Brilliant Book Titles #142

round ireland
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Blurb:
‘I hereby bet Tony Hawks the sum of One Hundred Pounds that he cannot hitchhike round the circumference of Ireland, with a fridge, within one calendar month’

A foolhardy attempt to win a drunken bet led to Tony Hawks having one of the most unforgettable experiences of his life. Joined by his trusty travelling-companion-cum-domestic-appliance, he found himself in the midst of a remarkable, inspirational and, at times, downright silly adventure.

In their month of madness, Tony and his fridge surfed together; entered a batchelor festival; and one of them had sex without the other knowing. The fridge got christened, and they even met the poorest king on Earth.

An absurd story of an extraordinary adventure, Round Ireland with a Fridge follows the fearless pair as they battle towards Dublin and a breathtaking finale that is moving, uplifting, and a fitting conclusion to the whole ridiculous affair.

We’ve been shortlisted for Best Books and Literature!

shortlist

Hello all, we’ve been shortlisted for Best Books and Literature (Corporate) Blog at the V By Very Blog Awards 2017 and we’re delighted!

Finalists are due out in the next little while, and the winners are announced on October 5th. There’s no public vote this year, so keep your fingers crossed for us!

Sex Criminals Volume 1

sex criminals
Not only is the title wonderful clickbait (they’re not committing sexual crimes) but the premise of this book is wonderfully bonkers. When Suzie has sex, can stop time. She thought she was the only one until she met Jon. So they do what anyone would that situation – decide to rob a bank to get enough money to save Suzie’s ailing library.

This shouldn’t work at all but the writing is top-notch, making the characters grounded and three-dimensional. I loved Suzie’s voice throughout the book – she is a certainly a woman who knows who she is. I also loved Jon, and how the author Fraction treats his character – Jon’s mental health issues slowly creep in over the course of this first book.

Did I mention that they have sex to stop time so that they can rob banks? And that it’s good? And that there’s sex police who aren’t happy that they’re doing it (literally, and figurateively). I mean, if that doesn’t make you want to read the book – I don’t know what will! Beautiful art from Chip Zdarsky also. Recommended – I’m off to read the next few books.

5 New Comics to Watch Out For

Savage Town (26 Sep 2017)
savage.jpg
In Limerick City, Jimmy ‘Hardy’ Savage is a gangster on the rise, facing trouble from all sides. With the local cops, rival gangs, his best mate and his mammy all out to stick a knife in him, will the bollicks live long enough to get to the top? More importantly, will he pay me back for that fiver I gave him last week?

From the savage minds of DECLAN SHALVEY (All Star Batman, Injection), PHILIP BARRETT and JORDIE BELLAIRE (Vision, They’re Not Like Us) comes an original Irish graphic crime novel that’ll leave you gaspin’ …for a pint!

Batman: The Dark Knight III: The Master Race (19 Sep 2017)
dk3.jpg
One of the most highly anticipated sequels of all-time is finally here in DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE!

In 1986, Frank Miller introduced his iconic take on Batman and changed the face of comics forever. Now, three decades after BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, Miller himself has returned with a third chapter to his groundbreaking saga.

DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE continues Frank Miller’s landmark DARK KNIGHT SAGA that began with 1986’s THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and continued with its 2001-2002 sequel THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN. Co-written by Brian Azzarello and drawn by Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson, DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE returns to a world gone awry left in the aftermath of the toppling of Lex Luthor and the apparent death… of Batman himself? Then who will save Gotham City and the rest of the planet against the mysterious Master Race?

Also collected in this graphic novel are the nine mini-comics that originally appeared in the monthly periodical release of DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE, each of which focuses on a different character from within the world of Miller’s Dark Knight. The minicomics are also written by Miller and Azzarello and will be drawn by some of the greatest artists currently working in comics, including Miller himself, Eduardo Risso and John Romita, Jr.!

Collected here are all nine chapters of DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE as well as the nine mini-comics.

