The 16th Five Books of 2007


080) Tintin in the Land of the Soviets by Hergé, finished November 16
    Tintin was the first comic I saw well carried by a library--this was junior high--I couldn't get into it.

    But with Spielberg and Jackson on the move, I felt I better find out what was up. So when I happened upon the first Tintin story ever, waiting to be reshelved, I checked it out and brought it home.

    In Making Comics, Scott McCloud talks about Hergé's typically European hyperdetailed backgrounds peopled with cartoony characters; in story the first however, no hyperdetails anywhere. It was made as a newspaper serial and is in plain black and white. By the end of the story, Tintin's looking like Tintin, but at first, he's just a goofy-looking manchild. And his dog looks like a Thurber terrier half the time.

    As for story, it's the duos misadventures among the humorously wicked Soviets. Watch out!

    It's all very 1929.

    about an hour

079) Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball by Spencer W. Kimball, finished November 14
    Everytime I get one of these books, I swear I will read my lesson before church each week, but something always gets in the way--this time it was a calling in Primary. Teaching eight-year-olds makes reading the adult lessons hard to prioritize. But this year, for the first time, I've read every word.

    President Kimball was the prophet of my childhood, and although I don't have many memories of him specifically, the general sense is a fuzzy one. But this seems to have been pretty accurate. To demonstrate, I'll just open the book randomly and type what is underlined on that page:

      Pages 172-173: We hope … that either before or after your series of Sunday meetings, depending upon your particular … meeting schedule, you will do what the Savior asked the Nephite disciples to do: After he taught them, he asked them to go to their homes and to ponder and to pray over what was said (see 3 Ne. 17:3). Let us keep that pattern in mind . . . And every child, without realizing the full portent, can absorb much from a sacrament meeting. They will absorb something every time. Wouldn’t it be a loss of a great deal of time and effort if every Sunday morning we had to stop and say, “Shall I or shall I not go to priesthood meeting? Shall I or shall I not go to sacrament meeting today? Shall we or shall we not go?” What a lot of wasted effort. … Settle it once and for all . . . We go to worship the Lord.

      Pages 76-66: “I know it is true.” Because those few words have been said a billion times by millions of people does not make it trite. It will never be worn out. I feel sorry for people who try to couch it in other words, because there are no words like “I know.” There are no words which express the deep feelings which can come from the human heart like “I know.”

      Pages 198-199: Love is like a flower, and, like the body, it needs constant feeding. The mortal body would soon be emaciated and die if there were not frequent feedings. The tender flower would wither and die without food and water. And so love, also, cannot be expected to last forever unless it is continually fed with portions of love, the manifestation of esteem and admiration, the expressions of gratitude, and the consideration of unselfishness.

      Pages 148-149: And so it often seems to be with people, having such a firm grasp on things of the world—that which is telestial—that no amount of urging and no degree of emergency can persuade them to let go in favor of that which is celestial. Satan gets them in his grip easily. If we insist on spending all our time and resources building up for ourselves a worldly kingdom, that is exactly what we will inherit . . . The Lord has said, “… seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33.) Too often, though, we want the “things” first . . . can keep the Sabbath, keep his mind and body and spirit uncontaminated, and give unstinted service to his fellowmen through God’s appointed way—unless the affluent man has total control and can hold all his possessions in trust, subject to the call of the Lord through his authorized servants, then that man, for the good of his soul, should certainly “go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor, … and come and follow me.”

    There's a taste. Now go eat your supper.

    better part of a year

078) Abraxas And The Earthman by Rick Veitch, finished November 12
    So apparently this take-off on Moby Dick is a great classic of comic art, but two thoughts: First, I didn't know this brand of ugly was possible before the digital age (1981) and second, calling this a classic just proves how behind comics still are as a medium. Once the canon fills up a bit, this will drop right out. Really, it kind of already has. Perhaps my library bought this 25th-anniversary edition, but the book doesn't even have its own Wikipedia page!

    three days

077) Gorgias by Plato, finished November 10
    So it's not a rare thing to hear Jesus and Socrates acclaimed as the great practicers of virtue worthy of emulation. And like Jesus, Socrates never wrote anything himself. So look at Gorgias as the Gospel according to Plato.

    The book is in dialogue form and so zips right along (cf: my brother)--so fast that when I started disagreeing with Socrates, I couldn't slow down to determine just how I disagreed; I feel sorry for the poor schmucks who were actually talking with him.

    Although I don't exactly see where Robert M. Pirsig gets off saying he's ruined the world either. I can't remember his arguments anymore, but still. Pirsig, by the way, is every bit as cocky as Socrates in his conclusions, but like any good sophist, he thinks his brains are too clever for me to understand. Socrates thinks everyone can understand him.

    Anyway. Socrates.

    Read up.

    This was the Walter Hamilton translation from Penguin. It was a good one.

    two days

076) Bighead by Jeffrey Brown, finished November 7

    If this alone does not convince you that Bighead is a genuinely funny superhero spoof (right up there with Onion Jack), nothing will.

    eight days

....previously in 2007....

