Multiple perspectives


115) Every Day by David Levithan, finished November 25

Something I admire about Levithan is his willingness to tell strange stories or to tell stories strangely. In other words, I admire that he takes chances. That he does hard things.

This particular novel could easily have been one of those ambitious failures we all enjoy shaking our heads at sadly. And, indeed, in many ways it does fail. But mostly it succeeds.

Here's the conceit: Our protagonist wakes up every morning in a different person's body. This has always been so. He has no body-based identity of his own. And so, although I'm using he and his, he technically has no sex or gender. He only has whatever the body he's borrowing has.

He is able to access the body-of-the-day's memories and thus is able to fake the day as [person] quite well. Of course, when he was little, it took him awhile to realize that people were serious when they made plans for the morrow---that not everyone started each new day in a new body, in a new town, in a new life.

But now he's sixteen and he's used it it.

He can only enter the bodies of people his same age. He has no choice over whose bodies he enters. He finds himself in a new body within about a hundred miles of his previous body.

One thing to know about this novel is that it is an extremely political book. Not political like The Jungle or Nineteen Eighty-four where the entire novel is thrusting at one particular agenda---but rather each day is the opportunity to thrust at a new agenda (though they all come down to live and let live, love everybody, every one is okay).

For instance, when in a transgender body, the book is teaching that it's just the way some people are. When a character has mental illness, it teaches that people can't just cheer up. When a character is an illegal immigrant, the book teaches that it's a rough life. Other lessons dispensed include how to deal with strict homeschooling parents, how to treat those you love, how to deal with those who are unkind, and so on. Lots and lots of lessons. And even though there is a through-plot, at times Every Day does read a bit like a morality primer.

Let's get back a moment to my use of male pronouns. Even though the book goes to great efforts to establish a character utterly without his own body-based characteristics, I don't think it succeeds. I can admit this might be to me giving it a white, heteronormative reading. Could be. We'll need other readers to triangulate this. But the protagonist's voice is very white, very educated (code for not poor), and, sorry, very straight. He often says things that aren't straight, but underneath always appears a straight foundation. I welcome proof I am wrong. (Levithan himself, of course, is not straight.)

Anyway, part of this bias on my part may be that our bodiless protagonist falls in love with a straight girl. Poor silly straight girl has a hard time loving him when he's in a girl's body or a transgender body or a really really fat body, but she does come to believe that it really is him, no matter the body. And the protag starts breaking his own rules and messing up others' lives in order to pursue a relationship. The novel's end is heroic---our hero is a hero---and sweet and redeems many of my complaints.

Besides. It's an ambitious novel. I would forgive a novel this ambitious of much more than my minor tiddles with this one.
a couple weeks at most


114) Boxers by Gene Luen Yang, finished November 21

Now that I've read both, it's hard to say what I think the preferred order should be. Boxers is quite a bit longer even thought the two stories are exceedingly parallel. Both characters are well developed which means the reader ends up with plenty of empathy for both sides of the conflict. (I wonder how successfully this could be accomplished with a conflict we're more familiar with, say, Nazis/Poles or Union/Confederacy?)

Anyway, just by virtue of being longer, this story feels more fully developed. But that's not a slight against Saints---just an observation that her story is a novella and his a novel. So to speak.

Anyway, they're terrific books.
since finishing the last


113) Saints by Gene Luen Yang, finished November 15

This book is half of a nonordered series by Yang and might be the best thing of his I've yet read. It is the tale of a young Chinese girl finding Catholicism. Like many comics these days, there is a layering of narrative, but even though Joan of Arc appears to her, these layers seem more inherently grounded in reality as compared to, say, Yang's own American Born Chinese (another great book).

Having her take on the name of Saint Vibiana was a nice move as well. She begins life with no name, and then chooses a life with a nobody's name. And that made all the difference.

