75-79, including a surefire Christmas gift for just about anyone


079) Nursery Rhyme Comics edited by Chris Duffy, finished December 14

This is it, folks! This is the Christmas gift you've been looking for! With nursey rhymes comicsized from every one from Mike Mignola to Roz Chast to Stan Sakai to Tony Millionaire to the Los Bros Hernandez to Kate Beaton to Craig Thompson to Gene Luen Yang---I could on. Everyone's in here. I keep going back and adding people. But let's add Jules Feiffer and call it good.

Suffice it to say, the book is even better than you're willing to hope. When you get this many of the best, they show you just what comics can do.

Seriously. If you have a family you need to get a gift for and have no idea, your search is over. Buy this book.
one evening


078) The Truth about Fiction by Steven Schoen, finished December 11

When I read this book as part of a college class a long, long time ago, I was impressed by its simple, direct (and good) advice for writing fiction. Rereading it now, I feel the same. The difference is that thoughts that were revolutionary then, are now so incorporated into my basic functioning that I either can't imagine not knowing them or am actively discovering how to break them.

Shame it's out of print. Prentice Hall should have Schoen rewrite the out-of-date appendices (try the "Internet" for research!) and put it back out. A great teeny introduction to the writing craft.
perhaps a couple months


077) Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch, finished December 3

Subtitled "Yet Another Troll-Fighting 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl", which should be enough to tell you whether or not you are interested. And if you're not interested, why the heck not?

The book's imperfect (the way it chooses which words to incorporate into the text is inconsistent, for instance), but it's fun and I enjoyed it. Book one is really just chapter one so you may want to go out and get the second book along with the first. I hear the third will incorporate magic fish. And why not magic fish?

The thing I'm newly convinced of, however, is that you shouldn't wait. Start reading them now.

one day


076) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, finished December 2

The Big O loved this and so Large S wanted to hear it as well. Dahl, of course, is a blast to read. As a kid I thought this book was much weaker than the sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. I guess I'll find out. They were so sad it ended I admitted Elevator's existence instead of opening up The Hobbit.
some weeks


075) Spawn: New Flesh by David Hine and Brian Haberlin, finished November 29

About what I always imagined Spawn would be. Demons and violence and grossouts and grand attempts at depth. Nothing here folks, move along.
about half an hour

Previously in 2012 . . . . :

Read the reviews of 71-74.
074) Level Up by Gene Luen Yang and Thien Pham, finished November 23
073) The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck by Rodolphe Töpffer, finished November 21
072) The Eternal Smile by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim finished probably November 21
071) The Clouds Above by Jordon Crane, finished probably November 19

Read the review of 70.
070) Byuck by Theric Jepson, finished November 17

Read the review of 68-69.
069) Pork Pie Hat by Peter Straub, finished November 16
068) Off Season ("The Author's Uncut, Uncensored Version!") by Jack Ketchum, finished November 14

Read the review of 67.
067) Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman, finished November 6

Read the reviews of 61-66.
066) Nurse Nurse by Katie Skelly, finished November 3
065) Best American Comics 2012 edited by Françoise Mouly, finished November 3
064) Everything We Miss by Luke Pearson, finished November 1
063) Amulet: Prince of the Elves by Kazu Kibuishi, finished October 30
062) Amulet: The Last Council by Kazu Kibuishi, finished October 25
061) iPlates: Volume One by Stephen Carter and Jett Atwood, finished October 22

Read the reviews of 57-61.
061) Amulet: The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi, finished October 14
060) Amulet: The Stonekeeper's Curse by Kazu Kibuishi, finished October 13
059) Amulet: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi, finished October 10
058) Feedback by Robison Wells, finished October 9
057) Mormons in the Media, 1830-2012 by Jared Farmer, finished October 8

Read the review of 56.
056) The Garden of the World by Lawrence Coates, finished October 5

Read the reviews of 52-55.
055) The Skin I'm In by Sharon G. Flake, finished September 27
054) Lote That Dog by Sharon Creech, finished September 25
053) Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech, finished September 24
052) Wormwood, Gentleman Corpse: It Only Hurts When I Pee by Ben Templesmith, finished September 24

Read the reviews of 49-51.
051) The Zabîme Sisters by Aristophane, finished September 20
050) Little Death by Thomas Kriebaum, finished September 16
049) God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut, finished September 11

Read the reviews of 44-48.
048) American Nerd: The Story of My People by Benjamin Nugent, finished September 7
047) Powers by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming, finished September 6
046) Simply Science by a number of authors and illustrators for All Aboard Reading, finished September 5
045) Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach, finished September 3
044) The Strange Case of the Walking Corpse: A Chronicle of Medical Mysteries, Curious Remedies, and Bizarre but True Healing Folklore by Nancy Butcher, finished August 27

Read the reviews of 40-43.
043) How to Analyze the Works of Stephenie Meyer by Marcela Kostihova, finished August 13
042) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, finished August 10
041) Captain America: Man Out of Time by Mark Waid and Jorge Molina, finished August 1
040) If You Believe in Mermaids . . . Don't Tell by A.A. Philips, finished July 28

Read the reviews of 37-39.
039) The Smartest Man in Ireland by Mollie Hunter, finished July 27
038) Blockade Billy / Morality by Stephen King, finished July 12
037) Dispirited by Luisa M. Perkins, finished July 9

Read the reviews of 34-36.
036) Hyperion by Dan Simmons, finished July 2
035) A Short Stay in Hell by Steven L. Peck, finished June 27
034) Kampung Boy by Lat, finished June 22

Read the reviews of 29-33.
034) The Giant Joshua by Maurine Whipple, finished June 20
033) Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl, finished June 18
032) Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart, "finished" June 18
031) Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese, "finished" June 15
030) The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon, finished June 9
029) Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick, finished early June

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
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. In thinking about presents for my almost 8-year-old nephew this year, I found myself sad/glad to learn that he already has quite a lot of Dahl. Sad that I couldn't give it to him, but glad that he's experiencing it all the same.

    (After all, I'm firmly convinced that one of the greatest joys in life is watching a child you're related to fall in love with a book that you once fell in love with, too.)

  2. .

    You're probably right. And Dahl seems to be timeless. Not all are.