105) The Brave & the Bold, Book 2
by Mark Waid et al, finished November 16
- Well, no question, this was my favorite of the four books I just borrowed from Mr Fob. Although there was an overall arching story, most of the chapters were self-contained stories. And instead of focusing on big characters (eg, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman), most of the stories dealt with little-known characters.
Back when I was borrowing from the Fobster on a more regular basis and starting to understand what the DCU was all about, I could understand the greater mythological underpinnings that keep that boat afloat. But now that I'm back to being a casual taster, reading about less mytheavy characters such as The Doom Patrol and Metal Men is much more enjoyable --- these are characters free to be fun. And that's mostly what I want from my major-publisher superheros these days.
That and highend Batman.
104) Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, finished November 15
- The first, oh, 120 pages of this book were nice basic simple YA stuff --- nothing remarkable, nothing terrible. Then it settled into the most horribly boring stuff I've perhaps ever read. Three hundred pages of it. A week would go by and I would look at my nightstand for something to read and see this enormous black hardback and be totally stumped: What in the world is that? Am I reading that thing? So I would pick it up. Oh yeah. That.
Starting around the baseball game (which strikes me as utterly unfilmable, by the way) the book got fun. Not actually good, but fun. And that lasted up to the epilogue which was totally gratuitous.
I read this book because I had a paper idea (which the editor liked), but the idea of delving back into it makes me shudder. Anyone have a searchable copy they'll share? Otherwise I might not have the will to do this thing. So . . . tedious . . . .
This is why I'd been avoiding reading these books anyway. I really wanted to like them and greatly feared I would not. Which is exactly what happened.
month and a half, ish
103) Dali & I: The Surreal Story by Stan Lauryssens, finished November 15
- In brief: Stan becomes a lying thieving art dealer specializing, mostly, in fakes Dalís (although, as it ends up later, even genuine Dalis are actually fake Dalís). Then his crimes catch up with him.
The scoop: the first twenty pages or so are among the most fun, most delightful, most kick-in-the-pants fun pages I've ever read. Then the books gets overwhelmingly tedious. And the author's 'redemption' never feels even 3% genuine. He's only ever sad he gets caught, nothing else.
But what kept me going was learning about all the shady shenanigans that surrounded the Dalí art machine. That information was fascinating, but the fact that you never feel like the author is trustworthy, you can't be sure how much stock to place in his revelations. Did Dalí really have a giant dildo with the face of Hitler on it? Did he really pay a set designer to paint some of his most famous works? Did he really sell impressions of nudes' bottoms to the Vatican? Or is this the author's attempt at redemption: to show that someone else was even worse?
I don't know.
But I am much more sympathetic towards and understanding of the legions who dismiss Dalí as a fraud.
A note on the forthcoming movie: Pacino, fine, whatever. But I hope we only ever see him in a wheelchair or hospital bed. I hope they use old footage and let Dalí speak for himself.
A note on a better I-was-a-reallife-con book: Catch Me If You Can.
three or four months
102) Brave & The Bold Vol. 1: Lords Of Luck by Mark Waid and George Pérez, finished November 13
- This is a silly book. But it is shamelessly silly --- it glories in its silliness. And that is exactly what silly should do.
Waid also wrote the topnotch Kingdom Come so it's not that he is capable of nothing else. Instead, I imagine that this was more of a chance to wallow in geek pride and let his freak flag fly (as it were).
And nicely done.
Plus, it's a nice crash course in the DC Universe. This is the first time I've read a Lobo story, for instance, and who knew Hal Jordan was still alive? The things you learn!
101) The Black Whole edited by Jacqueline M Jones, finished November 13
- This short story collection's faults are legion --- the typos are just the first you'll notice.
The sad things is I think I would have liked this book fifteen years ago, back in high school, when I was more likely to equate tricksy endings with emotional depth..
The book's back copy wars the reader to "remember that your tastes tomorrow will be much different than today's. More than that, though, what you read here will alter you just a tad, so that tomorrow you might re-read with a totally different eye, with totally different taste buds."
Yeah. Hubris. Of the totally unjustified variety.
Let me be nice for a while and say that some of the stories were not repellent. And many more were based on genuinely clever concepts, even if the execution was disastrous.
