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Archive for the ‘Puzzles’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD-Flying Microtonal Banana (2017).

2017 was a massive year for KGATLW as they pledged (and kept that pledge) to release five albums in the year.  This was the first.

Flying Microtonal Banana starts with the same sort of relentless frenzy that Nonagon Infinity had.  Just witness the stomping, grooving repetition of “Rattlesnake,” a catchy, 7 minute song whose lyrics are primarily “rattlesnake.”

The difference comes in the title of the record.  It’s not banana, it’s microtonal.  The banana in question is the yellow microtonal guitar that Stu Mackenzie uses on the album (and live).  It’s a custom-made guitar modified for microtonal tuning, which allows for intervals smaller than the semitones of Western music.  Since the new guitar could only be played with similarly tuned instruments, the rest of the band got their gear tricked out with microtonal capabilities.

This gives many of the songs a distinctly Middle-Eastern sound.  As does the inclusion of the zurna, a wind instrument which is almost constantly loud, high-pitched, sharp, and piercing.  Not an inviting description, but the instrument adds some interesting sounds and textures to the disc.  “Rattlesnake” is so catchy, though, that the zurna just feels like one more component.

“Melting” lets up the intensity with a wonderful guitar/vocal melody and some great synth accents.  As the song grooves along there’s some cool sounds and textures throughout the vocals and background sounds.  The solo comes from a slightly distorted synth–the ever-rising melody is catchy but leaves you wanting more.  The microtones really come out in the middle of the song, where the guitar/vocal melody experiments with all the various microtones that their instruments could achieve.

“Open Water” has a ringing guitar melody and a sinister chorus about open water.

Open water
Where’s the shore gone?
How’d I falter?
Open water
Height of the sea
Will bury me
And all I see is
Open water

There’s a very cool microtonal guitar solo throughout the middle of the song.   When the zurna comes in it brings a whole new kind of tension.

The rest of the album is made up of shorter songs.  They don’t exactly segue into each other, but they do feel like a suite of sorts.  Except that each one focuses on a different style (not at all unusual for KGATLW).

“Sleep Drifter” is sung in a near whisper, almost comforting, as it follows the nifty rising chorus melody.  The interstitial guitar riff is really cool, too.  “Billabong Valley” returns to their Western style from earlier albums.  It is sung by Ambrose in his very different vocal style.  There’s a staccato piano and an interesting western-inspired microtonal riff.  “Anoxia” slows things down with a twisty guitar.  The zurna contributes to a trippy ending.

“Doom City” sounds like early Black Sabbath with deep notes and a strangely hippie tone with lots of echo.  Then it picks up speed and adds some wild zurna tones.  There’s even some high-pitched laughs giving an even weirder feel.  I love that the speed jumps between slow and ponderous and speedy and hurried. “Nuclear Fusion” has a staccato rhythm.  For this one, not only does the lead vocal follow the interesting guitar melody, but there’s a deep harmony voice following along as well.   I always love when they add organ sounds to the song, like this one.  And the deep voices as the beginning and end are pretty awesome.

The final track is the instrumental title song.  It explores all manner of microtonal solos both on guitar and zurna.  It opens with bongos and congos and just takes off from there with the screeching zurna melody.  It’s catchy and weird like t he rest of the album and it ends with the winds blowing things away.

That’s the banana itself on the right.

[READ: January 2019] Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

I was attracted to this book because of the title.  I knew literally nothing about it, but the blurb called it a smart, twisty crime novel.  I typically don’t read crime novels, but I’ve had pretty good luck with books set in bookstores, so it seemed worth taking a chance.

And, wow, what a delightfully convoluted story.  It was absolutely full of surprises and puzzles.  In the past I would have tried to figure out he puzzles myself, but since the answers to the puzzles were given right after the puzzles were shown, I got lazy and let the book do the work for me.   And what a fascinating bunch of characters Sullivan has created.

Lydia Smith works at the Bright Ideas Bookshop in Denver.  She has been there for a while, but she’s keeping a low profile.  She grew up in Denver and had a reasonably good childhood.  Then, suddenly something horrific happened and she and her father moved into a remote cabin outside of Denver where neighbors were nowhere near.  Her father, who was once a loving librarian too a job at a county prison and became a hardened policeman.

The event is hinted at in the beginning.  In the middle we get a vivid description of her perception of the event.  The rest of the story unpacks it.

