075) Added Upon by Nephi Anderson, finished August 24
- If you don't know now, you should know before we go on the basic structure of Added Upon: Preexistence, Earth Life, Beyond. Boy Meets Girl. (Yes, this book is the alleged inspiration for everything from Saturday's Warrior on down.) First published in a shorter form in 1898, this is a founding Mormon novel and has been constantly in print since (allegedly it went out of print in 2005, but frankly, I don't believe it--a book this beloved cannot go out of print in the new millennium--won't happen).
Although Nephi Anderson's most popular work, I've heard several times that Dorian is in fact his best. But me, I liked Added Upon (so much so that I'm already a quarter through Dorian). Not for my usual book-liking reasons, and I'll try to express why I liked it now.
Granted, the preexistence portion of the book drags; the first post-Earth scene is truly awful; the ending poem isn't very good; the characters aren't brilliantly developed; a lot of its attitudes and assumptions are painfully dated. But! I still liked it, and more and more as I moved along.
I'm a proponent of literature that asks tough questions and demands critical thinking, that pushes boundaries and hits bumps along the way. Added Upon doesn't do that. By taking us through the Plan of Salvation, the uncertainties and qualms of mortality are simply disappeared. Even a shocking early death isn't that terrible because the whole book is about answers, not questions, and we know we'll see him alive and reunited with his wife soon, just as they were on Earth, just as they were before Earth. This is a much higher certainty than real life provides.
And you know what? That felt good. This book is warm and inviting, comforting. I feel happy when I read it, and when I roll my eyes, it's in love. I appreciate Brother Anderson and what he's done and what his intentions are. In fact, I find nobility therein.
I can't scoff at people who want this sort of comforting simplicity in their reading---I may be developing a taste for it myself.---I might even write some such someday. I still argue the need for and worth of "challenging" literature, but Added Upon is a worthy part of any diet.
three weeks, give or take
074) The Last Flower by James Thurber, finished August 19
- I can't be sure just how heavily I am influenced by James Thurber, but what is certain is that I am a LOT heavily influenced by James Thurber. In high school, I read very close to everything he ever published. Which is also a lot. A big lotta writin. And drawin.
Soon I will be publishing (here) some cartoons I drew my junior year of high school.
The striking thing about that chemistry/english binder is the thousands of Thurber dogs I've drawn on every surface (as well as a few Thurber women and several dozen attempts at his signature).
So finding this unremembered "parable in pictures" at a friend's house was about as exciting as finding a dozenth Dead Sea Scrolls cave would be.
I read it and---
What the crap was that all about?
This story is very easy to fit into Thurber's oeuvre, but what precisely it means is up for debate. I mean---I don't even know what I'm supposed to feel at the end.
Guess I need to read it again.
Wish I had my own copy.
just a few minutes
073) Reinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology Are Revolutionizing an Art Form by Scott McCloud, finished August 17
- Brilliant again, Mr McCloud. I have now reread all three volumes in his Blanking Comics series since beginning to keep track of my read books online.
This book, though probably the least appreciated, may be the most important and impressive. And if that's not enough to get you to read it, it's only because you don't respect me as a person and I hate you.
Seriously, reading this book made me want to grab people and tell them to read it. The first half of this book, for instance, should not be read just by comicistas, but also by people trying to sell Mormon lit (to pick one example I'm rather intimately involved with these days). EVERYBODY NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK! Whatever your connection to the arts, literature, comics, publishing, the Internet or the future, this book is worth your time.
(Besides: it's fun to be amazed at how prescient the author was in 2000. With the exception of micropayments, he's predicted the now almost perfectly.)
(Also: don't miss the online appendices.)
couple weeks, plus or minus one
072) The Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories by Nicholas Gurewitch, finished August 12
- Yes, I admit: a lot of the humor is based in sex and violence. But it's brilliantly funny sex and violence. If that makes a difference.
Just go here if you're interested. (The first thirty aren't in the book.)
What I'm not sure of is where I had seen so many of them before.....
One last comment: the opening comments from Frank's Jim Woodring are maybe misleading. Not because they are untrue but because they are written by Jim Woodring. And these strips are nothing like Woodring's work except they are brilliantly colored and endlessly bizarre.
Hope that helps.
071) The Dreamer by Will Eisner, finished August 12
- I would like to read much more of Eisner's work (including some Spirit before the movie comes out) and this was a delightful place to start. It's the tale of an (extremely) Eisner-like man during the Depression and his ascent in comics. Recommended. A nice short look at Eisner's realism if you're interested in trying it on for size.
