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    $6.49
    1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly
    2. Full Dark, No Stars
    $6.64
    3. Dog Days (Diary of a Wimpy Kid,
    $30.22
    4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Box of Books
    $35.99
    5. The Walking Dead:Compendium One
    $10.00
    6. Dilbert: 2011 Day-to-Day Calendar
    $59.01
    7. 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective
    8. Edge
    $6.99
    9. Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim's
    $6.99
    10. Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 2: Scott Pilgrim
    $6.77
    11. Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale
    $6.49
    12. Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 3: Scott Pilgrim
    $4.84
    13. Scott Pilgrim, Vol 4: Scott Pilgrim
    $7.49
    14. Dork Diaries 2: Tales from a Not-So-Popular
    $7.12
    15. Scott Pilgrim Volume 6: Scott
    $7.19
    16. Scott Pilgrim Volume 5: Scott
    $8.71
    17. The Walking Dead Volume 13
    $7.49
    18. Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous
    $90.97
    19. The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
    $9.99
    20. Big Nate: From the Top

    1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth
    by Jeff Kinney
    Hardcover
    list price: $13.95 -- our price: $6.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0810984911
    Publisher: Amulet Books
    Sales Rank: 6
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Greg Heffley has always been in a hurry to grow up. But is getting older really all it’s cracked up to be?

     

    Greg suddenly finds himself dealing with the pressures of boy-girl parties, increased responsibilities, and even the awkward changes that come with getting older—all without his best friend, Rowley, at his side. Can Greg make it through on his own? Or will he have to face the “ugly truth”?

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book! My niece loves this book too!
    *** Dec. 6, 2010
    My niece loves this book too. She loves the humor, the simple amusing cartoons, and the funny jokes in it.

    *** Nov. 30, 2010
    Greg and Rowley are best friends.
    But Greg's dad didn't like Rowley too much, because he thought Rowley was an accident prone kid, so Rowley may ruin his 'warfield' accidently. And Rowley's dad didn't like Greg, either, because two kids liked to do silly things together at home. Nowadays, many parents hope that their kid behaves properly. Reading good books are very important for kids. A good book is a good teacher.This book presents humorous stories that could make kids become more considerate. I feel very happy when my kid read this book and talk to me about the stories in the book.

    *** Nov. 27, 2010
    Greg's mom and dad had very different interests. She tried to train him to become more romantic while he only wanted to play his war games. He had to sit beside her to watch the romantic movies as she said so, then he'd try to slip out whenever possible. This is what happens to many couples every day. Reading this book makes me think about own daily life more objectively.

    *** November 9, 2010
    Greg's a very self-centered smart young schooler. His Dad wanted him to live up his potential, but often he had his own ideas. Greg had to learn how to communicate with his brother, though it's not a easy job. First he had to think and learn how to talk to his brother, because his brother was the person picking up Greg after school everyday. Greg's brother became really mad after Greg talked to him about how to drive his car. Finally Greg and his brother had a fight. Greg's mom had been a preschool teacher, so she thought she was very good at handle the situation. But Greg thought it didn't work at all. The book successfully illustartes Greg's thought processes. It seems like an actual diary in words and amusing pictures about Greg's daily life at home and at school.
    My son is a reluctant reader, but he really likes to read this book. I also enjoyed reading it! I would like to recommend this book to all schoolers, parents, teachers, and librarians.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Last book of the series (so far) didn't disappoint!
    Another very funny installment. If you haven't already read all of the previous books, you must read them first! The story of Greg's life continues. My favorite part from this book is, "When you're a little kid, nobody ever warns you that you've got an expiration date. One day you're hot stuff and the next day you're a dirt sandwich." :-) Great, funny stuff!

    5-0 out of 5 stars He loved it.
    My son has all of the books in this series. He says, 'It's one of the best series' ever.' He was very excited to get the newest book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great!
    Read in one sitting when it arrived. It has bee re-read and re-enjoyed. If you liked the others, you will like this one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thank You Jeff Kinney!
    For any of you who have a child who does not want to read, I suggest any of the Wimpy Kid books! I wish Jeff Kinney could come out with a book a week! My son does not like to read and fights me tooth and nail to read, however, he usually reads these books within 24-48hours now and asks to "Pre-order" them when he knows there is one coming out.

    Thank you Jeff Kinney! and continue the great work!

    5-0 out of 5 stars my son's review (age 9)
    Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth is AWESOME!!!!! This book is very very funny. It involves Greg wanting to grow up too fast. Things go a little wild at Uncle Gary's wedding. Also, he has to have "the Talk' with his grandma Gammie, but after "the Talk" Greg might have to take her advice, or he might have to face the 'Ugly Truth." I recommend this book for people who have a good sense of humor. ... Read more


    2. Full Dark, No Stars
    by Stephen King
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $27.99
    Asin: B003YUC3YE
    Publisher: Scribner
    Sales Rank: 26
    Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger . . . writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up "1922," the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerizing tales from Stephen King. For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife, Arlette, proposes selling off the family homestead and moving to Omaha, setting in motion a gruesome train of murder and madness.

    In "Big Driver," a cozy-mystery writer named Tess encounters the stranger along a back road in Massachusetts when she takes a shortcut home after a book-club engagement. Violated and left for dead, Tess plots a revenge that will bring her face-to-face with another stranger: the one inside herself.

    "Fair Extension," the shortest of these tales, is perhaps the nastiest and certainly the funniest. Making a deal with the devil not only saves Dave Streeter from a fatal cancer but provides rich recompense for a lifetime of resentment.

    When her husband of more than twenty years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband. It’s a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitively ends a good marriage.

    Like Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight, which generated such enduring films as The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me, Full Dark, No Stars proves Stephen King a master of the long story form. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars King delivers, November 9, 2010
    Some of King's best material-- "The Mist", "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption", "The Body", "Hearts in Atlantis", etc.-- can be found in his collections, particularly his novella collections. Yes, he's written some long books, many of them already considered modern classics (The Stand and IT come to mind), but the man has ALWAYS delivered when he confines himself a bit.

    By delivered, I mean everything: characters, setting, story, emotion.

    Read the first twenty pages of "1922." Try not to despise the utter selfishness of Wilfred and Arlette-- even while you're sympathizing with the unfortunate humanity of their situation. Try not to stare wide-eyed in horror at what Wilfred convinces his son to partake in... and just try to look away from the book (although you may have to-- for a breather-- after one grueling scene).

    This is an honest book. Each story seems to revolve around the theme that there is a monster inside each one of us.

    King is sometimes accused of being wordy, yet he seems to bat every ball out of the park when he confines himself to the constraints of a hundred or so pages.

    Pay no attention to the fools who have chosen to lower the star rating of this excellent collection with their whining about the publishing industry and the expensive nature of their digital "books."

    I paid fourteen dollars for this book several hours ago-- not a bad deal at all for a new hardback, I'd say-- and it's worth much more than that.

    King is a modern master, and we're lucky to have him.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Solid addition to my SK Library., November 13, 2010
    Full Dark, No Stars is a collection of 4 novellas that envelope the dark side in us all. The collection gets you started with...

    1922 - This first person POV story is a confession of a farmer detailing his deeds which lead to the worst year of his life during the year 1922 in Nebraska. It is written with Mr. King's normal grab your attention right away and then bog the story down for a while throwing in those little blurbs to keep the plot moving. The majority of the story is predictable leading right up to an easily drawn conclusion. However, Mr. King does a nice job of ending the story on anything but relative to typical and in doing so saved it from being a low rating story. I would rate this one in the 3.5 stars range.

    Big Driver - Another tale of rape and revenge. Even though this one was really predictable yet I still found it an engaging read, especially at the end. Mr. King does a great job of giving just enough details to get his vision across and at the same time leaves out enough so the reader can fill in the rest. I do feel he could have added more to the characters in this one. I wish he would have added more to the antagonist, but it seems he just let the deeds that were done to be enough to invoke a hatred for the antagonist and it just wasn't enough. The protagonist had her high and low points, but it was actually one of the side characters that seemed to have more to them in just their short scenes. The pacing and flow of the story was well done and so I will give this one a 4 out of 5 stars.

    Fair Extension - How remorseless can a person be? Read this story and find out. To me, this one portrayed hatred in its purest form. This one was a really quick read as it is the shortest story in the collection. This story doesn't beat around the bush. It gets right to it and doesn't let go. One of the things I would have liked was to know more about the "salesman" character. This one felt more like a Richard Bachman story to me, but not as good as the earlier works. So I think a 3 out of 5 would be fair for this one.

    A Good Marriage - What would you do if you found out the person you were married to for 27 years had a very dark side? I would have to say this was the best story in the collection. The characters had good depth to them, were well fleshed out, and easy to connect with. It had a good pace to it and flowed nicely. One of the points I enjoyed was the Edgar Allan Poe simile he used. This was definitely a good psychological thriller. 5 Stars out of 5

    Afterword - One thing I like is to read what Mr. King has to say about his books and this afterword was written especially for those who ask the question, "Where do you get your ideas?" If you are one of these type of people, then you will be greatly satisfied reading this small section, I know I was.

    This book as a whole was entertaining to read and had many aspects of good humanistic horror telling. All the stories are more based on the darker side of human nature. If you are looking for more supernatural monsters, you will not find much here, though there are a couple parts that tow that line and one that steps just beyond it, but the main focus is on human reaction. If you are looking for some really gory parts, then 1922 is the best you will get. For long time Stephen King fans, I would definitely recommend this one and even those of a younger crowd who may or may not have had the chance to read him; I would recommend it to them as well. Calculating all the stories together, I feel this is worthy of a 4 out of 5 stars.

    Happy reading.

    -Dimndbangr

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Great King Book, November 10, 2010
    I admit, I'm a fan of SK, but that doesn't stop me from NOT liking one of his books if I find it uninteresting. There have been a few-- like Rose Madder, Insomnia and Bag of Bones-- that I just didn't like and couldn't finish reading. Not that they're bad books, just not to my tastes. FULL DARK, NO STARS is one Stephen King book I'm putting in my great list. It was absolutely enthralling and very, very frightening. I'm not real big on bloated books that are more filler than sizzle, but the short novels in this book are lean and mean. I highly recommend this book.

    ****************

    Now, as far as all the Kindle owners complaining about the price... back in the day, before the convenience of ebook readers and the wonder of having your reading collection all in one 4 ounce e-ink device, if someone could not afford a book they wanted to read, they went to the library and checked it out. They didn't protest in front of the bookstore. They didn't disparage a writer's reputation. They bought it used at a second-hand book shop, waited to find it at a yard sale or borrowed it from someone who is more affluent.

    But back in the day, people had a little more pride, and they didn't think they should get everything for free, or next to free, just because they wanted it. Have a little dignity, people! Stop yapping like you think you're the star of your own little reality TV show. If you can't afford it, wait for the price to drop.

    The review section is for book reviews, not for pricing complaints.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Full Dark, Three Stars, November 19, 2010
    I was looking forward to reading 'Full Dark', especially as it is a collection of stories rather than a novel. The short story suits King perfectly; far less room for the sagging middle section, the proliferation of thumbnail-sketched characters, predictable plot-turns, etc. The writing tends to be both more concentrated AND more pacey; it gathers its wits and gets down to what King does best: telling a great story. At his worst, he coasts along on automatic, happy to let the characters, plots and effects from earlier stories reappear in different guises, and he pads, so that dreary middle section becomes pendulous and plodding.

    Since three of the four stories in Full Dark are longish ones (or novellas), there is room for quite a bit of 'automatic' writing. The first story, simply titled '1922' is, essentially, a ghost story, in the form of a prolonged confession by a man who murdered his wife. The murderer is a poor and desperate Nebraska farmer. King establishes the man's voice (contrite but not above self-deception) quite beautifully in the first few pages. Here's a sample: 'I believe that there is another man inside of every man, a stranger, a Conniving Man. And I believe that by March of 1922, when the Hemingford County skies were white and every field was a snow-scrimmed mudsuck, the Conniving Man inside Farmer Wilfred James had already passed judgement on my wife and decided her fate.' But the story has a middle which sags and then some, and by the time the ghost makes its appearance the encounter has been so over-prepared that it is, inevitably, a non-event. And there are rats. Anyone find rats scary? If you do, you may find this tale engrossing, but in my experience an abundance of these critters usually indicates that the fiction will be seriously dilapidated. There are moments of tension and creepiness, but all of these are frittered (or gnawed) away in the 125 pages. It might have worked, with some serious editing, but it is, unfortunately, the longest story in the book.

    The two succeeding stories, 'Big Driver' and 'Fair Extension', are better, but they both have weaknesses. 'Big Driver' starts out enjoyably enough. A woman who writes detective stories (of the Miss Marple variety) accepts an invitation to give a reading and afterwards (on the advice of her host) takes a shortcut. Naturally, she encounters a problem, followed by a considerably bigger one. This is promising King territory; he is great behind the wheel, or with most things road-related (remember 'Mrs Todd's Shortcut' from 'Skeleton Crew' and 'Rest Stop' from 'Just After Sunset'). I motored along with this for quite awhile (it's the second longest story), but eventually the payback angle became tiresome. Revenge may or may not be a dish best eaten cold, but overheated, it quickly loses all flavour of beliveability. 'Fair Extension' is a blackly comic anti-morality fairytale. It has some nice touches (particularly in the figure of the devil as down-at-heel roadside hustler), but I far preferred the truly scary 'Man In The Black Suit' in 'Everything's Eventual', one of his strongest collections of stories.

    Which brings us to the final story, 'A Good Marriage'. I was tempted to title this review 'Indifferent Seasons', punning on King's 1982 book, Different Seasons, which has a similar shape: four novellas (or in the latter case three novellas and one longish story). But, despite my gripes, to call this offering indifferent would be unfair. 'A Good Marriage' is a great story, one of his best. The plot is easily described: a woman, who has been happily married for a quarter of a century, discovers something unexpected about the husband she thought she knew, the man who hadn't a cruel bone in his body. What happens afterwards is what makes this special. No need to say more. Buy the book, because this one story makes it worth the admission price.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is not a book to lull you to sleep, unless you enjoy double-checking the locks and looking under the bed before you turn in, November 15, 2010
    Is the King of the Crypt toying with us with the title FULL DARK, NO STARS? There is no denying that each of these four short, chilling stories plumbs the depths of darkness of the human condition, but each also shines in its own macabre radiance as four mere humans struggle with events that forever alter the course of their lives. This is not a book to lull you to sleep, unless you enjoy double-checking the locks and looking under the bed before you turn in.

    In "1922" Wisconsin farmer Wilfred James takes matters into his own hands when his wife decides to sell off the portion of their land left to her by her father. She plans to accept the generous offer for the 100-acre parcel from a hog processing plant and move to town, with or without Wilfred. He loves farming and foresees the hog business bringing with it putrid odors, noise and ruination of his property value. Leave she does, but not without a chilling assist from her husband, who entices their teenage son to help in her murder and the cover-up of the crime. The longest and most gruesome of the four stories, "1922" describes the real and imagined horrors that visit the murderous husband as his life and that of his son gradually unravel. The story of Wilf's journey into madness finds Stephen King at the height of his writing prowess.

    "Big Driver" introduces us to Tess, a writer of cozy mysteries popular with women's book clubs. Her readers aren't fond of the "ooky" parts of mysteries, but when she narrowly escapes death at the hands of a serial rapist and murderer on a lonely stretch of road, she is faced with plotting and carrying out her own form of criminal justice. The real-life solution she creates out of her fertile writer's imagination is deliciously satisfying as the self-sufficient young woman grapples with how to make sure he doesn't kill again.

    At a mere 34 pages, "Fair Extension" is perhaps the darkest and most thought-provoking tale of this extraordinary literary quartet. Dave Streeter, a successful, middle-aged family man, finds himself suddenly confronted by his own mortality by a virulent cancer. Feeling ill, he pulls off the road for a moment and notices a modest roadside vendor's booth. Curious, he strikes up a conversation with the odd little man who says he gives people what they want through a fair exchange. The man learns of Streeter's plight and offers restoration of his health with a 30-day, money-back guarantee if he's not satisfied. The fair exchange that is required is that Streeter must consciously select a person he dislikes who will be on the receiving end of the trade. "Fair Exchange" is a classic tale of good versus evil, a subject that has been thoroughly explored in some of King's most famous novels. The brevity with which he treats the subject snaps today's world into sharp focus. Just how far-reaching and pervasive are the consequences of greed in the pursuit of personal gain?

    The last entry is "A Good Marriage." Darcy Anderson discovers that sometimes it doesn't pay to be too tidy or too curious. Her entirely happy, if somewhat humdrum, world comes crashing down when she stubs her toe on something beneath her husband's workbench. In a modern-day tale of Pandora's Box, Darcy will find herself visited with knowledge best left unknown. Her solution, like that of Tess the mystery writer, is startling and darkly satisfying.

    King steers clear of the supernatural this time out, depending on how the reader sees the little man in "Fair Exchange." He offers the idea that there is the potential in each of us to kill, not only in immediate self-defense, but with diabolical cunning, if the situation warrants. He writes in his self-revealing afterword that each of the disturbing tales was constructed from real-life scenarios. Too often, he feels that the "whys" --- the reasons people do the things they do that appear in the headlines --- are not explored by the law or in the media. In FULL DARK, NO STARS, he explores these reasons through the eyes of otherwise ordinary people.

    Here they are, through a glass darkly.

    --- Reviewed by Roz Shea

    5-0 out of 5 stars Kindle version--$14.99. The fact there are any versions--priceless., November 13, 2010
    Here's my two cents (or my $14.99). These are some of Stephen King's best stories ever, and I've been a fan since I read "Carrie" in Junior High (when is was first published in paperback, kids couldn't afford hardback books back then!). Like most King books, I devoured this one in less than 48 hours. "A Good Marriage" and "Big Driver" are particularly disturbing, maybe because they both have female protaganists whose stories seem very real. Like it or not, Stephen King tells the living s&%# out of a story.

    Which brings me the price issue. People are certainly within their rights to bitch about the price of anything-gas,food, education, Ferraris, etc. But for me, fifteen bucks is a small price to pay for something that I really, really enjoy. I spend a lot more on stuff is don't enjoy near as much. I have read and re-read virtually everything King has written. There may come a point in my life when Mr. King dies (morbid, I know, but one of us will go first). Outside of people I actually know, his demise would probably be the only one which would actually leave a personal, lasting void in my life. So I say, live long and prosper, Mr. King. I hope I can give you (or your evil publisher) money for many, many more years.

    Oh, and just to make it clear, I will buy the hardback, too. The kindle version is just for convenience.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Kindle this you idiots!, November 15, 2010
    I own a Kindle and was surprised about the ebook price so i just got the hardback version and YES i bought AND read the book thus the 5 stars.
    King is at his prime with the novella size story and it shows, Simply put Full dark, No stars is well worth every penny be it hardback or Kindle.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Classic King, November 9, 2010
    Stephen King has had a sort of renaissance lately - the stretch of novels from Cell to last year's Under the Dome is King in top form, easily as good as (if not, in some cases, better) than his classics from the 70s and 80s. Full Dark, No Stars does not disappoint.

    "1922" and "Fair Extension" are worth the price of admission alone - the latter is probably my favorite of the four stories/novellas that comprise Full Dark, No Stars. But don't get me wrong - the other two stories are great, too. And all four stories together, with their common theme of retribution and payback, make for an engrossing read.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Full Dark, Indeed, November 11, 2010
    Atrocious cover aside (even if I'm dumb and missing something greatly significant about a minimalistic cover with a woman making the figure nine on it, it's still terrible, the title of Stephen King's latest book is perfect. Full Dark, No Stars, ladies and gentleman, is one bleak book. And though King is no stranger to grim subject matter, when it comes to his novella collections, I think this is the darkest one yet. There are no stars. There's little hope either. Some, but not much. One might almost expect to see Richard Bachman credited here such is the impenetrable darkness on display.

    Those looking to King's latest hoping for the supernatural will come away disappointed. Even though there are instances in which rotting corpses shamble through the night and ghosts whisper from old wells, all of the horror in Full Dark, No Stars, is of the human variety, the supernatural relegated to mere projections from decaying minds. Ambivalent hauntings are, when the source is considered, not that ambivalent at all. And because all the terrible things are authored by human hands, this quartet of nightmares is all that much scarier.

    Inspired by Wisconsin Death Trip by Michael Lesy, the collection's opener "1922 matches Lesy's book in its bleak, wintry tone. After murdering his troublesome wife in order to keep her from selling his farm to the greedy Farrington Company, Wilfred James soon realizes, as the repercussions of his crime slowly radiate outward, infecting everyone and everything it touches, that no bad deed goes unpunished. In the author's engaging style, we're caught right along in the current as events quickly spiral out of control. There are some particularly well-crafted scenes here, not the least of which is the murder itself, but some creepy moments later in the game are very much reminiscent of King circa Pet Semetery. Mostly, however, "1922 reads like an homage to Poe's "The Black Cat".

    King takes tackles revenge fantasy with "Big Driver", the story of modestly successful crime writer Tess, who accepts a speaking engagement at an out-of-the-way library and takes a shortcut into a nightmare. Raped and left for dead, Tess escapes but, rather than going to the police (an idea quickly rejected when she considers the media attention it will draw down upon her), she decides to seek vengeance herself.

    This is one of the better stories in the book, even if it's well-worn ground King's dealing with. If you've seen the movies The Brave One (referenced in "Big Driver" more than once), Extremities, or any of the Dirty Harry or Death Wish movies, then you know what to expect, albeit with more attention to the emotional current that thrums through the protagonist than is usually afforded the unfortunate characters in this subgenre. King is clearly aware that he's mining well-worn territory here too, but he does it with his usual style, keeping you rooting for Tess all the way.

    Similarly, there is nothing staggeringly new about the concept behind "Fair Extension", but as always, there is something new in the way King tells it.

    David Streeter has aggressive cancer. He doesn't have long to live. So when he finds himself offered a 15-year extension by a roadside trader named Mr. Elvid (groan), he enthusiastically accepts, convinced, as anyone would be, that it's all a joke. This is a King story, so of course it's anything but a joke, nor is the other side of the bargain, which means that, in order for Dave to enjoy a cancer-free 15 year extension, he must pass his misfortune along to someone of his choosing. Although this setup reminded me of Richard Matheson's short story "Button, Button" (filmed recently-and not particularly well-as The Box), King, to his credit, elevates this tale above standard fare by resisting the urge to follow the usual direction of such "deal with the devil" stories. Like "Big Driver", the author is well-aware that this kind of thing has been done before (Elvid even references "The Devil and Daniel Webster"), but nobody does it quite like King. I found myself particularly impressed with this one, though ultimately (as can really be stated about the book as a whole), "Fair Extension" is a grim and depressing piece of work.

    The closing novella "A Good Marriage" is my favorite entry in the book. After reading the synopsis, I assumed I knew where King would take this tale of happily married housewife Darcy Anderson, who one night accidentally discovers something hidden in the garage that throws everything she knows about her beloved husband into question, and I was glad to be proved wrong. Riveting and heartbreaking, "A Good Marriage" poses the question, however deeply you wish to consider it: Do we ever really know each other?

    A similar question sums up Full Dark, No Stars, and that is: Do we ever really know ourselves? Unlike King's previous collections, there is a very strong unifying theme at play here, and that is a study of how people react when pushed, or how we handle the ugly choices we're given. In all of these stories, people find themselves forced to face sides of themselves they might never have known existed if not for the intervention of exterior forces. In "1922 Wilfred James finds himself driven to murder by the threat of losing the only thing he truly knows. In "Big Driver" a rapist awakens the primal vengeance of an otherwise mild-mannered writer. In "Fair Extension" a man is asked to condemn another for the chance at a new life. And in "A Good Marriage" an ordinarily housewife is forced to make the ultimate choice when she finds out her loving husband is not what he has pretended to be. Take away the safety and security, the gravity we take for granted and you truly see what we are behind the mask. Good people, King says, may only be good as long as they're allowed to be. There is always a high and a low road, the good and the bad. But when the line of demarcation is not clear, when the gray area is a blur, and when we stand to benefit more from taking the path that will ultimately bring horror to others but an element of peace to ourselves, what do we do?

    In Full Dark, No Stars, Stephen King offers four unflinchingly brutal scenarios in response to that question. It is a grim and often ugly journey of discovery, but as always when it comes to King, one worth taking, if only to see what we look like when the masks come off.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Apt Title., November 11, 2010
    I usually put in my reviews some explanation for why I selected a book. I think/hope it helps folks who are reading the review know if I'm coming from the same place they are -- if I have the same hopes or expectations. There are times when it feels ridiculous to give that explanation. I selected this book because it's written by Stephen King, and while I haven't loved every word and some books have gone unfinished, he's still a darned good bet, isn't he? I think few people don't have some pivotal and lasting memories of either his books or movies made from his books, and my memories span my childhood into middle age, and involve people who are now gone. I also love both short stories and novellas and when I look back at my favorite Stephen King stories, these are well-represented. So, I bought the book and it freaked me out.