Heart and Brain: Body Language: An Awkward Yeti Collection (3 October 2017)
heart and brain
From the New York Times bestselling creator of the hugely popular Awkward Yeti comics comes the third collection in his Heart and Brain series. Heart and Brain: Body Language continues the adventures of the loveably conflicted sentimental Heart and rational Brain, as well as other bodily inhabitants like Gallbladder, Muscle, and Tongue. Warm-hearted and laugh-out-loud funny, these comics bring our inner struggles to vibrant, humorous life.

Death Note (All in One Edition) (21 Sep 2017)
deathnote
This hefty omnibus combines all 2,400 pages of the megahit thriller into a single massive tome, presented in a beautiful silver slipcase. A perfect collectible conversation piece and a must-have for Death Note fans. Also contains an epilogue chapter never before seen in English!

Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects—and he’s bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal…or his life?

All 12 volumes of Death Note in one massive book, also containing a chapter never published in English!

* Netflix original Death Note movie released worldwide on August 25th, and was one of their most-watched titles over the launch weekend.
* One of the most successful manga series of all time, Death Note volumes 1–12, Death Note: How to Read, omnibus Black Editions, Death Note Box Set, and two novels have sold a combined 1.8 million copies (US Bookscan 3/17); UK sales across all volumes stand at +723,000 copies, with UK Bookscan sales of +510,000 copies (08/17).
* An incredible bargain at a fraction of the shelf space: less than half the price of all 12 individual volumes.

Mangasia: The Definitive Guide to Asian Comics (19 Nov 2017)
mangasia
This beautiful and engaging volume charts the evolution of manga from its roots in late 19th-century Japan through the many and varied forms of comics, cartoons and animation created throughout Asia for more than 100 years.
World authority on comic art Paul Gravett details the evolving meanings of the myths and legends told and retold by manga artists of every decade and reveals the development and cross pollination of cultural and aesthetic ideas between manga artists throughout Asia. He explores the explosion of creativity in manga after the Second World War with the emergence of such artists as Osamu Tezuka, whose pioneering Astro Boy spawned a new and much imitated visual dynamic. He highlights how creators have responded to political events since 1950 in the form of propaganda, criticism and commentary in manga magazines, comics and books.
There have been many remarkably powerful and sophisticated graphic novels, although some sexually explicit and emotionally dark adult manga has also attracted criticism, raising questions about taste and acceptability. Gravett discusses the influence of censorship on manga and concludes with a survey of current multi- platform offerings of manga in Asia and the transition from cut-price rental libraries to the booming specialist emporia and comic conventions that champion the kaleidoscope of creativity apparent in the digital age.

Lion by Saroo Brierly

lion

This book was originally published under the title “A Long Way Home”.

It is said that it’s better to read the book before you see the film, but in the case of this book I would definitely recommend the film over the book. Having been very moved by the film, a true story of an incredible series of events which led a tiny Indian child from his home village, to eventual adoption in Australia and concludes with his search to find his original family, I couldn’t wait to get the book on which the film was based.

This story of a life does indeed prove that fact is stranger than fiction. So, all the ingredients were there for a cracking good read. I was prepared to go through a rollercoaster of emotions, following the journey of this little lost boy, through the trials he endured, and moving on to his uprooting from India and being transplanted to Australia. The tale unfolds there with his incredibly nurturing adoptive parents providing him with a stable and loving home. However, the longing for his family of original just won’t be denied and he takes on a seemingly impossible task, to find his original home.

So, why does the book leave me cold? There is a degree of detachment in Brierley’s writing that makes it evident that his collaborator on the project, Larry Rose did much of the text. This is an opportunity lost, we never really get to the heart of Saroo, the work is descriptive rather than engaging us with the emotions and thoughts of the subject of the memoir. On the positive side, the photos perform what the writing doesn’t; they made real the participants. However, the emotion conveyed in the final scenes of the film, with actual footage of the real people involved, is never matched by this well-meaning, but ultimately unsatisfying book. Watch the film!

