Thursday, April 21, 2011

Deadly Books and Militant Librarians, Oh My!

I simply don't read enough. I spend entirely too much time on Facebook, driving my daughter to and from school, and sleeping. I love sleeping...

This is a problem, though, for as a librarian, I'm kind of expected to have book recommendations handy at the drop of a hat. Or text message. (Side note: in the past few weeks, I've given book recommendations via text messaging and Facebook messaging. That's what happens when your friends remember they know a librarian. :D)

I've found a bit of a solution, though: MANGA! They're quick (once you figure out which side to start from) and always interesting...even if the only interesting part is the figuring out how to read them...Just kidding, Kristin - I know how to read 'em now, I promise!

Now, not being at all familiar with manga/anime, I have to rely on others to point me towards books, and thankfully my coworker Merideth does this often.  I have her to thank for one of the books I'll writing about today. The other I happened across while shelving - hooray for taking more books home than I shelved! Sigh...

The super plus side to both of these manga is that they are about books and libraries.  Well, maybe that's not a plus for you, but it is for this librarian nerd.

The Reading Club, Vol. 1, by Cho Ju-Hee, artist: Suh Yun-Young
After being forced to work in her school's library, a freshman girl discovers a literally (heh, heh) deadly book that her dreamy fellow library worker may already know about...

A) I run two book clubs and am a member of two others, so the title grabbed me.
B) And then the cover creeped me out, which was even better.
C) Wait, a medical examiner (also with possible previous knowledge of this evil book) plays practical jokes on her assistants by pretending to be a dead body that - surprise! - comes back to life?

This is an oddball of a book, as it seems like a mix of The Ring and shojo, but I'm told this isn't uncommon. Either way, it was an interesting read and suitably creepy!

Library Wars: Love and War, Vol. 1, by Kiiro Yumi
Iku Kasahara has wanted to join the Library Defense Forces since the day a Defense Force agent saved her 'offensive' book from Media Betterment Committee censors, but soon realizes that becoming both a librarian and an elite soldier is a lot of work. Especially when your adorable instructor doesn't seem to like you much...

A) Militant librarians armed and fighting against censorship? Cool!
B) A world where the war between library defense agents and the censors is so violent that death incurred during these conflicts has been decriminalized? Yikes!
C) A young woman tough enough to perhaps be the first woman on the elite force? Awesome!

This was another bizarre mix of serious and cute - the conflict the forces face with censors is very real (so real, in fact, that Kasahara doesn't tell her parents what she's really training for), while her pratfalls and chibi emotional outbursts are comical. As strange as I find that mix to be, I still adored this book and immediately put volumes 2-5 on hold. So you'll have to wait for me to finish before you can read 'em! : P

1 comment:

Kristin said...

I enjoyed the shojo horror aspect of Reading Club too!