    The afterword begins: The stories in this book are harsh. You may have found them hard to read in places. If so, be assured that I found them equally hard to write in places.

    I thought, thank God. I did find these stories to be hard to read, intense, uncomfortable, heebie-jeebie creating. I was a little concerned that like my newly discovered acid reflux when in the presence of spicy food, my disinterest in roller coasters, and my increased habit of watching scary movies through my fingers, that this was just another sign of getting older. Good to know this stuff was really as intense as I thought.

    1922: A man kills his wife over land and that's just the beginning and a fraction of the horrors in this tale. It reminded me a little of A Thousand Acres: A Novel, complete with lots of stuff Shakespeare would be down with -- only different. The murder of the wife is brutal and vividly portrayed, but what happens next is something that the main character Wilf couldn't even begin to imagine, except for the parts he may or may not have imagined. As another Stephen King character once said, sometimes the soil of a man's heart is stonier.

    Big Driver: This was a pretty tough read for me in parts. Since a man wrote it, it would be uncharitable to say that the feelings it evoked are a "girl thing," but I do think that part of its effectiveness was being able to put myself in the main character's shoes, especially while she is walking after being assaulted, only keeping enough distance to berate her over certain decisions, but more about that later. The horror here is grounded in the plausible, even if toward the end it goes to a more fantastical place where justice is served in a rather "Rose Madder" way. I don't begrudge Mr. King this story, it was compelling, but Tess's option is not how it works in the real world, fortunately or unfortunately.

    Fair Extension: Interestingly enough, I've been reading an anthology called Sympathy for the Devil which contains stories about -- guess. It contains Stephen King's The Man in The Black Suit, for that matter. This story would have fit right in, and would have been a really welcome substitution in many cases. The stories about deals with the devils and fiddles against your soul never get old, because they're about temptation about the darker sides of who we are. They ask the questions, what would you do in that situation, really? For me, this story is about how you can choose to not give up your soul and still give up your soul, how some decisions are a case of six of one, half dozen of another.

    A Perfect Marriage: I wonder if Mr. King deliberately went boy-girl-boy-girl on the arrangement of these stories. Like Tess in Big Driver, Darcy finds herself in the middle of the trauma of a lifetime. Interestingly enough, like Tess, she also decides what to do or what not to do based on "what would the neighbors think?" I wonder if that's a coincidence. I think Tess and Darcy would understand each other just fine. Looking over all the stories, I think this is the one that satisfied me the most from start to finish. Any way I can think of to elaborate on that is a spoiler. Almost anyone who has been married a while will understand where Darcy is at in her marriage right before it all comes crashing down.

    There was a story called Button, Button by Richard Matheson "back in the day" which was made into a Twilight Zone (the eighties incarnation of TZ) with a different ending. It was also the inspiration for the wildly divergent Cameron Diaz movie, The Box. The short story -- and if you're going to ever read it, stop reading THIS now -- ends with the line "Did you really think you knew your husband?" Darcy can relate and good question -- does any human being know another human being? After reading Perfect Marriage I made it clear to my husband I was on the look-out for secret cubby holes.

    Bottom line, loved this, loved all the stories, best King I've read since -- wait, does Joe Hill count? -- I don't know when. The stories will stick with me and join the other King stories and memories. I know there's a battle over price right now. I don't rate books on price, because I figure you can see that for yourself and I want to tell you something you don't already know. I respect that others do feel that some ebooks are over-priced and I agree that we all have to make decisions on what we will and will not pay. I felt this was worth the price, which could be entirely different by the time you read this, and think this is some really impressive work whether you shell out the cash now, wait for the price to lower, or visit your library.

    ... Read more


    3. Dog Days (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 4)
    by Jeff Kinney
    Hardcover (2009-10-12)
    list price: $13.95 -- our price: $6.64
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0810983915
    Publisher: Amulet Books
    Sales Rank: 80
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    It’s summer vacation, the weather’s great, and all the kids are having fun outside. So where’s Greg Heffley? Inside his house, playing video games with the shades drawn.
     
    Greg, a self-confessed “indoor person,” is living out his ultimate summer fantasy: no responsibilities and no rules. But Greg’s mom has a different vision for an ideal summer . . . one packed with outdoor activities and “family togetherness.”
     
    Whose vision will win out? Or will a new addition to the Heffley family change everything? 

    F&P level: T
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another Instant Favorite with Son!
    My son loves this series so of course I pre-ordered this book for him. It just arrived today and boy did he gush when I surprised him with it after school. I even got a hug and an "I love you!" before he disappeared with it for the remainder of the evening. He's about halfway through with it already and stopped himself so he would have more to enjoy tomorrow. He rereads them all anyways. I also flipped through it before he came home and chuckled at the parts, the boy reminds me of my own and is probably why he loves this series so much. It is very relatable to kids without being a bad influence. I love the humor and that it keeps my son reading!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not only fun
    First of all the whole series of Wimpy Kid books deserves its success. My kids love the books and I also read all of them myself. I think it is a great series of books not only for the children but for their parents as well. And if you pay some attention to the reading you will actually realize that the books are also in a way educational. Greg is actually a very smart kid and the simple drawings are just perfect for demonstrating humour. Another kid's series that I like for that educational aspect is Why Some Cats are Rascals, Book 2 .

    5-0 out of 5 stars dog days
    I think Dog Days is the best wimpy kid book yet. It is also a hilarious book. I love how it follows the story so well. There is a lot of unexpected parts in this book. It had an outstanding ending. I had waited one month for this book to come out. I think it was "totally" worth the wait. There aren't any new characters, but it does have a lot more of Rowley for people who like Rowley. I hope the people who buy this love it. (Review by George, Age 10)

    5-0 out of 5 stars wonderful book
    Diary of a wimpy kid really amazes me. It's about a person named Greg who has to survive middle school. Now, he's in summer vacation.
    I think the summer vacation theme is a good idea in this series, so readers can take a little break from the school theme. The first few pages are basically explanation of Greg's summer vacation. After that, the funny parts come. Overall, this book is great.
    My tip in reading this book is that you don't read too much of it in one day. That way, you can hold the suspense of the story for the next day.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book is da bomb
    I think this book was the best book i have ever read in my entire life! One of the reasons why i love this boom so much is because it is outrageously funny. I have read all of the book series that are out and i definitely think this one is the funniest, humors, children book i have read. If you are in the 3rd grade up to 6th grade this is the best book you will have ever read in your life. Ever since I have read the first sentence of the first book of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Jeff Kinney has been my favorite author, and i thought Dave Pilkey was hilarious.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Rankings of the books and the funny moments in the book
    I really like your books. You have a great sense of humor and are good at doing cartoons. The minute I got the 3rd book I just started laughing meaning I really liked the book. So I thought the books were so great that I chose to put them in rankings:
    1.#3
    2.#4
    3.#2
    4.#1
    I also have the movie that I got in the summertime and Have the movie novel and the Do-It-Yourself book.
    I am so happy about the books and the type of books they are.
    The only items left by you that I so want is the movie soundtrack, book #5 The Ugly Truth. Thank you so much for writing these books. More books by you I would really like. But if you can do that.
    The last thing I am going to tell is that I have also gotten into the Big Nate series. The 5th book sounds so RAD. Please write more books. ... Read more


    4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Box of Books
    by Jeff Kinney
    Hardcover (2010-09-07)
    list price: $56.00 -- our price: $30.22
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0810997827
    Publisher: Amulet Books
    Sales Rank: 65
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    The first four books in the bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series are available together for the first time in a collectible boxed set. Included are Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Rodrick Rules, The Last Straw, and Dog Days, in a specially designed package that features six pages from Rowley Jefferson’s journal, “Diary of an Awesome, Friendly Kid”—an original cartoon by Jeff Kinney.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Please Read this:
    I bought this product for the younger grandchild but found that the older one also enjoyed it.
    ... Read more


    5. The Walking Dead:Compendium One
    by Robert Kirkman
    Paperback
    list price: $59.99 -- our price: $35.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1607060760
    Publisher: Image Comics
    Sales Rank: 91
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Introducing the first eight volumes of this fan-favorite series collected into one massive paperback collection!Collects The Walking Dead #1-48. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Book of the Dead!, May 11, 2009
    Most of the folks here already know that The Walking Dead saga is a compilation of stories by Robert Kirkman that expand on the story that is well know to any zombie movie fan. The main story. The one started in earnest by George Romero in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead [and was later remade in 1990 (the version that I prefer) by Tom Savini (with Romero oversight)].

    This Walking Dead "Compendium" is a compilation of Volumes 1 through 8 (or call it Books 1 through 4, or call it issues 1 through 48), and it continues the story of (former) Police Officer Rick Grimes and his band of normal-world-refugees across a world suddenly infected by a Walking Dead sickness..

    The group finds a new home after a perilous Georgia countryside journey at the start of the story only to find out that zombies may be the least of their problem, and what is deemed a safe haven is only as safe the protection it offers against zombies. Yes...venturing out into The New World is dangerous. Outside the gates of the new home awaits unfathomable chaos and horror; hordes of the undead, along with other survivors in desperate situations that do the unthinkable to stay alive (or entertained).

    As the story matures, it is much less about zombies and more about what happens to society, its morals, laws and standards when government is lost and the planet becomes mostly uninhabitable. There's real, heartfelt emotion in The Walking Dead series combined with believable scenarios.

    I'm not a regular comic book reader, but I was drawn to The Walking Dead by the Book releases that bring the convenience of being able to get many chapters of the story without the month to month or volume to volume waiting. And I am now hooked. Now I subscribe to the issue releases.

    Each chapter of The Walking Dead is like reading a screenplay with storyboards of a version of Night of the Living Dead that began simultaneously, but in a different part of the country. Sure...The Walking Dead is kind of a rip-off of a story (stories) already told, but the key is that it's done very very well. The zombies are true to the original Romero creation: slow and stupid as opposed to the Rage-infected people in 28 Weeks Later / 28 Days Later) or the fast zombies in the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead.

    So anyone in need of a very well done zombie fix that you don't put into your DVD player should absolutely get down with The Walking Dead sickness. Add this one to your cart if you're new to The Walking Dead...you won't be disappointed at its length because the story never gets tired.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Epic In Every Sense, August 24, 2010
    When I heard that AMC was going to produce a television series based on the zombie epic "The Walking Dead," I was both concerned and delighted. A bona fide classic in undead lore, "The Walking Dead" graphic novels are brutal and surprising--not really what I would picture for a basic cable TV show (the first season is slated for 6 episodes, we'll see if it goes beyond that). But AMC has produced terrific and prestigious shows like "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," so I'm pretty stoked to see what they do with this. Add Frank Darabont of "Shawshank Redemption" fame as the creative force behind the show, and we just might have a winner! In anticipation, I've gone back through the volumes of "The Walking Dead" to discover again the many pleasures that this series has to offer. The Compendium Collects the first Eight Chapters listed below--a great value but a MASSIVE book!

    "Chapter One: Days Gone By" is the jumping off point--and, in truth, sets things up in a fairly typical way. After being involved in a shoot-out, cop Rick awakes from a coma isolated, but not alone, in a local hospital. Apparently, in the time he was out, something has shifted in the world and now the dead walk. The chapter introduces Rick and many other principles as he tries to figure out what is happening as he crosses the state to locate his family. On the outskirts of Atlanta, Rick is reunited with his wife Lori, son Carl, and police partner Shane with a group of other survivors. At this stage, hope is still alive and people are just waiting to be rescued and order restored. While the set-up has been quite familiar, the chapter highlight involves a very real human betrayal that redefines the mindset of all involved. A lot of characters are introduced to set the basis for the rest of the story. Good, with an emotionally charged finale, this is a worthy introduction that gets our band of survivors on the road.

    "Chapter Two: Miles Behind Us" picks up with Rick, Lori, Carl and the entourage seeking out refuge. Having given up on immediate rescue--the group now just pursues safety. This section is most notable for the introduction of Tyreese, a natural leader who forges a strong alliance with Rick. The group stills thinks that they can wait out the zombie problem if they can just find somewhere isolated and secure. A gated community seems just perfect and the group is thrilled by the prospect of some normalcy. But all is not as it seems, and "The Walking Dead" establishes that no one is safe. Chapter Two destroys what little innocence is left in our band as they face their first real losses as a new unit. It is well plotted, well orchestrated and genuinely harrowing as the group come to understand that safety is an illusion. While Chapter One was an effective plot set-up, this one really sets the tone of danger. Excellent.

    "Chapter Three: Safety Behind Bars" finds our ragtag band of survivors moving into a new safe haven. This one has real promise--it's a well secured prison. While Chapter Two has forced us to confront the fact that no one is safe, new hope springs alive. Still wary from their encounter on Herschel's farm, the group extends an olive branch to the family to share the safety of their new digs. So a community starts to form again and the group begins to grow with the newcomers as well as four inmates that were alive in the prison. Building a safe structure takes the primary focus of this chapter but all the new people are still wary of trusting one another. Jockeying for dominance and leadership, this bloody good chapter makes us confront that the zombies are not the only dangers inherent in the new world. With murder, suicide, and betrayal--its starting to get harder to determine the good guys from the bad. And in true cliff hanger fashion, the safe haven may be slipping from their grasp--or actually, it may be ripped away!

    "Chapter Four: The Heart's Desire" wraps up the prison cliff hanger from the previous chapter. Among other things, Rick takes another controversial step to defend his tribe. Is he losing his humanity or doing whatever is necessary to survive? As a new character is introduced, the enigmatic warrior Michonne, things start to unravel for Tyreese. Still haunted by his daughters death and what he did in its aftermath, his relationship with Michonne threatens those he is already involved with. The series retains its heart with the continuation of the love affair between Glenn and Maggie including a racy nude scene. But the destruction of Rick and Tyreese's friendship packs a huge wallop. Easily one of the more dramatic chapters, the series hits an all time high with Rick's "We are the Walking Dead" speech--an absolutely unforgettable moment of raw emotion.

    "Chapter Five: The Best Defense" takes things in a new direction. Tracking a downed helicopter, Rick, Glenn and Michonne head off to look for survivors. What they discover instead is another encampment--a whole town fenced off and self sufficient! Perhaps less involving in the initial trek, the chapter picks up with the introduction of the town's "Governor." When our traveling trio discover that their new friend might not be an ally, it's already too late. Most notable for its extreme violence and brutality, both Rick and Glenn suffer severely at the hands of this new madman. Most of the material back at the prison is relatively uninvolving making this a weaker entry in the series. But the danger that Rick in Michonne find themselves in has very real consequences that set up a new storyline for the future. Essential, but somewhat unpleasant.

    "Chapter Six: This Sorrowful Life" picks up with Rick, Glenn and Michonne held captive as the ruthless "Governor" tries to extract the location of their camp. Finding unexpected allies in the doctor, his young assistant, and a perimeter guard Martinez--a plot to escape has been hatched. The escape is exciting, but the real action comes when Michonne seeks retribution against the "Governor." In easily the series most disturbing sequences, let's just say Michonne means business! "The Walking Dead" has continually blurred the lines between "good" and "bad" and amped up the moral question of what makes a hero--and within this installment we see one of our protagonists exact horrifying vengeance! Returning to the prison, the camp has been overrun and our heroes must again face a zombie hoard. But in the midst of this, a very human betrayal is discovered and Rick is once again faced with the choice of murder. An action packed volume!

    "Chapter Seven: The Calm Before" is a relatively peaceful edition of "The Walking Dead" as the name might imply. A small band rounding up supplies faces down more of the "Governor's" men. Then the group, wary of being discovered by their newfound enemy, starts to become complacent when no sign is of attack comes over the next few weeks. We see normalcy start to return as Rick and Lori confront unpleasant aspects of their relationship, Lori gives birth, Maggie and Glenn consider a family, Michonne starts to thaw, the new "doctor" gets comfortable. But in this peace, one of the crew finally goes over the deep end with unpleasant consequences. Sometimes sweet, sometimes sorrowful--this edition sets up real hope and is really great in furthering the character development aspects of the story. This makes it an unexpectedly strong entry in the series! But all is shot with one heck of cliff hanger!

    "Chapter Eight: Made To Suffer" reintroduces the "Governor" and what happened in the aftermath of Michonne's visit. The rest of the volume is an all out assault as the "Governor" and his crew try to break into the prison. With some of the protagonists considering departure, it leaves an even smaller band to deal with the onslaught. Non-stop action fuels this story and there are severe casualties. In a brilliant and bold move, all expectations are thwarted in the bloody confrontation. "The Walking Dead," which has already established itself as an epic in zombie literature, bravely pushes to the next level! Riveting, heartbreaking, and very surprising--nothing will ever be the same after this battle! My favorite so far--if only for its audacity and "take no prisoners" approach!

    3-0 out of 5 stars A great deal, no matter what I think of the story, June 8, 2009
    Everywhere I turn these days, I see zombies: in movies, novels, toys, video games, clothing, and far too many comics to count. I am absolutely sick and tired of them, so when I would read glowing reviews of Robert Kirkman's comic series THE WALKING DEAD, I would scoff and move on to something else. But the glowing reviews continued, becoming even more positive as the series progressed, and I began to have second thoughts. Then Image Comics announced THE WALKING DEAD COMPENDIUM VOLUME 1, and I was sold on giving it a shot. This is a sturdy, high-quality softcover collection of the first 48 issues, printed on glossy paper. 1088 pages for $37 on Amazon is too good a deal to pass up, and this gamble more than paid for itself. Police officer Rick Grimes, shot in the line of duty, wakes up in a hospital bed. There are no responses to his calls for help. Eventually realizing that the building is vacant, he makes his way to the cafeteria for something to eat, at which point both he and the reader plunge into a horrifying realization of what has happened to the world during his recovery. From there, it's non-stop suspense, even during what could be considered the "slow points". Even though my overall opinion of the story is middling, I had a hard time putting this book down at night.

    I am a big fan of post-apocalyptic fiction - Earth Abides, Alas Babylon, A Canticle for Leibowitz, On The Beach, The Stand, The Road, and numerous other examples of this subgenre are displayed proudly on my bookshelf. I'm not concerned as much with the details of whatever disaster befalls the world as I am with how the survivors deal with it, and that's what I get from THE WALKING DEAD. While the story results from a zombie plague, that's not the main attraction, and I'd be perfectly content if we never received an explanation of how it happened. The survivors are what drive this story, constantly struggling, battling hopelessness, gaining and losing friends, and not knowing if they'll see the following day. When they finally realize their place in this transformed world, it's a bigger chill than any flesh-eating, walking corpse can provide.

    Even with all those positives, I can't say that I completely enjoyed the story. The earliest chapters, where Rick slowly comes to the realization of what has happened, and his first encounters with survivors, are exceptional. The isolation and despair are palpable, and these chapters stand out for their realistic tone - in fact, I feel that the most effective chapters are the ones where the least happens. However, once the town of Woodbury and "The Governor" enter the picture, it began to read like Garth Ennis took over as writer. I don't doubt that humanity could sink to some frightening depths in a disaster such as this, but some of the later chapters were so over-the-top that they seemed like simple shock value.

    Tony Moore provides art for the first 6 chapters, with Charlie Adlard taking over for the remainder of this collection. Both artists do great work on this series, with their own particular strengths. Moore's facial expressions speak volumes, and Adlard's work is grim & gritty. Both of these guys can draw some horrifying scenes of death and destruction.

    So, this compendium is your perfect chance to experience THE WALKING DEAD for the first time, as it gives you a good-sized chunk of the story under one cover, rather than having to buy multiple trades. Come witness the end of the world... and the beginning of a new one.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Reading Dead: *practically* perfect in every way, July 8, 2010
    As a reader of comics for about 25 of the 35 years I have lived, I can say with some authority that this is the best series currently running. AND it has maintained that stature since the completion of it's first story: Days Gone By, which is of course included in this compendium.

    The artwork of The Walking Dead may not have the most creative or stylized art, but as an art teacher I can say that the composition and style always support the needs of the drama, characters, and story. This is a black and white book, but that actually helps maintain the detail the artist includes; the grays and contrast are used to create feelings and moods that keep the reader hooked. The best thing about the artwork, however, is even beyond this huge compendium into issue 74 of the series it is consistent. You meet many many characters who fall in and out of the story, yet without giant S's or spiders on their chests' the artist manages to keep you aware of who's who - even when the cast count goes higher than the average X-men story.

    As for the story, The Walking Dead is most amazing in that a huge earth-shattering Zombie apocalypse is only the scene on which the characters interactions and relationships are the star of the show - and that most fans don't even notice because of how sly Kirkman can be. Each included sequential story takes the stakes higher and pushes the reader to do anything to get to the next page, even to the point of speed-reading the zombie fights to get to the effect or aftermath of them.

    The only fault of this book (garnering 4 stars rather than the deserved 5) is that it has been published in paperback and weighs about 5 lbs. This makes it nearly impossible to take with you, but if you do attempt to read it anywhere but a flat surface the tome will most likely pull itself into pieces before you're able to lend the book out to your friends (which no doubt you'll be dying to do).

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pure, Undead Fun, November 25, 2010
    I have not read graphic novels regularly for a long time. I just stopped reading them, and as many say, moved on to word novels. I have however always remained a zombie fan, and I knew this series existed. I had thought to pick it up before and see what all the hype was bout, but nope, I didn't give in. Then AMC picked TWD up, and I was still wary.

    Then I watched the first four episodes and I loved the show, so I had to get the comic. I had heard some talk it down, saying they did not like the art, the black and white, and/or that the dialogue was bad. I did not have a problem with any of these. However, I have been out of comics, so it is not like I'm comparing it with a lot of the current work. All I can say is that for a casual graphic novel guy, and a zombie fan, the series is fantastic. The characters (for the most part) jump out of the pages at you. Previously when I did read this art form, I never really cared too much about the characters, but I did with this.

    Lets not fool ourselves though, if you are even bothering to visit this page at all, you are a zombie fan, so let me do you a favor . . . buy it already. Just don't read it so fast like I did, finishing it the day after you get it!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Zombie Story Ever...Zombies aren't Important though!, November 23, 2010
    Ever wondered what it be like if 95% of the world's population was killed off? Well in this case that 95% are turned into zombies. We've seen movies, we read the books, but we haven't had a comic series take the zombie world and make it interesting...till now. This Compendium edition of walking dead contains issues 1-48 in one huge size book. So right when you flip open the cover you'll notice first off the comic is in black and white. Yep this is drawn more like a manga then a comic. But you soon learn that it isn't the coloring that makes it so great to view but the actual art itself.

    Rick Grimes is the main character of this story and it basically picks up right after the zombie apocalypse. He wakes from the hospital bed only to walk through a empty hospital and into streets filled with nothing, as in no one is on the streets and cars parked all around the streets. He soon stumbles upon a zombie and this begins the whole story. It's hard to tell you what happens next without much spoilers but I'll give you a general idea of what happens. Soon Rick meets up with a group of people and they start their survival adventure through the mostly dead world. From RV's to houses to even prisons this group of characters will face many horrors along the way. If you think zombies are bad imagine the crazy people in the world like murders and rapist with no laws to keep them in check. How certain people will use the zombie apocalypse as a way to re-create societies the way they envisioned it.

    While the story has a ton of side stories to build up characters the main stories in this are basically 3 Arcs. The beginning arc, the Prison Arc, and then the governor arc. Each arc becomes more and more disturbing seeing as when they finally get to the final arc we actually even have a main antagonist. If it wasn't bad enough zombies are ready to eat you we now have sadistic humans who are trying to kill you.

    Those are just SOME of the horrors our heroes will have to face. Don't expect anyone to be safe in this story though. This isn't a happy go lucky, every survivor will survive story. This isn't a story about just cause your a kid you'll survive against a zombie attack. Characters you begin to read about, learn about, and maybe even feel for them despite them being a fictional character could suddenly die with just a flip of a page. No one is safe in this series just like in real life, if the zombie apocalypse were to happen no one is truly safe. Just cause your the hero of this story doesn't mean your gonna be a living hero Pain

    Sure there are moments the series can feel like it drags. The dialog can feel like it's just dragging on to drag on and some speeches characters give make it feel like their trying to hard to to make everyone a "Hero". Also one arc feels like it was just a way to fill up time to kind of give the author time to think of a actual meaningful plot. While it lasted one to many issues it was probably the only slow and meaningless plot. The rest of the plots make up for it and the ending will leave you wanting SO much more!