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Brilliant Book Titles #141

hold-me-closer-necromancer.jpg
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Blurb:
Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.

Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.

With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is a 2011 Bank Street – Best Children’s Book of the Year.

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

better than before

The subtitle of this book is “What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits ― to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life”. This alone was enough to make me take this off the shelf and devour in a weekend. In the idealised version of myself I wake up early, eat nutritious food throughout the day and rarely ever leave things to the last minute. However, in reality I’m a procrastinating mess! So could this book transform my life?

Gretchen Rubin is a writer who studies happiness. She is the author of the highly acclaimed ‘The Happiness Project’, which looks at easy ways and methods to make your life happier every day. In Better Than Before, she continues her research and concentrates on the areas of life that cause people the most stress and anxiety.

In Better Than Before, Rubin divides everyone into 4 groups. Identifying your group is critical in order to know how to make or break habits successfully. Gretchen explains the groups as follows:

– Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations
– Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense
– Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike
– Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves

Personally I am very much an obliger. Rubin provides real world and practical examples of how to ensure that you follow though on the habits you want to create. For an obliger like myself, it’s essential that I have someone hold me accountable to help me follow through but for a rebel this is the exact opposite of what they need.

I found the book really interesting with lots of helpful advice. I did manage to procrastinate a little less in the weeks after reading the book. And if you enjoy the book I would highly recommend listening to Gretchen Rubin’s podcast ‘Happier’. http://gretchenrubin.com/podcast/ It continues on with the themes that Rubin writes about and offers weekly advice on how to live a happier and more productive life!

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

5 New Video Game Books to Watch Out For

Playing With Super Power: Nintendo Super NES Classics (29 Sep 2017)
playing with superpower.jpg
The Console:
A nostalgic celebration and exploration of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in all its 16-bit glory.

The Games: Discover everything you’ve always wanted to know about some of the most beloved SNES games, including the previously unrealised Star Fox 2!

The History: Learn about the SNES development and the visionaries behind this groundbreaking console.

The Legacy: An in-depth look at how the SNES has left its mark on the gaming industry, and how its legacy continues.

The Memories: Featuring a plethora of fan art, music, and more, this book is a love letter to playing with Super Power!

Speedrunning Tips: Some of the best speedrunners around share their tiups and strategies for getting the best times in these beloved classic games.

Exclusive Foreword: Written by Reggie Fils-Aimé, President and COO of Nintendo of America.

The Playstation Dreamworld by Alfie Bown (27 Oct 2017)
the playstation dreamworld
From mobile phones to consoles, tablets and PCs, we are now a generation of gamers. The PlayStation Dreamworld is to borrow a phrase from Slavoj i ek the pervert’s guide to videogames. It argues that we can only understand the world of videogames via Lacanian dream analysis. It also argues that the Left needs to work inside this dreamspace a powerful arena for constructing our desires or else the dreamworld will fall entirely into the hands of dominant and reactionary forces.

While cyberspace is increasingly dominated by corporate organization, gaming, at its most subversive, can nevertheless produce radical forms of enjoyment which threaten the capitalist norms that are created and endlessly repeated in our daily relationships with mobile phones, videogames, computers and other forms of technological entertainment. Far from being a book solely for dedicated gamers, this book dissects the structure of our relationships to all technological entertainment at a time when entertainment has become ubiquitous. We can no longer escape our fantasies but rather live inside their digital reality.

Digital Love: Romance and Sexuality in Games by Heidi McDonald (31 Oct 2017)
digital love
Scholars and professionals from all over the world, across experience levels and the gender and sexuality spectrum, share experiences and analysis of romance and sexuality in video games.

Whether discussing casual sex in the Star Wars universe; analyzing various Otome games; examining “the gaze” in various games; player romance behavior in games; or exploring the ethical ramifications of sexuality in virtual reality and other emerging technologies, this book discusses what players want in video game romance, and how developers can best deliver it.

