Missed last week– sorry about that, things got a little crazy. I’m trying to get together a good Halloween post, so be on the lookout for that. And I have been reading! So let’s get into it.

Vanity Fair

I really tried, guys, but I don’t think I’m going to finish this one. I would imagine if I read and understood more Victorian literature than I currently do, this book would make a lot more sense to me and probably be hilarious. But as it is, I just don’t think I have the cultural experience to get it. I get that it’s supposed to be funny. But I don’t get the joke, I guess.

I’ll maybe come back to it when I’m more familiar with this period of lit, but for now, I need to move on.

Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 4 + 5

I love Fullmetal Alchemist. I’ve watched both series (which, last I checked, are currently entirely on Netflix!!) and I’ve been very slowly working my way through the manga. I’ve never been much of a manga buyer, as much as I am a fan of comics. However, I consider any version Fullmetal Alchemist to be a must-see for writers, regardless of genre. You can learn so much about world building, character creation and development, foreshadowing and plot structure, the proper handling of Macguffins– it’s fantastic.

Vol. 4 of the Manga picks up where Vol. 3 left off in Labratory 5. Envy and Lust are forced to save Ed from the imminent explosion, but Ed has been badly wounded from fighting and his automail arm (basically a dieselpunk robotic prosthetic) is busted so he has to have Winry, his automail mechanic, come to Central for repairs. Ed and Al have a fight over something Barry the Chopper said to Al during their fight at Lab 5, while Winry goes to Elicia Hughes’ birthday party (she’s 3 now!). Lt. Col. Hughes, meanwhile, has discovered something interesting regarding the philosopher’s stone. Yeah, it’s that volume.

In Vol. 5, Ed and Al are headed south to visit their teacher, but they take a detour to Rush Valley, the Mecca of Automail Engineering, at the behest of Winry. While they’re there, Ed has the watch that proves his rank as a State Alchemist stolen by a girl named Paninya, whose legs are both automail. Winry is determined to become the apprentice of the engineer that build Paninya’s legs. When Ed and Al make it to Dublith to meet with their teacher, Izumi Curtis, she realizes that Ed and Al committed the ultimate taboo and attempted human transmutation. The final chapter of the volume is an extended flashback to when the brothers met Izumi and the beginning of their alchemy training.

Rating: 5/5 — again, a must read for any writer. If you’ve thought of it, Hiromu Arakawa has done it, and will show you how to do it right.



Next week: I’ve been working through Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, so expect that coming soon. I think The Martian is next after that.


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