070) The Blot by Tom Neely, finished August 6
069) Strange Stories for Strange Kids edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly, finished August 6
068) Survival Rates by Mary Clyde, finished July 30
067) A Week in October by Elizabeth Subercaseaux, translated by Marina Harss, finished July 29
066) Lehi in the Desert & The World of the Jaredites by Hugh Nibley, Ph. D., finished July 29
065) A Son Is Forever by various, finished July 29
064) Good ol' Snoopy by Charles M. Schultz, finished July 13
063) Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi, finished July 13
062) A Doré Treasury edited by James Stevens, finished July 12?
061) Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.; finished July 8
060) The Enoch Letters by Neal A. Maxwell, finished July
059) Sock Monkey: The Inches Incident by Tony Millionaire, finished July 3
058) The Number 73304-23-4153-6-96-8 by Thomas Ott, finished July 2
057) Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi, finished July 1
056) 300 by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, finished June 16
055) Fox Bunny Funny by Andy Hartzell, finished June 16
054) Where Did I Leave My Glasses?: The What, When, and Why of Normal Memory Loss by Martha Weinman Lear, finished June 15
053) The Mystery Guest by Grégoire Bouillier, trans. Lorin Stein, finished June 14
052) The Legend of Spud Murphy by Eoin Colfer, finished June 10
051) Good Bones and Simple Murders by Margaret Atwood, finished June 10
050) Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney's, Humor Category edited by D. Eggers, K. Shay, L. Epstein, J. Warner and S. Kleid, finished June 9
049) Bikeman by Thomas F. Flynn, finished June 5
048) Fool Moon by Jim Butcher, finished June 5
047) The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, finished June 2
046) Sixty Poems by Charles Simic, finished May 30
045) Replay by Ken Grimwood, finished May 28
044) The Age of the Conglomerates: A Novel of the Future by Thomas Nevins, finished May 27
043) W;t by Margaret Edson, finished April 19
042) Halo and Sprocket Volume 1: Welcome to Humanity by Kerry Cullen, finished May 17
041) Storm Front by Jim Butcher, finished May 16>
040) 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill, finished May 9
039) I Am the President of Ice Cream by Geoff Sebesta, finished May 4
038) On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan, finished May 3
037) The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester, finished May Day
036) The Drifting Classroom Vol. 1 by Kazuo Umezu, finished April 30
035) The Complete Peanuts 1965 - 1966 by Charles M. Schulz, finished April 29
034) Nextwave: Agents Of H.A.T.E Volume 1: This Is What They Want by Warren Ellis et Stuart Immonen et al, finished April 29
033) Batman: Hush, Vol. 2 by Jeph Loeb et al, finished April 29
032) Batman: Hush, Vol. 1 by Jeph Loeb et al, finished April 28
031) Chéri by Colette, finished April 17
030) Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett, finished April 13
029) Animal Farm by George Orwell, finished April 8
028) Macbeth by William Shakespeare, finished April 7
027) On the Road to Heaven by Coke Newell, finished April 4
026) The Great American Citizenship Quiz: Can You Pass Your Own Country's Citizenship Test? by Solomon M. Skolnick, finished March 23
025) Long After Dark by Todd Robert Petersen, finished March 23
024) The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, finished March 21
023) Robot Dreams by Sara Varon, finished March 10
022) The Complete Peanuts 1963-1964 by Charles M. Schulz, finished March 9
021) Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, finished March 7
020) Unorthodox Practices by Marissa Piesman, finished March 5
019) Happy Hour at Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta, finished March 4
018) A War of Gifts: An Ender Story by Orson Scott Card, finished Leap Day
017) Watership Down by Richard Adams, finished February 26
016) Old Boy Volume One by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi, finished February 25
015) Case Histories by Kate Atkinson, finished February 18
014) Ultimate Spider-Man: Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, finished February 15
013) Trusting Jesus by Jeffrey R. Holland, finished February 11
012) Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham et al., finished February 11
011) Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach, finished February 4
010) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, finished February 3
009) American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, finished LDotFMotNY
008) Zombification: Stories from National Public Radio by Andrei Codrescu, finished January 22
007) Marriage Lines: Notes of a Student Husband by Ogden Nash, finished January 22
006) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, finished January 20
005) The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time by Douglas Adams, finished January 14
004) Lord of the Flies by William Golding, finished January 10
003) Rising Sun by Michael Crichton, finished January 7
002) The Marketing of Sister B by Linda Hoffman Kimball, finished January 2
001) Animal Farm by George Orwell, finished January 1
The First Five ( 001 / 005 )
The Second Five ( 005 / 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)