Wednesday, December 30, 2009

GROG - Love*Com (Lovely Complex) Volumes 4-7

(Or "The Philosopher Musician thinks plotting is like a glacier" and "Why am I still reading this?")

Title: Love*Com (Lovely Complex) Volumes 4-7
Author: Aya Nakahara
Illustrator Aya Nakahara
Copyright: 2001 (Japan) 2008 (Viz)
Price: $8.99 each
Vol. 4: 978-1-4215-1538-0
Vol. 5: 978-1-4215-1738-4
Vol. 6: 978-1-4215-1739-1
Vol. 7: 978-1-4215-1740-7 (Library copy labeled “Printed in Canada”)
Summary: Risa and Otani are still the crazy comedy duo in their class with their public fights. While the fights take a more slapstick turn in these volumes, they still seem to only communicate by yelling at each other. In volume 4, everyone but Otani recognizes who Risa has a crush on, but she is still determined. In volume 5, while Risa is feeling bummed by events in the last book, a chance encounter with her and Otani’s favorite musician and his family renews her hope. In volume 6, Otani finally reciprocates her Valentine’s Gift only to get sick the day before. At the pressuring of her friends, she goes to visit him, has her first kiss, only to learn he doesn’t remember it. There is also the introduction of a new rival. In volume 7, Risa tells Otani she is going to quit, once and for all, but he tells her not to. Are her feelings finally being returned?
Thoughts: Risa and Otani seem to FINALLY become a couple at the end of volume 7, but it is still not confirmed. I’m also finding and not enjoying that Risa is letting herself be yanked around quite a bit and, in some ways, being abused by Otani (physically and emotionally). Risa and Otani seem to be two average middle school students instead of third year high school students. In volume 7, the topic of “going out” is discussed and a must read for anyone wondering what kids these days mean by this. While the verbal and physical abuse on both sides is a bit annoying and slapstick, this is one of the few “clean” romances I’ve seen geared toward high school teens.
Will Teens Like It? Probably, but mainly those who like romantic comedies.
Things to be aware of: Surprisingly not much! Slapping, punching, fighting in school, typical teen situations.
Bonus: The books I reviewed were library copies. 

The Philosopher Musician thinks I’m nuts to keep reading this series. I’ve complained about it a lot because the characters are taking FOREVER to get to become a couple! Yet, I can’t seem to put it down when I start reading.

At least up to volume 7, this is one of the few graphic novels I’d recommend for a school setting as it is clean of language, sexual situations, and nudity. This is very rare in popular manga.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

SLJ Cover - Yet another voice

So, the library book review blogosphere is buzzing with the controversy over School Library Journal's "November Cover."

For a recap, here's the link...with comments from others.

What are this Little Librarian's thoughts on it? Well, thanks to ReadingRants on Twitter, I knew the photo shoot was 1.) during daylight hours and 2.) no drinking was really occuring. Either way, the choice of a bar for the photo still didn't make sense to me until someone mentioned (in the comments) the quote is a play off of a beer ad. To be frank, that was a creative idea and I really enjoyed the "This Blog's for You!" as a hook to get me to look at the article.The article itself is very well written and I gained a lot of new knowledge and resources in preparing this blog ("graphic novel reviews for librarians by a librarian who loves graphic novels and other stuff").

The photo: Well, I really don't have any thoughts on it. As a 20-something librarian, I am not surprised about the drinking side of things. Librarians drink. Only about 10% of the librarians I know don't drink (me included for personal reasons). Think back to the last conference you attended. Think back to the latest SCHOOL librarian conference you attended. Every social event included some sort of drinking event at least once a day. I met a favorite author at a drinking thing. I ran into my mentors at open bar in the hotel lobby. Both at a school librarian conference. On the other hand, at public librarian conferences it seems expected we drink.

Friends, librarians drink (water, beer, wine, tea, coffee, chocolate milk, etc).

Also, who sees SLJ in your school? If you are good about your mail, it goes in a box and you read it in the office because heaven forbid you should be caught reading it at the desk (this is my opinion - I could be wrong, but that's me). Also, the only people who see this professional title are other teachers and yourself. Students generally don't know it exists. Believe me on this one. Photos don't influence children and teens to drink, people do. Besides, by the time a child is six, they know about bars and drinking. How they understand that is different. In my opinion, the cover is harmless and at first glance, you don't know it's a bar, especially from a distance. Heck, I had to search for the martinis because I didn't realize they were there.

In fact, the children's librairan and myself discussed this cover and we were saying "Who do you think is the more friendly person?"

If you have a problem with the cover, I am going to be blunt: wake up. Realize we are human and realize we drink. Realize that the "tea-drinking" librarian is a stereotype and it's time to move on or you'll be left behind.