Previously in 2013 . . . . :

Book 109 - 112
112) Have You Seen Marie? by Sandra Cisneros and illustrated by Ester Hernandez, finished November 9
111) Haunting at Home Plate by David Patneaud, finished November 9
110) Scholar of Moab by Steven L. Peck, finished November 8
109) Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen, finished November 4

Book 104 - 108
108) We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Jay Fowler, finished November 3
107) The Dark Wood by Christine Weston, finished October 23
106) Sunshine and Shadow by Lynn Johnston, finished October 18
105) Scarecrow by Michael Connelly, finished October 18
104) Third Helpings by Calvin Trillin, finished October 16

Book 101 - 103
103) Dorian by Nephi Anderson, finished October 14
102) Famous Modern Ghost Stories edited by Dorothy Scarborough finished October 13
101) Adventures in Cartooning by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, Alexis Frederick-Frost finished on October 11

Books 99 - 100
100) Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan et al, finished ~October 1
099) Dead Girl by Peter Milligan, Nick Dragotta, Mike Allred, finished September 29

Book 97
097) ZF-360 by Luisa Perkins, finished ~September 19

Books 94 - 96, 98
098) FF - Volume 1: Fantastic Faux by Matt Fraction and Mike Allred and Joe Quinones, finished September 24
096) Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, finished September 17
095) The Story of Chester Lawrence by Nephi Anderson, finished September 8
094) Calamity Jack by A Bevy of Hales, finished September 7

Books 90 - 93
093) The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver, finished August 28
092) Martyrs' Crossing by Melissa Leilani Larson, finished August 24
091) Mile 21 by Sarah Dunster, finished August 22
090) Piney Ridge Cottage by Nephi Anderson, finished August 20

Books 83 - 89
089) The Book of Job: When Bad Things Happened to a Good Person by Harold S. Kushner, finished August 19
088) From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg, finished August 18
087) Canyons of Grace by Levi S. Peterson, finished August 17
086) Good Dog by Graham Chaffe, finished August 16
085) Stone Rabbit #4: Superhero Stampede by Erik Craddock, finished August 6
084) Food Rules by Michael Pollan, finished August 4
083) Martha Speaks: Canine Comics: Six Daring Doggie Adventures by Jamie White, finished August 1

Books 78 - 82
082) Gone Fishing: A novel in verse by Tamera Will Wissinger, finished July 31
081) Making Money by Terry Pratchett, finished July 30
080) F-Stop by Antony Johnston and Matthew Loux , finished July 29
079) Almina by Nephi Anderson, finished July 29
078) Creature Feature 2 by TW Brown, finished July 28

Books 73 - 77
077) Salt Water Taffy: A Climb Up Mt. Barnabas by Matthew Loux, finished July 25
076) Doing Time by Kazuichi Hanawa, finished July 24
075) Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, finished July 23
074) Treasure Fever! by Andy Griffiths, finished July 22
073) Salt Water Taffy: The Legend of Old Salty by Matthew Loux, finished July 19

Book 72
072) Diary of a Single Mormon Female by Aleesa Sutton, finished July 17

Books 67 - 71
071) Gone Fishing: A novel in verse by Tamera Will Wissinger, finished July 12
070) Salt Water Taffy: A Climb Up Mt. Barnabas by Matthew Loux, finished July 12
069) The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket, finished June 29
068) Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg, finished June 28
067) And Now We Shall Do Manly Things by Craig J. Heimbuch, finished June 27

Books 62 - 66
066) Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, finished June 20
065) World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks, finished June 20
064) The Little Friend by Donna Tartt, finished June 20
063) Encyclopedia Brown Finds the Clues by Donald Sobol, finished June 19
062) Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary, finished June 19

Book 61
061) The Backslider by Levi Peterson, finished June 14

Books 54 - 60
060) The City: A Vision in Woodcuts by Frans Masereel, finished June 13
059) Gods' Man by Lynn Ward, finished June 12
058) Mad Man's Drum by Lynn Ward, finished June 11?
057) Destiny: A Novel in Pictures by Otto Nückel, finished July 8
056) Passionate Journey by Frans Masereel, finished June 7
055) The Sugar Bean Sisters by Nathan Sanders, finished June 3
054) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, finished May 28