Attack of the Flickering Skeletons: More Terrible Old Games You’ve Probably Never Heard Of by Stuart Ashen (2 Nov 2017)
attack of the flickering skeletons
Welcome to a world of games you never knew existed. You will probably wish you still didn’t.

YouTube sensation Stuart Ashen is back with his second instalment of terrible old computer games you’ve probably never heard of… because what the world needs right now is to know exactly how bad Domain of the Undead for the Atari 8-bit computers was.

Attack of the Flickering Skeletons is even bigger than the original Terrible Old Games You’ve Probably Never Heard Of – this second excavation of gaming’s buried past will not only unearth more appalling excuses for digital entertainment, but also feature guest contributors and several special interest chapters not based around single specific games.

These are NOT the games you’ve heard of a million times in YouTube videos. This is a compilation of truly obscure and dreadful games. Dripping with wry humour and featuring the best, worst graphics from the games themselves, this book encapsulates the atrocities produced in the days of tight budgets and low quality controls.

These are even more appalling games that leaked from the industry’s tear ducts, taken down from the dusty shelves of history by the man who has somehow made a living by sticking rubbish on a sofa and talking about it.

Undisputed Street Fighter: A 30th Anniversary Retrospective by Steve Hendershot (14 Nov 2017)
undisputed street
Since its inception 30 years ago, the Street Fighter™ video game series from Capcom has thrived based on a lethal combination of innovation, style and technique. From first-of-their-kind advances such as selectable characters and secret combo moves, to imagination-capturing characters such as Ryu, Chun-Li, and Akuma, Street Fighter has stayed a step ahead of the competition en route to becoming one of the most enduring and influential franchises in video game history. Undisputed Street Fighter™ features in-depth interviews and exclusive, behind-the-scenes looks into the making of the Street Fighter games, and the iconic art, design, and imagery from across the Street Fighter universe.

Storytelling in Video Games: The Art of the Digital Narrative by Amy M. Green (24 Nov 2017)
storytelling in video games
This book explores video games as important cultural artifacts and as sources of powerful, compelling storytelling. It begins by considering the fundamental structures of video games-including immersion and player agency-and deepens the exploration of such elements by considering how each plays a role in storytelling. The book moves from the theoretical to the practical by considering numerous modern games and the stories they tell through careful, considered analysis of each title’s story. Games considered at length include the Mass Effect series, BioShock, The Last of Us and many more. The book also explores genres like the visual novel, which are less frequently considered in video game study. What emerges from this book, which appeals to academics, game enthusiasts, and the general public, is the importance of considering video games as serious and important sources of storytelling exploring complex thematic subjects like identity, morality, and the impact of player choice.

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard

spqr
This is a new history of the Roman Empire by historian and tv presenter, Mary Beard. I guess another history of the Roman Empire is perhaps not what the world needs, but this one I think deserves attention. Although written by an academic, it wears its scholarship fairly lightly; it’s not over burdened with footnotes or references. Starting from the cities’ legendary foundation by the orphans Romulus and Remus, suckled by the she-wolf, the symbol of the city itself, then the reputed rule by the Kings of Rome and on to the Republic, she examines the sparse archaeological evidence from this period to consider the likely true history of the city as distinct from the myths and half-truths the Romans believed from a period largely before written record. She looks at Roman society from the perspective of the ordinary people including women and slaves, groups often overlooked. A lot of the legendary stories of the Roman world are challenged-such as Cleopatra’s suicide by Asp and Hannibal forcing his way through the Alps from Spain. In contrast to the usual perception that the Empire was expanded and held together by military force we get a picture of collaboration and partnership particularly in Italy; the people there speaking their own languages and having loyalty to their region as well as to Rome. The state’s willingness to extend the rights of Roman citizenship even to overseas territories fostered loyalty to it.

This is an easy to read history grounded in the authors deep knowledge of her subject.

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.