After living in the woods, Lydia left her father, without saying a word.  She returned to Denver and hadn’t spoken to him for years.

She loves the security of the Bright Ideas Bookstore.  The store is populated by the Book Frogs, old men mostly, who spend hours and hours here browsing books.  They are all eccentric in some respect, but they are harmless–and most are thoughtful.

But as the book opens, one of the younger Book Frogs, Joey Molina, her favorite one, hangs himself–right upstairs in Western History.  She tried to take him down, to save him, to do something.  But she was too late.  As she was trying be helpful, she saw that he had a picture in his hand.  It was a picture of her when she was a little girl.  A picture she had never seen before.

What a great opening chapter! (more…)

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[LISTENED TO: August 2018] The Sixty-Eight Rooms

Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell

I didn’t know this story, nor did I know anything about the Thorne rooms before our trip to Chicago last summer.

So the Thorne Rooms are, well, I’ll let the Art Institute of Chicago’s website describe them:

The 68 Thorne Miniature Rooms enable one to glimpse elements of European interiors from the late 13th century to the 1930s and American furnishings from the 17th century to the 1930s. Painstakingly constructed on a scale of one inch to one foot, these fascinating models were conceived by Mrs. James Ward Thorne of Chicago and constructed between 1932 and 1940 by master craftsmen according to her specifications.

Read more about them and see pictures here.  That description doesn’t really do justice to the rooms themselves.

They are really magical in the way that they fully represent a room from a specific time and place.  The floor, ceilings, walls and furniture all meet exacting standard of detail.  And what makes them somehow even more special is that each room shows rooms out of the side and back doors.  These are lit (and show a painted facade) that indicates what is just beyond the walls of the room you are looking at.  It really adds a lot of depth and character to a scene.

Seeing them in person was really wonderful.

T. and I had started listening to this book before we left for Chicago, but we decided to wait until our trip to save it for the whole family.  Then we wound up not listening to it until the home, after we had seen the rooms.  And I feel like that made it all the more special. Because I could see exactly what the kids were doing in this fun and bizarre adventure. (more…)

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harper septSOUNDTRACK: PHISH-Junta (1989).

juntaI’ve been listening to a lot of live Phish as of late and thought it would be interesting to see if there was truth to the adage that Phish is great live but not so great in the studio.  So here is their first official album.  It was released as a double album, and when it was reissued on CD some bonus material was added.  Incidentally, I just found out that the album if pronounced “juhnta” and not “hoonta” because of the engineer they worked with.

The album starts with “Fee” which is a fun song (the lyrics are wonderfully weird) and they don’t play it all that much so it’s a treat to listen to.  I enjoy the way the verses sound compressed and distant but the choruses are nice and full.  There’s also some funny and interesting sound effects (some of which accentuate the action) throughout the song. This sound effects and noises processing has been with Phish from the beginning and they kept it up through many of their earlier, less mature albums. “You Enjoy Myself” is a live favorite so it’s fun to hear it in this version.  As with a lot of their earlier records, this song sounds a little stiff, especially if you’ve heard the wild live versions. It’s not bad at all, indeed, it has a perfectionist quality to it—the time changes are perfect, the solos are flawless.  Indeed, it’s quite an achievement (and in this more polished version it sounds more like Yes than their live versions ever did).  Interestingly when we finally get to the lyrical section (about 5 minutes in) it’s quite a bit slower than they play live.

“Esther” sounds much more theatrical here.  The music is gorgeous and there are lots of effects and backing vocals which bring a bit more menace to the song than the live version possesses. This also had a very prog rock sensibility to it.  “Golgi Apparatus” has a lot more in the way of backing vocals than the live version.  And “Foam” has some changes: the bass is especially loud and funky and yet the pace is so much slower than I’m used to.  The odd thing is the kind of stiff way that the lead vocals enunciate everything.  And the deep voice (Mike?) is quite amusing at the end of the song.  “Dinner and a Movie” is a fun and silly song and this version is especially enjoyable because of the backing voices and chatter and laughter which illustrate the dinner (and presumably the movie).

