Fifth Five Books of 2007



25) Frank by Jim Woodring, finished April 12
    Woodring is so storied and respected and yet, in my brief glances, I would never understood why. But today, when I returned Concrete to the library (see below), I saw this volume and decided to give it a fling. And you know what? Believe what you hear. What a mindtrip. Reading Frank is like leaving entering Wonderland.
    under an hour

24) The Complete Concrete by Paul Chadwick, finished April 3
    Quickly: Concrete is a superhero-like character in a nonsuperhero world. He is an exquisitely realized character in an exquisitely realized world. ¶ One thing I sometimes wonder is if, given comics' spotty history, I am more willing to forgive well done work of its minor problems. It's possible. This book, for instance, is not flawless. But I've already applied the adverb exquisitely to it twice. ¶ I first heard of Concrete at our last library; there was a shorter (and color) story of Concrete trying on actordom. I knew nothing of the character or his world and I did not want to find out by reading something from his later history. So I never did check it out. ¶ Then I found this one at our new library and put it on my mental to-read list. I was not disappointed. ¶ This volume was not accurately "complete" when published over a decade ago, but it is still a great and good-enough introduction to the character and I recommend it to anyone looking for comics. You won't be disappointed. ¶ [UPDATE: Lady Steed couldn't get through the first story to the better stuff, so....]
    three weeks and a day

23) The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde, finished March 30
    Ever read a book so brilliant in concept and execution that you just want to steal the idea for yourself? Such a book is this. VVV takes a stoty that really doesn't make a lot of sense and makes six new versions, each of which stays true to the old tale while being completely different from each other and finding its own unique way of telling the story. So you have versions where Rumpelstiltskin is a friendly elf and loves the girl or where Rumpelstiltskin is a hungry troll or where Rumpelstiltskin is the lonely lady down the street or where Rumpelstiltskin is the girl's father or a confused soldier who has no idea what is going on. ¶ VVV takes the story and attacks it from a new point of view or with a totally new set of basic facts yet never once denies the Rumpelstiltskinniness of it all or lets the story become anything other than a perfect fairy tale. The book is a delight. I should totally steal it.
    two days

22) Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, finished March 28
    SPOILER ALERT Since everyone in the reading world has already read this book, I don't feel bad about talking about what happens. But in case you have not read it, you may now consider yourself warned. ¶ So I had never read this book before, in large part because of its huge onus. When I was a kid, it was always Shock and Horror when word came down that yet another class of impressionable kids was being forced to read this book filled with bad language. (Final tally: 1 "bitching", 2 "damn"s, 1 "hell" [not including "damn"s and "hell"s used in an appropriate, religious context].) So it was never a book I thought I could bring home, and I was never one for being tricksy about such matters, so I just never read it. And, in fact, knew next to nothing about it. Although, since it's an award winner, I should have known someone would die. Though I didn't really think much about it until the book whaled me in the head with the most heavy-handed foreshadowing I have ever encountered, leaving me lying in the grass whimpering, blood streaming from my ear. ¶ Even with that grievous sin on its hands though, the book was still pretty good. I'm a little surprised it's a classic that has affected so many kids so profoundly, but not all that much. It was worth reading and quite short and "important" so, you know.
    perhaps a month

21) Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller et al, finished March 23
    I'm glad to say this Batman book--checked out the same time as the last--was much better. I finished reading it under the watchful gaze of Master Fob, Batmanologist, and under his explicit approval. I liked the book very much, though I am ambivalent about the ending. After the book proper was Miller's storyout for the ending in prose before it went into collabomode. (Watch me make up more words everday! Here at Thmusings!) I have to say I like the original better than the final product. Makes me rather wish his original vees were all reprinted as appendices. But alas.
    over a week


20) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, finished March 16
19) Batman: Gothic by Grant Morrison et al, finished March 13
18) Wild at Heart by John Eldredge, finished March 7
17) Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid by Megan McDonald, finished March 7
16) 50 Professional Scenes for Student Actors: A Collection of Short 2 Person Scenes by Garry Michael Kluger, finished March 6
15) Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda, finished March 5
14) Frindle by Andrew Clements, finished March 1
13) Brain Wave by Poul Anderson, finished February 27
12) The Best American Comics 2006 edited by Harvey Pekar and Anne Elizabeth Moore, finished February 26
11) Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, finished February 15
10) The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ edited by Mormon and Moroni, finished February 7
9) Lisey's Story by Stephen King, finished February 1
8) The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, finished January 26
7) Empire by Orson Scott Card, finished January 24
6) Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, finished January 22
5) Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh, finished January 17
4) Superman Adventures Vol. 1: Up, Up and Away! by Mark Millar, finished January 16
3) A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, finished January 12
2) Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, finished January 11
1) Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut, finished January 10


  1. I just barely read Bridge to Terabithia for the first time last weekend. It made me cry. Correction, it made me curl up in a ball and sob at the foot of my bed.

    Fortunately, Edgy called me and got me laughing before I did permanent damage to my tear ducts.

  2. I love the Rumplestiltskin problem! one of my favorite books!

  3. When I grow up--I want to be just like you. You are the COOLEST reader ever. WHERE do you find the time?

    Oh wait. Maybe instead of reading BLOGS I could be reading a BOOK!

  4. .

    You could always become a substitute teacher. I find it helps.

  5. HAHA, I *AM* a substitute teacher! And, I'm in school p/t and I STILL waste all my freaking time on this bloody computer!


  6. .

    I didn't know that.

    Well SHAME on you, then.

  7. And, you'd think even MORE (uh wait, I mean LESS) of me if you found out how many days a month I sub!

  8. .

    Well, then. I won't ask.