Books to keep you company in hell
(strap them to your thigh)


033) Hyperion by Dan Simmons, finished July 2

This is a science-fiction Canterbury Tales. Seven pilgrims off to see a violent god-like creature on an alien planet. Each tells a story en route. The first twist is that the stories are actually relevant to the journey. The second twist is that there is a sequel covering what happens with they arrive. (I haven't read that yet, but I have a copy. A student I've never taught brought me both these books a few months ago. At first I just skimmed the glue sections. The stories themselves, however, range from the enjoyable to the excellent. Exceedingly worth reading.)

I'll report again when I've read the second book, but of this one I'll say that I enjoyed the stories quite a bit while it took me a long, long time to care about the frame story. I have some stylistic issues, but as a whole, I would recommend this for science-fiction readers who enjoy both short fiction and novels and have a terrible time choosing between them.


032) A Short Stay in Hell by Steven L. Peck, finished June 27

This tiny little book, now that I've finished it, weighing on me. I was told it would ---and don't all the Amazon reviews say as much? or those at GoodReads?---but I knew the premise and did not expect that the telling could be any worse than the knowing.

But oh how it is.

Now that I've finished it, the book won't let me alone.

I almost never want to see a book again.

Although I've tried to grapple with despair and unexpected afterlives and eternity in my own fiction, Peck's really nailed all three in just a hundred page.

It's the sort of book that everyone should read because then we'll all have something to talk about. Which would be good. Which will be necessary.

one day


031) Kampung Boy by Lat, finished June 22

I have to admit: for a book that's garnered such a breadth of international praise, I found this book to be tedious and boring. I read almost half when I first picked it up. Misplaced it for three weeks. Read most of the rest, skipping around, and returned it to the library. I had time to read each page, I just could not care enough.
three weeks but only the first and last day of that stretch


Previously in 2012 . . . . :

Read the reviews of 25-28.
034) The Giant Joshua by Maurine Whipple, finished June 20
033) Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl, finished June 18
032) Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart, "finished" June 18
031) Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese, "finished" June 15
030) The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon, finished June 9
029) Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick, finished early June

Read the reviews of 25-28.
028) Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, finished May 24
027) The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan, finished May 16
026) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, finished May 10 (I'm astonished a month has passed since I've finished a book)
025) Dominant Traits by Eric Freeze, finished April 10

Read the reviews of 21-24.
024) The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White, finished April 2
023) UNTITLED MS by Kyle Jepson, finished March 12, 2012
022) The Complete Peanuts 1981-1982 by Charles M. Schulz, finished March 4
021) The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, finished March 3

Read the reviews of 14-20.
020) Billy Hazelnuts by Tony Millionaire, finished February 25
019) Good-bye, Chunky Rice by Craig Thompson, finished February 26
018) Madman 20th Anniversary Monster HC by [everybody], finished February 25
017) Billy Hazelnuts and Crazy Bird by Tony Millionaire, finished February 25
016) Billy Hazelnuts by Tony Millionaire, finished February 25
015) Habibi by Craig Thompson, finished February 20
014) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: 1910 by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill, finished February 15

Read the reviews of 12-13.
013) Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell, finished February 12
012) Black Hole by Charles Burns, finished February 11

Read the reviews of 6-11.
011) The Complete Peanuts: 1979-1980 by Charles M. Schulz, finished February 4
010) Blankets by Craig Thompson, finished February 4
009) Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, finished February 2
008) The Millstone Necklace (forthcoming) by S.P. Bailey, finished January 31
007) American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, finished January 27
006) Across a Harvested Field by Robert Goble, finished January 23

Read the reviews of 1-5.
005) Hark! a Vagrant! by Kate Beaton, finished January 21
004) The Death of a Disco Dancer by David Clark, finished January 12
003) Bucketfoot Al: The Baseball Life of Al Simmons by Clifton Blue Parker, finished January 9
002) Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror by Chris Priestly, finished January 9
001) What of the Night? by Stephen Carter, finished January 5

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