“Divided Sky” has a beautiful melody and it’s nice to hear it played so pretty and simply here.  But again the remarkable thing is how much slower the song is here.  “David Bowie” also sounds great (there’s all kinds of weird sounds effects in the background of the (very long) soloing section—I have no idea why or what they might be).  The solo sounds like it was maybe done in one take as there’s a couple spots where it’s not “right,” (whether flubs or intentional is hard to say) but it still sounds terrific.  In fact a number of tracks have some little flubs which makes it seem like they either didn’t mind or tried for a more live feel.

“Fluffhead” sounds solid and like the live versions.  What I never realized until I actually paid attention is that the bulk of the music (the extended jam session) is called “Fluff’s Travels.”  “Flulfhead is only 3 and a half minutes, while “Fluff’s Travels” is over 11 minutes (it opens with the beginning of the guitar solo–the catchy riff that starts the lengthy jam).  “Contact” is a delightfully silly song about tires and cars that I’ve always enjoyed and find myself singing often because the melody is so simple.

What’s funny is that the end of “Contact” kind of bleeds into “Union Federal” which is listed as a live song (and clocks in at over 25 minutes long).  This “Union Federal” is an improvisational jam (or an Oh Kee Pah Ceremony—where the guys would get together with instruments (and other things) and jam for a time.  This song is weird with many layers—and is rather typical of one of Phish’s weirder jazz –flavored improv sections (meaning that there is a lot of dissonance and noise).  It’s quite jarring especially after all of the melodies and prettiness of the album proper.  And I can see a lot of people not being happy about its inclusion.  “Sanity” on the other hand is a fun song.  In the intro, they keep claiming the song is by Jimmy Buffett. They are clearly very silly in this setting, especially at the end of the song.  The final track is a live version of “Icculus” the song which is pretty much all buildup.  In the intro they quote U2 “This is red rocks, this is the edge.”  But the “joke” of this version is that Trey keeps postponing the name of the person who wrote the name of the Helping Friendly Book–stalling in any way he can.  As the song gets louder and louder and more absurd, the guys are even more frenetic.  It takes over 3 and a half minutes to get to the proper lyrics of the song.   And then the song itself is about 15 seconds.  Absurd nonsense.  But very amusing.

So this is quite a solid debut album, and the amount of songs that they still play live shows how fond everyone is of it.

[READ: October 2, 2013]  “Wrong Answer”

I didn’t hate Algebra.  I rather like solving puzzles so I enjoyed solving for x.  Algebra II I recall being more daunting and less fun with lots of formulae to memorize.  And, unlike everything promised, I have never used any of it in my adult life (geometry and angles, sure, but not logarithms).  According to this article the new United States CORE curriculum (which I know my son is dealing with already in 3rd grade) says that high school graduates must have Algebra II.

The reasons for this intensification in the studying of math are many (starting around the time of Ronald Reagan) but the current push comes from Arne Duncane, the U.S. secretary of education.  He believes that “algebra is a key, maybe the key to success in college.  Students who have completed Algebra II in high school are twice as likely to earn degree as those who didn’t.”  Whether or not that is true, those of us who earned a degree in nonmathematical  subjects certainly were not aided by this class.  But Nicholson Baker explains that the reason this might be true is that for most colleges, Algebra II is a prerequisite.  Ergo: if you don’t take Algebra II you can’t get into college because colleges require Algebra II.  That, for those who may not have taken logic–a far more useful course than Algebra II in daily life–is called a tautological fallacy.  [Indeed, I maintain that all high school students should have to take a course in logic because they would then be able to see through all of the builshit that politicians spill and claim to be logic.  Like the current (as I type this) government shutdown in which Republicans are claiming they didn’t want to shut down the government when they in fact signed papers saying they were going to shut down the government).]

The real problem with Duncan’s postulate that everyone should take Algebra II (“airplane mechanics do complex measurements and work with proportions and ratios…X-ray technicians calculate time exposures to capture the cleanest possible image.  Most factory workers need to understand Algebra II or even some trigonometry to operate complex manufacturing electronic equipment”) is that even if that were true (I don’t have any idea of it is or not), most people do not do those kinds of jobs.  And even if they did know higher math, they would still be salesmen, graphic artists, librarians, preschool teachers, custodians and many many other jobs that in no way require math. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN-“Für Elise”

I didn’t know a lot of the music mentioned in this book, but like most people, I know and enjoy “Für Elise.”  It’s an interesting choice of music to end such a crazy chaotic story, although I suppose there are some less than peaceful moments ion the song too.  It’s a shame Bast never gets to play it.

