095) Our America: Life And Death On The South Side Of Chicago
by by LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman with David Isay, finished October 22
- This is a remarkable book, eye-opening. And the story of Eric Morse almost slew me--he was the age of the Big O at the time he died and the gap between him and his brother is the same as between my two sons.
The authors, LeAlan and Lloyd were tapped to help make an NPR documentary about the projects of Chicago when they were 13, and they returned to their mikes again and again.
It's a look into the ghetto like I've never seen before. It's real and horrifying, but not depressing. The sense of human potential is large, which makes its squandering all the more tragic.
The book's a quick read and highly recommended. We can't keep forgetting the forgotten America.
three or four weeks
094) Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare
by Stephen Greenblatt, finished October 21
- I had this book with me a few weeks ago, and a fellow English teacher said, "Stephen Greenblatt? Greenblatt! You know about Greenblatt, don't you?" I said I didn't and we were interrupted. So I still don't know about Greenblatt. Can you tell me about Stephen Greenblatt?
This book was a Very Big Deal when it came out, as you may recall. I started reading it when it was about a year old and still all the rage among buyers of biographies and history tomes.
It's good. It gets into Shakespeare and recreates the likely details of his upbringing, professional years, retirement. It's somewhat speculative, but is well documented and endlessly fascinating. I learned much.
But I haven't had a lot of success bringing snippets from the book into the classroom. I'm thinking I'll try some of his Macbeth stuff this year, but we'll see.
some months over three years
by Stephen King, finished October 14
- So I'm apparently on a sad high-school girl trip this month. Carrie is sadder than Melinda and sadder still than Bella. Carrie's about as sad as they get.
Carrie's been on my to-read list for a long time, and although it's not as good as, say, Lisey's Story, it's important to remember that this little book was Stephen King's first book and as a first novel it's quite good. It takes chances artistically and delivers on the goods. Not as shocking or awful as I had expected, but a fine introduction to the Kingdom.
A nice short little horror novel if you're looking to celebrate the season.
almost a week
092) Barnaby by Crockett Johnson, finished October 9
- I didn't know that the Harold's-Purple-Crayon
guy had written a thing called "Barnaby" before just a few months ago. My first encounter was delightful and made me want to read more. Finding a collection at a library sale a couple Saturdays ago was a major score.
"Barnaby" was a serialized strip, but reading them collected, it's hard to imagine how they were broken apart. Together they form such a marvelous whole heavy on charm and humor and a dash of pure funny.
Barnaby has a Fairy Godfather (Mr. O'Malley) whom his parents refuse to believe in. At this point, it's like Snuffleupagus, but later, I understand, Mr. O'Malley runs for Congress and pretty much everyone knows he exists except Barnaby's desperate-to-be-ignorant parents.
I emailed Fantagraphics, asking them to collect and put out a gorgeous edition of "Barnaby" (like they do for other things like the Peanuts books I've been reading) but no word yet on their likely compliance.
If they do, I'll pass the word along.
a week at most
by Laurie Halse Anderson, finished October 8
- I might as well just say it and get it over with: This book isn't all that great.
I know! Everyone told me it's da shiz too! What gives? How did everyone miss is lousiness?
I wish I could say that I just didn't like it because I've had insufficient unhappiness in my life, but really: what's to like?
Speak is about Melinda who has a Terrible Secret and how, over the course of a year, she begins to deal with IT. She's a well developed character flopped down in a caricaturish high school (depressing version) with caricaturish parents (lousy version). The only interesting character outside Melinda is her art teacher, but it takes awhile for him to get rounded himself.
The book is stuffed with clichés of setting and phrasing and a thousand other things.
The author's desire to keep the Terrible Secret secret goes on too long, and when it's finally given a Big Reveal, it's done in a clunky artless way. Really, the book would have been better without the flashback. Just keep your secret. We'll figure it out.
I started Twilight
two days ago (don't ask) and I've had a hard time keeping the two books straight. When a simple fact, like both sad girls have smart lab partners, can meld the books together (now, which one's the clumsy one again?), you know something's wrong.
The best part of the book was the climactic scene and I will grant that the main character's growth was made to seem organic as the book closed. But it still wasn't that great.
I don't mean to come down so hard on this book. It's just that it's been talked up by so many people, I was expecting something extraordinary. And this is just regularordinary.
I dunno. Where's Edgy? Maybe he can tell me where I went wrong.
about a month
090) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, finished October 6
089) The Colorado Kid by Stephen King, finished October 3
088) Mr. White's Confession by Robert Clark, finished October 1
087) Concrete: Fragile Creature by Paul Chadwick, finished September 28
086) Lone Wolf and Cub Vol. 1: The Assassin's Road by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima, finished September 27
085) A Lion and a Lamb> by Rand H. Packer, finished September 20
084) What Jesus Meant by Garry Wills, finished September 20
083) The Lost Ones by Steve Niles et al, finished September 18
082) Dorian by Nephi Anderson, finished September 17
081) If You Want to Scare Yourself by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg, translated by Rene Vera Cafiero, with illustrations by Helga Spiess; finished September 12
080) Madman Gargantua by Mike Allred with Laura Allred, finished September 9
079) Star Wars by George Lucas, finished September 9
078) Angel Falling Softly by Eugene Woodbury, finished September 1
077) The Night Listener by Armistead Maupin finished August 29
076) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, finished August 25
075) Added Upon by Nephi Anderson, finished August 24
074) The Last Flower by James Thurber, finished August 19
073) Reinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology Are Revolutionizing an Art Form by Scott McCloud, finished August 17
072) The Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories by Nicholas Gurewitch, finished August 12
071) The Dreamer by Will Eisner, finished August 12
070) The Blot by Tom Neely, finished August 6
069) Strange Stories for Strange Kids edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly, finished August 6
068) Survival Rates by Mary Clyde, finished July 30
067) A Week in October by Elizabeth Subercaseaux, translated by Marina Harss, finished July 29
066) Lehi in the Desert & The World of the Jaredites by Hugh Nibley, Ph. D., finished July 29
065) A Son Is Forever by various, finished July 29
064) Good ol' Snoopy by Charles M. Schultz, finished July 13
063) Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi, finished July 13
062) A Doré Treasury edited by James Stevens, finished July 12?
061) Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.; finished July 8
060) The Enoch Letters by Neal A. Maxwell, finished July
059) Sock Monkey: The Inches Incident by Tony Millionaire, finished July 3
058) The Number 73304-23-4153-6-96-8 by Thomas Ott, finished July 2
057) Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi, finished July 1
056) 300 by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, finished June 16
055) Fox Bunny Funny by Andy Hartzell, finished June 16
054) Where Did I Leave My Glasses?: The What, When, and Why of Normal Memory Loss by Martha Weinman Lear, finished June 15
053) The Mystery Guest by Grégoire Bouillier, trans. Lorin Stein, finished June 14
052) The Legend of Spud Murphy by Eoin Colfer, finished June 10
051) Good Bones and Simple Murders by Margaret Atwood, finished June 10
050) Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney's, Humor Category edited by D. Eggers, K. Shay, L. Epstein, J. Warner and S. Kleid, finished June 9
049) Bikeman by Thomas F. Flynn, finished June 5
048) Fool Moon by Jim Butcher, finished June 5
047) The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, finished June 2
046) Sixty Poems by Charles Simic, finished May 30
045) Replay by Ken Grimwood, finished May 28
044) The Age of the Conglomerates: A Novel of the Future by Thomas Nevins, finished May 27
043) W;t by Margaret Edson, finished April 19
042) Halo and Sprocket Volume 1: Welcome to Humanity by Kerry Cullen, finished May 17
041) Storm Front by Jim Butcher, finished May 16>
040) 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill, finished May 9
039) I Am the President of Ice Cream by Geoff Sebesta, finished May 4
038) On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan, finished May 3
037) The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester, finished May Day
036) The Drifting Classroom Vol. 1 by Kazuo Umezu, finished April 30
035) The Complete Peanuts 1965 - 1966 by Charles M. Schulz, finished April 29
034) Nextwave: Agents Of H.A.T.E Volume 1: This Is What They Want by Warren Ellis et Stuart Immonen et al, finished April 29
033) Batman: Hush, Vol. 2 by Jeph Loeb et al, finished April 29
032) Batman: Hush, Vol. 1 by Jeph Loeb et al, finished April 28
031) Chéri by Colette, finished April 17
030) Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett, finished April 13
029) Animal Farm by George Orwell, finished April 8
028) Macbeth by William Shakespeare, finished April 7
027) On the Road to Heaven by Coke Newell, finished April 4
026) The Great American Citizenship Quiz: Can You Pass Your Own Country's Citizenship Test? by Solomon M. Skolnick, finished March 23
025) Long After Dark by Todd Robert Petersen, finished March 23
024) The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, finished March 21
023) Robot Dreams by Sara Varon, finished March 10
022) The Complete Peanuts 1963-1964 by Charles M. Schulz, finished March 9
021) Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, finished March 7
020) Unorthodox Practices by Marissa Piesman, finished March 5
019) Happy Hour at Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta, finished March 4
018) A War of Gifts: An Ender Story by Orson Scott Card, finished Leap Day
017) Watership Down by Richard Adams, finished February 26
016) Old Boy Volume One by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi, finished February 25
015) Case Histories by Kate Atkinson, finished February 18
014) Ultimate Spider-Man: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, finished February 15
013) Trusting Jesus by Jeffrey R. Holland, finished February 11
012) Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham et al., finished February 11
011) Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach, finished February 4
010) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, finished February 3
009) American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, finished LDotFMotNY
008) Zombification: Stories from National Public Radio by Andrei Codrescu, finished January 22
007) Marriage Lines: Notes of a Student Husband by Ogden Nash, finished January 22
006) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, finished January 20
005) The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time by Douglas Adams, finished January 14
004) Lord of the Flies by William Golding, finished January 10
003) Rising Sun by Michael Crichton, finished January 7
002) The Marketing of Sister B by Linda Hoffman Kimball, finished January 2
001) Animal Farm by George Orwell, finished January 1
The First Five ( 001 / 005 )
The Second Five ( 005 / 010 )
The Third Five ( 011 / 015 )
The Fourth Five ( 016 / 020 )
The Fifth Five ( 021 / 025 )
The Sixth Five ( 026 / 030 )
The Seventh Five ( 031 / 035 )
The Eighth Five ( 036 / 040 )
The Ninth Five ( 041 / 045 )
The Tenth Five ( 046 / 050)
The Eleventh Five ( 051 / 055)
The Twelfth Five ( 056 / 060)
The Thirteenth Five ( 061 / 065)
The Fourteenth Five ( 066 / 070)
The Fifteenth Five ( 071 / 075)
The Sixteenth Five ( 076 / 080)