly. Overall, he's just kind of a regular dude who makes mistakes in his life. And as the unreliable narrator, he doesn't really understand how the mistakes he has just casually destroys the lives of people around him.

So if you're intrigued and have free time, check it out. It's a quick read. Check out Idle Thumbs, they're smart dudes and they like video games. And books!

Idle Thumbs Podcast about it:
http://www.idlethumbs.net/idlebookclub/ ... -an-ending

If you're dumb, like me, check out this site after reading the book. The discussion there will help clue you in on the stuff that you probably overlooked:
http://theseversons.net/reading-list/sense/

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