    To Sum it up your basically getting 48 volumes of pure zombie awesomeness. From betrayal to love to death it's all in this book. I strongly suggest anyone who loves zombies to check this story out ASAP! Anyone who can deal with the death of many characters even if it's not meaningful. Who can deal with sex and cursing and thought provoking moments that will make you question morality itself. Who understand that even though this is a zombie story it deals with alot more then just zombies. Then this book is a must buy and it's why it's probably one of the best collections you can get at it's price.

    Story - 10 - If you LOVE character development this is a MUST read. You grow to love some characters, hate others, but overall you truly enjoy this journey of survival seeing as how well done they create these characters.

    Art - 10 - Some might complain about the black and white but I can't see anyone disliking the actual art. Haunting would be the appropriate word for this one.

    Enjoyment - 10 - You get over 40+ issues for such a small price and such an amazing comic. Took me almost a week to complete and I'm already wanting to re-read it. Don't miss out on such a well made comic for such a low price!

    Overall - 10 - Think just proved why it's a must buy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Steal of a deal., November 22, 2010
    I checked out the first compilation from my local library and was hooked on the series. Instead of checking out 12+ individual books I just decided to buy this. Around $40 for this thick of a graphic novel is AMAZING. (1000+ pgs!!) This book is worth well over $100, and if you're a fan of the series then I extremely highly recommend it. The only bad part is waiting for the Compendium Two, as there haven't even been enough written to make another one of these!

    5-0 out of 5 stars One word: AMAZING., July 29, 2010
    This is the BEST series I've read in a VERY long time. I waited a long time to pick this series up because the idea of a monthly "zombie" book didn't appeal to me very much. Plus, it was black and white and I didn't see what the big deal would be. But, after several people recommended it heavily and told me to give it a try, I finally started to come around. Then I started seeing the whispers of this being converted into a television show on AMC (slated for Fall of 2010) and would be directed/produced by one of my favorite directors, Frank Darabont. I couldn't very well refuse to give it a try if Mr. Darabont himself was going to be involved in a series. So I picked up the compendium and started in. It is immediately addictive! Kirkman's writing is so conversational, its easy to skip right over the artwork and that would be a mistake! The artwork is great! The artist(s) changed between some of the chapters but the feel of the book remains constant throughout and the artwork gets even better as the book goes along! Its as if the team gets into the groove and create seamless scenes and dialogue spots and action points without ever looking disconnected. That's difficult to do without color!

    The greatest thing about this series (not just this one compendium) is that its ongoing. It doesn't just show you a slice of life in the middle of a zombie apocalypse as so many movies have done in years past. Instead, this shows us what we would probably do if it really happened! The human interactions are the best and there are so many emotional moments that the book becomes hard to read at times. There is attachment to these characters and their quest for survival.

    Hats off to Kirkman, Adlard, Moore, Rathburn and Wooton. These guys have put together an AMAZING, heartfelt, emotional, gory, disgusting series and I can't wait for more (and I can't wait for the television series!!)!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars See Rick Run.... See Rick Run Away From Zombies, March 31, 2010
    Every zombie fans dream is a Romero story that never ends. And every medium has its defining zombie story. Cinema has Night of the Living Dead. Books have World War Z. And comics have The Walking Dead, which is like the Romero story that never ends. (Written by Robert Kirkman, with art by Tony Moore, until issue #7 when he is replaced by Charlie Adlard.) If you haven't read this yet you need to apologize to yourself. Like a hand-written apology. Because this is hands down one of the greatest zombie stories ever told. Soon to be a show on AMC, with Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption, The Mist, The Green Mile) onboard to direct the first couple of episodes. So you definitely want to buy this now before that airs.

    It starts off with our hero Rick waking up from a coma in a hospital to a whole new, savage world. (Sound familiar?) A world in which the dead have risen from their graves. A world where the dead outnumber the living. Rick sets off to find what has become of his wife and son.
    I won't say too much as this is an ongoing comic series, but not one TPB (which is how I buy them) has let me down, and the story just gets better & better. I will say though that since this compendium ends with issue # 48 you will have your heart ripped out, and slammed against the floor!!! It will leave you scrambling for the next volumes, just to make sure everything is ok. You'll clutch your chest as you read this series. Kirkman takes you through this new life in this post-apocalyptic world, and makes you love the people in it... before they're all ripped from your arms & pages. One thing that fascinates me is that even in a world overun with the walking dead, humans are still the greatest monsters.

    The artwork is phenomenal, done in black and white for that NOTLD feel, which only adds to it's beauty & nostalgia. Every character is awesome, and every character is unique in their own way. The story is unlike anything you will ever read, and yet encompasses everything you've ever loved about the zombie sub-genre. Read volume one, and if you're not hooked, then I promise I will eat my own arm. A solid 10 out of 5 stars. 5 just isn't nearly enough to express my love for this powerhouse of a comic.

    In short: READ THE WALKING DEAD!!! Max Brooks (author of World War Z) liked it, and so will you.
    This compendium collects The First 8 Volumes - Issues #1-48

    5-0 out of 5 stars absolutely amazing, June 28, 2009
    This is an amazing collection of all the issues released up to the 48th. It is a great way for new readers to get quickly caught up on an amazing story that I hope never ends. When I first got this book it was a day before amazon had put the book under review. I got my copy and was a little bit nervous. I thumbed through it a bit and read through the whole thing and there seemed to be no problem at all. Anyway, this collection is to die for, however, I feel that you do get the whole story when you read the collection but having to wait every month for the new issue really helps the story's time line from feeling so jumpy. But that is really nothing that the book could have helped. Get this book. If you like Zombies, if you like stories, if you like anything. This book is for you. wicked cheap too. ... Read more


    6. Dilbert: 2011 Day-to-Day Calendar
    by Scott Adams
    Calendar
    list price: $13.99 -- our price: $10.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0740795716
    Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
    Sales Rank: 83
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Millions of office workers identify with Dilbert, the phenomenally popular comic strip created by Scott Adams. Whether it's Dilbert doing battle with his Pointy-Haired Boss over redundant and ridiculous assignments, Wally mastering the art of appearing busy, or Alice "dealing with" annoying vendors, Dilbert speaks to everyone from cubicle dwellers to corner office inhabitants, who see--if not themselves--their coworkers in every too-true panel. See for yourself in the Dilbert 2011 Day-to-Day Calendar with a Dilbert strip on every page.

    Copyright (c) 2010 Scott Adams, Inc. Licensed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must for Dilbert fans, November 16, 2006
    I buy this calendar each year. If you are a Dilbert fan, there is nothing better than starting off the day by reading the day's cartoon. The calendar does feature previously published material, but it is still funny and very fitting for anyone working in the corporate environment. The most difficult thing for me is to keep from looking ahead.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant for anyone who's ever worked in an office!, July 19, 2008
    If you're new to Dilbert, he's a small guy who works in a highly bureaucratic white collar office. The comics satirize office politics beautifully. The humor is similar to the TV series The Office, but Dilbert was the original.

    I give the Dilbert day-to-day calendar to my father every year for Christmas. He works in senior management and very much enjoys having a new Dilbert strip to read everyday and to share with his staff. When he goes away, he actually takes the pages that he is going to miss with him so that he doesn't miss reading any. He often saves hilarious and appropriate cartoons to give to my husband (who works in IT) or to me (I work in Marketing). If you work in an office environment - or have escaped from one! - this is a wonderful calendar.

    While the day-to-day calendar has been around for a few years now, I was pleasantly surprised to see one change in this year's format: all the cartoon strips are now in color! Otherwise the layout and format is as per previous years. The inside pages are shrinkwrapped so they are well protected in transit to you.

    The other thing I appreciate about the Dilbert calendars is that there is enough material to keep them fresh. Before Dilbert, I used to give my father a Farside day-to-day calendar, but after 3-4 years he noticed that some cartoons were repeating from previous years. So far this has not occurred with the Dilbert calendar. (The cartoons are also different from the ones that appear on the daily Dilbert on Dilbert.com) I highly recommend it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The perfect cube for your cube, September 11, 2009
    If you're new to Dilbert, he's a small guy who works in a highly bureaucratic engineering firm. The comics satirize office politics beautifully.

    The 2010 Day to Day calendar is a small block of 365 dated comic strips, designed to be torn off on a daily basis. Each page is printed in color - the overall color scheme is green and purple. This year a new addition to the Day to Day calendar is the "daily extra" printed on the back of each page. Sometimes it's a small brain teaser (eg a sudoku puzzle, a word search or a maze). Or it might be a riddle, a joke, a piece of trivia or an inspiring quote. There are also occasional household hints. On the weekend pages there might be a template to write notes for the babysitter or just a blank space to jot notes.

    Unlike previous years, the 2010 calendar is not internally shrinkwrapped, but it still arrived without damage.

    I give the Dilbert day-to-day calendar to my father every year for Christmas. He very much enjoys having a new Dilbert strip to read everyday and often saves cartoons to pass onto others. If you work in an office environment - or have escaped from one! - this is a wonderful calendar.

    3-0 out of 5 stars I feel cheated, October 29, 2010
    Why are there only 6 comics per week? They didn't put in the Sunday 8-panel strips.

    I fully understand that most people have these at their work desk, so they see these 5 days a week (one hopes), or maybe 6 if you're unlucky. But to not have 7 comics a week is rather lame, or dare I say weasel-ish.

    The quality of the paper and stand are just fine.

    I do think the Dilbert logo in the lower right corner is a bit loud. the 2010 was nice, not overly showy or distracting.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant for anyone who works in an office, January 2, 2008
    I give this calendar to my father every year for Christmas. He works in senior management and very much enjoys having a new Dilbert strip to read everyday and to share with his staff. When he goes away, he actually takes the pages that he is going to miss with him so that he doesn't miss reading any. He often saves hilarious and appropriate cartoons to give to my husband (who works in IT) or to me (I work in Marketing). If you work in an office environment - or have escaped from one! - this is a wonderful calendar.

    The other thing I appreciate about the Dilbert calendars is that there is enough material to keep them fresh. Before Dilbert, I used to give my father a Farside calendar, but after 3-4 years he noticed that some cartoons were repeating from previous years. So far this has not occurred with the Dilbert calendar. (The cartoons are also different from the ones that appear on the daily Dilbert on Dilbert.com.) I highly recommend it.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Poorly made, December 13, 2010
    The front of the 2011 calendar has a cartoon on it where Dilbert says, "I want my unwarranted optimism back." I can't think of a better way of describing my reaction to this product.

    I took it out of the box, lifted the cover and the pages of the calendar fell out. At least they fell out as one unit and not as individual pages, but that doesn't make it a whole lot better. The pages of the calendar are in no way connected to the backing. To display the calendar, I just have the "block" of pages sitting on the ledge of the plastic stand. I think this is going to work, but it's just shoddy workmanship.

    This review refers to the 2011 Dilbert Calendar published by Andrews McMeel Publishing.

    I'm sure the actual cartoons will be as funny as ever. Scott Adams rocks.

    4-0 out of 5 stars a great way to get a daily dose of Dilbert, February 14, 2010
    I just realized I've been using Dilbert Day-to-Day Calendars for at least 5 years.
    The only calendar I might give it up for is one that doesn't exist: 'The Calvin and Hobbes Day-to-Day Calendar'.
    But this one usually gets at least a chuckle out of me when I sit down to breakfast, and that's not a bad way to start the day.
    My only complaint is that the back of the pages now have some puzzle or quiz or something; I don't know who thought of doing that, but it's totally unnecessary - Dilbert can stand on his own and doesn't need any little extras.
    Besides, I often used to use the back of old pages to make notes to myself for the day, but now it's a drag because of that stuff being in the way, so I've had to switch to using the back of pages from the 'Zen Page-a-Day Calendar'.
    It's a little late for this year, but check it out for next year - it's still a great way to get a daily dose of Dilbert!

    4-0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for Dilbert, 4 for the calendar, December 1, 2010
    I've used the Dilbert Day-to-Day calendars for several years, now. Scott Adams is as funny and cutting as ever, and brings back some memories of my own cubicle days! My only problem is with the decision beginning in 2010 to take up the back of the sheets with word search games, quotes, trivia, sudoku and other stuff. None of the material on the backs of the pages has been worth even a glance! When the backs were blank in past years, I used to save the pages and use them for scratch paper; now they just get tossed into the recycling bin. Knock off a star for that, but I'll still buy the calendar!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The only thing that gets me through the day..., February 24, 2010
    Seriously. When you sit in a 8x8 cube of doom that was designed with "soul crusher" gray walls for 8-10 hours a day you could use a good laugh every now and then. Dilbert just has me figured out! Granted I work in IT - I also work for a fortune 500 company so a lot of the corporate jokes that Dilbert makes are DEAD ON. Examples of this include goal setting, project management, office weight loss, redundant meetings, etc, etc.

    Every morning I hurry to my cube with a little bit of excitement knowing that I get to tear off a new comic! My only complaint? occasionaly the paper tops hang a little bit when you tear them off and it looks kind of sloppy, but the manufacturer made little perforated sections that can tear off at 1/8 increments through the comic to remove all of the excess paper left behind.

    If you know someone who works in an office - preferable with cubicles - they will truly appreciate this little gift. It makes my day!

    1-0 out of 5 stars poor quality, December 26, 2010
    When i opened the box the calendar fell out of the box. It was not attached to the back/stand as it supposed to be. ... Read more


    7. 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective
    by G. B. Trudeau
    Hardcover
    list price: $100.00 -- our price: $59.01
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0740797352
    Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
    Sales Rank: 171
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Created by the team that brought you The Complete Far Side and The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, this massive-yet-elegant celebratory anthology marks Doonesbury's 40th anniversary by examining in depth the characters that have given the strip such vitality.

    On October 26, 1970, college jock B.D. met his inept and geeky roommate, Mike. Fourteen thousand strips later, the world of Doonesbury has grown uniquely vast, sustained by an intricately woven web of relationships--over 40 major characters spanning three generations. This book opens with an in-depth essay in which G. B. Trudeau surveys his sprawling creation as only he could. The volume's 1,800 beautifully displayed strips chronicle the key adventures and path crossings of the ever-evolving cast, from ur-characters such as Zonker, Joanie, Duke, and Honey, to relative newcomers such as Zipper, Alex, and Toggle. Dropped in throughout are 18 detailed essays in which Trudeau contemplates individual characters and groups of characters.

    The book's literal centerpiece is a four-page foldout that maps in annotated detail the mind-boggling matrix of relationships. A feast of storytelling and a clarifying overview, 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective offers a unique way to experience one of the greatest comic strips ever. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Retrospective - But Now I Want More, October 14, 2010
    First, I have to admit that I'm a lifelong Doonesbury fan, so I'm a bit biased, but this book is a huge and beautifully produced volume. From the same folks who produced the Complete Far Side and the Complete Calvin and Hobbes, with the same attention to detail and quality. The selection of strips is excellent, and there were quite a few, particularly Sunday strips from the early years, that I don't think have ever been reprinted before (and I have all the early paperbacks and every big anthology). The reproduction is excellent - and either they were all reproduced from the original art or the book was designed to make it appear as if they had. Either way, the art looks great. And Trudeau gives some new and unique perspective to each character and his 40 years with the strip.

    On the downside, I found it odd that they printed some strips out of order and some publication dates that they gave were obviously incorrect. And I do wish they'd included more early Sunday strips, since as I said, many of these have never been reprinted. Since this was supposed to be a Doonesbury retrospective, I also would have liked to have seen some coverage of Doonesbury in other media (the animated TV special, the Life and Rolling Stone magazine features, the Broadway show that was actually in-continuity and moved the characters in the strip forward) as well as some of the few merchandising products that GBT sanctioned through the years.

    Now - to explain the title of this review... Seeing this book, which Trudeau says represents about 13% of all the published Doonesbury strips, has made me really hungry for a complete reprinting, like IDW Books is doing with the fun, but less deserving Bloom County. I know that unlike other strips getting the "complete" treatment (Peanuts, Dick Tracy, Bloom County, etc.) Doonesbury is still an ongoing production, but if they started now, it would take 10-15 years to get the entire body of work in print. I hope that GBT is still well and producing work at that point to worry about that issue. But this is a body of work that cries out for a high quality complete archive. For now, I guess we'll have to be content with this beautiful, giant sampler.

    5-0 out of 5 stars vicarious living, November 19, 2010
    This Doonesbury retrospective is a joy to have especially if one is the least bit nostalgic. Also a great volume for all us old hippies and hippie "want-a-bees." I have followed this "cartoon" almost since its beginning and after so many years a person feels that they know the characters as real people. The author has chosen the best of the best to illustrate the progression through the years and a big plus is the occasional musings on the main characters as he shares his thoughts on his characters minds. Interestingly, some of his insight has come after the character was developed.....and so you can see how they tend to take on a personality and evolve hardly without Garry's help.

    Another plus for me is being able to sit and study the art work. It has always been fascinating to realize how one tiny ink mark can denote so much expression on the faces. Garry is a true master and this book reminds us of his skill at drawing, often audacious satire, and story telling as he took us through the good and bad of so many years.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great book but something is missing, November 18, 2010
    This is an excellent book for Doonesbury fans or for anyone who would like to see the genesis all the way up to the present. The only thing I did not like was that it leaves out all the cartoons relating to Watergate, Reagan, Monica, New Orleans, Dubya and other politically charged times as I was looking forward to that biting humor. Oh well. Even without that stuff it is great to see the evolution of the myriad of Doonesbury characters. If you are or know a Doonesbury fan, this book is well worth the $67 Amazon charges (versus $100 at bookstores).

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great book!, November 17, 2010
    Like the previous reviewers have stated, this IS a heavy book. But for 40 years of memories and history, what do you expect?

    I really liked watching the characters I know and care about, evolve.

    My only complaint: I wish there were more political strips in the book. I understand the author's point about not wanting dated/potentially unfunny material in the text, but I wanted more history. I was too young to remember most of the politics of the 70s and 80s, and I would have liked the Doonesbury strips as reference.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Some books were meant to stay on paper, November 18, 2010
    The book is an extremely well done and complete compendium of the life and times of Doonesbury's world. It is hard to believe that the crew is 40 years old and still entertaining and educating us with such amazing insight and passion.
    It does not, however, translate well on Kindle. The strips are almost impossible to read without a magnifying glass and there is no way to enlarge them to improve the situation. Changing font size or zooming does not affect the comics. Using PC or Mac Kindle with a very large monitor will no doubt make things better, but that defeats the reason you downloaded it to your e-reader in the first place.

    5-0 out of 5 stars What a long strange and wonderful ride it's been, November 12, 2010
    First it is obvious, this is a humongous Doonesbury; it is a challenge to hold and read; but if you are a fan meet it - feet on hassock, knees propped up and turn the heavy stock pages. There are 5 easy to read black and white strips per page, and the colour Sunday strips take up one page.
    Garry Trudeau gives a four page introduction and then for each section, a two page description of the character, the inspiration and background of them. If you are a fan; Trudeau's words on the creation of these characters are alone, almost worth the price of the book.
    Some of my favorite strips are not included, but as Trudeau explains in his introduction - this is only 13% of the over 14,000 published strips.

    It starts with the basic strips done in college mainly centering around B.D. and then Mike. There are sections focusing on: Michael Doonesbury, B.D., Mark Slackmeyer, Zonker, Boopsie, Phred, President King, Rev. Slone, Joanie Caucus, Roland, Duke, Jimmy Thudpucker, Lacey Davenport, Alice Schwartzman, J.J. Caucus, Alex Doonesbury, Zipper and Jeff, and Elias. There is also a two page pullout with character connections and a legend showing relationships.

    This would make such a great gift for Doonesbury fans, even educators could use the strips for political science and social science examples of the last 40 years. It can show those who were not there... and take those of us that were... back to events and movements and years gone by, but most of all, to the wonderful Doonesbury gang.

    3-0 out of 5 stars It's too heavy, October 20, 2010
    Obviously, anyone buying this book will be a Doonesbury fan, so I'll skip describing my subjective Doonesbury enjoyment and get right to one inescapable fact: this book is too heavy.

    It must be nearly two inches thick, comes in a sturdy cardboard binder, and is printed on good stock, with good colors. It is so heavy that you will not be able to read it in bed, on the sofa, or on the toilet. You will only be able to read it at a table. Yes, it's a coffee table book, but most coffee table books are more about imagery than text, so flipping pages and viewing the images at knee level is no trouble. With Doonesbury, though, the text is the whole point. In order to read comfortably, you'll need to get the book off the coffee table (wear a back brace) or down from the shelf (steel-toed boots recommended, just in case) and lug it over to the dining table.

    It's too early for me to comment definitively on the binding, but I'm not sure it's going to hold up.

    I'm sure the content will be great, but I give it only 3 stars because it should have been split into usable volumes, rather than bound as one.

    ... Read more


    8. Edge
    by Jeffery Deaver
    Kindle Edition
    list price: $26.99
    Asin: B003UYUO54
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 126
    Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Behind the well-known U.S. security organizations— the FBI and CIA among them—lies a heavily guarded, anonymous government agency dedicated to intelligence surveillance and to a highly specialized brand of citizen protection.

    Shock waves of alarm ripple through the clandestine agency when Washington, D.C., police detective Ryan Kessler inexplicably becomes the target of Henry Loving, a seasoned, ruthless “lifter” hired to obtain information using whatever means necessary. While Loving is deft at torture, his expertise lies in getting an “edge” on his victim—leverage—usually by kidnapping or threatening family until the “primary” caves under pressure.

    The job of keeping the Kessler family alive falls to a man named Corte, a senior federal protection officer known as a “shepherd.” Uncompromising, relentlessly devoted to protecting those in his care and a passionate board game aficionado, he applies brilliant gaming strategy to his work. For Corte, the reappearance of Loving—the man who, six years earlier, had tortured and killed someone close to him—is also an opportunity to avenge his friend’s death. The assignment soon escalates into a fast-paced duel between Corte and Loving, a dangerous volley of wits and calculated risks.

    As he shepherds the Kesslers to a concealed safe house, Corte must anticipate Loving’s every step as the lifter moves in on his prey, and with the help of razor-sharp investigator Claire DuBois and his longtime ally, FBI agent Paul Fredericks, pinpoint which of Kessler’s seemingly insignificant cases has triggered Loving’s return. As the team digs deeper, each of the Kesslers comes under close scrutiny, and in captivity their family bonds are stretched to the breaking point—as the lifter draws near, Corte must ultimately choose between protecting his charges and exposing them to a killer in the name of long-awaited revenge. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Edge won't disappoint Deaver fans., November 3, 2010
    The first Jeffrey Deaver novel I read was 1997's The Bone Collector. Since that time I have been an on and off fan of his. It isn't the quality of the books he writes but often a function of time and what else is out there demanding my attention in the book line. I also tend to get bored with long series of novels as in the Lincoln Rhyme novels.

    Edge, Deaver's latest thriller, has appeared at just the right time and is also a stand-a-lone novel. As such, it provides a refreshing opportunity to meet new characters in new situations. The premise of the story is full of real possibilities making it an even better read. Coming on the heels of the very successful Burning Wire, Edge is Deaver's second book of 2010 and that is a treat.

    Corte (yes he goes by just a single name) works for a Federal organization that is never identified. Corte's job is to protect individuals who are in possession of sensitive, dangerous, or highly profitable information. Corte's opposite, Henry Loving, is a "lifter"; a collector if information who uses any means necessary to gather what he wants. Henry is Loving is not someone you would want to meet if he has an interest in something you know.

    Corte's latest assignment is Ryan Kessler, a Washington, D. C. detective who, for reasons that aren't important here, becomes Loving's target. That is the outline of the story.

    Deaver is an experienced and highly capable spinner of tales. Edge is rapid fire decision making and action that will keep you turning pages and is a pretty fair extension of Deaver's line of hit novels. The are plot twists and surprises galore. Like many successful novelists today, Deaver has a seemingly inexhaustible supply of plot ideas. I hope the creative well doesn't run dry anytime soon.

    Could this be the beginning of a new Deaver series? Maybe.

    I recommend.

    Peace to all.


    5-0 out of 5 stars fun thrill ride in and around the capitol, November 2, 2010
    Edge is reminiscent of the political thriller Gods of Ruin, though it's not as deep philosophically. It's fast-paced, full of interesting characters, and as the title suggests, a bit edgy. Corte is a great character (they all seem like good characters in Edge)-- he's the protector of a DC police detective and his family-- Corte is the "bodyguard of last resort" and he's a fascinating one. He's got game theory down and pop psychology's irrational rationality.