I find the most engaging moments to be when the lone high note comes before the reintroduction of the initial melody.  The middle, minor key section that sounds kind of menacing is also neat–a big switch from the delicate opening.

Why not take 3 minutes and enjoy it now:

[READ: Week of August 20, 2012] JR Week 10

The end is here.  After endlessly interrupted conversations, the book has actually hit a period.

As the last week ended, Bast was being dropped off at the hospital by Coen.  And the bulk of the end of the book takes place in the hospital.  There are many similarities between this book and a big 60s/70s comedy romp, and here is another one–all the characters seems to pile into one location for a big finale.  (Technically the finale happens at Bast’s house, but you get the idea). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: MOGWAI-Come on Die Young (1999).

Mogwai’s second full length record goes in a slightly different direction than Young Team. Although it is still full of somewhat lengthy instrumentals, for the most part, the loud and quiet dynamic that they’ve been mastering over their EPs and Young Team is dismissed for a more atmospheric quality.  There’s also a few vocal aspects that comprise some tracks.  One in particular is very puzzling.

The disc opens with “Punk Rock.”  The music is actually not punk at all; rather, it’s a pretty melody that plays behind a rant about punk rock spoken by Iggy Pop. It’s followed by “Cody,” a kind of  sweet slow song.  This one surprises even more because it has gentle vocals which are actually audible.  The track is surprisingly soporific for Mogwai.

And then comes the real puzzler, “Helps Both Ways” is another slow track. But this time in the background is a broadcast of an American football game.  The announcers begin by telling us about an 89 yard run that was called back due to a penalty, but the game stays on throughout the track.  And I have to admit I get more absorbed in the game than the music. After these few quiet tracks,”Year 2000 Non-Compliant Cardia” is a little louder (with odd effects).  It’s also much more angular than songs past.

“Kappa” is the song in which I realized that much of the songs here are more guitar note based rather than the washes of sounds and noise.  “Waltz for Aidan” is indeed a waltz, another slow track.  It’s followed by “May Nothing” an 8 minute track which, despite its length, never gets heavy or loud or noisy.

“Oh! How the Dogs Stack Up” changes things.  It features a distorted piano which creates a very eerie 2 1/2 minutes.  And it leads into the 9 minute “Ex Cowboy.”  Although the general feeling of “Ex Cowboy” is mellow, there are some squealing guitars and noises as well.  By about 6-minutes the song turns really chaotic, its “Chocky” is another 9-minute song (the disc is very backheavy), there’s noise faintly in the background as a simple piano melody is plucked out.  It’s probably the prettiest melody on the disc, and the noisy background keep its unexpected.  The disc more or less ends with “Christmas steps.”  This is a rerecording of the awesome track from the No Education = No Future (Fuck the Curfew) EP.  It is shorter but slower and it sounds a little more polished than the EP. I actually prefer the EP version, but  this one is very good as well (it’s honestly not that different).

“Punk Rock/Puff Daddy/Antichrist” ends the disc with a fun track sounds like a drunken Chinese western  It’s two minutes of backwards sounds and is actually less interesting than its title.

This is definitely their album I listen to least.

[READ: March 15, 2011] Icelander

It’s hard to even know where to begin when talking about this story.  So I’ll begin by saying that even though it was confusing for so many reasons, I really enjoyed it (and the confusions were cleared up over time).  This story has so many levels of intrigue and obfuscation, that it’s clear that Long thought quite hard about it (and had some wonderful inspirations).

The book opens with a Prefatory note from John Treeburg, Editor (who lives in New Uruk City).  The note informs us that the author of Icelander assumes that you, the reader, will be at least a little familiar with Magnus Valison’s series The Memoirs of Emily Bean.  As such, he has included notes for clarification.  He has also included a Dramatis Personae.  The characters in the Dramatis Personae are the characters from Valison’s series (not necessarily Icelander), and are included here for context.  He also notes that his afterward will comment on the disputed authorship of this very novel.

The Dramatis Personae lists the fourteen people who Valison wrote about inThe Memoirs of Emily Bean.  Except, we learn pretty early on that the The Memoirs were based directly on the actual diaries of the actual woman Emily Bean Ymirson.  Emily Bean died in 1985, but before she died she was an extraordinary anthropologist and criminologist.  She kept meticulous journals of all of her exploits, and Valison fictionalized it (to some people’s chagrin, but to general acclaim).