075) Jack the Ripper: A Journal of the Whitechapel Murders 1888-1889 by Rick Geary, finished November 3
074) Summer of Love by Debbie Drechsler, finished November 3
073) The Borden Tragedy by Rick Geary, finished October 31
072) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, finished October 29
071) Monster by Walter Dean Myers, finished October 26
070) Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, finished October 15
069) Whirligig by Paul Fleischman, finished October 15
068) Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators in The Mystery of the Silver Spider by Robert Arthur, finished October 12
067) Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card, finished October 12
066) Hybrids by Robert J. Sawyer, finished October 6
065) How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card, finished October 1
064) Downy Duck Grows Up by Adda Mai Sharp and Epsie Young, finished September 30
063) Humans by Robert J. Sawyer, finished September 28
062) Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer, finished September 23
061) Making Comics by Scott McCloud, finished August 20
060) Tales of the Black Widowers by Isaac Asimov, finished September 14
059) The Pearl by John Steinbeck, finished September 11 and again on September 12
058) The Dog Is Not a Toy: House Rule #4 by Darby Conley, finished September 3
057) Brother Brigham by D. Michael Martindale, finished August 29
056) The Foundation Trilogy: Foundation, Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov, finished August 27
055) Ode To Kirihito by Osamu Tezuka, finished August 20
054) Polygamy Was Better Than Monotony by Paul Bailey, finished August 10
053) Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, finished August 7
052) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling, finished July 24
051) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling, finished July 21
050) The Ruins by Scott Smith, finished July 13
049) Favorite Stories by Margret Rey, illustrated by H.A. Rey, finished July 12
048) Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins, finished July 2
047) Flight Volume Three edited by Kazu Kibuishi, finished June 27
046) Nobody Is Perfick by Bernard Waber, finished June 14
045) First Paragraphs: Inspired Openings for Writers and Readers by Donald Newlove, finished June 12
044) The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking, finished June 11
043) Dune by Frank Herbert, finished June 9
042) The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels by Thomas Cahill, finished June 8
041) The Roald Dahl Omnibus by Roald Dahl, finished June 6
040) Troll: A Love Story by Johanna Sinisalo, finished May 31
039) The End by Lemony Snicket, finished May 23
038) The Complete Peanuts 1961-1962 by Charles M. Schultz, finished May 22
037) The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket, finished May 21
036) The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket, finished May 18
035) The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, finished May 15
034) Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, finished May 14
033) Chip Kidd: Book One: Work: 1986-2006 by Chip Kidd, finished May 9
032) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, finished May 7
031) The Complete Peanuts 1959-1960 by Charles M. Schulz, finished April 25
030) Devils & Demons edited by Marvin Kaye, finished April 23
029) Talk Talk Talk: Decoding the Mysteries of Speech by Jay Ingram, finished April 23
028) Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman, finished April 20
027) The Long Chalkboard: and Other Stories by Jennifer Allen and illustrated by Jules Feiffer, finished April 19
026) Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis, finished April 19
025) Frank by Jim Woodring, finished April 12
024) The Complete Concrete by Paul Chadwick, finished April 3
023) The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde, finished March 30
022) Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, finished March 28
021) Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller et al, finished March 23
020) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, finished March 16
019) Batman: Gothic by Grant Morrison et al, finished March 13
018) Wild at Heart by John Eldredge, finished March 7
017) Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid by Megan McDonald, finished March 7
016) 50 Professional Scenes for Student Actors: A Collection of Short 2 Person Scenes by Garry Michael Kluger, finished March 6
015) Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda, finished March 5
014) Frindle by Andrew Clements, finished March 1
013) Brain Wave by Poul Anderson, finished February 27
012) The Best American Comics 2006 edited by Harvey Pekar and Anne Elizabeth Moore, finished February 26
011) Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, finished February 15
010) The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ edited by Mormon and Moroni, finished February 7
009) Lisey's Story by Stephen King, finished February 1
008) The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, finished January 26
007) Empire by Orson Scott Card, finished January 24
006) Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, finished January 22
005) Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh, finished January 17
004) Superman Adventures Vol. 1: Up, Up and Away! by Mark Millar, finished January 16
003) A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, finished January 12
002) Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, finished January 11
001) Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut, finished January 10

    Read about
The First Five (001 - 005)
The Second Five (006 - 010)
The Third Five (011 - 015)
The Fourth Five (016 - 020)
The Fifth Five (021 - 025)
The Sixth Five (026 - 030)
The Seventh Five (031 - 035)
The Eighth Five (036 - 040)
The Ninth Five (041 - 045)
The Tenth Five (046 - 050)
The Eleventh Five (051 - 055)
The Twelfth Five (056 - 060)
The Thirteenth Five (061 - 065)
The Fourteenth Five (066 - 070)
The Fifteenth Five (071 - 075)

1 comment:

  1. Tin Tin was a really popular kids tv show in Canada when I was growing up. I haven't seen it forever!