    There are a lot of twists and turns and it's a page-turner, through I didn't catch an overall political philosophy behind the book except that politicians are crooks. When a character tells Corte that he'd make a good politician, she isn't complimenting the manipulator.

    Great read so far

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good...and yet annoying, November 8, 2010
    I am half done the book and actually am so annoyed by it that I am writing a quick review. I am not one of the paid reviewers who always appear first on the list and seem to have all the time in the world to give a complete plot outline (skip those in the future). Anyway, here it is. Deaver never seemed to get into his character Corte. You feel like he is the author sitting next to the character, trying to appear to be the character. I know that sounds confusing, but here's how it comes out. Corte is constantly "turning to us" and defining terms used in his job, explaining his motivation, telling little anecdotes to us, etc. It's like we are on a ride-along with him and trying to write what we see from his perspective and yet can never get away from our perspective. Anyway, it's annoying. I will finish the book and if it completely redeems itself, I will write another review, otherwise not.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not Worth Reading, December 1, 2010
    Although I like all of Deaver's other novels to varying degrees, this one was a complete waste. His action scenes are as well-written and gripping as ever, but they are only occasional seasoning in an otherwise unbelievable, boring novel in which there is not a single character about whom we can actually care. His main character is fascinated by board games, about which we have to learn way too much, and which Deaver apparently fails to realize makes him a very uninteresting person. The biggest problem, however, is the plot itself. Deaver can't make up his mind until he runs out of characters who is really in need of protection in this book. The more he switches the object of the need for protection to another character, the less believable the book becomes. By the end, not only do we not care about any of the characters, but we are astounded at how ridiculous his choices have become. Awful! It was a relief to reach the end.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not one of his better novels, November 19, 2010
    I am a big fan of Jeffery Deaver and enjoy his unerring ability to misdirect the reader and turn a reality into an illusion. Although he does so here, this is not one of his better novels.

    The story focuses on a "shepherd" (i.e. protector) named Corte, a federal agent with a nameless government agency who is tasked with protecting a family from a "lifter" named Loving (i.e. a person who extracts information) and potential "hitters" (i.e. assassins). By Googling these terms I discovered that they exist only in Deaver's imagination. Nothing wrong with that--so long as it helps to create an interesting story. But that's not the case here.

    Corte spends the first half of the novel interrupting the flow of the action to give tedious explanations about how shepherds, lifters and hitters interact in trying to gain an "edge" (i.e. advantage) over one another, with frequent references to game theory. This created all of the excitement of watching someone play a board game. Imagine watching a James Bond movie where Bond is constantly discussing his training before he takes action. You would fall asleep.

    Further, while Corte strives to be a nondescript figure to protect his identity, that does not mean he needs to be boring as a character, which he is. For someone engaged in life and death situations, he comes across as remarkably dull. For example, Lee Child's Jack Reacher tries to keep a low profile, but once he springs into action there is nonstop excitement.

    The only reason that I gave this four stars is because the second half of the novel had much more action and much less explanations, though the cat and mouse game between Corte and Loving grew wearisome after a while. There is just so much misdirection and near misses that a reader can take before concluding that Corte must not be listening very carefully to all the explanations of good shepherding that he is constantly dispensing.

    There are two primary endings. Without giving anything away, the first one reveals who hired Loving and why--and for me was wholly implausible; there were much easier and effective ways to accomplish what the "bad guy" wanted to do (I also found it odd that Deaver took an explicit swipe at Republicans, who he mentions by name, since this most definitely is not a political novel; hence the mudslinging was wholly out of place). The second ending provides further insight into Corte--and for me seemed pretty trite; it was not really a big surprise.

    Bottom line: Unless you have a fascination with game theory, do a lot of skimming and focus on the action. You won't miss anything.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Mediocre Effort, November 18, 2010
    The Edge, Deaver's latest work is entertaining but pretty trite. Although it is a reasonably well-crafted mystery/suspense novel, the dialog is ordinary and the characters, particularly the chief protagonist, are wooden.

    Perhaps, I am becoming bored by this genre since I have read literally hundreds of books considered part of the Mystery/Suspense genre. I was able to finish this one but it got to the point where I couldn't wait for the end so that hopefully I can pickup something better.

    There are some writers who continue to improve, book by book, and others who hit their peak and become hackneyed. I feel that Jeffrey Deaver is among the latter group of authors. Mr. Deaver hit his peak a long time ago in his early Lincoln Rhyme novels.

    That's a shame for all of us.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Why so disapointing?!, December 15, 2010
    I have read all of Deaver's books and find them to be interesting, page-turners everytime. I couldn't believe this was a Deaver book. The book is so bogged down in details I was seriously bored throughout. Being Deaver, i thought an amazing twist was coming so I kept at it. Complete waste. The characters are so uninteresting I can't think of the last time I read any book where I found them so 2-dimentional, esp. after the ad nausum details we are given, about EVERYTHING and everyone. I tell you one of the most annoying sections EVER: when he finally gets a chance to look in the antogonist's box after making a big deal about it page after page, and almost dying trying to get at some more personal effects of this man. . . it was frustrating and crazy. Deaver, you're better than this. Much. What was this about???

    3-0 out of 5 stars Novel has a lot of problems, but works in the end, November 30, 2010
    Jeffrey Deaver's THE EDGE is at times compelling, and then quite boring. But at the end, it comes together in an ultimately rewarding experience. Deaver takes the reader to Corte, an agent of a secretive government organization charged with keeping people safe. Corte is the shepherd assigned to guard Ryan Kessler, his wife, Joanne, sister-in-law Maree, and daughter Amanda. He's protecting them from the "lifter" Henry Loving, a man paid to find people and extract information from them. While Corte is keeping the Kesslers safe, he's also trying to discover who the primary is; who hired Henry Loving.

    As the novel opens, Corte is trying to keep the Kesslers safe and Loving is trying to kill them. So, we get several scenes of cat and mouse, and action as Corte fights off Loving. With so much violence and mayhem going on, it seems improbable that all the main characters survive. I found myself skimming through the needless action to get to more story.

    Thankfully, Deaver moves away from the action and more into the story. Who in Kessler's family is Loving targeting? Is it Ryan, the cop injured in the line of duty. Could it be his devoted wife, the active daughter, or the ditsy photographer sister-in-law.

    My opinion of the novel definitely changed in the last half, for the better. This is a novel Deaver fans should check out as they eagerly await his next: the new James Bond novel.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, November 16, 2010
    I have read all of Jeffery Deaver's novels but enjoyed this one the least. For me this one was cold and distanced - read more like a dissertation than a novel and never involved me enough to care about the characters. Not terrible but definitely not up to his usual standards.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Suspense But Not A Deaver Best, December 17, 2010
    I am an avid fan of Jeffery Deaver as he's been in my top 3 authors for years. He's dependable for churning out a structured, organized thriller and has done so for a number of years. Also, he is a one of the masters of twists which is something I love in a mystery.

    EDGE was a perfect title for this book in the tug-of-war game of good vs bad getting the edge on the competition. A mysterious agent by the name of Corte is assigned to protect a family from a relentless individual who is known for completing the assignment. This book slowly released bits and pieces of mystery along the way both about the main plot as well as the characters which helped to enhance the general suspense of the book. The book was a bit "predictably unpredictable" as the story played out with good vs bad. I would've preferred more deception and twists along the way.

    Overall, I enjoyed the book but it isn't in my top favorites by the author. He remains one of my favorite authors and looking forward to his next!

    ... Read more


    9. Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life
    by Bryan Lee O'Malley
    Paperback
    list price: $11.99 -- our price: $6.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1932664084
    Publisher: Oni Press
    Sales Rank: 240
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Scott Pilgrim's life is so awesome. He's 23 years old, in a rock band, "between jobs," and dating a cute high school girl. Everything's fantastic until a seriously mind-blowing, dangerously fashionable, rollerblading delivery girl named Ramona Flowers starts cruising through his dreams and sailing by him at parties. But the path to Ms Flowers isn't covered in rose petals. Ramona's seven evil ex-boyfriends stand in the way between Scott and true happiness. Can Scott beat the bad guys and get the girl without turning his precious little life upside-down? ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome!, January 18, 2006
    Fun and irreverant, Bryan Lee O'Malley's Canadian slacker is one of the most appealing fictional characters I've come across, with or without pictures, and by the end of this first volume, I had a ridiculous grin on my face as I anticipated jumping right into Volume 2. I laughed out loud several times throughout the story, but more importantly, I felt connected to each of the primary characters, interested to see what happens to them next, not because of the [insane] plot they were involved in, but because I cared about what fate had in store for them. Which is weird, because I usually hate slacker stories. Scott Pilgrim, though, is awesome!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Why are you reading reviews? You should be reading this book!, January 22, 2006
    Hype kills everything for me. When people started going on and on about how awesome this book was, I did my best to distance myself from it. But eventually I caved and bought it. And I'm glad I did.

    Bryan Lee O'Malley is a genius. His art is so amazing, and his writing is brilliant. Scott Pilgrim is one of the coolest books to come out in a long time. This is the kind of book you read and say, "DAMMNIT! Why didn't I do this first?!"

    Have you ever been in love? Have you ever been in a band? Have you ever stayed up all night playing Super Mario Bros. 3? Then this book is for you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Oh my god, dude!, September 24, 2004
    Scott Pilgrim is the best comic I have read in years! That's really saying something. Being a comic creator myself, I read a lot of comics. No, seriously, *a lot* of comics.
    Bryan O'Malley is able to blend innocence and humor and just over-the-top craziness with an art style that is deceptively simplistic and so achingly honest and perfectly expressive that, being an artist myself, it makes me want to choke him. He can do with just three lines what I -- what would take me -- what, honestly, I just can't do.
    I was trying to think of a "if you like such-and-such you'll love Scott Pilgrim" comparison, but you know what, I can't imagine anyone not liking this book. It's fun. It's heart warming. It's hilarious. It's infinitely quotable. It has great characters and a great story ...
    Hey, just buy it already. I swear you will not be disappointed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars fun, adorable, and endearing, September 22, 2004
    this is one of my favorite graphic novels--o'malley takes a 20-something jobless musician and makes you fall in love with him and his adorable and amazing life. the characters are all totally sweet--especially scott pilgrim's high school girlfriend, who is too embarrassed to kiss him--and their adventures are all about romance, rock 'n' roll and rhyming fight scenes. plus, the art is great!! really, i cannot accurately describe what a touching, sweet, and fun story this is. all i can say is--i can't wait for volume two!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic art and disappointing writing, July 15, 2008
    I have found that most of the reviews of this book thus far have been the product of either stuttering enthusiasm or unwarranted spite, an unpleasant situation owing to the fact that Scott Pilgrim is a polarizing book, a book that caters to a very specific type of person.

    I am not, as it turns out, that type of person.

    But, I'm not the sort of person who likes to waste time gushing mindless praise or spewing mindless vitriol either--LET'S GET EVENHANDED!

    For those of you sitting on the fence about whether to read this: I was a fence-sitter too. There were aspects of this book that attracted me: the dynamic, manga-inflected art, the melding of the whimsical with the mundane, the goofy humor. But there were things I'd heard about and noticed from the previews that I found equally off-putting, namely the plethora of references to videogames and indie-rock culture.

    Now, I have NO problem with either videogames or indie-rock, both things I've grown up with and enjoyed. What I DO have a problem with is this 21st century habit of fetishizing our influences and making compulsive name-drops, this way we've confused Being Cool with Mentioning Things That Are Cool. This isn't to say I'm 100% against this sort of thing, but there's a specific time and place to use it in storytelling, and there is such a thing as overkill. Like words, references are good when you're using them to say something, and bad when you're using them to show off.

    This reference-heavy mentality informs Scott Pilgrim to a hefty degree, and I feel it does so against creator/artist/writer Brian O'Malley's better artistic instincts. The visual nuance (as has been stated elsewhere, his facial expressions are superb; he gets an incredible degree of emotional mileage out of very simple shapes) found in the book seemed to indicate to me somebody far cleverer than his writing and characterizations let on.

    I'll state this forthrightly: the characters in this book are weak, the protagonist glaringly so. I understand that it's the first in a six-book series and so there's further character development to be had, but if a reader such as myself can't find the characters compelling enough by the end of the first book, then we aren't going to keep reading. The hero comes off as an unlikeable, emotionally immature doofus, which would be fine if he was given positive traits as well, but he isn't. Most of the other characters, with the exception of Wallace Wells, Scott's gay roommate and Knives Chau, Scott's 17-year-old "girlfriend," seem to be little more than hip-looking extras, and that extends even to the girl Scott pines after and who is the catalyst for basically the entire plot (Scott must defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends, etc).

    A lot of people have written that they were hooked by the slice-of-life tone of most of this book and then taken aback by the incredibly silly ending, but I felt just the opposite--the book works best at its silliest and most cartoony, lampooning the conventions of manga and videogames (a justified use of referencing, for once). There's a very good punch-line at the end of the "boss fight." It was the only thing in the book that made me laugh out loud, and it felt more real and more genuine to me than all the drama that had unfolded beforehand.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Rating: Totally Sweet, August 17, 2006
    I really wish that I had read Scott Pilgrim sooner. I first heard about the book back in March or April, though I thought that Pilgrim was the author. When I learned what Scott Pilgrim really was, I couldn't believe how much I didn't want to read it. For those of you who don't know yet, Scott Pilgrim is a faux-manga series about a 23-year-old Canadian slacker who must defeat a girl's seven evil ex-boyfriends before he can date her. I came up with nearly every excuse I could think of to avoid reading this book. The plot sounded dumb, the visuals were influenced by manga, it was black and white. However, I couldn't help but notice how much praise it got from both comic reviewers and mainstream publications. Not only that, but two of my friends like it, and one of them doesn't read any other comics. Eventually, I decided that I should just give it a try, and I was barely 5 pages into Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life before I realized that all of the hype was completely true.
    Scott Pilgrim is 23 years old and has no direction in life. He is "between jobs", is in a crappy band (with an awesome name), and as the series starts, he has just started dating a 17-year-old high school girl named Knives Chau. He lives with his gay roommate Wallace, whom he always introduces as being totally awesome and gay. Most of the things in the apartment belong to Wallace, and the two share a bed, but that is because they are too poor to afford a second. Based on how you look at life, Scott is either completely awesome or a total loser.
    His time with Knives is just ok; the only things she can ever talk about is the high school drama she is immersed in and how her mother wants her to find a nice Chinese boy. All they ever do is get pizza or listen to Scott's band, Sex Bob-omb, practice.
    However, when Scott meets Ramona Flowers, an American girl now working for Amazon.ca, his whole life is thrown into a tailspin. Suddenly, he can't get her out of his mind, and when he accidentally creeps her out at a party, he orders some CDs from Amazon (using Wallace's credit card) just so she can deliver them to him. Eventually, he gets her to go out with him, and he invites her to a Sex Bob-omb concert. Now, all this time, things have been fairly normal. Nothing too out-of-the-ordinary has occurred. But when Ramona's ex-boyfriend from high school shows up, things get bizarre, and yet the characters don't seem to notice at all. Matthew Patel, who dated Ramona for a week and a half, challenges Scott to a fight during the concert, and without missing a beat, Scott and his friends enter a melee.
    Scott Pilgrim is hilarious. Before things even get weird, the dialogue and bizarre, though somewhat believable, situations keep the reader in stitches. But when outlandish events occur, the humor is ratcheted up a notch. It is helped by the fact that Scott and his friends act as if a manga-style brawl with Ramona's "evil" ex-boyfriend is as normal as going to work (though for Scott, I guess it is more normal than work). Other sources of humor include ratings when new characters are introduced, such as Scott's rating of awesome, his sister Stacey's rating of T for Teen (a video game reference), and Wallace's rating of 7.5/10. There is also the room break-down, giving us a detailed look at what belongs to Scott and what belongs to Wallace, Scott's terrible physical description of Ramona's hair, and the fact that sometimes the characters seem to be addressing the reader (Scott says that an anecdote is better for another volume). The book also introduced the term "attack hug" into my lexicon. There are also great references to comic books and video games. Scott wears an X patch on his jacket reminiscent of the X-Men, all the bands are video game references, and a discussion of dreams leads Scott to think about Super Mario Bros. 2.
    I can't stress enough how great this book is. If you have any reservations, especially the ones that I mentioned above, ignore them at all costs. Scott Pilgrim is like nothing you've read before, and will definitely keep you entertained.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Funny, August 8, 2010
    I purchased these graphic novels because of the movie commercials. There, I said it. I was influenced by the blatant commercialization! Let me redeem myself, though. I wanted to read the source material that lead to the movie previews that intrigued me (it is not often, of late, that I actually see a preview and say "I want to see that movie"). A few minutes later on Amazon and my graphic novels were on their way... sans Ramona Flowers as my delivery person.

    Artwork

    As indicated in the product name, this graphic novel is drawn by Canadian artist Bryan Lee O'Malley. His art style is heavily influenced by Japanese Manga; to this end the body shapes and styles, as well as the action sequences, harken back to Japanese staples, a la Dragonball or Rune Soldier. For those of you unfamiliar with these references, this means that the body proportions are mostly accurate. O'Malley's art style is characterized by exaggerated eyes (taking up most of the face for most characters; narrowed eyes are rare), squared-off fingers and squarish-shaped heads. Clothing is varied for the characters in the story, and to O'Malley's credit, each character is distinctive, even limited by the black-and-white artwork.

    In short, the artwork is well done, with bows to both Japanese Manga and American comics for their influences. Since I imagine that most people would pick up this book and be willing to suspend disbelief for any anatomical anomalies.

    Plot/Story

    Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life tells the tale of Scott Pilgrim, a loafer 23-year old who is in a band, between jobs, and recently became acquainted with Ramona Flowers, the female antagonist of the series. As the story unfolds, you will follow the trials and tribulations of Scott, Ramona, his friends from his band Sex Bob-Omb, and the first of Ramona's Seven Evil Ex-Boyfriends.

    The plot is simple: in order to win the right to date Ramona, Scott must defeat each of her seven evil ex-boyfriends. Seems easy, right? Unfortunately for Scott, it is not quite that simple. The graphic novel pays homage to many pop culture influences from the past twenty years, most notably video games. Whenever Scott defeats someone, they turn into a pile of coins. The series also breaks the rules of physics routinely, most notably by giving Ramona the ability to travel through "subspace".

    What about the writing? I will sum it up with one word: funny. The tale that is woven for Scott Pilgrim is tongue-in-cheek, witty, and sometimes downright hysterical. Oh yea, and very, very random. The only complaint that I have about the story involves continuity: O'Malley sometimes has flashbacks for the characters without always clarifying that this is occurring within the text. While the artwork usually has clues to indicate which timeframe the characters are in, it is sometimes frustrating and confusing to mentally "switch" as you are reading along.

    When reading this tale, it does help considerably to have familiarity with the pop culture references. As an example, one of the characters is named Young Neil. This is a play on Neil Young (of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young fame). Other references range from college names to video game quips.

    Overall

    If you want a fun romp through pop culture with a crazy storyline to boot, I highly recommend this volume. It is a very well-done graphic novel with an entertaining plot and great artwork. I especially recommend these if you plan to see the movie spinoff (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World). Some of the humor may pass over younger readers (younger meaning older than 13 but younger than 20), but even with a missed joke, there is still plenty of content to keep anyone entertained. Be willing to suspend reality for a bit while you read this one, and I guarantee that you will want to read more.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Are you a Scottaholic?, July 4, 2005
    When you first have Scott Pilgrim Vol 1 in your hands take a breath before you open the book, as the ride you're about to take will leave you gasping for air at the end. Bryan Lee O'Malley doesn't hold back in this comedic and emotional assault. What seems so quaint from the cover and editorial blurb quickly evolves into something far deeper.

    The world of Scott Pilgrim seems simple enough, he's in a band, has a high school girlfriend, and is the best fighter in the area. Coolness oozes out of every page, even when the simple everyday events are all that occur. O'Malley's art and storytelling have a subtle way of captivating the reader and keeping them deeply immersed in the world he has created.

    There is no simple way to sum up the adventure that is Scott Pilgrim Vol 1. It will leave you wanting more, and if you didn't catch it earlier, grab it now. The journey that Scott and his friends begin here will stay with you and your friends for days to come.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fun book leaves you wanting more, September 22, 2004
    This is an awesome book. It's fun and intelligent, and the art really conveys the emotions well. The characters are easy to relate to, and it helps them feel more human. There are all kinds of neat little things in the story you wouldn't expect to find in a comic, too (like the ratings that appear with the characters, or the interactive playalong with Sex Bob-Omb, complete with chords and lyrics). This book also had me laughing harder than any comic I've ever read. And it leaves you wanting more, and only having to wait until early 2005 to get it!

    I'm not scraping the tip of the iceberg, though. Buy this book and you won't regret it for a second.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I'm 40 year old man and I love Scott Pilgrim!, May 13, 2009
    I avoided this book for a long time, no matter how great the reviews, because I thought the art looked childish.

    Boy was I wrong. Bryan Lee O'Malley's art style is actually far deeper then I gave him credit for. After multiple readings I have come to the conclusion that this guy really, really knows how to do a comic book. His art is dynamic and melds effortlessly with the story. If you are put off this book by the art...don't be. Just give it a chance.

    I've read the first two books three or four times (they're a quick read...Bryan is great at pacing) and I am anxiously awaiting #3, 4 and 5 from Amazon. Hurry up and get here already!!!

    Don't wait...become a Scottaholic today!
    ... Read more


    10. Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 2: Scott Pilgrim Versus The World (v. 2)
    by Bryan Lee O'Malley
    Paperback
    list price: $11.99 -- our price: $6.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1932664122
    Publisher: Oni Press
    Sales Rank: 306
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Does Scott and Ramona's burgeoning relationship have a future? Isn't Scott still supposedly dating Knives Chau? Who is Ramona's second evil ex-boyfriend, and why is he in Toronto? Who are The Clash At Demonhead, and what kind of bizarre art-punky music do they play? Who's their hot girl keyboardist, and what is Scott's relation to her? Why are they Knives Chau's new favourite band? Fights! Drama! Secrets revealed! The answers to all these questions and more! ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Let's Start With Launchpad McQuack (That's not the actual name of the review)..., July 3, 2005
    Looking at the shelves of my local comics shop, things are getting darker and darker. The shelves are littered with the misguided sons of Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, new comics that seem to eschew the philosophy that "gruesome and unpleasant" can mean the same thing as "mature." But while the Blue Beetle is taking one in the dome, while Batman is even grumpier than usual, while the Avengers are being torn apart by one of their own, and while the comics world gets darker and darker, Scott Pilgrim is in Canada, learning the bass line to Final Fantasy 2.

    Through Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Bryan Lee O'Malley manages to capture something essentially fun. He creates a world where the reluctance to let go of childhood, something most kids in our early twenties are going through, is celebrated instead of discouraged. From Scott being "between jobs," to his obsession with video games, to the high-school-drama style romance of the book, the series characters don't simply avoid putting away their "childish things" - they're trying to get the high score on them.

    O'Malley saturates this fun into every aspect of the book, especially his pencils. The art is gorgeous, a mish-mash of manga and mainstream to create something wholly Mal. This reviewer isn't particularly fond of manga, and yet I was so taken by it that I own a page from Volume 1, and have one from Volume 2 on the way. His expression work is top notch, capturing on one page a character's true hurt, on another their true love, and on my favorite pages the blank stares of a confused Scott as he lays out another fantastic non-comeback ("I... but... you... you're not the boss of me?).

    Why we care is the characters. O'Malley creates a dozen characters that get layers and layers as the story goes on, shining enough light on the ones we love from Volume 1 that we don't feel he's neglected anyone, and fleshing out the ones we don't love yet in Volume 2 so that we learn to. One character that didn't have much to do in Volume 1 gets so much attention and development that she's now one of my favorites.
    Our protagonist, Scott, is the northern Every-Man. A complete lay-about who witlessly breaks hearts and sleeps until 2, but is so disarmingly innocent and charming that we root for him in almost every situation. He's dating a highschooler named Knives Chau, falls for a girl named Ramona Flowers, and has to fight her seven evil ex-boyfriends to win her hand. It's a premise that only works in O'Malley's world of video-game-logic (after defeating an Evil Ex, Scott is rewarded with coins, and if he's really lucky, an item!), but once you buy into these characters taking sub-space highways through each other's heads (not at all like in Super Mario 2), the more insane bits where a fight/dance number break out become your favorites.

    Scott Pilgrim has something for everyone: if you're still kicking back with a SNES or Genesis controller it's for you. If you're into Manga, if you're into indie rock, if you just like Canada or have ever been in a relationship where you needed to prove yourself, this book is for you.