Emily Bean was also the mother of Our Heroine.  Our Heroine is, indeed, the heroine of Icelander, although her real name is never given.  We learn pretty early on is that Our Heroine’s friend Shirley MacGuffin has been killed.  MacGuffin was an aspiring author (whose only published work appears on a bathroom wall).  Her final text was meant to be a recreation of Hamlet.  Not Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but Hamlet as written by Thomas Kyd.  And, indeed, Kyd’s Hamlet predated Shakespeare’s.

There’s also a lot of excitement with The Vanatru.  The Vanatru lived underground, and had a serious quarrel with surface dwellers who worked hard at keeping them down. The Queen of the Vanatru is Gerd.  She controls the Refurserkir, an inhuman race of fox-shirted spirit warriors who appear literally out of nowhere.

Okay, so how confused are you now? (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: My Volkwagen Jetta hates The Beatles.

Lately, I have been playing some Beatles discs in my car.  And my Jetta clearly hates them.

First it was Please Please Me, when the entire CD player shut off mid-song.  It had lost all power.  I had to bang on it for about 5 minutes before it came back on.

The player played other discs fine after that.  Then, last night I played A Hard Day’s Night and half way through the disc it shut itself off again.  This time I was able to power it back on, but it wouldn’t play the disc anymore.  I ejected it and put in a new disc which worked fine.  When I put A Hard Day’s Night back in, same spot on the disc (“Can’t Buy Me Love”), and the player was totally off: no power at all.

A bit more pounding on the face and it came back on, and today played a Rheostatics disc with no trouble.  I guess I’ll not be listening to The Beatles in the car again.  Is it because the Beatles recorded versions of their songs in German but they weren’t included on the disc?

[READ: May 8, 2010] The Clock Without a Face

This review is about my first read of this book.  When I get to the end you’ll realize why there will have to be a second read and updated review.

This is an amusing tale.  And also a confounding (and evidently very real–see the bottom paragraph!–) mystery. (more…)

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ny1It took me going to Seattle to learn about The New Yorker magazine.  I was visiting my friend Rob and he was really surprised that I didn’t read the magazine all the time (my reading always seems to surprise people, see The Believer.)

Upon my first read of the magazine, I was surprised to see that the first twenty pages or so are taken up with upcoming shows: films, concerts, sports, everything.  I actually wondered how much content would be left after all that small print.

Since then I have learned that Sasha Frere-Jones writes columns in here quite ofuiten.  For reasons known only to my head, I was convinced that Sasha was a black woman.  Little did I realize that he is not.  And that he was in a band that I have a CD of called Ui.  He is an excellent resource for all things music, whether I like the artist he’s talking about or not.  Some entries are here.  This audio entry about Auto-Tune is simply fantastic.

But of course, there’s a lot of content.  And the first thing you get are letters.  I don’t think I have EVER looked at the letters section. (more…)

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wholphinThis is a periodical I haven’t mentioned before.  Wholphin is a “DVD Magazine of Rare and Unseen Short Films.”  So yes, the reason I hadn’t mentioned it is because it is a DVD and not a book.  However, as I have been watching Vols 1-8 over the last few months, I have noticed that a few writerly names keep cropping up in the credits.  Plus, it’s got that whole McSweeney’s connection.

So lets look at some of the folks who have turned up on these videos:

  • Spike Jonze with an amazing documentary about Al Gore (that will make you weep all over again about the 2000 election).
  • Miranda July with a short film.
  • David O. Russell (with a post-Three Kings documentary).
  • Bob Odenkirk has several entries on several DVDs
  • A short film by Taika Waititi who did the crazy New Zealand film Eagle vs Shark.
  • There’s a Japanese version of Bewitched with bonus subtitles by Daniel Handler (among others).
  • Daniel Handler also “revoices” a short film Darling Darling starring Michael Cera and a horse-headed man. (John Cleese does another “revoicing”).
  • Michael Chabon’s short story “House Hunting” adapted as a film (starring Paul Rudd and Zooey Deschanel).
  • Evany Thomas (and others) rescripted the subtitles to Schastlivy Vmeste the Russian Married…With Children.  And hers is extremely enjoyable.  She gives up on the show about ten minutes in and then just starts riffing on all manner of things.  I laughed harder at this than I had any right to.
  • “New Boy” is adapted from a Roddy Doyle short story.
  • “Love You More” an adaptation of the short story “Peter Shelly” by Patrick Marber.
  • “The Discipline of De” is adapted from a William S. Burroughs short story.

