The piles on the floor right now merit a veritable ballet on my part. Too bad it's a performance no one ever sees. XD
In any case, I started on The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox last night...and decided I wasn't in the mood for anything serious. So, I switched tomes and tried Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett instead. "An Angel who did not so much Fall as Saunder Vaguely Downwards." *dies laughing* (The angel theme is merely incidental.) I've also started and stalled on the following novels: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, The Coming Storm by Paul Russell, Prime by Poppy Z. Brite, and The Dispossessed by Ursula K Le Guin. No judgment thus far on their quality; it's just that, for whatever reason, I was actually looking for something different when I started them. These are all still high on my list of books I need to get back to soon.
Naturally, I've still got a serious backlog of manga, but, once again, I haven't been in the mood. Only one new one read of the past couple of days:
Saiyuki RELOAD Vol.1 by Minekura Kazuya
"We don't need to justify this party anymore."
This pithy little statement on page 1 that basically functions as a summary of sorts for anyone new to the series after it changed magazines also embodies for me exactly where this manga is going--NOWHERE, and certainly not fast. Two completed Sanzo and company advertures, and one that will be continued in the next volume. The first is your standard "we live for ourselves" attitude tripe, again an introduction of sorts to the series for those who don't know it. On the other hand, the second story was one of the best in the series thus far. About a youkai who has not yet gone mad and is protecting youkai children, this one had genuine emotional weight. I like reading stories about "normal" people, I suppose, particularly in manga because, for whatever reason, the medium lends itself well to those kinds of narratives too, not just fantastical or superhero ones. I'm amazed at how quickly Tokyopop have plowed through their release of the series without obviously compromising quality. Compare Saiyuki to Peach Girl or even worse Sailor Moon and marvel at how much they've improved. I'm sure that the watchdog groups that were after Mixx back in the day take credit for the improvements, but really, it seems like a natural progression toward stability and consistency of quality to me.