080) Madman Gargantua by Mike Allred with Laura Allred, finished September 9
- I've been aware of Madman for a very long time---probably since, roughly, the time it went to color. But I never picked one up and read it, except a Madman/Superman crossover at the Provo Library that I started but didn't get, so put back on the shelf.
"Getting" Madman can be a bit tricky. And I was well into this tome's 800-plus pages before I really caught the rhythm. But once I did---wow! I can see why people are so enthusiastic about it.
I first started thinking about Madman again because of a post Ken Jenning's wrote that Mr Fob referred me to as I was writing my Motley Vision post on comics.
As I wrote and read and talked with other comics people, I decided that the only way to start into Madman was to buy the book I've just read. Problem: it costs $125 retail. Which is, say it with me, a crapload of money.
But things fell into line all at once. Ken wrote me about the post and mentioned some other things I suddenly had to read (and were in the big book). My mother-in-law gave me giftcardery to BnN. BnN online had a retailer selling the big book for $60. Which is still the most I've spent on a single volume since college textbooks, but I did it. And I don't regret it.
Most of the reviews quoted within the book cite the books manic pop-sensibility. Sure. You betcha. But I'm much more interested in the Mormon philosophy. Not so much the shoutouts to the Three Nephites (mere throwaway references, really---they could be anybody), but the lead's delving into questions that have a very Mormon flavor, and his arriving at very Mormon-sounding answers.
My only complaint about this book is that even when on the cusp of 900 pages, it's still not enough. It doesn't have the preMadman Frank Einstein. It doesn't have the crossovers (eg, the Superman one). And, most awful but most forgivable, it doesn't have the new stuff. Crap. This means more money leaving my pockets.
Let me know when the collections start being released.... Because I really want to read the wedding scene.
In the meantime, I'll let you know as soon as I find and watch my dvd of G-Men from Hell.
under a month
079) Star Wars by George Lucas, finished September 9
- Yep, it's about as poorly written as you'ld imagine. But, especially at the beginning, there was something so wonderful about reading the book and have the movie play out in my mind.
I haven't watched Star Wars, I'm pretty sure, in over ten years. But it's still deep in my psyche and I loved reading this book, no matter how lightweight it was. And it was also fun to note the differences and see proof that the Star Wars universe of 1976 (the book's copyright date) didn't have things like midichlorians (not surprising), the Luke/Leia sibling connection as revealed in later films (not that surprising either), or the correct face of Chewbacca (pretty surprising). More interesting were ways in which Obi-Wan isn't much like Alec Guiness or Han Solo like Harrison Ford.
This merits saying: George Lucas was crazy lucky to have the cast he had---especially Ford. Some of those lines, removed from the actors' delivery, are just ridiculous. Without the in-front-of-the-camera talent the film had, it would have been a disaster. Lucky Lucas.
since last October
078) Angel Falling Softly by Eugene Woodbury, finished September 1
- I renoticed early on in reading this book (as I've noticed and renoticed with other LDS fiction) that I tend to be hypersensitive to others' depictions of the Church and its membership. But unlike the atrocities in Miss Misery, I force myself to recognize my experiences are not universal and a book's version of things must be valid when the author is as LDS as Theric is.
Probably my main issue of this sort in AFS was in the depictions of Rachel, "the bishop's wife" (see more here). Whos she seemed to be and who she was expositorially described to be did not mesh for dozens and dozens of pages. For a long time, I feared my report on this book would read like the thesaurus entry for disappointment.
Disappointment was, after all, my first experience with a Zarahemla-published book. I pulled my punches when I reviewed Brother Brigham because, at the time, I had a working relationship with Zarahemla myself (although this hasn't stopped BB's author from publicly blasting me as an unskilled reader and an elitist; his wild-eyed insistence that only story matters and quality of writing be damned suggests I should not introduce him to my brother). That bookshared a lot of qualities with this one, notably the collision of Normal Utah Mormons with old Halloween standbys. (though I rush to point out that the halting beginning of AFS was only a problem with the beginning).
In theory, I don't have anything against this juxtaposition of Mormon and monster. In fact, I think it's exciting and fascinating and a marvelous challenge for the LDS writer. In a world where a hand to the square takes care of most anything, how to scare me with the supernatural?
Woodbury's solution is to remove the supernatural from the equation entirely. His vampires are purely natural (although in a wholly unlikely manner--but hey! this is fiction! suspend your disbelief!)
Since I've already gone on in some length about this book, I'll stop before I fill up too much more space. I hope some of you will read it so we can talk about it. It's a book that welcomes discussion.
since late the previous week
077) The Night Listener by Armistead Maupin finished August 29
- Postmodern commentary:
So I picked up this book after Lady Steed left me. I had seen it around and when I opened the cover and discovered, holy crap, it was dedicated to me, that I had to read it. So I bloody well did. Although I took some breaks for casual truckstop sex and for the deaths of several relatives. And to answer the phone.
When I finished the book, Lady Steed turned towards me in bed and said, How was it?
Pretty good, I said. Pretty good.
about a week
076) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, finished August 25
- It's been over fifteen years since I read this book and developed an everlasting hatred for it. I'm only reading it now because I have to make my sophomores read it (I'm giving them two days). My take now?
It's extremely well crafted. It offers a litany of human suffering. It's perfect in its concision. It's excellent in many, many ways.
And it's a total downer.
075) Added Upon by Nephi Anderson, finished August 24
074) The Last Flower by James Thurber, finished August 19
073) Reinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology Are Revolutionizing an Art Form by Scott McCloud, finished August 17
072) The Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories by Nicholas Gurewitch, finished August 12
071) The Dreamer by Will Eisner, finished August 12
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)
The Fifteenth Five ( 066 / 070)
You must lend me Madman.ReplyDelete
Do want to insure that borrowing?
That's a very apt description of the Steinbeck. And now that I'm partially through Understanding Comics, I'm feeling decidedly less cultured that I've never read any comics and/or graphic novels.ReplyDelete
Suggestions for a starting place? (Preferably something that's a quick read, so I can actually read something for enjoyment in the midst of all this theory reading I'm doing . . .)
Oh, also re: Steinbeck . . . in college, I had a business major friend who took an American Lit class with me for fun. After reading Steinbeck, she declared it to be a miracle that so many English majors make it out of their program alive . . .ReplyDelete
Confuzzled, this. I particularly recommend Jimmy Corrigan, Blankets, Maus, American Born Chinese, and Persepolis (to narrow it down to five).
My next Steinbeck will be Travels with Charlie. And I swear if the dog dies I am NEVER reading East of Eden or the Grapes of Wrath.
I just realized I'll be reading Persepolis for one of my classes! Look at that . . . I generally avoid looking farther than a month ahead in any of my syllabi, lest I should feel overwhelmed and suffer a complete breakdown.ReplyDelete
Hmm . . . I'll have to see if the library has any of your other recommendations . . .
The more time goes on, the less I think of The Night Listener. All its virtues are diminished by an overreliance on tired tropes of postmodernism. Shame. It could have been a good novel.