030) Servant of a Dark God by John Brown, finished July 21
I had known I was finishing way way way fewer books this year, but I had no idea it's been over a month since I last finished one. Insane.
And so before we get to Brown's book, a bit of italicized speculating on why I am finishing fewer books this year.
First, I'm not reading as much comics. Not because I'm not reading comics --- in fact, I've never been deeper into comics (more on this in a future post) --- but I'm not reading booklength comics.
Second, I'm borrowing Recession Cone's Kindle. This might sound like it would lead to more reading, but there are a couple things you don't know. A) I'm driving to work rather than walking these past five weeks. B) Lady Steed won't let me carry the Kindle with me. She thinks it'll get me mugged. C) Between the books RC had on it and the one's I've added, when I have the Kindle, I haven't made a decision about what I'm going to read in the same way I have when I've picked up a book.
Third, I am, to pick a couple tired metaphors, spread thin, stretched thin lately. I have multiple writing and editing projects I'm in the middle of (eg, the comics thing mentioned above, Monsters and Mormons, more more more) and so I haven't been reading for readings' sake much of late.
Fourth, uncertainty about our future is making my brain leak and I'mm having a hard time concentrating on books. Never imagined such a thing was possible.
Before we get into Servant of a Dark God (because I haven't delayed this enough already), the Kindle.
Reading Servant isn't giving it a fair shake because it's a pdf I received (but didn't get read in time) for the Whitney Awards last year. I've been anxious to read it and the Kindle finally gave me that chance.
Even with the pdf cramping the Kindle's style, it was still fine to read on. My main complaint is that the contrast isn't stark enough. When reading in bed, if Lady Steed got between the Kindle and the lamp, I couldn't easily read anymore.
(It won't surprise you, given what I said in italics, that I have also been reading other books on the Kindle. I promised RC I wouldn't buy any books, but that doesn't stop my from reading in Kindle's native format with the books he'd already purchased, notably Rogue CloneRogue Clone by Steven Kent. [Interestingly, both writers are Mormon and both have badguyish peoples (in the sense of a race or nationality) with nearly identical names: Mogat and Mokad. Isn't that interesting?] So I can vouch for the better experience it is reading something other than a pdf on the Kindle.)
Being not much of a gadget fiddler, I haven't screwed around much with the Kindle's settings and bookmarks, etc. I suppose I should. I'm trying to get excited about that. But I'm really more interested in using it to read. Which it's reasonably dandy at. I think I read with less retention on the Kindle since I can't flip pages back and forth with the ease I do in books, but whether or not that's a problem is too soon to say.
Anyway. John Brown's book.
Well written high fantasy. I don't read much high fantasy these days so when I say something like UTTERLY ORIGINAL! I might be wrong, but I thought it was. I had a couple beefs (eg, the protag's age seemed to change over the course of the book), but for a first novel, I was mostly impressed. Excellent world, excellent concepts, excellent action, excellent fun.
Another thing I found striking was that while the whole book was one cohesive tale, after it ended, with a deft turn, Brown revealed how it can also be viewed as a book-one in a series (which it is, natch: here's a pdf of its first three [unreleased] chapters).
Any other questions?
estimate close to a month
029) Drink Me, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blog by James Goldberg, finished June 9
Well. If I had known you could get through a masters thesis navelgazing I might have done so ten years ago.
Having been in conversation with the author and (see book #28) reading a couple of his plays, I followed a link to one of his blogs and found his thesis in which he talks about his blogs (1 2 3). The paper is imminently readable although, as per its chapter four, I did skim several sections of it.
Rather than "reviewing" the book, I am, in response to all the self-quoting James did, I am now going to link to blog posts I have written which, in some way, respond to parts of his paper, thus continuing the conversation.
In America, "pissed" doesn't mean drunk (in which I overdo the linkery)
That much delayed Sunstone story, the horrifying one that I hope my students don’t hear (in which I, ah, am really really truthful)
What a way to start the month.... (more thonesty)
Post #300 in which we celebrate me by sharing humorous facts (in which I outnavelgaze the best of them and am simultaneously hilarious, a feat never before accomplished)
The Sin of Saint Onan (in which I sully another blog by being thobnoxious in my discussion of blogs as ephemera)
Okay. That's enough. Some good ones, a bad one. Should do it.
028) Out of the Mount (tentative title) edited by Davey Morrison, finished June 8
Because I'm involved in the publication of this book, everything I say may be fairly interpreted as puffery. But with that introduction, this is a great collection dealing with Mormon issues like faith, doubt, following, agency, love. Great stuff.
After you read your copy, come back with your five favorites. It'll be hard to choose I assure you, but here are mine:
"On Being a Priest" by Eric & Mary Emma Heaps
"Book of Mormon Story" by James Goldberg
"Gaia" by Eric Samuelsen
"Prodigal Son" by James Goldberg
"Little Happy Secrets" by Melissa Leilani Larson
Although I can look at that list and be totally satisfied, it still left out plenty of excellent work.
I love reading short plays and you should too, daddyo. Buy your own copy this September.
027) Madman Boogaloo! by Mike Allred, Mike Baron, Bernie Mireault, Steve Rude; finished June 2
Like most crossovers, this isn’t that great. (Sorry.) It’s really just an opportunity for creators to cross-pollinate their audiences. So how did these crossovers affect me, as a Madman fan?
The Nexus story did not sell me on the characters. In part because I don’t dig future superheroes, but also because Nexus isn’t my friend.
The Jam, like Nexus, is a not-my-friend character trapped in a subpar story, but this character I’m left interested in. I would read more Jam.
under two weeks, but only, at most, forty minutes of reading
026) The Education of Robert Nifkin by Daniel Pinkwater, finished May 22
Do you know Daniel Pinkwater? You should. His YA novels are delirious warpings of reality that boggle the mind. Which is what makes this book so hard to grasp.
See, this book is firmly in the school of realism yet, at the same time, it contains elements and characters so heightened into absurdity that calling this book realism is blatant lying. Yet, for all its wackiness, this still feels like a realistic look at 1950s Chicago high-school life.
What I find most charming about this book is its first page:
St. Leon's College
Parnassus on Hudson, New York
Admission Application, Page 4
64. Characterize, in essay form, your high-school ex-
perience. You may use additional sheets of paper
Then the next 164 pages are his answer to that question.
So, the question begged is this: Will he be admitted?
I do not know. I cannot even hope to guess.
Previously in 2010 . . . . :
025) True Grit by Charles Portis, finished May 21
024) Old Man's War by John Scalzi, finished May 15
023) Pandora's Nightmare: Horror Unleashed, finished May 13
022) Anthem by Ayn Rand, finished May 11
021) Look! It's Jesus!: Amazing Holy Visions in Everyday Life by Harry Choron and Sandra Choron, finished May 9
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