090) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, finished October 6
- I like this book. Persuasion is better, but this one's quite good. If it were 80% its current length, it would be even better. And ditching the chapters-long epilogue wouldn't have hurt either.
Some of the characters are oppressively caricaturish (notably Mrs Bennett --- it's notable how much more rounded she is in film versions), but overall, this is an excellent book deserving of its two-hundred-years' praise.
But surely I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.
two or three weeks
089) The Colorado Kid by Stephen King, finished October 3
- Friends, if you've been wanting to read Stephen King but have been put off by all those swears, have I got a book for you! The Colorado Kid has almost no swearing (and none of the heavyduty earblasters). In fact, this story isn't typical King at all. And, notwithstanding its pulp cred, it's not much of a pulp novel either. Take this (wonderfully pulpy) cover:
First, it never says Steff is drop-dead gorgeous anywhere. Just pretty. Second, she never has a tape recorder. And, if you could see the details, the newspaper headlines are wrong too.
Basically, the book consists entirely of two old Yankee geezers telling young Steffi the nonstory of the Colorado Kid.
I've read a few mysteries in my life, but this one (like the last one) is actually a mystery. Most mystery stories aren't mystery stories at all --- they're solution stories. And I'm sure that's what most people want from a 'mystery' story. Me too maybe. Usually. When I read them.
But I liked this mystery story. And I liked that it was a mystery.
And I like its cover. Wish I'd bought some other Hard Case novels for a dollar when I had a chance.
088) Mr. White's Confession by Robert Clark, finished October 1
- Except for a weird decoration atop the first pages of major sections, this book is a masterpiece of the paperback art --- who knew such a thing existed? But it's wonderful to touch and to look at and I've loved having it on my nightstand.
I got it from Picador to review and I'm happy to say that, unlike some other Early Reviewer books, this one I can openly recommend.
It reminds me (in good ways) of Paul Auster's perfect City of Glass. Similar questions posed in a mystery environment about memory and reliability and goodness and reality. It makes me want to jump right in to my new copy of the New York Trilogy or some other high-end pulpy mind massage.
(Off topic: as I was reading, the title character passed through Forks, Washington. So I told Lady Steed, who was lying next to me reading one of Stephanie Meyers's books. She looked over my shoulder and said, Hey La Push! Yes, Mr White goes there too.)
Mr White does not live in Washington. He's a Saint Paul boy with a faulty memory and the bad luck to get accused of murder.
This book does not read like most books in my acquaintance. It's not dead set on being either tragedy or comedy, and I'm still not sure which it really was. If you agree with Hugh Cook that any death spells the end of comedy, then comedy this ain't, because people most certainly die.
I hate to talk about this book in too much detail, because watching it unfold is fascinating and endlessly unexpected. And I don't mean unexpected in the gotcha sense, but rather, that this book doesn't feel scripted: it unfolds much like life itself and, like life, even what must be may not be. Life isn't big on sticking to a schedule.
Which is probably the best explanation as to why I can't determine if this is tragic or comic. Terrible things happen to bad people. And the results are awful. But, maybe, in the end, it was good for them? I don't know. I'm not sure. I can't say.
Wesley is hardnosed but human and to see him finally live . . . . And Maggie! How she - - - And how Ruby was taken just when - ! And that bastard We----.
I will find it hard not to love this book, even if we decide to call it a horrible and cruel tragedy.
I admit that I am partial to books with well-drawn characters, and these characters are exquisite.
My buddy Darin, veep of marketing at Picador, put a card in this book saying he would be happy to send a copy of Mr. White's Confession to any "friend or colleague . . . whom [I] would like [him] to send a copy of this book [to] in [my] name." So if you would like a copy of this book, give me your name and mailing address, and I'll email it along. The comments section is fine, or my email address is in the column to your left (unless you're one of those lazy reader-users), or you can contact me here. Getcher own! Discussion questions in the back!
087) Concrete: Fragile Creature by Paul Chadwick, finished September 28
- I started my Concrete journey over a year ago and only now found this volume, the first I ever knew of, at our library. It was nice to come to it, now that I know who Concrete is, and read another tale.
Concrete, like Madman and Hellboy, is a character who seems to meet the primary qualifications for "superhero" but, really, is actually merely a human being under peculiar circumstances.
In Concrete's case, he's been transfered into an alien body that makes him Thinglike --- he is massively heavy, incredibly strong, hard to hurt --- but it's not in him to take on all the world's evils. Instead he becomes a travel writer with the occasional oddjob to keep solvent.
In Fragile Creature he's working on a movie set.
In brief, Concrete is a wonderful character with good friends and a strange life.
And to have his humanity cut off from the world by being stuck in a rock case is, at times, heartbreaking.
Check your local library.
three hours, tops
086) Lone Wolf and Cub Vol. 1: The Assassin's Road by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima, finished September 27
- So I've been mangaing it up lately, with first volumes from Old Boy and The Drifting Classroom and now the wildly famous Lone Wolf and Cub, inspiration for Road to Perdition which I read a few years ago and, frankly, remember liking better.
Maybe it's not fair to judge a manga by its first volume, but there doesn't seem to be much to this one besides violence, violence and violence. Really violent violence. And dang sharp swords.
I would read more Old Boy if it were easy and more Drifting Classroom if it were close to easy, but, reputation or not, I just can't see much reason to pick up volume two of Lone Wolf no matter how easy (or free) to run down it may be.
The primary problem is, that in all this violence, the lead is never in risk of meeting his match. Put up against someone of any skill level--or any number of someones!--and he'll whupp 'em. Where's the story in that?
Frankly, I'm disappointed. The idea of a rogue samurai traveling with his three-year-old son and killing people is intriguing but, sadly, kinda boring.
I think more manga needs to be published in full-story size, like Ode to Kirihito. Granted, Lone Wolf is a series of short stories and not a serial novel (or something), but if Old Boy or Drifting Classroom were single-volumed, I would be much more likely to read manga. But reading first volumes that, alone, cannot be good enough to inspire the fanaticism required to run down the following seventeen (or seventy thousand) is never going to convert me.
085) A Lion and a Lamb> by Rand H. Packer, finished September 20
084) What Jesus Meant by Garry Wills, finished September 20
083) The Lost Ones by Steve Niles et al, finished September 18
082) Dorian by Nephi Anderson, finished September 17
081) If You Want to Scare Yourself by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg, translated by Rene Vera Cafiero, with illustrations by Helga Spiess; finished September 12
080) Madman Gargantua by Mike Allred with Laura Allred, finished September 9
079) Star Wars by George Lucas, finished September 9
078) Angel Falling Softly by Eugene Woodbury, finished September 1
077) The Night Listener by Armistead Maupin finished August 29
076) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, finished August 25
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 ( 071 / 075)
The Sixteenth Five ( 076 / 080)