060) The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy, finished July 1
- I am very sad to learn that Elaine Dundy died last year. Because I liked her book and her afterward, not three years old, is very charming.
Dear Mrs Tynan [her married name], I don't make the habit of writing to married women, especially if the husband is a dramatic critic, but I had to tell someone (and it might as well be you since you're the author) how much I enjoyed The Dud Avocado. It made me laugh, scream and guffaw (which incidentally is a great name for a law firm). If this was actually your life, I don't know how on earth you got through it. Sincerely, Groucho Marx.
I liked your book. I liked the way your characters all speak differently. My characters all sound the same because I never listen. [Ernest Hemingway]
(It was the first one that finally got me to pick up the book.)
So this novel has been called the world's first chicklit, and there's a lot to that, I suppose. Sally Jay Gorce goes to France and madcappery results. It took me a good number of pages to get into it, but I finally did and I quite enjoyed it.
It's a first novel, which brings up the ol' how-autobiographical-is-it question. She says, "When people ask me how autobiographical the book is I say, all the impulsive, outrageous things my heroine does, I did. All the sensible things she did, I made up."
In the intro by Terry Teachout says it's full of sentences she wishes she had written. Her examples all come from the beginning of the book, but mine come mostlyn later and some could be construed as spoilers, so tread carefully.
And I remember a little later wondering why things always turn out to be diametrically opposed to what you expect them to be. It's no good even trying to predict what this opposite will be because it fools you and turns out to be the opposite of that, if you see what I mean. If you think this is geometrically impossible all I can say is that you don't know life.
- - - | - - -
What a world, I thought. Nothing but sex as far as the eye can see.
- - - | - - -
Larry was right. What was the use of remembering? If it was unpleasant, it was unpleasant. It it was pleasant, it was over.
- - - | - - -
We looked at the menu. "Hah! Avocados," he said, brightening. "How I love them. Cheer up, my little avocado," he said to me, pinching my hand. "You know, these American girls are just like avocados. What do you think, am I right, Max? Who ever even heard of an avocado sixty years ago? Yes, that's what we're nowadays." His avocado arrived and he looked at it lovingly. "the Typical American Girl," he said, addressing it. "A hard center with the tender meat all wrapped up in a shiny casing." He began eating it. "How I love them," he murmured greedily. "So green--so eternally green." He winked at me.
"Stefan, please. . . ."
"No, it's true. And I will tell you something really extraordinary, mes enfants. Do you know that you can take the stones of these luscious fruits, put them in water--just plain water, mind you--anywhere, any place in the world, and in three months up comes a sturdy little plant full of green leaves? That is their sturdy little souls bursting into bloom," he finished off, well satisfied with his analogy.
- - - | - - -
It's not real, I'd say over and over again. It can't be real. Judy lying in the hospital, probably dying. Larry pimping and theiving and beating up girls. Me in jail. How did it happen? We're all nice people.
- - - | - - -
There was a letter from Uncle Roger. I held it in my hand awhile, breaking into one of the cold sweats that had formed such an integral part of my temperature in recent days [...]
- - - | - - -
"Sally Jay," he said earnestly, "promise me, promise me you'll never try to kill yourself."
"Oh I promise, I promise," I assured him, stretching lazily, feeling utterly euphoric. "The world is wide, wide, wide, and I am young, young, young, and we're all going to live forever!"
I don't know that I agree with Teachout that this will be one of the books that survives to become Literature, but it is a fine book and chicklit lovers could do much worse.
at most a month
059) Letters from a Nut by Ted. L. Nancy, finished June 21
- I've been wanting one of these for a decade so thanks to my brother Schmett for the great Christmas present. Some of these letters are impossibly funny.
If you're not familiar with the Letters from a Nut books, Ted L. Nancy sends strange strange letters to companies or famous individuals and engages them in bizarre correspondance. For instance, writing Greyhound about traveling by bus dressed as a gigantic stick of butter. That sort of thing.
Anyway, you probably don't need to buy your own copy, but next time you're in the Devil's Den, pick one up and read until you're laughing so hard they kick you out.
Return next day.
just under six months
058) The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling, finished June 21
- I'm only sad there were merely five. They felt like true old tales and I consider that high praise indeed.
perhaps two weeks
057) Lowboy by John Wray, finished June 16
- I took this book home from the library because of this line from Kirkus Reviews on the back: "The opening pages recall Salinger's Holden Caulfied, but the denouement and haunting aftertaste may make the stunned reader whisper 'Dostoevsky.' Yes, it really is that good."
Now there's no love between me and Holden, but the journey from Salinger to Dostoevsky was too intriguing not to take up.
Final analysis? Great book. I loved it. I'm still not sure about the ambiguous ending --- Dostoevsky or not --- but overall, I give it to you highly recommended.
(Note to New York writers who want to show off how well they know their city. Read this book. See how the city is a character in the book? See how Wray isn't just showing off how Newyorky he is? See how the reader cares where Lowboy is, and not just that the writer knows where Lowboy is? You should all take a lesson.)