    It's extremely tempting to just list all the things I love about the book, to recite each and every quote (as anyone who reads the book ends up doing in their day-to-day), and to talk about each and every character and their general awesomeness. I'd rather whoever reads this just go and buy the books, because with a story, with characters, with art and wit this good, I know you'll fall in love with it too.

    My Scott Pilgrim Soundtrack - "WE ARE SEX BOB-OMB!"
    1 Ghettochip Malfunction (Hell Yes Remix) - Beck
    2 Come On Home - Franz Ferdinand
    3 5 Times Out of 100 - Hot Hot Heat
    4 What Do I Get? - The Buzzcocks
    5 Complete Control - The Clash
    6 Korobeiniki (Theme From Tetris) - Ozma
    7 Starman - David Bowie
    8 Sheena Is A Punk Rocker - The Ramones
    9 Debaser - The Pixies
    10 Save it For Later - The English Beat
    11 A Little More for A Little you - The Hives
    12 Suspect Device (Album Version) - Stiff Little Fingers

    4-0 out of 5 stars "My name is Renee, and I'm a Scottaholic!!", July 1, 2005
    Scott Pilgrim vol. 1's biggest problem was that it ended too soon...! Well, here's vol. 2 to help sate your mad little appetites! Now, finally, after all those agonizing months of waiting, we can all clutch a copy of Scott Pilgrim vol. 2 in our grubby little hands!

    For all you new readers out there, Scott Pilgrim is a series about Scott, a twentysomething slacker-type, and his romantic foibles. Will he be able to defeat his dream girl's seven evil ex-boyfriends and keep his claim on her heart? And what about Scott's high-schooler girlfriend, and the mysterious "Gideon?" Joined by a cast of likable and unique characters, will Scott be able to deal with the burdens of life and lost love and do what's best for his "precious little life?"

    Oh BOY, can I be cheesy. But anyway...

    This volume starts off with some back story on Scott, and Kim's character is especially given a lot of attention. Learning about Kim's character is one of my favorite parts of the book, and it's great to see that the background characters have as much personality as the title character. Learning more about each of the characters is definitely what I look forward to in each new volume. While the story might be interesting alone in its basic premise (boy fights dream girl's seven evil ex-boyfriends so he can date her), it would totally be easy for it to turn into a major snoozefest if the characters were zilch-o void-type personalities. What a relief that they're not! Each character is so individual from the way they look, dress, and speak... it's an absolute joy!

    Another thing that's very notable about this series is the dialog... It's just so fun to read! Fear not the word baloons, reader... you need not skip them over! The whole thing reads so easily, naturally, believably that you can happily dig right into each oncoming page. If you're looking for something different than the outrageously contrived teen-speak seen in too many of today's books and film, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the honesty coming out of these characters' mouths... Every page will glide by so deliciously smoothly, you'll just absolutely devour this book!

    More notable praise for this volume:
    -easily navigable panel layouts... you won't get lost here!... it's so uncluttered and has great flow and timing!
    -deceptively simple linework that provides for an endless spectrum of expression in the characters
    -believable, honest emotion... these characters are *feeling*, folks!
    -recipe-time! a how-to recipe incorporated right into the story a la "Scary Godmother!" learn how to cook somethin' while you're sittin' on your rump readin' comics? Why, that's absolute INSANITY!
    -"fantasy-kung-fu-gamer-drama" -- a fun injection of absurd pop culture elements directly into the lives of the characters that somehow makes their lives seem more real and relatable to the reader

    Some of the other major plot points in this volume include Scott's high-schooler girlfriend Knives in a bigger role, the arrival of 2 more of Ramona's evil ex-boyfriends, and more about Scott's mysterious ex. Also, a bunch of new characters are introduced that will definately play larger roles in the future.

    And well... as for my biggest gripe about the book... just like the first volume, this second book is over way too soon! So many plot points are hinted at that there's so much to look forward to! It's just absolutely addictive! I can't wait for the next volume!

    So, well, if you've been thinking about picking up this book... do it. There's something in it for everyone. Action, romance, comedy, drama, cool guys, cute girls, and chock fulla' crazy, this is definately one new graphic novel series to catch up on! So COME ON! Click on that lil' ol' "Add to Cart" button and snag yourself a copy!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Scott Pilgrim Is Awesome, December 25, 2007
    It is dork-tastic and kind of stupid, but if you're a gamer, or now gamers or, you know, watch tv and movies, you'll love this comic. This art is a little unrefined, but I think that was sort of the point, and the manga style is spot on for this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Scottaholics Unite!, September 1, 2006
    The first volume in the Scott Pilgrim series introduced us to one of the most bizarre faux-anime concepts (and casts) ever conceived. Scott Pilgrim is the ultimate slacker: he is 23 years old, is between jobs, plays in a bad band, and was, until recently, dating a high school girl. He left the 17-year-old Knives Chau for the more age-appropriate Ramona Flowers, an Amazon.ca delivery girl. However, Scott soon learned that in order to keep dating Ramona, he would have to fight and defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends. The fight against the first boyfriend was an over-the-top awesome fest of unrivaled proportions. So the question was, "Would the second volume, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World be as good?" Yes.
    Scott and Ramona (who he refers to as "Rammy" sometimes) are still getting to know each other as Scott is forced to fight Lucas Lee, Ramona's second evil ex-boyfriend, who is also a pretty-boy movie star and ex-skater. But things get more complicated when Scott's ex-girlfriend Natalie "Envy" Adams threatens to come back into the picture. Best of all, Knives engages Ramona in a fight for Scott's heart that is even better than the fight against Matthew Patel in the first volume. There are plenty of other humorous moments, especially those involving Wallace, Scott's roommate, as well as a scene that plays like a cooking show.
    If you are a fan of video games, anime parody, and sweet fights, you should definitely check out Scott Pilgrim. The humor is top-notch, and the story is great.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Now a major motion picture., July 8, 2010
    Here we have the second Scott Pilgrim graphic novel of a projected six. It starts off with an extended flashback to Scott's high school years, before we get back to the present. Scott is happy with Ramona, but Knives isn't ready to give him up yet. And Scott still has to deal with more of Ramona's evil ex-boyfriends. A fun comic book so far.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Impromanga artist makes it big!, April 14, 2008
    There's a select few people who were around for the golden age of Impromanga... but from it a lot of artists exploded onto the scene. One who's talent was always apparent but never appreciated was Mal... who is finally hitting the big time with Scott Pilgrim.

    Sure there's the upcoming Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) movie adaptation in the works, but this is one of those books that doesn't need the movie deal to carry it. Fresh, innovative, addictive like pizza to a fat kid... Scott Pilgrim is on his way to conquering the world. You might want to take the time to nab the entire run, and Mal's first manga Lost at Sea, if only to rub your friends faces in their lack of coolness for not getting them first.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Comic Book Ever!, October 26, 2007
    Yep. I get every comic out these days but this was the best comic I think I have ever read. I can't wait for more.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Stop reading this review and read Scott Pilgrim!, June 30, 2005
    But, seeing as you are obviously still reading this, I'll tell you why Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is such an awesome comic. If you read SP vol.1 then you should already have a pretty good idea what's in store, but new readers can probably pick this up and start reading (though why would you want to? Just read Scott Pilgrim vol.1!).

    There's nothing else like Scott Pilgrim being published right now. Bryan Lee O'Malley draws influence from pretty much everything (manga, video games, comics, movies) to make something completely different. The art is cartoony and fun without being simple or complicated. It's fun to read SP just to notice smaller details in the story and art.

    The plot has already been outlined in the editor's notes above, and even if it wasn't I'd be hesitant to say much about it. The less you know going into this series the better. Basically the world revolves around Scott Pilgrim a 23-year-old base player in a Toronto. Everything's going fine till he meets Ramona Flowers, an American delivery girl. In volume two Scott is finally going out with Ramona, who doesn't know that he's also dating a high school girl named Knives Chau. This would be bad enough except that Ramona has some troublesome ex-boyfriends who Scott must defeat in mortal combat order to continue dating Ramona.

    The first book made it seem like Ramona's past boyfriends would be a big part of the series, but in volume two that doesn't seem to be the case. Scott has fought one ex per book so far, and the fight in volume two wasn't as climatic as the one from book one. The legion of ex-boyfriends is takes backseat to the day-to-day life of Scott and co, which is pretty off-the-wall and biazarre even without the super-powered beings showing up.

    But what would a comic with a surreal slice of life/rock star plot and great, unique art be without good characters? Well, actually, it would still be pretty good, but the fact that Scott Pilgrim does have a fantastic cast is what pushes it into greatness territory. The people in this comic are by different degrees selfish, kind, funny, sincere and in Scott's case at least, in over their head. Everyone manages to be cool and interesting while still believable.

    I could go on about Scott Pilgrim all day, but I'm hungry and must eat. For anyone looking for original and entertaining, Scott Pilgrim will not disappoint.

    5-0 out of 5 stars He is Scott Pilgrim and he is awesome!, June 29, 2005
    Scott Pilgrim Volume 2 has it all - dorky hats, gay roommates, skateboarding battles against evil ex-boyfriends, a slightly psychotic teenage girl called Knives out for chopsocky revenge and, if all that has left you tired and hungry, a recipe for vegan shepherds' pie. As you may have gathered, the second instalment of Bryan Lee O'Malley's series of graphic novels is quite unlike anything else on the market. The brilliance of the storytelling lies in the fact that O'Malley is able to deviate from the central storyline, playing with different genres and even breaking the 'fourth wall' to address the reader directly, whilst all the while keeping his eye fixed firmly on advancing the plot, so that these asides and deviances never slow down what is, in effect, a narrative told at breakneck speed. O'Malley's art is joyous and vibrant, but also capable of incredible subtlety, so that Scott and his friends - and, most especially his wronged ex-girlfriend Knives, come across as fully-formed characters whose stories carry real emotional weight. If you have not yet read Scott Pilgrim's adventures, I strongly advise you get in early so that you can follow the excitement of each new volume as it appears!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good Wholesome Fun, July 1, 2005
    Rarely can one find a work that has just the right amount of staying power. Often times a piece will be overpowering or leave an unsatisfying aftertaste that sours the memory of it. Yet sometimes we find ourselves captivated by something that is so pure, mere mention of it can bring forth laughter and conversation among any of those lucky enough to have experienced it.

    Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is one of those few gems.

    The art and story weave themselves together into such an unbreakable mesh that one finds him/herself drawn into the world of the 23-year-old Canadian bass playing protagonist and his close circle of friends. Where most stories would keep the spotlight on the singular star and never think of feeding the curiosity of the reader concerning the supporting cast, Vol.2 dives into the personalities and desires of those around Pilgrim. We find ourselves not only rooting for Scott, but for the friends that surround him.

    In Vol. 2 we learn more of how Sex Bob-Omb came to be, why Kim is so often looking at Scott with a roll of the eye, and just a few details are sprinkled as to why Pilgrim must face Ramona Flower's Seven Evil Ex-Boyfriends. The pacing between action and dialogue is seamless, as there are no jerky transitions that break the mood created by the setting and characters.

    Volume 2 succeeds at doing what Volume One left everyone wanting: More. There's more action, more drama, more heartbreak, and more content all around. Whether it was more of a particular character, feeling, or just information. You're given it in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.

    The characters are the driving force behind the mesmerizing properties. Scott is a loveable fop lost in a world of video game references, rock, and relationships. His friends compliment him by having their own hang-ups and quirks. Floating items and public battle royals aside, the characters feel real, their personalities can be related too and don't require a supporting argument or narrative to explain why they act as they do.

    The book is a must own, as it demands re-reads. The witty, original dialogue is a joy to read again and again, coupled with the fact that O'Malley hides references to fellow creator's works (such as the Secret Friend Society) makes the work so much more enjoyable.

    Scott Pilgrim Vs The World achieves excellence by being humorous, sad, awkward, and absolutely crazy, but most of all, by being true. It successfully captivates moments of life and dramatizes them into such an entertaining fashion that one is left in gleeful awe for days to come.

    Buy the book, buy volume One if you don't own it already, buy copies for your best friend, and then you too can shout from the hilltops:

    I am a Scottaholic.
    ... Read more


    11. Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale
    by Zack Whedon, Joss Whedon, Chris Samnee, Dave Stewart, Steve Morris
    Hardcover
    list price: $14.99 -- our price: $6.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1595825614
    Publisher: Dark Horse
    Sales Rank: 334
    Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    One of Serenity's greatest mysteries is finally revealed in The Shepherd's Tale, filling in the life of one of the show's most beloved characters - Shepherd Book! Who was Book before meeting Mal and the rest of the Serenity crew, how did he become one of their most trusted allies, and how did he find God in a bowl of soup? Answers to these and more questions about Book's past are uncovered in this original hardcover graphic novel by rising stars Zack Whedon (Dr. Horrible, Terminator, Fringe) and Chris Samnee (Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps, Daredevil). A pivotal chapter in the ongoing Serenity saga, The Shepherd's Tale is also a rollicking, action-packed epic in its own right. ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars Really disappointing, November 10, 2010
    Those who watched Firefly and Serenity are aware of Book's implied rich past. As the series was unfortunately canceled, we find out very little and all sorts of questions remain open. When I first saw this novel available for sale, I expected it to provide some relief for my curiosity.

    To put it bluntly, I am very disappointed. The biggest problem is the extremely short length. You could easily fit all the text on a single page and I could tell you the whole story in 60 seconds. One would expect a book published with the purpose of filling in the gaps of a story to do the thing properly. This doesn't even come close. Furthermore, there are a number of inconsistencies, and we arguably end up with more questions than before.

    /* SLIGHT SPOILER */
    We know that Book had ties to the Alliance (from that Firefly episode where they heal his wounds), but we find out that there was a "falling out" and they (quite literally) threw him out. Why they would treat him as a VIP, save his life and then let them go (as was done in Firefly) is a complete mystery and we're, once again, left hanging.
    /* END SPOILER */

    Basically, this is a bad fanfic. Save your money and pretend it doesn't exist.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting narrative, but something seems off., November 10, 2010
    I have huge respect for anyone other than Joss Whedon, even if its his brother, trying to write something on Serenity and make people happy. However this story was off to me for two reasons. The first will be far more relevant to most people.

    The number one reason why the story seemed a little off to me is that it was simply FAR to short. You get a brief overview of events without any real detail and then all of the sudden you are back another six years further into the past of Shepherd Book. Although what was in the book was enjoyable I was inevitably disappointed by the lack of material. It was like being able to only look at pictures from someones past when you know there is a movie about it somewhere, it was insufficient.

    On the same point, the chronology seems strange. This is not to say it is right, it is just hard to put into context when all that has been written about the universe is confined to a small time period. This is the end of what normally constitutes a review for a book so you can stop here with me saying a nice read but overall somewhat disappointing knowing the amount of depth of the character that could have been explored and the cost of the book.

    Now to my second complaint.Please if you are going to read this part read to the end so you understand why I am saying what I am saying, besides my desire to discuss the issue.

    The way the book handles race is atrocious. No where do you meet people any people who are not white except when it fits into a modern stereotype. The story is set 500 years into the future, and manages to show women in equal or at least somewhat more equal status, yet it fails to show race progressing past the stereotypical surface point that it now occupies. It is hard to continue to talk about this without giving anything away, but all it takes

    ************ (MINI SPOILERS POSSIBLY) ***********
    is a look at the scene of Book's childhood or his companion during his teen years to see that race in the comic book, set five hundred years in the future is so stereotypically portrayed. In truth it was just a huge disappointment to me to see these caricatures be the portrayal of Book though the second half of the comic. I could go on and talk about how it seems stupid that, in a world that is supposed to be equally founded by the Chinese, you see no one who is Chinese etc. But in truth most people do not see why I am saying this so I might as well stop.

    The fact that this comic came up so short in the creation of this rich world artistically, meaning the background is shown in a complex way with people acting different than now, where minor characters are from all races and sexes for that matter, and the characters are not shown in a dynamic non stigmatized manner is disappointing because to me the inclusion of these, what may seem to some details would make the world come alive with a richer quality. One one of my favorite things about the show was the way they would switch to Chinese to cuss or the way the world especially in the pilot episode was formed visually, that is part of the sadly missing aspect of this book that makes it seem strange.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A must have for the Serentiy Fan, November 8, 2010
    If you are a Serenity/Firefly fan, I shouldn't have to tell you The Shepherd's Tale by Joss and Zack Whedon is a must have. There is no more mysterious character in the Firefly storyline than Shepherd Book. He's a preacher who knows how to fight, a renegade who carries legitimate Alliance ID papers. He is a man made entirely of secrets, and this is your chance to learn them.


    Shepherd's Tale starts off right before the movie Serenity starts. Haven is under attack, and Shepherd quite literally sees his life pass before his eyes, in reverse order. Once upon a time, we met Shepherd on the pilot episode of Firefly, when Kaylee asked him where he was headed, and he said he didn't know. One box of strawberries later, and Shepherd has bought passage on Serenity, to wherever it happens to be going. How could we have known he had just, that morning, left the monastery?

    And what led him to join a monastery, to pledge his life to God, in the first place? What does a man go through to realize his only hope is start over? I won't spoil anything for you, just to say that Zack Whedon did the character justice. More than once I said "no way!" out loud while reading. Who he was, what he went through, the things he did, Serenity truly is the place for him.

    Graphic novels aren't cheap, and this one'll cost ya about fifteen bucks. If you're a Serenity fan, I say go for it. The hardback covers are a nice surprise as well. It's not the longest graphic novel you're ever going to read, but I gotta say, when I got to the last page, I felt it was the right place for the story to end.

    The only downside of Shepherd's Tale is the artwork, and that's the only reason it didn't get five stars. I don't know if it was a stylistic choice, to draw everyone who wasn't Shepherd Book in a rotoscoped/impressionist style, but let's just say it's a good thing I already know who all these people are. The artwork is pretty blah, but if you are an obsessive browncoat (and what browncoat isn't?) you'll want to add The Shepherd's Tale to your collection.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Meh., November 10, 2010
    When I first heard they were telling the story of Shepherd Book I was sooo excited. I've been a fan of Firefly/Serenity for a long time and Book was one of my favorite characters and this story promised answers about his past. Unfortunately we got the short, boring version of Book's past. No depth, no reasons for why Book is who he is, just fluff. This book was, in a word, unnecessary. Save your money.

    2-0 out of 5 stars $14.99 for 56 pages?! Do not endorse this..., November 11, 2010
    It's $15 for 56 pages. Please stop and consider that for a moment. I know it's Serenity. I know it's hard bound. This is a great property and a great publisher, but this is an obvious attempt to overcharge a fan base. Other licensed titles in hardcover format do not cost this much. I will not buy this book as I don't want to see more of this. Eventually it will be collected in a trade or an omnibus. I can wait. I read it in the store yesterday, which I am not a fan of, but in this case I felt obligated.

    As someone else pointed out, the big question from the tv show, namely why is Book given a warm reception on the alliance ship, isn't even answered. It actually seems to contradict the show. It isn't worth $14.99 or even $8.49 with the Amazon discount. There is no reason this couldn't have been a $5.99 double issue, other than to exploit die-hard fans. If you have tons of cash, you're already gonna order this, but if you are a Serenity/Firefly fan on a budget, you are gonna feel ripped off. Please just browse this in a store and see for yourself.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money., November 10, 2010
    I'm a huge Firefly/Serenity fan. Lost count of how many times I've watched the series. Got the movie on DVD and Blu-Ray. I was really looking forward to this graphic novel.

    Alas, this book is a huge disappointment. All the descriptions on the cover call it an in-depth look at the Book's past, but there's no depth to it whatsoever. I can sum up the plot line in three or four sentences without losing any depth. (I won't, out of respect for the people who will inevitably disagree with me and don't want it spoiled.) On top of all of that, there's a nagging and dissatisfying inconsistency with the series.

    Had I known what I was buying, I would have saved my money, and I recommend you do the same.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Answers? Yes. Anything else? No., November 11, 2010
    When Joss Whedon created Firefly and later Serenity, he created a rich and full cast of characters. One was Shepherd Book, a religious man with a past that defies expectations. Fans of the show have been curious and speculative about his history for years. Now we have those answers. Unfortunately, that's all we have.

    Writer Zack Whedon's epilogue states that he wrote it in spurts over an embarrassingly long time, and it shows in the finished product. We receive glimpses of Shepherd's past, which do indeed provide answers to the major questions (including some questions raised here) but that is all we get. I hesitate to call this the character's backstory, because it doesn't even feel like a story. It feels like all of the character reveals Joss Whedon had planned to dole out to viewers in pieces over years, as portions of other stories, but cobbled together in a rather arbitrary way. There is no single, coherent plot that binds these scenes together. Arranging these moments in reverse chronological order would have worked in the course of a multiple year series; each time we learn of an event in Shepherd's past, our opinions and beliefs about his past and loyalties are questioned. However, this reverse chronological order defies the causality of the narrative. The trick worked wonders for "Memento" due to the nature of that hero. Here, it falls flat. Had this been a biography of the character instead, leading the character from his teenage years to the moments before his last scene in "Serenity," it might have had enough weight to feel like a self-contained product.

    Ultimately, this provides the answers to Shepherd's past that fans have been waiting for, but the execution is lacking enough that I wouldn't recommend picking it up if it can instead be borrowed from a friend or library. The content is worth knowing, but it should be viewed as the character's chapter of the show's writers bible moreso than a stand-alone package.

    3-0 out of 5 stars It's a great outline for the story I want to read. Not the story., December 4, 2010
    I'm a great fan of Firefly, and have made an effort to read most of the follow-ons to the TV show and the movie Serenity. Like everyone else, I've been drawn to the mystery of Shepherd Book's past, since he was an intriguing mix of warrior-monk. So I was particularly anxious to read this graphic novel to tell me, as promised, the Shepherd's Tale.

    It doesn't suck. But it wasn't nearly as good as I had hoped.

    The story is told in flashbacks: vignettes that begin with Shepherd Book in Haven, and which step backward in time. At the end, I knew who Book is-and-was, but I was disappointed. We learn more about events than about his character, and in the show it's Book's character that is so compelling. This graphic novel is much more of an outline for the novel I *want* to read than it is a standalone story.

    But the "how Book found God in a bowl of soup" scene was really, really good.

    I won't tell you not to get this book. If you're a Firefly fan, you probably do want to read this (even though it'll take only an hour or so; I doubt it's 50 pages long). But set your expectations on the low side.

    2-0 out of 5 stars This isn't the backstory we waited so long for, November 12, 2010
    Ok, first the pros: The art's not bad (not great either). The story isn't horrible.

    Now the minor cons: Way too short. Does not provide an in-depth look at Book's background so much as a cursory glance.

    Now the biggest problem I had: Just about every Firefly fan I know was anxious to find out what in Book's past caused him to be treated like a VIP by the Alliance when he was wounded. This book answers that...in a completely nonsensical way. (Without giving away the plot, halfway through the story you'll say to yourself "Ah, it makes sense now" and then 5 pages later you'll say "Well, now it doesn't make a lick of sense, I'm surprised they didn't kick him in the ribs and hurl him into the vacuum") Were it not for that major drawback, I probably would have rated this 3 or maybe even 4 stars.

    Die-hard fans of the 'verse will want this for their collection. That being said, many of those same fans will probably hate it and choose to ignore it as canon.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Serenity: A Shepard's Tale (Abridged), November 12, 2010
    I could just mark this as 5 stars because I'm a Firefly fan-boy, or I could mark it 5 stars because it's about Shepherd Book, but I can't.

    The graphic-novel/comic-book thing was good, but I was left wanting more; a lot more. While I got many answers to Shepard Book and his past, it could have been expanded on a lot more. This wasn't really a story at all, only glimpses and peeks into Book's past. While everything adds up and it is structured well enough, each glimpse was too fleeting; Just as I would get interested in a memory, I was ripped out and thrust into another.

    By my counting (which is always questionable) there are 10 or so sections; each dealing with a different time period. At least 7 of these could be and maybe should be turned into a longer "episode." While this may be the end, I'm hopeful it may spawn a more complete telling of his life and times, allowing the story to come full circle. Just like a bowl of soup.

