5th5 (books)


25. True Grit by Charles Portis, finished May 21

I had no idea the movie John Wayne got his Oscar for was based on a book until the Coens said they were going to remake it, sticking, this time, closer to the book.

Then I happened to see it at the school library --- about ten copies thereof, actually. Apparently this book used to be a book everyone read.

And rightly so. This book is hardcore, folks. the world's toughest fourteen-year-old girl seeking to avenge her father's death with the help of, depending on who you ask, either John Wayne or Jeff Bridges.

One of the most one-thing-after-another scenes I've ever read occurs in this book and I can't tell you about it because it happens at the very end but holy smokes does it leave Tom Sawyer's cave adventure in the dust. And it only lasts maybe a couple hours.

The book's about 180 pages. So you can fit it into your schedule if you're interested.

three days

24. Old Man's War by John Scalzi, finished May 15

I enjoyed this book immensely. It's not great art by any means, but it's a crazy fun bit of space fightery and I loved it. I was all set to return this one to Recession Cone and borrow the next in the series until I read the few pages of extract from it and changed my mind.

See, one of the artistic elements I did appreciate was the decision to stay out of the alien povs. But that clip was all alien pov and apparently, beneath the alien exteriors, they're the same as us. Sigh.

But, that said, the hero of this volume turns seventy-five, visits his wife's grave and then joins the army where he's sent to space, given a new body, and enters a new world of violence.

Veddy fun.

couple weeks

23. Pandora's Nightmare: Horror Unleashed, finished May 13

I've already talked a bit about this, but a couple more comments, notes really, that I jotted in the book as I read:

If I (meaning specifically the story I wrote) and Neil Gaiman, then Blake Casselman's terrifying tale is Stephen King. (You'ld have to read the stories to see what I mean.)

I'm impressed by the breadth of stories possible with Pandora. And also the breadth of obviousness that can be found as well.

Although I bit sloppy, I liked how Jessy Marie Roberts's story found a connection between Pandora and Bluebeard that I had never thought of before.

M Sullivan's story needs another rewrite and a better ending, but I would republish it. Reminded me of one of my all-time favorite short stories, "Daddy" by Earl Godwin.

A good idea is not necessarily a good story.

Neil Coghan's piece ended too soon. A crime I myself commit much too often, so it's hard for me to forgive. But it was a great story.

Has the circular tale been a cliche for ages and I just never noticed, or is this a new phenomenon?

With good enough execution, a gimmick can be a delightful read.

Overall, a fine book and I'm happy to have had my work included in it.

i think between one and two months

22: Anthem by Ayn Rand, finished May 11

Apparently I decided not to list this book last year when I read it with a class. This time I am.

It's a fun book to read with a class because for the first fifty pages you can stop and talk about practically every paragraph. And whether they like or dislike Rand's philosophy, at the very least they get it and they have a lot to say about it. Dystopias in general are excellent conversation builders and Anthem has the additional value of being short and sweet.

under two weeks

21: Look! It's Jesus!: Amazing Holy Visions in Everyday Life by Harry Choron and Sandra Choron, finished May 9

A collection of photos showing Mary and Jesus and friends as they've appeared in tortillas and woodgrain here there and every where. Takes some real imagination to see some of them and it's a fun exercise in the brain's capacity for gestalt.

And although the text is often ironic, it is never sarcastic.

A pleasant hour's read.


Previously in 2010 . . . . :

020) Travels in the Scriptorium: A Novel by Paul Auster, finished May 5

019) Suburban Folklore by Steven Walters, finished May 4

018) The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall, finished April 30

017) Gracie: A Love Story by George Burns by George Burns, finished April 20

016) The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley, finished April 15

015) Dispensation: Latter-Day Fiction edited by Angela Hallstrom, finished March 24

014) The Best American Comics 2009 edited by Charles Burns, finished March 22

013) Icon: A Hero's Welcome by Dwayne McDuffie and MD Bright, finished March 17 012) There's Treasure Everywhere by Bill Watterson, finished March 15

011) Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool. Finished right at midnight between March 13 and 14

010) Teen Titans: Year One by Amy Wolfram et al, finished March 7

009) The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, Book One by Bill Watterson, finished March 6

008) Apparition & Late Fictions: A Novella and Stories by Thomas Lynch, finished March 5

007) Stone Rabbit #1: BC Mambo by Erik Craddock, finished March 2

006) The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larsen, finished February 23

005) Missile Mouse 2 by Jake Parker (MS POLICY), finished February 5

004) Heroes of the Fallen by David J. West, finished February 4

003) Still Life in Milford by Thomas Lynch, finished January 19

002) Rapunzel's Revenge by Hales Shannon Dean and Nathan, finished January 16

001) Mormoniana by Mormon Artists Group, finished January 13


  1. .

    [Edit: Fixed of to or.]

  2. Glad you liked Old Man's War. I loved the other 3 books too (including Zoƫ's Tale, which is kind of an Ender's Shadow retelling of the last book). It's great to read just for the fun of it.

  3. True Grit is one of my parents' favorite movies (my mom particularly) so I had it inflicted on me numerous times as a child. I haven't watched it forever--I mostly remember the rattlesnakes. I guess I should read the book some time.

    And yes, that is why I am weird, because my parents made us watch stuff like True Grit, Gallipoli and Old Yeller.

  4. .

    RC: Could I read Zoe next? Would that mess things up?

  5. I'll have to see if my library has True Grit and then make up my mind about the Coen's project-I was initially against it.

  6. .

    I think you'll like it. I would be very surprised if you did not.

  7. .


    That was me.