Books for friends


011) The Complete Peanuts: 1979-1980 by Charles M. Schulz, finished February 4

I started to keep track of particular moments I wanted to share, then someone pulled out my bookmark. Sigh.

Still. You are buying and reading these, right? They are . . . wonderful . . . .

about a month


010) Blankets by Craig Thompson, finished February 4

The astonishing thing is that this book is even better than I remembered it. And I've been talking it up pretty much since it came out. I've been telling people to read it and that it's one of the great comics and

it's even better than I remembered it.


Of course, there's also nudity which I'd forgotten, so sorry nonnudity people who've followed my advice.

Thompson's book is painfully beautiful. It's a coming-of-age story so poignant and true that it gets someone like me---who treats the coming-of-age label as a reason to stay away---to utterly get sucked into a first love and a crisis of faith and . . . a coming of age . . . and to live it so completely that a burning photograph can register as actual, literal, physical pain, somewhere in the depths of my chest.

This book makes me so happy and so melancholy.

I finished this reading and had to put it down and sit quietly for half and hour, just living that much longer in the world he created.

Wow but does this man know how to draw, how to write, how to tell a bleeding story.

It's too excellent not to read. Please do.

two days


009) Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, finished February 2

I am now teaching this book for the first time. All I really remember about reading this book when I was taught it in high school (c. 1992) is the following:
1. Mrs. Teague, when she first read it in college, hated the book so much she threw it across the room against a wall and let it sit there for days.

2. I loved it.

3. I started reading Vonnegut --- perhaps the final author in my reading life that I fixated on.
I reread the book shortly after Lady Steed and I were married (2000) and was disappointed not to be blown away again. But I was looking for my old experience, not what the book still had to offer.

This reading I've gotten myself put back together---and I frankly loved Cat's Cradle this time round. It truly is a brilliant book---probably Vonnegut's best---and if you haven't reread it in ten years or so, it may be time.

about a week


008) The Millstone Necklace (forthcoming) by S.P. Bailey, finished January 31

As this book is still unreleased, I won't say much yet (this parenthetical will someday link to my AMV review), but know that this is a fun and thrilling little adventure to keep a lookout for.

two days


007) American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, finished January 27

As per my original (bitty) review, this book is terrific. It holds up. Even knowing the end from the beginning does not get in the way (which says a lot in this case, as Yang has built a complicated Rube Goldberg contraption of plot and symbols here). If you haven't read it yet, you should.

Or if you have yet, like me, have not read any of Yang's other books, let us ask ourselves Why?

one day


006) Across a Harvested Field by Robert Goble, finished January 23

Make sure you get the pretty good cover and not the pretty bad cover. My full review's over on AMV.

more than one week less than two

Previously in 2012 . . . . :

Read the reviews of 1-5.

005) Hark! a Vagrant! by Kate Beaton, finished January 21
004) The Death of a Disco Dancer by David Clark, finished January 12
003) Bucketfoot Al: The Baseball Life of Al Simmons by Clifton Blue Parker, finished January 9
002) Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror by Chris Priestly, finished January 9
001) What of the Night? by Stephen Carter, finished January 5


  1. Man I love Blankets. Even people who are non-nudity should still pick it up because it deals with the arguments within one's self on religion and love so well. I want everyone I know to read it.

  2. .

    I agree.

    And, wildly, I was just on your blog earlier today. Something in the ether?