    Overall, it answered the questioned I had before reading it, and left me with even more that I'd like answered after reading it. It was also disappointing that it was so short. ... Read more


    12. Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 3: Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness (v. 3)
    by Bryan Lee O'Malley
    Paperback
    list price: $11.99 -- our price: $6.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 193266422X
    Publisher: Oni Press
    Sales Rank: 378
    Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Ramona's third evil ex-boyfriend, Todd Ingram, is currently dating the former love of Scott Pilgrim's life! Envy Adams broke Scott's heart a year and a half ago. Now she and her evil art-rock band are back, and they're getting Scott's band to open a show two days from now! That's just enough time for Scott to fight Todd, keep Ramona happy, fend off demented ex-girlfriends, and practice that new setlist. Right?? Don't miss the latest chapter in the graphic novel saga The Globe and Mail calls "Canada's answer to Tank Girl!" ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Scott Continues To Entertain!, September 17, 2006
    I can still barely believe that the Scott Pilgrim series is as good as it is. Author Bryan Lee O'Malley has taken a relationship drama and infused it with numerous references to video games, indie music, manga, and other niche areas of popular culture to create a world where characters are completely fine with breaking out into a massive, over-the-top fight that involves the battleground imploding at the end.
    Scott Pilgrim, for those of you who aren't caught up, is a 23-year-old slacker who lives in a small Canadian town around Toronto. He is in a bad band named Sex Bob-Omb along with the completely cool (so cool he has no emotions) Stephen Stills and the angry Kim Pine (whom he dated in high school). After breaking up with a 17-year-old high school girl named Knives Chau, Scott began dating Ramona Flowers, an American now living in Canada and working as an Amazon.ca delivery girl. However, before Scott can officially date Ramona, he must defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends. He has already taken out 2, but the next on the list, Todd Ingram, may prove to be more than Scott can handle.
    Picking up pretty much exactly where the second volume, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, left off, Scott and Ramona have just learned that Todd is dating Natalie V. "Envy" Adams, Scott's girlfriend before Knives who ripped his heart out. Through flashbacks, we learn how Envy met Scott as a shy anime fan and eventually turned into a rock goddess. If that weren't bad enough, Todd is a vegan, and in Scott's world, vegans attain vast psychic powers that make him a much more formidable opponent than Matthew Patel and Lucas Lee.
    As usual, the battles don't take up the whole book; most of the pages are devoted to hilarious character studies. Scott's roommate, Wallace Wells, is just as funny as ever, with his snide comments about Envy and his platonic love of Ramona. Knives is great due to the sheer sadness of her situation (I kind of feel bad for her, but she is responsible for some very funny and heartfelt situations). New characters like Envy and Lynette, Envy's drummer who has a biomechanical arm, are fun as well. But the book is also full of great moments that don't deal with characters. The existence of a save point in the world was one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. And of course, the fights just keep getting better. Ramona shows that she can hold her own and that her little handbag is just full of surprises.
    The only thing I have to say that is negative is that I just can't get a good feel for the art. It is (as far as I know) intentionally cheap, but there are times when I can't tell who certain characters are or when the flashbacks end. Still, it isn't too much of a problem.
    I don't care what excuses you may have for not reading Scott Pilgrim, get on it now! The story is great and the humor is fantastic.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Clever, Inventive Fun, November 24, 2009
    How to describe Scott Pilgrim and his strange little world? It's funny, to be sure. It's seemingly normal, to a degree. When we meet new characters, we often get their level rating (Scott is, of course, "awesome"). Everything about the series is so Generation Now--Scott is straight but he has a gay roommate; they share a small studio apartment and sleep in the same bed, platonically; Scott plays in a band with a female drummer, which is cool, although the band doesn't quite rock at first (but they have heart). None of it is overdone, though. In fact, there's so much genuine sweetness to it (in a good way; not in some treacly, sentimental manner) that you can't help but wish you were part of the group--part of this world, even, because it's a pretty different world.

    That is to say, it's Toronto, but some magical, videogame-like qualities exist. These characters exist mostly in the real world but at the same time, it has some decidedly offbeat properties. Scott is an innocent, a supercool, eminently likable cipher who happens to be almost irresistibly endearing.

    As the series begins, 23-year-old Scott has just started dating Knives Chau, a 17-year-old high school student. It's all very innocent; they haven't even kissed, just hugged. Scott is recovering from a devastating breakup a year ago and views Knives as a way to move on without getting his heart too involved. His friends and sister waste no time ripping into Scott for this robbing-the-cradle transgression, but Scott sticks with it, even after meeting Ramona Flowers. Ramona is the girl of Scott's dreams, literally. He keeps seeing her in visions, so when he sees her at a party, come to life in strange garb, he makes his move.

    The series has the feel of a gentle romantic comedy at times, and the banter back and forth between Scott and Ramona (and even Scott and Knives) has the kind of meet-cute quality of cinema. It's also hilariously hip, metatextual, and self-referential (again, it's a Generation Now thing). When Ramona explains that she's been in Scott's dreams because there's a really convenient subspace highway that happens to run through his head, Scott doesn't really question it. Later, they get to know each other and decide that some of their stories will be revealed in different volumes, before sleeping together (again, platonically, because they've been holed up inside together because of a freak blizzard--although it's clear both characters will want to do more than just sleep together eventually).

    And here we come to the real meat of the story. As Scott begins to see Ramona, he first receives an email, then a letter, from a man who wants to schedule time to fight Scott. Scott ignores them, but this is a crazy guy who won't be ignored. It turns out Ramona has seven evil ex-boyfriends, all of whom Scott will have to fight and defeat if he wants to continue seeing the delightful Ramona. (And if you're wondering what ever happened to Knives Chau, well, there's more to that as well.)

    The content is never too adult (but trust me, adults will--and do--enjoy it quite a bit), but it's more appropriate for teens and older (the publisher gives it a 13+ rating). The story and art are definitely manga-influenced, but it isn't straight manga. It's a hybrid. A very good hybrid, it turns out. Scott Pilgrim is one of those series that catches fire and, when you check in to see what all the buzz is about, you realize why immediately. This much clever, inventive fun deserves to be a smash.

    -- John Hogan

    4-0 out of 5 stars I'm halfway through reading all the books in this series., July 15, 2010
    This is the third book in the Scott Pilgrim series of comic books. This time, Scott has to battle the third of Ramona's evil ex-boyfriends, who happens to be the current boyfriend of Scott's evil ex-girlfriend. Another fun book, especially if you are a fan of indie rock and video games. ... Read more


    13. Scott Pilgrim, Vol 4: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together
    by Bryan Lee O'Malley
    Paperback
    list price: $11.95 -- our price: $4.84
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1932664491
    Publisher: Oni Press
    Sales Rank: 411
    Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    That's right, folks! Put down the video game controller! Skip that rehearsal for your band! Make whatever sacrifices you must to those comic gods you hold so dear! Just make sure you're ready because Bryan Lee O'Malley and Scott Pilgrim are back! Well, a couple months have passed since the last time we caught up with our intrepid hero, but what can change in a few short months? Well, not much has... Scott's still living with his roommate Wallace Wells. He's still playing in a mediocre rock band named Sex Bob-omb. And most importantly, he's still dating the lovely Ramona Flowers while working his way through the gaggle of superpowered, superstylish, superevil ex-boyfriends determined to take him down. But something is different. Don't look now, but Scott Pilgrim may actually be getting it together. And it's a good thing, too, because Scott is about to confront Ramona's most intimidating ex yet!

    Winner of the 2008 Harvey Award for BEST GRAPHIC ALBUM - ORIGINAL!
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best in the Series (and that says a LOT), September 6, 2010
    First of all, I'd like to recommend the entire Scott Pilgrim saga. But I chose to only review this volume in particular because, in my opinion, it is the best one in the series. It may not be as charming as the first volume but it is the one that takes Scott on an emotional trip just as much as a physical one. What I mean to say is that the book puts Scott in tons of peril not only because of the 4th evil exe he has to fight but also because of his inner flaws and shaky past coming back to trouble him. In the end he grows as a character and so does Ramona, and everything turns out honky dory despite all their troubles and flaws. For me, this is O'Malley's biggest step in his saga and he does it exceptionally well. There are more reasons to enjoy this volume, but that's for you to figure out.

    IN SHORT: IT'S THE BEST IN THE SERIES BECAUSE IT IS BOTH EPIC AND AMBITIOUS IN IT'S NARRATIVE BUT WHAT MAKES IT THE BEST IS THAT O'MALLEY PULLS IT ALL OFF VERY WELL.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This series is amazing!, September 5, 2010
    This is probably my favorite volume of this incredible series. The color format of the first few pages is great and the art all throughout is really amazing. This is the volume where the illustrator really perfected his artistic style. Bryan Lee O'Malley always manages to impress me with the way that he uses video game inspired fantasy while still having completely human characters that are totally relatable.
    I have never been in love with a comic book series so completely before.
    Read these comics, see the movie, read "Lost at Sea," visit bryan's website, and listen to Kupek because I am having a REALLY hard time disliking anything Bryan Lee O'Malley does and I imagine you will have the same problem.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great book., August 17, 2010
    I couldn't put this book down.I read this in about 30 minutes and then I read it again. I love Scott Pilgrim!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Hot fun in the summertime, July 16, 2010
    Yes, it's Scott Pilgrim comic book #4. Now in color! (The first eight pages, anyway). Scott faces off with Ramona's fourth evil ex, who is a girl. Scott comes across as even more clueless than before this time around. Which makes things even funnier.

    4-0 out of 5 stars He does indeed., June 8, 2010
    This very aptly titled volume is a turning point for the series, in which it stops being just an amusing slacker comedy and pop culture blender and starts to offer some surprisingly insightful commentary on relationships, maturity, and the many different ways that people can mislead each other and themselves.

    All of the characters start to slowly come to grips with the fact that they must reconcile the demands of an adult life with the trappings of the arrested, prolonged adolescence they're living in and decide how (or whether) they're going to finally embrace adulthood.

    Also, it's damn funny, with some of the best visual gags in this always amusing series (Scott in the purse is one of those perversely hilarious images the memory of which had me chuckling at odd times during the day, sometimes to the discomfort of the people around me. Nice visual metaphor too; I guess that settles once and for all who is pulling all the weight in that relationship, at least at that point). A lot of the elements that bogged down the first half of the story, like the voluminous cast and sometimes annoying dialogue, have to a great degree been wrangled into submission (though are still sometimes troublesome).

    It was a long while out the gate (much like its cast of characters), but with "Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together" this series finally reaches a level of quality that justifies its acclaim. ... Read more


    14. Dork Diaries 2: Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl
    by Rachel Renee Russell
    Hardcover (2010-06-08)
    list price: $12.99 -- our price: $7.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1416980083
    Publisher: Aladdin
    Sales Rank: 512
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Recipe for disaster:

    4 parties.

    Add 2 friends and 1 crush.

    Divide by 1 mean girl out to RUIN Nikki.

    Mix well, put fingers over eyes, and CRINGE!

    Settled in at her new school and flanked by awesome friends Chloe and Zoey, life is looking up for Nikki Maxwell, especially since her crush, Brandon, asked her to be his lab partner—a seriously awesome development. However, when Nikki overhears mean girl Mackenzie bragging that Brandon’s taking her to the Halloween dance, a bummed Nikki signs on to spend Halloween at a kids’ party with her little sister, Brianna, instead. After she finds out Mackenzie was lying and her dream of going to the party with Brandon could be a reality, Nikki has two events to juggle . . . plus plenty of other entertaining trials and tribulations along the way!

    www.dorkdiaries.com ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great follow-up in the Dork Diaries series!
    I was SO excited to hear that the Dork Diaries series would be continuing with this second book, Dork Diaries: Tales From A Not-So-Popular Party Girl. I adored the the first book, the author has such a way with humor that I think all her jokes are funny and I just adore Nikki! And the situations Nikki finds herself in, oh man, I'm not the target audience but they were hilarious! There is something about the way that Nikki writes her journal that is so innocent and genuine that she's instantly lovable.

    In this book nemesis MacKenzie really starts to show her claws so it's really interesting to see how Nikki will handle these situations in her polite and innocence manner. Nikki's friends Chloe and Zoey are also a great backup duo to Nikki and her crazy ideas! While I would have loved to have seen Nikki's little sister Brianna a bit more in this book, she was still as funny as I remember her from the first book.

    I can see the Dork Diaries series going on for a long time and with each book Nikki is maturing a bit more and learning new things about herself. I love how this book ended and it's set up for what I'm sure will be a great third book to the series! Can't wait to read it!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too
    This is the second installment of the DORK DIARIES, the girls version of the DIARY OF A WIMPY KID books for boys.

    It is written in a diary form with drawings. When I told my fifth grade girls that I had the second book in the series, they got very excited, since most of them had already read the first installment.

    Nikki is the heroine of this series. She is in middle school and is a great artist. She has two BFFs, Chloe and Zoey, and a crush on a popular boy named Brandon. There is also a queen bee named MacKenzie. Nikki gets involved with the Halloween dance. She has to plan and organize it - and MacKenzie wants her to fail.

    The story is told in a very charming way and has a lot of good cultural references. You want to root for Nikki and boo MacKenzie. The story is a little unrealistic, but I still accepted it hook, line, and sinker.

    I enjoy this series and so do all the girls I have given it to. So curl up and enjoy this very funny story!

    Reviewed by: Marta Morrison

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Sequel!
    After reading the first Dork Diaries book I couldn't wait to read the second addition, and luckily enough, Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl was even better than the original book!

    From the first page of Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl the reader is thrown back into the hectic life of seventh grader Nikki Maxwell, dork extraordinaire. Much to Nikki's surprise she's quickly adjusting to middle school life and is actually enjoying it. You see, she has her two equally dorky side-kicks Chloe and Zoey on her side and her crush Brandon is starting to notice her. Plus, she's been invited to popular/ mean girl Mackenzie's latest party. Though soon enough all the good things in Nikki's life come to an end when Nikki finds out Mackenzie is set to not only sabotage Nikki's chances with Brandon but the Halloween party Nikki is now in charge of as well. What will one No-So-Popular Dorky Party Girl do? Well, only time and more pages can tell!

    Nikki is such a fabulous main character! Sure, she's awkward and dorky, but she's hilarious, a great friend, and full of snark in all the best kind of ways as well. While Nikki is a lot younger than me, I can still find myself relating to her, especially when I think back to my own middle-school days, and I feel most people will feel the same kind of way if they give this series a chance. I also loved the additions of Nikki's best friends, Chloe and Zoey, two girls anyone would be lucky to have on their side, and Brandon, the seventh grade's token cutie.

    Another aspect I love about this series is how it's told through Nikki's own personal diary entries. I feel that they give the reader a great and a more personal look into Nikki's life than what a regular narration would provide. Plus, I have to admit the pictures and comic strips included are simply hilarious!

    While the story is a bit predictable, it never stopped it from being cute and laugh-out-loud funny. I loved being there right along with Nikki as she went through planning the Halloween party to attending two parties at once.

    In all, the Dork Diaries is well-worth the read no matter how old you are, and I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who can't wait to read more about Nikki's adventures!

    Grade: B+ ... Read more


    15. Scott Pilgrim Volume 6: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour
    by Bryan Lee O'Malley
    Paperback
    list price: $11.99 -- our price: $7.12
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1934964387
    Publisher: Oni Press
    Sales Rank: 473
    Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    It's finally here! Six years and almost 1000 pages have all led to this epic finale! With six of Ramona's seven evil exes dispatched, it should be time for Scott Pilgrim to face Gideon Graves, the biggest and baddest of her former beaus. But didn't Ramona take off at the end of Book 5? Shouldn't that let Scott off the hook? Maybe it should, maybe it shouldn't, but one thing is for certain all of this has been building to Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour! The sixth and final volume to indie comics most influential series in the last decade! Soon to be a major motion picture coming in August 2010 directed by Edgar Wright and starring Michael Cera. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thank God For Closure, July 21, 2010
    I was starting to get worried about Ramona and Scott during the last two volumes. Thankfully, this one wrapped up everything perfectly, while still maintaining humor and suspense. There are a couple confusing moments, and belief is suspended much more dramatically this time, but the story and heart of the novel are just too good to let that affect anything. I can't say it's my favorite out of the series, but "Finest Hour" is definately one of the best. I had that feeling you get at the end of the series, where you're sad to see it end, but the conclusion lives up to its demands.

    Bye Scott Pilgrim, we are sad to see you go. Your conclusion has redefined the feeling of "bittersweet" for all of us comic readers. May your film be just as spectacular as your series. Whatever happens next, all of us will still regard Scott Pilgrim as a classic in graphic novel literature.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Scott Pilgrim Perfected Reading!, July 21, 2010
    Quite simply, this was the perfect ending to a phenomenal series. If you liked the first five then this will make you LOVE everything about the series. Everything gets wrapped up neatly and believably...Kim Pine, Gideon, Stephen Stills!, Knives.
    It's a happy book without being sappy and gross.

    All-in-all, my only advice is READ IT RIGHT NOW and you too can Perfect Reading!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Finest Two Hours of Your Life, July 21, 2010
    This was hilarious! I spent every minute of those two hours(-ish) laughing my ass off. This was an excellent wrap-up to a surprisingly enjoyable series. I can't wait to read this all over again.

    Scotty, we'll miss you.

    4-0 out of 5 stars And So..., July 26, 2010
    We come to the end of what might be the best comic series of the last decade. At the very least it's the work that people will point to when they talk about this generation (20's to 30's).

    It didn't end the way I thought it was going to, but was very happy with it none the less. All the characters evolved in there own way. Even the secondary characters. ESPECIALLY the secondary characters. The twist with Stephen Stills made me slap my head and wonder why I didn't see it coming.

    Some of the artwork felt a little rushed at times, but nothing to bad. The writting is good, but even after two reads I'm still not a hundred percent on how 'the glow' works.

    This was a great book. It is sad to see the series end, but I'm glad I no longer have to wonder if Scott will get the girl.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The awesome end of an awesome series, November 20, 2010
    Once upon a time, a comic artist named Bryan Lee O'Malley did a comic series around a central character named Scott Pilgrim. That comic series got made into a movie called Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. The movie was not bad, but was definitely worth seeing if only because it made me want to read the comic series it was based on. And I'm here now to tell you that O'Malley's original series is awesome. It's also almost impossible to describe, but I'll give it my best shot and say it's original, it's funny, it's way surreal, and it's probably unlike anything you've ever read.

    On the surface, the plot arc of the six-volume series is centered around Scott Pilgrim, a twenty-something game-playing slacker in a Canadian garage band, who meets the girl of his dreams (literally) and finds he must defeat her seven evil ex-es if he wants to date her. But like an iceberg, the surface only hints at everything that lies beneath.

    Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour is the sixth and final volume in the series. The cast of returning characters include:

    Scott Pilgrim, a wide-eyed and likeable but perpetually clueless 24-year-old slacker whose only real accomplishments to date involved being in a garage band called Sex Bob-omb and defeating six evil ex-es in his quest for Ramona flowers. ("I remember... stuff. Some stuff. Lots, _lots_ of stuff!")

    Ramona Flowers, a roller-blading delivery girl for Amazon.ca and the girl of Scott's dreams. ("You and _her_?!" "Oh, relax. It was a phase.")

    Knives Chau, his now 18-year-old Chinese former sort-of girlfriend who, to his dismay, has gotten over him. ("I've kissed the lips that've kissed you!!!")

    Wallace Wells, his cool but boy-crazy gay roommate. ("Please sleep with _someone_, Scott. You're getting very boring.")

    Stephen Stills, lead guitarist in the band. ("Do you always refer to him by his full name?" - "Who? Stephen Stills? Yes.")

    Kim Pine, the band's drummer and Scott's ex-girlfriend from high school. ("I need some air. The stupidity in here is making me feel faint.")

    Young Neil Nordegraf, Stephen Still's roommate and the band's biggest fan. ("What do you play?" "Um... nothing, I just live here.")

    Comeau, who knows everyone. ("Well, I wouldn't say _everyone_, but yeah, I guess.")

    Julie Powers, Stephen Stills' on-again/off-again but always bitchy girlfriend. ("That song is about me, people! He thinks I'm a total bitch and a half!" "You mean she doesn't _know_?")

    Stacey Pilgrim, Scott's younger sister. ("She's Chinese? Wait till Mom hears about this!")

    And last but not least, Gideon Graves, the seventh of Ramona's evil ex-es to challenge Scott Pilgrim and the seeming Svengali who still has a hold over Ramona. ("Yes, I had a sword built into Envy's dress in case of emergency! That's just the kind of guy I am!")

    Also, O'Malley makes a point at the end of giving credit to John Kantz, for screentone and background art, and Aaron Ancheta, for crowd scenes and inking assistance. He also lists the "albums that got me through this" for anyone interested in what kind of music he listened to as he worked.

    I highly recommend this book (and the entire series) to anyone who appreciates a comic series with a unique visual style, engaging characters, the kind of surreal world we only wish we could live in, and just a great fun read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent book from start to end, August 22, 2010
    On the back of this book, the author lists 3 categories: action, comedy, and romance. Those 3 categories symbolize exactly my feelings of his book. You will laugh, you will look in awe at some of the spectacle, and you (maybe) will cry. This review shall not only speak for the final installment of this epic series, but for the epici series it is. The simplest way to summarize the plot is this: Scott Pilgrim must fight Ramona's 7 evil exes to win her over. Many twists and turns run all throughout the series, many encounters, allusions, and cameos appear throughout, and if you were born and raised in the videogame era of 1985ish-1996ish, this series will not only appeal greatest to you, but will also invoke the biggest amount of nostalgia in you. Even if you weren't born in that time, but you still enjoy videogames, you will still appreciate and enjoy this series. Even if it's more or less games, the references to music, movies, and locations should still keep you to read. If not, the visual art style is pretty good, and becomes more defined and such in the later installments. As far as uniqueness, it's well drawn manga, but its somewhat easy to recreate and mock. Its great for fanart and such. I think anyone who wants a good read before or after they see the movie, I recommend. If you think mainstream culture could use a firm kick in the trousers, this series may cater to you. If you've read "Lost at Sea" by Bryan Lee O'Malley, expect something different but awesome too.

    5/5

    5-0 out of 5 stars Gain the Power of Understanding!, July 26, 2010
    It all goes by so quickly, and I was sad to see the series end, but loved reading it! This is a thick issue and it wraps things up for almost all the characters. It's Scott at some of his most awkward ("but it was horrible for everyone and that includes you") and epic. Ramona still kicks a lot of ass. As always, there are lots of excellent references to movies, video games, and other awesome stuff. Just so I don't spoil anything, I'll say that this is a great ending that was really satisfying... we all live in our own heads, but how much do we let other people in?

    5-0 out of 5 stars Finest hour indeed., November 7, 2010
    Everything I had come to expect from this series -- and more. One of the best comic works of the time. Would definitely recommend it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Lover, Fighter, Slacker, Gamer--Game Over!, November 2, 2010
    "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," the striking film version of the inspired series by Bryan Lee O'Malley, had a disappointing run this year in terms of box office. Even with surprising critical support, the film fell below expectations from a money making standpoint. Now, as we are poised for the DVD release (11/9/10), I think the world of Scott Pilgrim is about to explode as new fans to the irreverent charm of Scott and company discover the delightfully skewed source material. And I thought, I'd recap the highlights as I've gone back to appreciate the six volumes anew.

    Volume Six: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour. The concluding chapter wrapped up in 2010, with Scott finally facing the evil mastermind behind the whole series--Gideon. Bringing a newfound maturity to Scott, this chapter has him dealing with loss and self awareness. Helping to unravel his own life's drama, Kim, Envy and Ramona all figure prominently in Scott's development. The final contest has dramatic consequences and is played out exquisitely both in the real world as well as "subspace." A fitting send-off to a beloved dork, a nice combination of action, romance and comedy. ... Read more


    16. Scott Pilgrim Volume 5: Scott Pilgrim vs The Universe
    by Bryan Lee O'Malley
    Paperback
    list price: $11.95 -- our price: $7.19
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1934964107
    Publisher: Oni Press
    Sales Rank: 465
    Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    Scott Pilgrim just turned 24, and things couldn't possibly be better! This means things are about to get infinitely worse. Suddenly, TWO of Ramona's evil ex-boyfriends are in town, and they're playing dirty. His band is in turmoil, and his own exes aren't making things any easier. And what's up with Ramona, anyway? She's been acting kinda weird ever since they moved in together. It's the SECOND LAST VOLUME of SCOTT PILGRIM: Scott's precious little life is coming back around to bite him in the butt, and it may not be pretty! ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best comic series of the decade, February 15, 2009
    The Scott Pilgrim books are in a class by themselves. There is so much to laugh at in each one but the surprising thing is how much there is that will move you. Even the most minor characters become like old friends when you read this incredible series.

    Book 5 is the most serious one yet, dealing with Scott and Ramona settling into life together. My favorite character, Kim Pine, finally gets her chance to shine in this volume. Her actions in the final battle....wow Kim, just wow.

    I don't want to give any details for fear of ruining the delight you will get reading it yourself, but there is a cliffhanger that will make you curse the year long wait until the final book that brings the series to a close.

