Death in a variety of colors. Also: baseball.


046) The Red Diary / The Re[a]d Diary by Teddy Kristiansen / Steven T. Seagle, finished April 28

The only thing I like more than a clever artistic experiment is a clever artistic experiment that results in great art.

Seagle had a copy of Kristiansen's book in a language he could not read. He wanted to publish it. But the publishing collective he was part of only allowed work by members. So he made up new words for the pictures, and the book as now available is both a legit English translation of the original and Seagle's made-up version, based on the sizes of the text blocks and the names he saw scattered throughout.

Astonishingly, both are good. If I had to choose I favorite, I might even choose Seagle's. But it's a tough call. Both are pretty great.

I'm intrigued by the experiment. I need to find a narrative artist willing to make an ambiguous visual story who will allow various writers to fill in the bubbles in various ways. Oh what fun we'll have.

Perhaps---as is demonstratively possible---we'll even make something good.
perhaps two weeks


045) The Five Books of Jesus by James Goldberg, finished April 22

Excellent book. Read my review on AMV.
over a month


044) The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, finished April 20

Haven't read this since college and the thing was not organized as I imagined it might be. I've been reading it along with my students and I think it's going to enter the regular rotation. We've had so much to talk about. I think next year we read this, THEN we read Hamlet. Just doing Hamlet is tough to handle. The comedies are a breeze and this one's so discomfiting that it's easy to generate conversation. Go, Shakes!
one workweek


043) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Volume 6 by Hayao Miyazaki, finished April 18

(still holding off till I finish the final volume)
two or three nights


042) Baseball as a Road to God: Seeing Beyond the Game by John Sexton with Thomas Oliphant and Peter J. Schwartz, finished April 15

I loved this book. I loved the stories, I loved the organization, I loved the arguments. Granted, I reject a couple of the religious notions but, overall, I am sympatico. I rushed through the bulk of the book. Each night another inning. What a way to spend spring training!

Two paragraphs from near the end to set the theme:
. . . I have tried to show how many of the elements we find in baseball---faith, doubt, conversion, accursedness, blessings---are elements associated with the religious experience; that inside the game the formative material of spirituality can be found. In short, viewed through a certain lens, baseball evokes the essence of religion. If we open ourselves to the rhythms and intricacies of the game, if we sharpen our noticing capacity, if we allow the timelessness and intensity of the game's most magnificent moments to shine through, the resulting heightened sensitivity might give us a sense of the ineffable, the transcendent. (213 in the ARC)

In our times it s fashionable to force a choice between the worlds of science and religion, of the mind and the soul. Either/or. This, in my view, is a false dichotomy---and perhaps in this collection of baseball stories analyzed through a lens (and an intellectual tradition) usually reserved for the study of what are obviously religious experiences can cause some to see why. I embrace enthusiastically the joys of the intellectual life; but I reject the notion that, as a consequence, I must forfeit the wonders of a deeply transformative religious life. (215)
a couple monthsish


041) The Hand of Glory by Stephen Carter, finished April 13

Read my review on AMV.
three days

Previously in 2013 . . . . :

Books 35 - 40
040) Leprechaun in Late Winter by Mary Pope Osborne, finished April 8
039) You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon, finished April 7
038) Illiterature: Story Minutes, Vol. I by Carol Lay, finished April 2
037) "Who Could That Be at This Hour?" by Lemony Snicket, finished March 29
036) Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Vol. 5 by Hayao Miyazaki, finished March 29
035) Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Vol. 4 by Hayao Miyazaki, finished March 28

Books 26 - 34
034) The New Yorker Book of Cat Cartoons, finished March 24
033) What Shat That? by Matt Pagett, finished March 24
032) Zombies Hate Stuff by Greg Stones, finished March 22
031) Jews and Words by Amos Oz and Fania Oz-Salzberger, finished March 22
030) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, vol 3 by Hayao Miyazaki, finished March 13
029) The Princess Bride: Shooting Draft by William Goldman, finished March 11
028) The History of Joseph Smith by His Mother by Lucy Mack Smith, finished March 5
027) Scott Pilgrim vs the World by Edgar Wright & Michael Bacall, finished March 5
026) Screenplay by Syd Field, finished March 3

Books 22 - 25
025) Mortal Syntax by June Casagrande, finished March 2
024) The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo, finished March 1
023) Moby Dick by Herman Melville, finished February 28
022) Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis & Christos H. Papadimitriou & Alecos Papadatos & Annie Di Donna, finished February 22

Books 20 - 21
021) The Complete Peanuts 1985-1986 by Charles M. Schulz, finished February 22
020) The Princess Bride by William Goldman, finished February 20

Books 14 - 19
019) Magic Tree House #10: Ghost Town at Sundown by Mary Pope Osborne, finished February 17
018) The Report Card by Andrew Clements, finished February 17
017) Justice (volume one) by AUTHOR, finished February 16
016) The Green Mile by Stephen King, finished February 15
015) Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl, finished February 12
014) The Silver Cord: Book One ~ Nephilim by Kevin Kelly et al., finished February 7

Books 8 - 13
013) Teen Titans: The Prime of Life by JT Krul and Nicola Scott, finished February 2
012) Batman: Vampire by Doug Moench and Kelley Jones and John Beatty and Malcolm Jone III, finished February second
011) Isaac Asimov's Treasury of Humor by Isaac Asimov, finished January 26
010) Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind, Perfect Collection 1 by Hayao Miyazaki, finished January 22
009) The Complete Peanuts 1983-1984 by Charles M. Schulz, finished January 21
008) My Letter to the World by Emily Dickinson, finished January 21

Books 1 - 7
007) Spacecave One by Jake Parker, finished January 19
006) The Antler Boy and Other Stories by Jake Parker, finished January 19
005) The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons, finished January 14
004) The Crab with the Golden Claws by Hergé, finished January 14
003) The Adventures of Tintin: Red Rackham's Treasure by Hergé, finished January 11
002) Using the Common Core State Standards... edited by Joyce VanTassel-Baska, Ed.D., finished January 10
001) Jellaby by Kean Soo, finished January 8


  1. I read an article the other day about a poet who gave his students poems in languages they couldn't read and told them to translate them. He originally used to give them hieroglyphics, but he found that the pictorial nature of the script was more evocative than he wanted, so now he sticks to Finnish.

  2. .

    Interesting. So it's not unprecedented. Maybe I should try that . . . . Definitely no Finns in my classes.

  3. .

    Forgot to mention that the Carter and Sexton books were sent to me gratis.