Lowboy is a schizophrenic kid escaped from the hospital so he can save the world. He is in the world and the world is in him and both are getting hotter and if he can just let the world out ---
The book makes me feel like I understand shizophrenia in the way The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time helped me understand autism and Bound on Earth being bipolar. And I must say: schizophrenia is the worst.
(Movie aside: too bad del Toro's so busy --- he would be perfect.)
Anyway, good book. Pick it up.
about a month
056) One silent sleepless night by Spencer W. Kimball, finished June 14
- President Kimball recounts a insomniac night filled with pain and memories in a New York hotel. Large type and copiously illustrated (watercolors by Sherry Thompson) and lots of whitespace = very short book indeed, even at only 63 pages. Although by no means a great book, it is an interesting book in terms of structure and concept.
Anyone familiar with the Kimball Story probably knows how he thought his usefulness was over when he had his vocal cords removed. Watching him autobiographicize the past during his recovery offers an interesting perspective, complicated by the fact that the book was actually written almost twenty years after his silent sleepless night an four years after becoming president of the Church. Makes me wonder what his motivation was. I'll have to ask him someday.
about seven months
055) Blue Beetle: Boundaries by Sturges/Albuquerque/Coelho, finished June 6
054) [title in flux] (MS) by B.G. Christensen, finished June 5
053) Invincible Volume 1: Family Matters words by Robert Kirkman, pictures by Cory Walker, finished June 3
052) Der Ostwind (MS) by Kohl Glass, finished June 2
051) The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde, finished June 2
050) The Bible Salesman by Clyde Edgerton, finished June 2
049) Superman / Madman Hullabaloo! by the Allreds, finished May 29
048) Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting by Jim Posewitz, finished May 26
047) Brave and the Bold: Demons and Dragons by Mark Waid et al, finished May 20
046) Atonement by Ian McEwan, finished May 20
045) Love and the Light: An Idyl of the Westland by Orson Ferguson Whitney, finished May 20
044) Tales Of The Batman: Tim Sale by Tim Sale and some motley group of writers, finished May 17
043) Catwoman: The Dark End of the Street by Ed Brubaker et al, finished May 13
042) Aztek - the Ultimate Man by Grant Morrison), Mark Millar, Keith Champagne, Steven Harris; finished May 11
041) Cypher by Brad Teare, finished May 7
040) My Faith in Frankie by Mike Carey, Sonny Liew, Marc Hempel, finished May 5
039) Janes in Love by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg, finished May 5
038) Batman: R.I.P. by Grant Morrison et al, finished May 4
037) 1000 Steps To World Domination by Rob Osborne, finished May 4
036) 110 Per¢ by Tony Consiglio, finished May 4
035) Mendoza in Hollywood by Kage Baker, finished May Day
034) All Star Superman, Vol. 2 by Grant Morrison, and Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant, finished April 22
033) All Star Superman, Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison, and Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant, finished April 20
032) Bound on Earth by Angela Hallstrom, finished April 19
031) Batman: The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul by Grant Morrison and colleagues, finished April 18
030) Madman Atomic Comics Volume 2 by Mike Allred with Laura Allred, finished April 14
029) For a Good Time by K. Voss, finished April 11
028) The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told, finished April 11
027) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, finished April 6
026) Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey by Karen Wilkin (essay) and Edward Gorey (art), finished April 5
025) Owly: A Time to be Brave by Andy Runton, finished April 1
024) Blue Beetle: Endgame by John Rogers and Rafaele Albuquerque, finished March 29
023) Blue Beetle: Reach for the Stars by Rogers, Torres, Albuqerque; finished March 26
022) The Complete Peanuts 1967-1968 by Charles M. Schulz, finished March 25
021) Blue Beetle: Road Trip by various, finished March 25
020) Love That Dog by Sharon Creech, finished March 18
019) Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block, finished March 17
018) The Proviso by Moriah Jovan, finished March 16
017) An Ensign to the Nations: History of the Oakland State by Evelyn Candland, finished March 7
016) Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, finished February 27
015) Batman: The Black Glove by Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel and J.H. Williams III, finished February 23
014) The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story by Richard Preston, finished February 22
013) Lex Luthor: Man of Steel by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, finished February 19
012) Blue Beetle: Shellshocked by Keith Giffen and Cully Hammer, finished February 18
011) The Joker by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, finished February 17
010) Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, finished February 18
009) Superman: Red Son by MJR&M, finished February 11
008) The Best American Comics 2008 edited by Lynda Barry, finished February 9
007) The Blot by Tom Neely, finished February 6
006) JSA: Darkness Falls by Goyer, Johns, et al, finished January 28
005) The Road by Cormac McCarthy, finished January 24
004) Poor Sailor by Sammy Harkham, finished January 19
003) The Waitress was New by Dominique Fabre and translated by Jordan Stump, finished January 19
002) Stagger Lee by Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix, finished January 12?
001) The Arrival by Shaun Tan, finished January 8
the first five, 1-5
the second five, 6-10
the third five, 11-15
the fourth five, 16-20
the fifth five, 21-25
the sixth five, 26-30
the seventh five, 31-35
the eighth five, 36-40
the ninth five, 41-45
the tenth five, 46-50
the eleventh five, 51-55