Some reference reading, some graphic novels: this week in books (#SFWApro)

THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO EVERYDAY LIFE IN COLONIAL AMERICA From 1607-1783 by Dale Taylor was one of a series of books put out by Writer’s Digest providing background information on political structures, religion, travel, career paths, dress fashions, food and so forth (I have similar books for Victorian England and Renaissance England). Good, though there are some points I’m not sure he’s right about (the book Sexual Revolution in Early North America argues that more colonists than we realize did without church weddings) and the books focus on white Europeans limits its scope (though as Taylor notes, he can’t cover everything). Still useful.

THE CURIOUS MAP BOOK by Ashley Baynton-Williams is a collection of five hundred-plus years of eccentric maps. The cover map, for example (all rights to image remain with current holder) is a political allegory showing Great Britain as St. George slaying the dragon of Prime Minister Gladstone. Other maps are games (racing around the Great Capitals of the World, for instance) and maps done as jigsaws. Interesting to flip through but not really to read — most of the map games are so alike the text mostly notes who did it and when, plus details of play.

SHATTERED WARRIOR by Sharon Shinn and Molly Knox Ostertag is a familiar setting of alien-occupied Earth, where a down-and-out former rich girl gets involved with a member of the local street gang/resistance. Way too by-the-numbers for my taste.

BOUNDLESS by Jillian Tamaki likewise failed to hold me. This collection of graphic short stories has some interesting moments, like a woman’s obsession with Mirror Facebook (mirror you is just like your profile, only different!) but overall it didn’t click.

NEXUS Vol. 7 by Mike Baron and Steve Rude has several interesting one-shots, such as a story where Nexus tries tricking his targets into whacking each other. Then there’s the advance of several plotline, including the Martian massacre, the gravity well threat and the Loomis sisters trying to contact Nexus’ patron, the Merk. Unfortunately we also get a return to the Bowl Shaped World, which I didn’t much care for the first time. Overall, though, very good.

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