Some examples of the good: The representation of dryads was appealing. I never saw dryads as being worth a writer's time, but I'm rethinking that. The vampire-who-eats-old-people was a nice twist on vampire stereotypes. The 9/11 story avoided the hackneyed (if barely). The woman who fell in half was genuinely startling and a good start to---
This brings me to a new subject. The halved-woman story was written by the editor (her other two delivered diminishing returns). Editing an anthology and including oneself is always dicey and smacks of hubris itself. Being an editor on such an anthology myself, this collection gives me pause and will, I trust, lead to harder more critical looks.
Anyway, this collection failed in its goals. It approximated them a few times, but ultimately, no dice. And the shocking mistakes (eg, the author whose byline doesn't match her name in the bio) don't help. I like to give bitty publishers the benefit of the doubt, but sometimes they won't let me. Alas.
perhaps a month
100) Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin, finished November 10
099) Batman and Son by Grant Morrison et al, finished November 9
098) The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, finished November 7
097) Manhunter Vol. 1: Street Justice by Marc Andreyko et al, finished November 4
096) Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Can't Kick Militarism by Joel Andreas, finished November 4
095) Our America: Life And Death On The South Side Of Chicago by by LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman with David Isay, finished October 22
094) Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt, finished October 21
093) Carrie by Stephen King, finished October 14
092) Barnaby by Crockett Johnson, finished October 9
091) Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, finished October 8
090) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, finished October 6
089) The Colorado Kid by Stephen King, finished October 3
088) Mr. White's Confession by Robert Clark, finished October 1
087) Concrete: Fragile Creature by Paul Chadwick, finished September 28
086) Lone Wolf and Cub Vol. 1: The Assassin's Road by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima, finished September 27
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)
The Seventeenth Five ( 081 / 085)
The Eighteenth Five ( 086 / 090)
The Nineteenth Five ( 091 / 095)
The Twentieth Five ( 091 / 095)
(Does that joke make any more sense now that you've read that book? I mean, surrealism and all, okay, I get it, but it's always fish, and such consistency--I dunno. I just don't get it. There must've been a fish somewhere, no?)ReplyDelete
If I'd known Twilight was going to make you shudder, I wouldn't have asked for your feedback on my essay (which, by the way, I greatly appreciate--it was very helpful). Oh, and if you find it too tedious to venture into that world again, I won't be too disappointed if I don't see something from you. I was looking forward to it though...
Anyway...I do see where you're coming from. Not exceptional stuff by any means--not even really great. I really only thought the book was decent, but took an interest because everyone was raving about how awesome Stephenie Meyer is and I wanted to offer a more critical perspective on the "phenomenon." Hence the journal...and the article.
I enjoyed Angel Falling Softly much more. I thought it was more literary--tightly written and carefully crafted (although I agree that the first 30 or so pages needed work), rooted in the genre, and more demanding of its readers as it grapples with serious ideas.
Anyway, that's my two cents worth.
On my essay-writing thoughts, I'll write you when I get things a bit more worked out. I now have a much better idea than my original (which won't really work as I intended it), but it will require me to read all four volumes.
I'm still mulling over that.
Really, fish weren't Dali's thing. If the joke were meant to make a Dalian sense, you might yell Elephant! or Giraffe! instead.
Don't worry about reading the other three Twilight books. They go a lot faster because as a reader you pick up on SM's tropes and know when to scan. Really. By the beginning of the third book I hardly even registered all the beautiful eyes, cold lips, and steely chests.ReplyDelete
Oh, and I hope you didn't steal my article idea! ;)
Re fish, giraffes, and elephants.ReplyDelete
In my family, it's "My watches are melting" when something's simply to surreal.
I so want to explore all the dominant/submissive sexual undertones and why I think SM didn't know what she was writing and how she might have pulled that fantasy from church patriarchy...
...but I pretty much just did in about 26 words and I don't know that adding another 1000 words to that's gonna help any.
Well, to quote no doubt a thousand SMers, "More can't hurt. In a bad way, I mean."
I hope you're right, Laura. It's often hard for me to skim --- particularly fiction --- but you've just given me something to strive for.
I'd like to see you expand that 26 words into a thousand or so for utterly selfish reasons--as an editor, I want an essay from you (and from Theric; oh, and Laura, too, of course).
So, consider the gauntlet thrown...
So, consider the gauntlet thrown...ReplyDelete
Crap. I'm a sucker for a pretty gauntlet.
I owe Adam an essay, too.
Verification word: Nosch.
No thanks. On a diet.
Crap. This means I have to read the other three books. Because my new topic isn't really even touched on in this book. Not sufficiently, anyway.....
[Edit: removed extraneous > form Previously Read in order that it will not be repeated in future issues.]