Don't tell your dad you read books about mermaids. Et cetera.


043) How to Analyze the Works of Stephenie Meyer by Marcela Kostihova, finished August 13

Read my remarks here.


042) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, finished August 10

I've never read one of Alexie's novels, though I have enormous respect for his short fiction. This was his first lunge into YA lit and it feels like it. I don't mean that as a slam, but I suppose it is a bit of one anyway. It reads like Author Deigning to Talk to Kids at times. That said, it's an enjoyable book, and has sufficient layers, to make it a good choice for a serious English class in junior high. Though, frankly, the masturbation discussion disqualifies it in my mind. I don't want to have to deal with that. And once the kids are old enough to make it no longer a disqualification? Their a bit too old. They should be reading something a bit richer.

All that said, still, good book.


041) Captain America: Man Out of Time by Mark Waid and Jorge Molina, finished August 1

Because I enjoyed the Avengers movie so much, I'm planning on watching all the earlier films that I missed. So when I bumped into this book at the library, I brought it home as a primer on a character I've never cared anything about. It covers the same ground as a Silver Age comic (reproduced in an appendix), viz. Cap recovered from suspended animation to the modern world ("modern" varying depending on, you know, publication date). Not Incredible Work, but perfectly satisfying. And the contrast with Stan Lee's script lets you know how far even hypercommercial superhero comics have come in the last fifty years.
one day


040) If You Believe in Mermaids . . . Don't Tell by A.A. Philips, finished July 28

This is the story of a thirteen-year-old boy who has always had a thing for mermaids and Barbies and crossdressing and the conflict this causes in his family. That's your synopsis.

It's a short book, about a hundred pages, and simply executed. Some minor factual inconsistencies (eg, the race at the end of the book is actually held at night), but nothing that gets in the way of enjoying the book. Although this is obviously a message novel (it's normal to be a boy in an "abnormal" way), the moral is never pushed down the reader's throat. Instead, the characters are well drawn and complicated. In fact, the message of it's okay to be you is emphasized because nearly every character has something that makes them feel different or lost or out-of-place---even the popular girl.

The weakness of the book is the presentation of the father, who is the last major character to round out. But since a thirteen-year-old is apt to reduce his father to "He's mean to me" this is hardly a weakness that could be counted as an error.

I would imagine that this book would be a blessing to young readers who may be dealing with muddied gender issues (and, when you consider being thirteen, who isn't?). At the very least I think it might inspire some empathy.
under ninety minutes

Previously in 2012 . . . . :

Read the reviews of 37-39.
039) The Smartest Man in Ireland by Mollie Hunter, finished July 27
038) Blockade Billy / Morality by Stephen King, finished July 12
037) Dispirited by Luisa M. Perkins, finished July 9

Read the reviews of 34-36.
036) Hyperion by Dan Simmons, finished July 2
035) A Short Stay in Hell by Steven L. Peck, finished June 27
034) Kampung Boy by Lat, finished June 22

Read the reviews of 29-33.
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
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

1 comment:

  1. .

    Someone bumped my AMV Meyer post, so it will actually show up tomorrow.