Missile Mouse: The Star Crusher by Jake Parker, finished c. December 13
Large S has suddenly become a huuuge Missile Mouse fan. I think we may be reading these books on repeat. So I'm not going to keep adding them, but I will direct you back to why you should buy them for your own kids:
a couple nonsequential days
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carré, finished December 10
I did not know until halfway through the read that a) this book is one of a connected series of books or b) one of them has been adapted to a film set for release this month (starring Gary Oldman, no less, which triples its worth-watching factor).
For those who don't know, Le Carré writes spy novels. Literary spy novels. Spy novels you can tell your lit professor friends you read. Waaaay better written than James Bond books, for instance. And not just flash and fun either --- these books have something to say.
As this one did.
Evidence that this book is not just out for fun is that the book's major twist you know from page one. And the actual twist is merely a reflection of the twist you the reader knew all along. So it's gets to be thriller-clever without making you feel like you're supposed to be solving a puzzle all along.
For me, the most valuable part of reading this book was learning more about Cold War mentality. The Berlin Wall fell just before I entered high school, so although I remember reading about it (and, later, following the breaking off of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania with great interest), I wasn't old enough to have ever really felt the creeping terror of the-world-could-end-tomorrow. It's easy now to be critical of American attitudes like Domino Theory, but I wasn't there.
This book put me there, if only for a moment.
If you like James Bond but wish it were a little meatier, Le Carré is the writer for you.
six calendar days but only five periods of wakefulness
088) Uzumaki, Spiral into Horror by Junji Ito, finished December 9
I haven't read any manga in a while, in part because one book's never enough and getting them all's too big of a hassle. But I picked this one up because it appeared to be a one-shot. Alas, it ended with a to-be-continued. Figures.
But within the books, it's really just a series of short stories. A town is infested with spirals, which causes horror in a variety of unpleasant ways. All of which are ludicrous and absurd and make zero sense, but somehow, all the same, in their nightmare way, become truly horror-ible all the same. In a way I don't think a movie ever could. (See the adaptation's trailer and tell me if you don't agree.)
Here are some images from the book, culled from the internet. Naturally, the web provides moments of climax, so if you don't want to have anything spoiled, just skip down to the next book.
087) How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster, finished December 9
I picked this up in the textbook room with the idea of perhaps assigning it to my students. In short? The answer is yes. I'll certainly be using this book in the future. It's basically the layman's guide to all the stuff English majors are supposed to know by the end of 201 as shared by an affable guide. It's a fun read even if you already know most this stuff, and I expect it will be mindblowing to the uninitiated. So. It's a keeper.
086) Umney's Last Case by Stephen King, finished December 6
Really, this is just a short story, but I loved that Penguin was publishing 75c books for their 60th anniversary. How cool is that? It fits perfectly into any pocket
a few week though not many minutes