Besides all the research and writing stuff, I thought I would post my thoughts on what I've recently been perusing.
Since the local library has been stocking up on manga titles and that I now have a speedy wireless connection, I find that I've been dipping into Japanese comic books more than I have before. First off, Death Note, which I've read up to Volume 8 (12 is the last volume). This is one of those titles that the summary of it makes me think "that sounds awful" and yet, becomes very interesting. The premise is that everybody's death is determined by a group of "death gods" called Shinigami. They have a notebook which kills the victim once his or her name is entered. Now, the notebook is sometimes dropped or left for people to find who can use it for their own purposes. Indeed, it finds its way into one person's hands who decides to make the world a better place by killing all the nasty people in it (don't we all wish, right?). The manga then turns into a Sherlock Holmes/Moriarity thing with characters trying to discover each other's identity, twisting and turning under the rules of the Death Note. It's quite a dark series and extremely unpredictable. The anime just debuted on Cartoon Network, although I missed it. The DVD will be out in November. Must Netflix it.
Also reading, sad to admit, the current versions of Bleach and Naruto. Though pretty mainstream shonen fare, it's fun fluff. The amazing thing is that the twenty or so pages a week pop up in Shonen Jump, Tuesday in Japan. By Friday, the thing has been scanned, translated into English, and then cleaned up to make it look pretty. I find it fairly effective in guilting me to purchase the anime (when they are out uncut and subtitled) and related products to support the creators. I spend too much money nowadays ^_^;
Been Netflixing The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya which has been rather amusing with its take on otaku culture although it looks like it's turning into a romantic comedy (I don't think I mind this but check back with me in a couple volumes). Speaking of otaku culture, I've also watched Genshiken 2 (which is currently airing in Japan).
On a completely, utterly different note, I watched the first couple episodes of Bleak House while I was grading papers tonight. I really should spend more time in the nineteenth century. I just enjoy it too much. And if one thinks that today's novels have too many coincidences to be believable, just take a look at Dickens. One would think that there are only ten people in all of England. However, he's still such a funny, funny writer, and his characters can be so tragic and so hilarious and so broadly drawn.
Addendum: OMG I just found out that the lead actor of Bleak House, Denis Lawson, is none other than Wedge Antilles from the original Star Wars trilogy. I just knew that my attempt at high art would spin back around to geekiness. Is there nothing that Star Wars doesn't touch? (shut up, Gene).