    I cannot recommend these books enough. If you are between the ages of 13-45 this is guaranteed to become one of your favorite books. Not to diss the older folks I'm almost 40 myself), all the pop culture references may be lost on those people who weren't raised with a video game console in their house. But there is enough heart in these books for anyone to get a lot of them.

    But this book!

    4-0 out of 5 stars The penultimate showdown, July 17, 2010
    Here we have what is said to be the second to last volume in the Scott Pilgrim series of graphic novels. Scott still has to defeat three more of Ramona's evil exes, and he faces off with two of them here (they are twins). Scott is marginally more mature now, but that doesn't make his actions any less funny. Looking forward to the conclusion!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Another Great Entry, April 12, 2009
    Scott Pilgrim vs the Universe is definitely one of the books that you can finish in an hour if youve been following Scott Pilgrim from the beginning. The books is as usual, filled with hilarious dialogue, an interesting action packed feature of Scott and robot fighting, and finally more evil ex-boyfriends.

    If this was your first entry into the Scott Pilgrim universe then I would definitely, after reading this, urge you to go back to the first book. However, the author does a great job at providing a refreshing review of what happened in the previous books. All the characters arent included in the review but when they appear in the story a brief cutway or side discussion discusses their part.

    To close away this one is a fast read. As I usually suggest for the books that are a fast read, you may want to reread it. The only flaw is that at times the characters are a bit hard to make out and you have to really follow them to see who exactly is speaking in scenes that may have just two or three of them. Fortunately Ramona is always easy to pick out because of her bag, Scott is too.

    Also this one I like because of several of the scenes with Scott. The author did a great job with his design, mainly in the area of some of the panels with only a portrait of Scott. They are hard to describe but they are definitely memorable.

    Definitely pick this up and as usual have fun rereading them all as we wait for the next one, since they all always end on two huge cliffhangers.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Cliffhanger!, March 15, 2009
    "Scott Pilgrim" is an odd little comic, brilliantly summing up the experience of a generation (that would be Gen Y) in the most appropriate way possible: with rock and roll, superheroes, and video games. I'm about the same age as Scott (he ages slower than I do, sadly) and his situation feels familiar: out of college, going nowhere, and generally trying to find his way. English majors could read in many layers of subtext and symbolism as Scott fights his way through his girlfriend's evil exes and turns his otherwise humdrum little life into an ongoing game, which he has to win to survive.

    In the first volume, Scott meets Ramona Flowers, a delivery girl who uses the subspace corridor in Scott's head. He's instantly in love, but it takes a while (until Volume Four) for Ramona to realize she loves him too. He defeats the first four of her evil exes, gaining experience points along the way. One of the most genius moves on the part of Bryan Lee O'Malley, artist and writer, is to make the martial arts duels an ordinary part of everyone's daily lives -- background characters will even express boredom as another fight breaks out in front of them.

    Volume Five sets up the final book -- and the long awaited climax with the final boss, Gideon -- with a gut-wrenching cliffhanger. Scott has to fight a pair of twins, but that's secondary to the rocky path his relationship with Ramona has taken. Ramona transcends her initial status as the Manic Pixie Dreamgirl and turns into a complex character who might not be who Scott thinks she is. Mr. O'Malley's artwork is more polished than earlier volumes but just as detailed, and he's getting better and better at capturing gestures and facial expressions in his distinct style. The series always balanced the silly video game influences with the more grounded and serious story of its protagonist, and this book really benefits from a darker mood. Expectations for Volume Six are very, very high.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The series matures, but is as much fun as ever., February 16, 2009
    Admittedly, for fans of Scott Pilgrim, the previous volumes are hard to top. I, personally, think that the revelation of vegan powers for Todd Ingram will never be equalled. There will be many that find this latest volume a disappointment as the pace seems to slow and the fight scenes take a back seat to real emotional resonance. I disagree and think this downbeat interlude will be essential to the arc of the entire story.

    This is Ramona Flowers's volume and from finding out she's changed her hair--we know something has changed, but the mystery of her funk, the return of her glow, and the truth behind her relationship with the series' big bad, Gabriel, is more than enough to keep a reader flipping the pages. This book features the best gag I've seen employing the ubiquitous cell phone camera and does a great job of ratcheting up the dread associated with Scott's upcoming confrontation with Gabriel and the conclusion of the series.

    You've gotta read this and the cover is all shiny like its a 90s comic book, too!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not as strong as the other entries in the series, but still better than your typical comic., August 10, 2009
    This is definitely my least favorite Scott Pilgrim to date. I love all the others: Precious Little Life and The Infinite Sadness are the funniest and the other two are also very good. Scott Pilgrim VS the Universe, however, just gets off to a slow start. I didn't laugh at all for the first half of the book, just chuckled here and there. Luckily, the second half of the book is much better. The hilarity seems to pick up in the latter half, and the ending is SUPERB. Someone else on here says the book "left you wanting more" as if that were a bad thing. It does leave you wanting more, but in a good way. After each of the other books, I was very excited to read the next to see what would happen, but once I get to the last page of this volume, I almost got depressed because I know I have to wait so many long months before the next issue comes out.

    So yes, this issue is not the best we've seen, but as far as getting you excited to see the next issue, this one trumps the others. The character interaction in the second half is better than anything the series has shown us thus far.

    I don't really know why I am writing this, as anyone who would likely be interested in book five has already read books one through four and knows if they like Scott Pilgrim or not. And because I've never met anyone who was anywhere in between straight up loving it or flat out hating it, I assume that anyone still reading this already loves the series. So just get it already. ... Read more


    17. The Walking Dead Volume 13
    by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn
    Paperback
    list price: $14.99 -- our price: $8.71
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1607063298
    Publisher: Image Comics
    Sales Rank: 606
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Life in the community is as near as Rick and his group can ever hope to come to life returning to normal. So why is Rick so on edge? Will his behavior spell doom for everyone else? Will they let it get that far? ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars A quest based on lies., November 23, 2010
    After listening for a time to the tales of Washington d.C., the truth is finally revealed. Its a wonder that no one died in the process, either. Still, nobody found themselves in pieces and the band kept moving, knowing they had lost too much to stop without at least looking. That's when they meet a man on the side of the road and that man tells them that he has a place that they HAVE to see. It has everything they could want and more - and that makes the group think about killing him then and there. The problem with that is that the group really hasn't lost hope - perhaps a good thing and perhaps not - andso they find themselves listening and following. Along the way they provide proof that they are viable and then they are shown into a town that is thriving right next to the dead. Children in the streets, happy neighbors, running water - everything the world left behind. They even want the newcomers to help out and become whatever they know how to be, rick included. The problem with this is that something else is amiss and the group can see it in their eyes. Still, they have no idea what that means or what sort of horror could be living within these walls.

    As with other Walking Dead pieces, I really liked this. i had wondered about the myths that were being fed to the group about d.C., and I wonder what would have happened if nothing would have been there. They had, after all, been expecting a government or at least a group of scientists. So, this works out in their favor. Futher, it helps bond some of the charatcers we have seen travelling with the remainder of the "superjail" group, and they really need to become part of the group. Sure, they have been there and they have taught the group a lot. Still, they didn't feel like part of the group until now which is a great thing.

    I also like the continued thing that shows that humans are dangerous out there. Even when Rick and his group finds something that looks decent they turn into their own brand of horror, looking at everything in some terrible manner. Considering what has happened in the last few books i cannot blame them, but it still shows how they have even become that thing that they have been trying so hard to keep at bay.

    Another thing I liked was that we got to see a city again and that we got to see some of the ways that people are trying to stay alive. These are a bit different and the same as well, and they say something about the people. they also say something about the dead and what is happening with them, showing whether they are slowing or if they are still the pague they once were. Combine that with the grand artwork and you have something beautifully constructed and that has so much more to offer.

    If you are a new fan, never read out of order. If you are a watcher and want a view, start at the beginning. a warning on spoilers, however; reading the books will stick closely to some of the things seen in some of the early episodes. Things change, certianly, but things also stay the same. so, read with care. for people who think that this is just another town or just another human story, perhaps you have grown hard s well. The terrible things they contend with are beautiful in their own rights and do not have to be teeth or fingernails of the dead. People who want to live are just as bad.
    i liked this more than the last one, too, and round it into 5 stars. Thank you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The restless spirit, November 27, 2010
    Rick and company have settled in to the community behind the walls near Washington, D.C., although it was made clear at the end of the previous Volume that Rick was finding it hard to adjust to this comfortable, safe existence. His spirit is somewhat restless, but it is based on a fear of people, and how easily they can screw even the best of things up. Abraham validates that perspective with an experience he has beyond the fences of the community, and throughout this volume, we get to see that perhaps this place is too good to be true in some ways, and that people are the same where ever you go and no matter how safe and secure you feel you are.

    The same antsy sense of things that Rick has with this place is a sense I was getting about it as well. Certainly, you would hope to find a place where you can finally relax and rest and feel safe behind thick walls, but at the same time, as a reader, you look for things to go wrong in this screwed up world, expecting them to, as Rick does here. And by the end of this volume, Rick's fears are confirmed, but once again, as has happened in the past, he loses control for a time before settling back into the role of reluctant hero and reluctant leader once again. I think it is at those times that Rick, and TWD, are at their very best.

    I felt the last volume was a bit draggy in spots, and while this one has its lulls as well, the story picks up the pace once again, especially near the end, with promises of interesting things to come in volume 14.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Tentative Return To Humanity--Character Development Continues To Distinguish A Zombie Epic, December 28, 2010
    When I heard that AMC was going to produce a television series based on the zombie epic "The Walking Dead," I was both concerned and delighted. A bona fide classic in undead lore, "The Walking Dead" graphic novels are brutal and surprising--not really what I would picture for a basic cable TV show. The first season ran with 6 episodes, and the ratings were stellar for AMC (a network know for terrific and prestigious shows like "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad"). With Frank Darabont of "Shawshank Redemption" fame as the creative force behind the show and Robert Kirkman's (the comic's creator) involvement as a writer, we have a winner gearing up for a second season--so check it out if you haven't already!

    But picking up with the graphic novels, Kirkman hits us with "Volume 13: Too Far Gone." Now, I had heard some initial disappointment about this volume--and for those looking for general mayhem and violence, this is certainly one of the more subdued chapters thus far. I have to say that initially I agreed. With Rick and clan installed in a new community, there are dozens of new characters sharing center stage. I found this off-putting at first. But what happens in "Too Far Gone" is far more important than just another attack. Rick's growth and character development are a highlight and how he, and the others, start to acclimatize to their new surroundings has surprising emotional resonance. The characters face the crossroads where they're allowed to start feeling human again and start to face the moral repercussions of the things they've done and will have to continue to do in order to survive. I ended up really feeling connected with "Too Far Gone" in a surprising way. If you're open to seeing "The Walking Dead" as a fully rounded epic, these moments of introspection are entirely crucial! KGHarris, 12/10.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Too Far Gone-Another Great Read, November 26, 2010
    Book 13 of the series doesn't disappoint. The writing remains solid despite this volume being somewhat less action packed (which means a lot more falls on Kirkman's writing). His previous style shows through as the action starts to escalate around Rick's new home near Washington D.C., but don't worry you'll still be good and surprised at moments. The threat builds from inside and outside the city with mini-episodic-climaxes (as the individual issues each try to end with some form of climax or cliffhanger).
    Overall, this was a solid book which focuses on certain characters starting to show cracks after being in this new zombie infested world for almost two years, story world time. The series has always been character driven and since they are "safe" in their new homes this volume really zooms in on a couple characters (some of the old group and some new townies) to show the difference between the ones who have been safe and the old group that has been on the road for over 18 months before finding a haven.
    Read it, and wait for 14...

    4-0 out of 5 stars Can the world be rebuilt?, December 7, 2010
    "The Walking Dead, v.13"
    Written by Robert Kirkman
    Illustrated by Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn
    (Image Books, 2010)
    ----------------------------------------------
    In this latest installment of his zombie epic, author Robert Kirkman is still taking his time building up major themes and allowing the zombies to stay in the background. This volume picks up where the last left off, and doesn't go much further, but is equally compelling and suspenseful. The main issues are institutional - can civil society be rebuilt after an apocalypse, and how will the survivors deal with criminality and aggression? - and personal: can Rick Grimes still be our hero as he continues to unwind mentally and make increasingly bad decisions? What are his limits, and has he become a danger to the survival of others? And if Rick snaps completely, how many of his old friends will stick by him? The roamers are still outside the gates, but the real danger seems to be within... Once again, I'm eagerly waiting for the next volume.

    PS - I'm starting to wonder how long zombies can exist without any food. Seems like their complete decay and re-death would be inevitable, since entropy exists regardless of spooky viruses or horror-story conventions. Will there be a time when the survivors step outside their sanctuary walls and find the world shockingly empty of monsters? Just wondering. (Joe Sixpack, ReadThatAgain book reviews)

    3-0 out of 5 stars I Hate to Do This, November 24, 2010
    By far the weakest effort in the series lies here. The new "safe town" strays far away from the previous tone of the series. There's too many problems in this trade for me to call it good or great. It has its moments but its very flawed. Here's my laundry list of problems.

    *The expression of sorrow by telling stories is getting really old. Everytime someone is dwelling on a matter, they tell a long drawn out story to express themselves, then Rick or another character tells a story in return to relate to the character. It was effective 5 trades ago. It's getting really old now.

    *We got this huge build-up from Douglas with no delivery. He seems like an alright guy in the end, but the last book hinted him at being a violent pervert. The books just feel like they contradict his character.

    *Rick loses it....again. When Rick went insane at the prison I lost respect for the character, and now he just commits a horrible idiot move this time around. I understand that he's been through a lot, but this is RICK GRIMES were talking about.

    *Too many characters to deal with. You absolutely have to read the previous volume right before this one, or else you'll forget who these masses of people are.

    It has some good suprises and plot points, but I'm just starting to get irritated. I know the story needs to progress, but its too far from the original feel of the Walking Dead. Maybe that's why they titled this trade "Too Far Gone." ... Read more


    18. Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life
    by Rachel Renee Russell
    Hardcover
    list price: $12.99 -- our price: $7.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1416980067
    Publisher: Aladdin
    Sales Rank: 701
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    New school. New mean girl. New crush.

    New diary so Nikki can spill about all of it... ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars Funny and authentic, June 16, 2009
    Nikki Maxwell, a self-proclaimed dork, is just trying to get through her eighth grade year at her new private school, Westchester Country Day. A voracious writer and budding artist, she deals with all the normal things girls her age face: her parents not understanding her, an annoying sibling, friend troubles, and stuck up girls. But then a school art competition gives Nikki the chance to shine--if she can beat Mackenzie, the most stuck-up and snobbish girl in the school.

    Dork Diaries is a hilarious and authentic portrayal of the ups and downs of middle school, finding friends who understand you, and finding yourself. Nikki is a witty, smart, and self-deprecating character that many young teens and preteens will be able to relate to, and her voice is especially compelling, despite her tendency to be a bit dramatic. The many drawings and the simple, straightforward writing style in Dork Diaries is certain to appeal to girls who don't normally read. Rachel Russell has created a fun, clever, and highly entertaining book that is sure to satisfy.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Wimpy Kid - For Girls, August 20, 2009
    Nikki Maxwell needs a cell phone, and she needs it before she starts at her new school, otherwise she can kiss popularity and a social life goodbye. Fortunately for us, Nikki's mom doesn't comply in the way she expected. Instead, she gets a diary, and in the line of Greg from Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The formats of the two books are pretty much identical: a teenager writing and drawing about their life. The main difference is that Dork Diaries is aimed at girls, while Diary of a Wimpy Kid is targeted at boys. The interesting thing about the two is that Wimpy Kid will appeal to girls also. And I don't mean that boys won't identify with Nikki, it's just that when you put a pink cover on a book you are saying: This book is for girls. There are few boys out there that will willingly pick up a pink book.

    The content of the book is Nikki getting adjusted to life at an upper-class school that she is only attending because her dad got the exterminator contract for it. I love when she wants to melt into a puddle when he pulls up in his van; because of course it has a giant roach on the top of it. At one point she pulls out the old `take-a-garbage-bag-and-poke-holes-in-it-so-no-one-sees-me' trick which I absolutely loved because I happen to have had an experience that required a paper bag! (No, I'm not telling, and yes, it was forever ago!)

    Nikki goes through the trials and tribulations of a young girl who wants to be friends with the popular girls, realizes the popular girls are really mean, and finds friends who she wouldn't necessarily have chosen, but who turn out to be good for her. All-in-all Nikki is a believable 14-year-old (who sometimes seems a bit younger, but that could have just been me reading her as being whiny) who will have her readers laughing and sighing in agreement all at the same time.

    Notes on the Cover:
    I love the yellow post-it on the cover with the stick drawing of the gossipy girls in the background with Nikki front and center. I love that she's writing with her favorite pen and trying to ignore the haters behind her. I do like the pink, but my concern is that boys won't pick it up. Of course, they're not the target audience, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't enjoy it!


    5-0 out of 5 stars You will love Nikki Maxwell! Cute, cool & captivating!, May 31, 2009
    The heroine of this YA story is eighth-grader Nikki Maxwell, a cute, cool and captivating girl you will fall in love with. Although the word cute is not a cool vocabulary choice for today's kids, I use it here because I love that word; it means much more than cool. To me it encompasses looks, personality and sincerity, while cool is...well "cool"...it can be a pose with some kids. So our NIkki is not only cool to her friends, she's also cute to us parents: the kind of girl every decent kid wants for a friend, every parent wants for a daughter. And I predict she will captivate everyone who reads this book, young and old alike.

    But Nikki thinks of herself as a dork because rich, snooty MacKenzie Hollister and her wannabe followers go out of their way to make her appear that way. After one too many "klutzy" accidents--caused by the despicable MacKenzie, of course--Nikki starts writing the "Dork Diaries."

    And what fun diaries they are! This honest, precocious girl writes EVERYTHING in those pages, illustrating her tales with humorous drawings. These drawings by the author enhance this book, making it an unforgettable reading pleasure.

    I admire the way Nikki handles all the set-backs in her life; she never loses her temper, attacking MacKenzie as many girls would. Instead she remains calm and works things out in her own way. That girl has more self-confidence than she knows.

    While Nikki doesn't follow the dictates of the "Fashionista Police," she dresses cute and flattering. But there's much more substance to Nikki than clothing; this is evident when she attracts the attention of Brandon, a school photographer that MacKenzie has set her cap for.

    So what does MacKenzie do when Brandon repeatedly helps Nikki? And what do tattoos have to do with Nikki suddenly becoming so popular that even MacKenzie pretends to be her friend? Does Nikki fall for it? Do her best friends, Zoey and Chloe drop her for MacKenzie? And what does Nikki do when MacKenzie finally learns that Nikki'a father is the local bug exterminator, driving around with a huge roach atop his truck? How embarrassing is that to our heroine?

    And does she ever get the coveted iPhone that she thinks she needs to be cool?

    The final showdown between Nikki and MacKenzie is a big school project. Nikki has much more talent (skills, as they call it), but will MacKenzie win through trickery? But to learn more about our Nikki, you will have to read for yourself, and follow along with the illustrations.

    Even though author Rachel Renee Russell's writing flows easily, I had a hard time reading this book--through no fault of hers. Each time I put it down, my granddaughter grabbed it and when I wanted to read a chapter, I had to search for it. I told that girl I would pass it on to her. Can't she wait? (But she's a lot like NIkki, so I can see the appeal.)

    A side note about this author: As I was reading this story, it was obvious the writer knew and understood the teens' mind, so I felt as though I were actually reading a diary written by a teen. I was surprised to learn that Russell is an attorney who "prefers writing children's books to legal briefs." After reading "Dork Diaries" I can see why. I look forward to many more books by her.

    This review is from an ARC sent to me by the author.

    Reviewed by Betty Dravis, May, 2009
    Author of "The Toonies Invade Silicon Valley"

    5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT book for tweens(like me)and fans of Diary of Wimpy Kid fans(also like me)..., December 27, 2009
    Funny book about a 14 yr old at a new school. Not just doesn`s have friends for a while but has horrible luck. HILARIOUS book. DEFINITLY worth the money. And it Is not like Diary of a wimpy kid because the pictures are a completely different style and story is waayy different.

    5-0 out of 5 stars From Nona at J. Kaye's Book Blog, June 21, 2009
    Dork Diaries is very much like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, only for girls. Since I am a fan of that series, I was really excited to read this book. Nikki Maxwell, an enormously funny character, is getting ready to start a new school. She wants to be part of the CCP group. CCP stands for cute, cool, and popular. She's positive that if her mother purchased her a new iPhone, it would secure her a spot there.

    Nikki's mother arrives home with a back-to-school present she purchased at the mall. Nikki is positive it's an iPhone. What does her mother purchase for her instead? A diary. Although Nikki swears not write in the diary, she does. And because she is artist, many of the pages include her sketches.

    Even though Nikki doesn't get an iPhone, that doesn't stop the desire. An opportunity presents itself when Nikki learns about an art contest. The grand prize is $500. The only problem is Mackenzie Hollister, leader of the CCP group, is also entering. Mackenzie will do whatever it takes to win.

    There was so much to love about the book. The ending was different than I expected, which was a great surprise. What I liked best was seeing her grow in the book. Nikki experienced some pretty horrible things, but she did find friends - good friends, not the superficial CCP ones.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!, June 3, 2009
    This book was HILARIOUS! Nikki Maxwell has the greatest imagination from turning a old hearing aid into a faux cell phone to making up stories about the tooth fairy to scare her little sister, Nikki is always right on the ball. I just love the author's sense of humor!

    When I found out that Dork Diaries was a diary that also included illustrations and comic strips I was sold. There is no way you can go wrong with a diary format and comics. And it worked out so well. Some of my favorite drawings were an overview of the cafeteria and reading themed tattoos! The drawings definitely enhanced the story and made Nikki come to life that much more! It's definitely one of my favorite styles of storytelling!

    So many of the situations that Nikki finds herself in are pretty easy to relate to. I really liked how well rounded the story was, there was friendship, art (I'm all about the art), crushes, family, humiliation, bullies, fitting in, it's all there. So while the book was laugh out loud funny at parts, I liked how it dealt with issues that young girls find themselves dealing with everyday, a great balance I think!

    All in all, Dork Diaries is a fun, hilarious, and sweet book!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Delightful & Funny, May 29, 2009
    Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell is a delightful book for middle school kids, especially girls (9-13), but truth be told I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm a whole lot older! It's full of all kinds of great little sketches and doodles and is written in a diary format with entries by 14 year old, eighth grader, Nikki Maxwell.

    Nikki is attending a new private school courtesy of her father getting her a scholarship as he's the new exterminator for the school, a fact that causes Nikki never ending embarrassment and horror at being discovered. Now Nikki isn't exactly private school material and she knows it. She thinks to fit in she needs a new cell phone, new clothes and very likely a new family as hers certainly can't afford all those things. Above all, her parents or 'rents as she calls them just don't get it! She can't fit in at a private school-she's just not one of them so who are they kidding?

    Fast forward to the first day of school and of course, the always most popular girl who this time happens to be the rich, pretty and 'mean' Mackenzie. Nikki is torn between hating her and wanting to be like her and have her as a friend. After all, that would put her in line with the popular kids, the CCP-Cute, Cool & Popular. Even worse, Nikki's locker is right beside Mackenzie's so she has to tolerate Miss Perfect and her attitude every day. Then came the art competition which Nikki had been intimidated by Mackenzie not to enter. Nikki is a really talented artist already and deep down she knows she can do well. Finally, she throws caution to the wind and enters but that ends up being a whole other story too.

    I should also mention that Dork Diaries is downright funny. I found myself laughing out loud throughout. There's the cute little sayings like GGG-ing which is giggling, gossiping, & glossing. Also , throughout the book, Nikki screams or says things inside her head-always so one else hears but her. How many of us do that? I still do that. Added to that are the cartoons which really add so much to the telling of Nikki's story.

    What I loved most about this book is how real Nikki is-she's a normal 14 year old girl with all the worries and fears that come with it. I love how this book relates the fact that you don't have to be popular and belong to the in-crowd to have fun and have friends. You can carve out your own little space in the world. Yes, it's a struggle but it can be done. This is why young girls are going to love this book-because it's true to life and maybe even very close to what they're experiencing at that very time. There's maybe even a hint of first love which is really sweet.

    Perfect reading for a young girl or for a mother/daughter read. I found it really took me back to memories of being in grade school myself. Let's face it, for most of us it's a rough time. We're just learning about ourselves and really trying to find our place in it all while lacking the self confidence to achieve it. This books shows girls that it's ok not to be the popular one. You can be just as happy if not happier just by being yourself!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect for teens, tweens and anyone who loves YA reading., March 14, 2009
    Eighth grader Nikki Maxwell candidly shares with us the journaling of her no-so-fabulous days at her new private school Westchester Day School. Nikki's father, being the new exterminator, earned her a scholarship to a school where she doesn't fit in with the rich and snobby CCP (Cute, Cool & Popular) clique led by the snarky Mackenzie.