Books 47 - 53
053) Farm 54 by Galit Seliktar and Gilad Seliktar, finished May 20
052) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, volume seven by Hayao Miyazaki, finished May 18
051) Dark Day in the Deep Sea by Mary Pope Osborne, finished May 15
050) The Big Skinny: How I Changed My Fattitude by Carol Lay, finished May 14
049) Moonlight on the Magic Flute by Mary Pope Osborne, finished May 12
048) This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz, finished May 6
047) Blizzard of the Blue Moon by Mary Pope Osborne, finished approximately May 4

Books 41 - 46
046) The Red Diary / The Re[a]d Diary by Teddy Kristiansen / Steven T. Seagle, finished April 28
045) The Five Books of Jesus by James Goldberg, finished April 22
044) The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, finished April 20
043) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Volume 6 by Hayao Miyazaki, finished April 18
042) Baseball as a Road to God: Seeing Beyond the Game by John Sexton with Thomas Oliphant and Peter J. Schwartz, finished April 15
041) The Hand of Glory by Stephen Carter, finished April 13

Books 35 - 40
040) Leprechaun in Late Winter by Mary Pope Osborne, finished April 8
039) You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon, finished April 7
038) Illiterature: Story Minutes, Vol. I by Carol Lay, finished April 2
037) "Who Could That Be at This Hour?" by Lemony Snicket, finished March 29
036) Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Vol. 5 by Hayao Miyazaki, finished March 29
035) Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Vol. 4 by Hayao Miyazaki, finished March 28

Books 26 - 34
034) The New Yorker Book of Cat Cartoons, finished March 24
033) What Shat That? by Matt Pagett, finished March 24
032) Zombies Hate Stuff by Greg Stones, finished March 22
031) Jews and Words by Amos Oz and Fania Oz-Salzberger, finished March 22
030) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, vol 3 by Hayao Miyazaki, finished March 13
029) The Princess Bride: Shooting Draft by William Goldman, finished March 11
028) The History of Joseph Smith by His Mother by Lucy Mack Smith, finished March 5
027) Scott Pilgrim vs the World by Edgar Wright & Michael Bacall, finished March 5
026) Screenplay by Syd Field, finished March 3

Books 22 - 25
025) Mortal Syntax by June Casagrande, finished March 2
024) The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo, finished March 1
023) Moby Dick by Herman Melville, finished February 28
022) Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis & Christos H. Papadimitriou & Alecos Papadatos & Annie Di Donna, finished February 22

Books 20 - 21
021) The Complete Peanuts 1985-1986 by Charles M. Schulz, finished February 22
020) The Princess Bride by William Goldman, finished February 20

Books 14 - 19
019) Magic Tree House #10: Ghost Town at Sundown by Mary Pope Osborne, finished February 17
018) The Report Card by Andrew Clements, finished February 17
017) Justice (volume one) by AUTHOR, finished February 16
016) The Green Mile by Stephen King, finished February 15
015) Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl, finished February 12
014) The Silver Cord: Book One ~ Nephilim by Kevin Kelly et al., finished February 7

Books 8 - 13
013) Teen Titans: The Prime of Life by JT Krul and Nicola Scott, finished February 2
012) Batman: Vampire by Doug Moench and Kelley Jones and John Beatty and Malcolm Jone III, finished February second
011) Isaac Asimov's Treasury of Humor by Isaac Asimov, finished January 26
010) Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind, Perfect Collection 1 by Hayao Miyazaki, finished January 22
009) The Complete Peanuts 1983-1984 by Charles M. Schulz, finished January 21
008) My Letter to the World by Emily Dickinson, finished January 21

Books 1 - 7
007) Spacecave One by Jake Parker, finished January 19
006) The Antler Boy and Other Stories by Jake Parker, finished January 19
005) The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons, finished January 14
004) The Crab with the Golden Claws by Hergé, finished January 14
003) The Adventures of Tintin: Red Rackham's Treasure by Hergé, finished January 11
002) Using the Common Core State Standards... edited by some Ed.D., finished January 10
001) Jellaby by Kean Soo, finished January 8


  1. Interesting. I've enjoyed the Levithan books I've read, although he can be a little too political for my tastes. I'll have to read this one and let you know if my mutant-centrism reads the character as a mutant.