Reading books to pass the time on the road.
Also some to help define my future.


034) The Giant Joshua by Maurine Whipple, finished June 20

I read this book at least one section per day (each chapter is broken down into smaller sections), never missing a day until I finished. I had to because, although it was good, I knew I would never finish it (without taking a couple years) unless I was disciplined. And so that's what I did.

I'll write a Motley Vision review on this later and will link to it [here] when it goes up. Hopefully this week.

In the meantime, I've written the Wikipedia article(s) and added a bunch of examples to Wiktionary.
a bit over three months



033) Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl, finished June 18

I've never read this Dahl even though I've now seen the movie dozens of times (I like to think he would have liked it) and even though I read tons of Dahl as a kid. (And as an adult, while we're at it.) This is just exactly what I expected from a fifty-page Quentin Blake-illustrated bit of Dahl. Read it. And don't miss the movie.
a morning

032) Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart, "finished" June 18
031) Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese, "finished" June 15

While we were spending a couple weeks staying with friends and family, I read most of these two books. Probably 80-95% of Wicked Plants and, if you ignore the actual recipes, at least 60% of Make the Bread---probably past 70%. And I loved them both.

Although now I'm afraid of all plants I don't have copious experience eating (though I want to try kudzu sometime).

Also: I'm starting with making my own kimchi. Maybe some worcestershire sauce. Definitely not pastrami. Don't have the pantry space.

Folks, this is what libraries were born for. Try them out.
between the two a week


030) The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon, finished June 9

This has been on my too-read list for some time, but I finally picked it up because I'm embarking on an althistory project and although mine's not hardboiled, when I trod where Chabon hath trod, I want to read his travelogue. And I'm glad I did. It's a great novel. And the way he realized Jewish Alaska is a better than I had planned version of what I had planned for my own project. It sets a high bar. Plus, he wrote a longer version and completely threw it away. The published novel is its sorta sequel. I find all that trashing inspirational.

Sure wish I had time to write disposable novels. . . .

Anyway. Neither here nor there. Better write a good one the first time.


029) Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick, finished early June

This book is such a remarkably easy read, I found it hard to remember that I didn't already know this stuff. In fact, I knew almost none of it. I did not know Squanto was such a Machiavellian. I did not know King Philip's War was just one generation after the Mayflower landing. I had no idea that the Pilgrims and the Indians were so close to establishing a lasting peace. If only there had been a bit of miscegenation, methinks, American history would be gobsmackingly different.

Reading through the copious notes at the end of the book, I learned that while the information in the book has been gradually becoming available over the last decades, it's never been compiled. In a very real way, what I learned singing songs and making handprint turkeys as a kid.

And to be so riveted in the process? Priceless.
six or seven months


Previously in 2012 . . . . :

Read the reviews of 25-28.
028) Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, finished May 24
027) The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan, finished May 16
026) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, finished May 10 (I'm astonished a month has passed since I've finished a book)
025) Dominant Traits by Eric Freeze, finished April 10

Read the reviews of 21-24.
024) The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White, finished April 2
023) UNTITLED MS by Kyle Jepson, finished March 12, 2012
022) The Complete Peanuts 1981-1982 by Charles M. Schulz, finished March 4
021) The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, finished March 3

Read the reviews of 14-20.
020) Billy Hazelnuts by Tony Millionaire, finished February 25
019) Good-bye, Chunky Rice by Craig Thompson, finished February 26
018) Madman 20th Anniversary Monster HC by [everybody], finished February 25
017) Billy Hazelnuts and Crazy Bird by Tony Millionaire, finished February 25
016) Billy Hazelnuts by Tony Millionaire, finished February 25
015) Habibi by Craig Thompson, finished February 20
014) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: 1910 by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill, finished February 15

Read the reviews of 12-13.
013) Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell, finished February 12
012) Black Hole by Charles Burns, finished February 11

Read the reviews of 6-11.
011) The Complete Peanuts: 1979-1980 by Charles M. Schulz, finished February 4
010) Blankets by Craig Thompson, finished February 4
009) Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, finished February 2
008) The Millstone Necklace (forthcoming) by S.P. Bailey, finished January 31
007) American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, finished January 27
006) Across a Harvested Field by Robert Goble, finished January 23

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. The heroics in Mayflower toward the end particularly by Benjamin Church are the kind of things I can't get enough of, and are direct inspiration on how to best convey some of my own thoughts on my favorite types of characters within my own fiction.

    I have planned on stealing from Mayflower for my Heroes saga for the last six years.

  2. .

    Never did put in that AMV link:http://www.motleyvision.org/2012/the-love-and-hate-of-the-giant-joshua/