    Nikki knows that in order to dazzle the new crowd into accepting her she needs a new iPhone but her `rents stubbornly refuse to buy her one. Her Mom even goes so far as to tell her that if she really wants one she'll have to save up and buy it with her own money. Ugh!

    Just when everything seems to be doomed the school announces a school-wide art competition where the first prize is $500!! Nikki knows she's totally got this since she's an artist with plenty art camp experience. Nikki runs to the school office to sign up and who does she run into??? None other than Mackenzie. No way is she brave enough to compete against the queen bee of WDS. Can she turn one disaster after another into triumph?

    Dork Diaries is simply fabulous! I've been in Nikki's shoes a time or two as I changed schools 8 different times while growing up so I can totally sympathize with being new girl on the block. At least my Dad didn't drive me to school with a giant roach on top of his van.

    The entire book is Nikki's diary filled with hilarious stories and amazing drawings (also illustrated by Rachel Renee Russell). It's the perfect read for young girls who agonize over not being part of the in-crowd like I used to. Nikki goes from the zero to a hero and then finally settles nicely into her niche as a typical teen. I recommend this read for all YA lovers.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect Book for Middle Grade Girls!, June 9, 2009
    I can't believe how much I enjoyed the new middle grade book DORK DIARIES: TALES FROM A NOT-SO-FABULOUS LIFE by Rachel Renee Russell. I guess you could say I was pleasantly surprised by my reaction to this book -- basically, I didn't want to put it down. It was just so much fun to read, and I absolutely couldn't wait to hear what my nine year old daughter thought.

    I just adored this book. I loved the character of Nikki and felt that almost all young girls are going to be able to relate to her. She has the "normal" middle school insecurities such as the desire to be popular, wondering who she can trust as a friend, and fear of being laughed at. It's been a long time since I was in eighth grade, but I could definitely relate to being the new girl in school -- it's very hard at that age!

    While there were certainly times that I felt Nikki's pain, I'd say for the most part this book was a hoot! Nikki was a terrific character who had a great perspective on her life. I found myself laughing hysterically at her attempts to get an iPhone, and I also thought the scenes with her little sister to be fantastic. (Like Nikki, I had a sister who was a good bit younger.) And her parents....well, as a parent I probably shouldn't have thought they were so funny, but the way Nikki described their actions was hilarious. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I laughed out loud while reading this story.

    Since DORK DIARIES is supposed to read like Nikki's actual diary, the book had a really cool format with interesting fonts and amazing illustrations. I loved the look of this book and thought that Nikki's drawings really enhanced the story and allowed the reader to better understand Nikki. Ms. Russell is not only a fantastic writer but also a terrific artist! The various pictures of Nikki's life were just adorable while also being extremely funny. DORK DIARIES is very easy to read with the font and pictures, and I think this book will appeal to even the most reluctant reader. I am sincerly hoping that it's going to be the first in a series. I definitely want to see more of Nikki and her family and friends.

    I have a feeling that this book is going to be a big hit with middle grade girls. When my daughter took this book to school, the girls were all over it -- asking her questions like "where did you get it?," "how did you get it?," "can I borrow it?," etc. I think the cover alone will attract many young girls because it is just so cute.

    I definitely recommend this book for any middle grade girl in your life, although I have to admit that I enjoyed it a great deal too! The messages in this book are fantastic -- ones that young girls need to hear over and over again. I like that the book focused on what's really important in our lives such as family and friends. This book also showed that it's normal to feel insecure at this age, but I'm hoping that young girls will see how Nikki coped and learn from her. In fact, my daughter thought Nikki was great and didn't understand why she thought she was a "dork." I jumped at this opportunity and told her that maybe some people would say the exact same thing about her! (I think it's sometimes easier to see things in others.) I also liked the message that girls who seem to have it all, sometimes don't; and that it does pay to be a nice girl and a good friend.

    I wasn't surprised when my daughter absolutely devoured this book. I don't think we saw her face the entire time she was reading DORK DIARIES because she had her nose buried in the pages. Here are some of her thoughts:

    I liked DORK DIARIES because it was really made me laugh. It was kind of sad too in parts of the story, but it was still funny. I liked Nikki because she is really funny. I liked her drawings of the characters. I sometimes feel geeky and nerdy at school, so I understood how Nikki felt.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A hilarious look at middle school from a girls eye view, August 8, 2009
    Dork Diaries: Tales from a NOT-SO Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell is a hilarious look at middle school from a girls eye view. I adored this book and read it in one sitting and I can easily imagine a middle school girl doing the same.

    Nikki, the main character, is 14 years old and an eighth-grader at a "new" private school and she is the "new" girl in town. That is always so hard and many girls will relate to this. Nikki desperately wants an i-phone so that she can be "cool" and accepted by the other girls. She does some hilarious things along the way in trying to be cool. Her mother tries to understand and gives her a diary to help her adjust to her new school. This is definitely now what Nikki thinks is cool but she ends up filling it with her writings and drawings. The story is told in Nikki's voice through daily diary entries complete with wonderful whimsical drawings, sketches, doodles and comic strips all drawn by Nikki. These drawings are illustrated by the author Rachel Renee Russell, she's a very talented lady.

    I laughed along with Nikki and felt her pain and awkward moments as well. We all go through those growing up and Ms. Russell honed in on typical challenges that girls of middle school would face such as peer pressure, being popular and accepted, finding your identity and who your "true" friends are and even dealing with your first crush. Nikki got herself into some sticky situations and was able to figure her way out with her wits and talents as well as her friends support. She has to face down the popular girl who humilites her and not be intimidated and that takes a lot of strength for a young girl.

    Nikki seems like a typical teenager and although she feels like a dork, in reality she is not. The author did a wonderful job in having Nikki be a relatable character. I think that many young girls will relate to her. As an adult reading this book, it brought back memories of my own teen years. I liked that Nikki has a normal family with typical issues to deal with such as annoying siblings, and being embarressed of your parents and a relationship with her grandma who gives her advice and is someone that she can turn to. In the end, I think that Nikki realizes that her parents have her best interest at heart and Nikki realizes how important family is.

    I believe that this book will be a sure winner for middle school girls. The reading level for the book is 9-12 but I wonder if some of the pop culture references may be over a 9 year old girls head. I think that this book willl definitely draw girls interests who will appreciate the humor and storyline. I would definitely recommend this book for 10-11 and up. The style and content do remind me of a girls version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, so if your child is a fan of that series this one will definitely be a good one to pick up next.



    ... Read more


    19. The Complete Calvin and Hobbes (Calvin & Hobbes) (v. 1, 2, 3)
    by Bill Watterson
    Hardcover
    list price: $150.00 -- our price: $90.97
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0740748475
    Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
    Sales Rank: 443
    Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    New York Times best-seller!

    Watterson's imaginative approach to his material and his inventive graphics have made Calvin and Hobbes one of the few universally admired by other cartoonists." --Charles Solomon, Los Angeles Times Book Review

    Calvin and Hobbes is unquestionably one of the most popular comic strips of all time. The imaginative world of a boy and his real-only-to-him tiger was first syndicated in 1985 and appeared in more than 2,400 newspapers when Bill Watterson retired on January 1, 1996. The entire body of Calvin and Hobbes cartoons published in a truly noteworthy tribute to this singular cartoon in The Complete Calvin and Hobbes. Composed of three hardcover, four-color volumes in a sturdy slipcase, this edition includes all Calvin and Hobbes cartoons that ever appeared in syndication. This is the treasure that all Calvin and Hobbes fans seek. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Minor flaws don't take away from this--the ultimate collection., October 4, 2005
    (I just received this today--The Complete Calvin and Hobbes! 10/4/05)

    4.9 Stars

    The collection consists of 3 books within one slipcase. Each page notes the date(s) of original publication of the strip(s) on that page. The strips have an appearance of being imposed on the page separately in respect to their original publication dates. This differs from other Calvin and Hobbes collections/treasuries; within those pages you find the strips laid out as a combined whole without distinction between each strip. There are also, of course, the wonderful watercolors by Watterson which appear occasionally, on pages respective of content and chronological order.

    Book One starts with a 14-page introduction/forward written autobiographically by Watterson on his view of comics and his relationship with Calvin and Hobbes. Includes photo of Sprite and a few other comics/early works by Watterson, as well as an early version of Calvin and Hobbes. Book One includes all the comics of 1985-1988; Book Two 1988-1992; Book Three 1992-1995.

    This is definitely an archival collection and not ideal for constant casual perusing, though the attractiveness makes it hard to resist. The printing, layout, paper, binding are beautiful but any wear and tear would be heart-breaking. This leads me to describe one drawback: these books aren't really hardbound books. They look so, because of their hard covers, but actually they are what's called "cardboard articles", meaning the pages are not stitched to the spine, and instead glued. Albiet, this is common book binding practice, but I'm sure most of us wouldn't have minded paying some more for real hardbound articles for the sake of longevity in preservation. So although this collection is best left for archival purposes, it's unfortunate they are not exactly archival quality.

    Despite the books being cardboard articles, the pages are easy to open up without damaging the fabric covered spine due to the generous space and horizontal orientation. However the images of Calvin and Hobbes on the front and back faces of the slipcase are printed on separate squares of paper glued to the surface, rather than integrated, or printed directly on. This is something I realized as I slid the collection onto my bookshelf and found I had to be careful or the sides of those squares might catch and lift a bit.

    The total collection weighs about 22.5 lbs, which makes it a bit awkward to handle. This wouldn't be such an issue except the books are snugly fit within the slipcase, meaning they're a bit difficult to extract without having to tilt the case forward a bit. It would be ideal if the slipcase had round cuts on the top and bottom corresponding to each book so one's fingertips could pry out the books with ease.

    The bottom line is that for Calvin and Hobbes fans who want to own a nice comprehensive collection, imperfections are there, but not enough to deter. The beauty of the pages and the excitement of owning this make those issues mere minor annoyances. It is also the ideal purchase for those who are new to Calvin and Hobbes. At one concise and reasonable price you get the Complete Calvin and Hobbes. This collection is sure to please. Yes, I admit, I am a bit prejudiced by my absolute adoration for this boy and his tiger.

    3-0 out of 5 stars The Pages are Falling Out, January 20, 2006
    I love this strip and I was very excited to see it collected completely in a lovely boxed set. I have only one fault with the item but it is a big one. For a set of this nature and for this price, you would think the publishers could have spent a few extra bucks and given the thing a proper binding! I've read through the collection only twice and the spine is already cracked on volume one and a page has actually come out! How much could a real stitched binding have added to the price? I plan to send my books off to Southern Binding and have them sewn. It will cost me about $30 but I believe it will be well worth it in the long run. Still, I'd rather have paid a few more buck up front.

    5-0 out of 5 stars STUPENDOUS!!! But MAN, its heavy..., October 18, 2005
    Don't think I could add a whole lot more to what's already been said about the collection.
    However, one point thats been slightly understated is the weight. The package is big, heavy and unweildy. With each book weighing just over 7 lbs., God Forbid if you drop one of 'em on your foot.
    Also, if you're buying the collection to READ the stories, it would make more sense to buy the individual books (as many fans, including myself already have the other books and bought this as a collectors item - this is something you want preserved, not dog-eared in a year). There is a website out there that specifically lists which of the C&H books you would need to have in order to own every single strip without duplicates.

    But having said all that, and aside from any doting fanglorious discourse, what I really liked about the collection was that:
    1) Since it has the strip in chronological order, its the first opportunity to watch how Bill Watterson's artwork and style evolved over the years. It also gives you the chance to see when new characters and alter-egos of Calvin were introduced into the strip- I was a kid when C&H ran in my newspaper so I dont remember whether Rosalyn came in right from the beginning or at the end of the series, etc.
    2) The lengthy preface by the reclusive Watterson is itself worth the cost of the book. Hearing his take on how the strip came about, his philosophy on things and his piece on why he was against merchandising the characters, are all priceless bits of information. Happy Reading!
    An intersting bit of C&H trivia - Hampster Huey & the Gooey Kablooie really is a book (and you can buy it on Amazon too!).

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great books...but NOT complete., December 30, 2005
    Let me first say that Calvin and Hobbes is by far my favorite cartoon strip of all time. Even better than Far Side. When I first heard that this complete set was coming out I was thrilled! Finally all of Bill Watterson's work would be available in one deluxe book set! This is why I was kind of upset after really going through the set to find out that it's really not complete. It's very close...but definitely not complete.

    Sure this set contains all the comics that ran in the newspapers, plus the cover art for the books, and various other special pictures/poems Bill drew for the series... but if you check out some of the older Calvin & Hobbes collections that were released, you'll find a whole bunch of really funny one-picture strips mixed in with the comic strips that are not included in this set. These were never put in the newspapers, they were probably made specifically for the older collections just to fill up space. For example, one of these one-picture strips featured in the very first Calvin and Hobbes collection shows a terrified Calvin in the back of car his Mom is driving holding up a big sign to the other drivers that says he's been kidnapped. Hilarious stuff...which makes me wonder why it wasn't included in this "COMPLETE" Calvin and Hobbes set.

    Then there's also a bunch of pictures at the beginning and end of certain Calving and Hobbes colections that didn't make it to these sets. For instance, at the very end of the collection "Scientific Progess Goes Boink", there is a large picture showing Susie looking down on the sidewalk shocked to see a crude drawing of herself, while Calvin and Hobbes are laughing behind a tree. Why wasn't this included?!

    All in all, I do realize that I'm nitpicking with these left out pictures and one-picture strips. I just wish everything from all the previous collections was included, then I'd consider it truly complete. I really don't think it would have killed them to put in another dozen or so pages into this set so that everything from the older books was included. However, with that exception this collection is a must-have to any Calving and Hobbes fan. It's well-made, looks terrific, and is worth every penny. I'd like to give it five stars, but I simply have to take off one star for the missing artwork.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Recommended collection, November 12, 2005
    The collection is collected in three sturdy, handsome books. The binding is durable, the pages are thick and strong. Though the books are heavy together with the slipcase, each individual book is of a manageable heft.

    Compared to collecting the individual paperback trades, I think this collection is superior. The strips are all the larger size that Watterson wanted it to be presented for the reader, and the Sunday strips are all in full color. The rectangular shape of the later paperback trades felt flimsy and unwieldy, but with the sturdy hardcover of the collection, it feels just right. All of the extras of the treasury editions are included except for the behind-the-scenes commentary in the 10th anniversary edition. Finally, it's all less expensive than purchasing the lighter individual trades, and a more compact and safe way to store the complete collection for generations to come.

    The only reason I think to get the paperback editions is if portability is a high priority and you wanted to read the strips while on a train or outside somewhere. The collection is definitely made for indoor viewing and you would want to keep the pages smudge, dirt, and food-free (though the thick glossy stock seems easily cleanable).

    If you treasure the strip, want to save it for your own children to come, and don't intend to do a lot of portable or outdoor reading, then this collection is right for you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellently bound collection..., October 26, 2005
    This is just to correct the review below which states that the pages are glued to the spine instead of sewn. This is not true. The pages are indeed bound in signatures, 6-page signatures to be precise (I believe this is not an usual number, but the paper is thick; they are signatures all the same), 8 stitches per signature. Which to my eyes is a very good binding, as good as any hardback and better than most.

    On the other hand, I would have liked a complete cloth cover, instead of half paper-half cloth. I see the paper corners wearing out, etc. But on the glued-sewn business, there are no complaints.

    The contents themselves are well described elsewhere on this page and they are simply fantastic.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must-have for many reasons and an insight into the creator of the strip, October 9, 2005
    Many people here are probably familiar with Calvin and Hobbes, with the often manic Calvin and his comrade in adventure/escapades, Hobbes. Many have probably already bought various compilations of the comic strips and looked through them again and again. So why buy THIS collection?
    Mainly because it goes WAY beyond anything else that is already out there - and not just because it contains EVERY single one of the comic strips in one collection, nicely slipcased. Buy it because it comes closest to reflecting what Bill Watterson, creator of these comics, wanted, exceptional color quality, pretty much up to his very perfectionistic standards. Buy it because for the first time you'll see the comic in as close to perfect form as you'll find...and yes, buy it because you'll finally have all of the strips in one set.
    How much of a perfectionist was Watterson when it came to having control over his beloved characters? Well, imagine turning down a call from Steven Spielberg because you just aren't interested in collaborating with anyone, genius or not, on a work based on your comic strip. Imagine giving up lucrative contracts for lunch boxes, animated films, stuffed Calvin and Hobbes figures.
    Whether you think that turning down all those potentially lucrative opportunities was admirable or crazy, there is no denying that he poured his heart, soul and psyche into his work, not distracted by meetings about the design of a lunch box or the decal that woould appear on clothing.
    Nope, he just did his work, day in and day out, until he decided, at an early age (around 37) that he'd done enough and simply....stopped. That was a sad day for me,as I'd grown to love Calvin and Hobbes and their unique world, one in which you never really knew the names of Calvin's parents (anyone know?), one in which his teacher could morph into a monster, one that exemplified the psyche of one little boy so well and which hasn't been equaled since.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Watterson deserves the Nobel Prize for literature, October 4, 2005
    Bill Watterson's "Calvin and Hobbes" was and is a singular achievement in art, blending the distinctive fantastic integrity of George Herriman's "Krazy Kat," and Berke Breathed's "Bloom County," the simple exploration of humanity of George Schulz's enduring "Peanuts," and raising and perfecting the lesser talents of Hank Ketcham's circumscribed worldview of "Dennis the Menace," and Gary Larson's skewed humor in "Far Side." From this constellation of comparisons, Watterson's "Calvin and Hobbes" is by far the brightest star, a supernova against white dwarfs, for it also adds and reveals an interior narrative that is simultaneously whimsical, and profound and moving like the deepest texts of ancient culture. To say that Watterson has created a visual poetic achievement on the scale of The Odyssey or The Holy Bible is not overstated, for as the appearance of this volume attests, something very significant has been achieved here. And yet, like blowing the seeds of a dandelion, it also is fun.

    It has been previously noted, but frankly too little has been said, of Watterson's refusal to license the Calvin and Hobbes characters for mass market merchandising. Such costly integrity is unknown in this day and age, and therefore a text such as this merits more critical attention, for Watterson has therefore said more loudly than he ever otherwise could have that he is saying something with his art that is beyond price. He could not sell it in that way, and as he allows in his few writings outside of the comic strip itself, Calvin and Hobbes is a deeply personal creation. Perhaps most of us will never be able to create something ourselves so deeply personal, and so we must pause and attention must be paid to the artist who has, particularly the artist who has at great cost.

    Fandom has explored the philosophical dimensions of "Calvin" versus "Hobbes" in the strip, and this again points to the inexhaustible nature of this classic text, for new dimensions are emerging in online discussions even now. Apart from the artistic integrity of the illustrations, Watterson's narrative is proving to be enduring beyond generations, combining the summit of achievement in two fields. Watterson is, therefore, an American artist simultaneously equal to both Mark Twain and John James Audubon, and from his merits deserves the Nobel Prize for literature. Would that the committee had the vision, this volume would certainly be among the finest ever to be recognized.

    As I live in France, I currently am among the few in the world to enjoy "Calvin and Hobbes" daily re-runs in "The International Herald Tribune." This is always a delight, yet Watterson would weep at the compressed space in which his creation appears. This volume, therefore, corrects what many of us suffered under during "Calvin and Hobbes" print run and displays the strips in their proper originally intended size, with the Sunday features fully colored and breathtaking. For that alone this volume deserves five stars, and the additional collected material on Watterson's battle with comic space editors is always a welcome re-read.

    Watterson's deceptively simple use of line has influenced a new generation of artists, among notable ones are Aaron McGruder and his current strip "Boondocks" and children's illustrator Jeff (Jef) Kaminsky in his "Poppy and Ella" and other works. For this legacy, Watterson is to be thanked. But for this complete collection and the excellent material assembled here as a permanent library worthy edition, Watterson deserves the highest distinctions both this nation and the world can offer. Let us hope that with the appearance of "The Complete Calvin and Hobbes" this recognition is hastened.

    5-0 out of 5 stars ALL the C&H you'll ever need (well, plus the 10th Anniversary book maybe), January 27, 2006
    So happy to have this come out. Each strip is still as hilarious as the first time I read them decades ago!

    As pointed out by someone previously it does omit some of the cute little sketches that were included (possibly as filler?) in some of the books and that's a bit of a shame, but really everything else is in here and is so well done and in such high quality it's hard to complain. As others have stated, 2 of the comics which used to refer to adoption have been changed. (If you read his 10th anniversary collection he kind of talks about how some people were offended by his lumping adoption and cannibalism.) I will be keeping the 10th anniversary edition because it has introductions by him explaining his philosophy/motivations but otherwise I think this collection almost perfectly replaces having to have 14 separate books.
    I love how each page is dated so you can read it chronologically!

    The only minor flaw is what seems like 2 coloring errors. On Sunday, May 10th (I think '86 or '87) the second panel (where he says "Dead Worms") shows Calvin's shirt as white (all the other panels are in red as usual) -was this a misprint? Then on Nov. 19, 1989 in the first panel Calvin's seen dressing in the usual striped red tshirt w/ a turquoise coat. In the 3rd panel he's suddenly in a pink shirt. Then in subsequent panels he's back to the red striped shirt & blue jacket. With all the care they obviously put into this it seems a bit strange.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Words I never thought I hear: "The Complete Calvin and Hobbes.", October 6, 2005
    These are words I have longed to hear: "The Complete Calvin and Hobbes."

    Yes, I have all the previous collections, in their various iterations, but when that big hardcover "Complete Far Side" came out a few years ago, THIS was the one strip I had hoped somebody would compile. And here it is.

    I can't imagine anyone reading this far in this review who would have no exposure to this tyke and his tiger, but if you are in this small, lamentable cohort, you are among the luckiest people on Earth. You get to discover all this, all at once, much to your delight.

    The only real precursor to C&H is "Peanuts" (also being lovingly collected in beautiful hardcovers), with the deceptively simple lines and boundless imagination. However, in direct contradistinction to that strip, Calvin has never been fully merchandised. Everything that is "Calvin & Hobbes" is right here. It's a world that had a beginning and an end. It is self-contained.

    And...it's funnier.

    What you get here is three large, exquisitely detailed tomes filled with the most hilarious, hysterical, touching and surprising stories you'll ever read.

    Prose, poetry, film, comic books...just like those media, these are also complete stories. Some are told in three panels, some across weeks. Some are told magically in a single wordless panel. Wit, pathos, drama, suspense...even science fiction...all here, and all woven effortlessly and seamlessly together by Bill Watterson.

    The construction of the book itself is something to behold. The binding is hefty, the paper thick and lustrous. The color reproductions are gorgeous. All contained in an illustrated slipcase.

    I can't say enough about the strip itself. I don't think I've ever laughed harder at anything in my life. I've seen funny movies, heard comedians give killer lines during stand-up...but the convulsive, explosive laughter that this little guy generates is, I believe, unique.

    This is something a lot of people will treasure for the rest of their lives. You will want your kids to read this. And their kids.

    Now they'll be able to! ... Read more


    20. Big Nate: From the Top
    by Lincoln Peirce
    Paperback
    list price: $9.99 -- our price: $9.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1449402321
    Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
    Sales Rank: 793
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Big Nate, a.k.a. middle schooler Nate Wright, is eleven years old, four-and-a-half feet tall, and the wunderkind creation of cartoonist Lincoln Peirce. Nate is also the star of six novelized books to be published by HarperCollins, the first of which debuted on the New York Times children's best-seller list. This Big Nate Collection collects Peirce's Big Nate strips, originally published only in newspapers.

    For those not familiar with Big Nate, think Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets Calvin and Hobbes. Nate is a self-described genius and a sixth-grade Renaissance man equipped with only a #2 pencil and the unshakable belief that he is destined for greatness (a fortune cookie told him so). He fights a daily battle against overzealous teachers, undercooked cafeteria food, and all-around conventionality. He's the original rebel without a clue, alternately abrasive and endearing to classmates and teachers alike. Throughout Peirce's Big Nate Collection, Nate blazes an unforgettable trail through the sixth grade at P.S. 38, earning straight As in laughs (and numerous detentions) along the way. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars loved it., December 3, 2010
    My 8 year old has read and loved the Diary of a Whimpy Kid books and the Captain Underpants books. He was thrilled when I got him the Big Nate books. He's read them all and can't wait for the next one! ... Read more


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