There is also (from Vol #1) my favorite short deliciousfilm possibly ever by Scott Prendergast called “The Delicious” which you can watch, and I encourage you to, here.

Although “Stairway at St. Paul” is also awesome, and that’s available here.)

There’s also “Heavy Metal Jr.” a great documentary of a metal band made up of pre-teens–available here.

Oh wait, and there’s an amazing documentary about Rubik’s Cube that will blow your mind (if you haven’t played with a cube in a decade), called “Piece by Piece.”

Oh yeah, and “Sour Death Balls” is hilarious and available here.

Even though these films are available online, it would be best to purchase the DVDs from here at http://www.wholphindvd.com.  There’s even a Best of, which features most of the films I mentioned above.  In fact, you should just subscribe, because that will guarantee that they keep releasing these gems on video.

In addition to the random assortment above there are international animations, short nature films, 45 minutes movies, and everything in between.  It’s a wonderful way to see short films that you never knew existed.

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masksSOUNDTRACK: PEARL JAM-Vitalogy (1994).

vitalI always think of this as the “weird” Pearl Jam disc.  Mostly that’s because the contents are certainly weird (in that it’s made up like an old book, including excerpts from the book in the liner notes).  But also because it has some of Pearl Jam’s strangest songs on it, especially “Hey Foxymophandlemama, That’s Me,” easily one of the weirdest songs in their canon, and possibly the weirdest song on a major label.  It’s 7 minutes of samples and scratchy guitars.  And it’s more than a little creepy.  The disc also contains “Bugs” an accordion-based rant about, well, bugs. and “Aye Davanita” a sort of Eastern chanting type piece.

And so I tend to let these oddities overshadow the fact that Vitalogy is an amazing album full of some of Pearl Jam’s classic tracks.

The disc opens with “Last Exit” a song that packs in everything that Pearl Jam is known for: rocking guitars, a great chorus and a great guitar solo.  It’s followed by PJ’s ode to vinyl singles, “Spin the Black Circle,” a fast and furious punk song, not unlike “Whipping.”  Next is “Not For You” a slow builder that ends in some raucous screaming.  And “Tremor Christ”, whatever that means, continues in this rocking vein.

Then we get to “Nothingman” the first ballad on the record.  I never really cared for this song all that much, although after rocking out this record, I’ve been singing “Nothingman” for the last few days.  I guess I do actually like it.  I think the live version tends to have more oomph, though.

“Corduroy” is another classic Pearl Jam song, it opens slow, but builds to an infinitely singable chorus…no idea what corduroy has to do with the sing though.

“Better Man” is a wonderful ballad and is one of Sarah’s favorite songs.  It’s always a crowd pleaser .  The album ends with “Immortality” (except for “Foxymophandle…”) a great song of longing that really comes alive live.

And so, Vitalogy really is an amazing record. The eccentricities of the disc do not overshadow the great music at all, and it is easily one of the best.

[READ: May 2007 & April 21 & 22, 2009] Ulysses Moore Books 1, 2 & 3 & 4

I started this series almost two years ago.  In the midst of Sacred Games, I needed a break and this little series seemed ideal.  It’s a suspenseful mystery about three kids on the island of Kilmore Cove.  I had intended to read the third book, but it didn’t come out until a  few months later, and, believe it or not, my library never got a copy of it.

I had intended to write about the series back in May of 2007, and yet I didn’t.  Now that I’ve finished the fourth book, and will continue to read the series, I’ll start the write ups now.  (According to Wikipedia, there are eight [UPDATED: 11/16 there are now NINE] books in the series already, although only 4 have been translated into English at this point).

Scholastic doesn’t seem to know what to do with this series, which is a bit of a shame.  In fact, there’s very little about this series online.  I couldn’t even find a cover picture of books 3 or 4 that matched the style of 1 and 2.  (Leading me to believe that they were never released in hardcover).  It’s marketed as  a good series for fans of Spiderwick, and I guess that’s true, but they are not doing much to gain an audience for it. (more…)

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