67, 68, 69 ,70 ,71


071) Gone Fishing: A novel in verse by Tamera Will Wissinger, finished July 12

Some of the types of verse are clearly made up (switcheroo poem?) and sometimes she fails to capture a poetic type (her limerick fails rhythmically) but the kids liked the story well enough and I suppose it would be a good way to teach some basic poetic facts to fourth graders.

Me, though, I was underwhelmed.
bedtime storytime


070) Salt Water Taffy: A Climb Up Mt. Barnabas by Matthew Loux, finished July 12

These kids comics aren't new, but they're immensely fun and I'm so glad to have bumped into them. They're charming and, quite literally, made me lol. Numerous times.

And I just love the inkwork and the lines. Simple, expressive.

Check your local library. Or just buy them. Whatever. They're not expensive.
three weeks


069) The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket, finished June 29

[read ably by Tim Curry, though once one has become accustomed to Handler's mannerisms, it's hard to leave them behind]
Having purchased the entire unfortunate series, it's kind of a bummer that our family's first reader has nearly no interest in the books. So we decided to listen to this with them on the way back from grandparents'.

No dice.

Ah well.

One thing you should know, though, is that the interview with Daniel Handler following the reading is an utter delight. He can never remember whether he and Snicket are the same or different people and all that witty wordplay and phraseology is on full display. Interesting to get an early sense of how he was developing the dual characters of self. Thus I highly recommend the final cd even if you already have the book memorized.

Incidentally, did you know they're finally releasing these books in an official paperback? with new subtitles? with a comic in the back? and an old tale by Leacock? which story incidentally I recently read and quite enjoyed even if I thought it went on a bit long?
a few hours in the car


068) Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg, finished June 28

[audio version, abridged; read by the author who, let the record show, did a wonderful job]
A long long time ago, before we were married, my wife read a Fannie Flagg novel or two and loved it/them. We've had a couple kicking around the house all these years, but I've never picked one up. So when we chose audiobooks to listen to over our upcoming hours and hours of car time, I was all for this one. Didn't read the back or anything.

And what a nutsy book it was! Great characters, interesting situation (I mean---we got the afterlife here, folks), and absolute chaos.

The entire story is overwhelmed with developed characters and snippets of life that sometimes have no real connection to the plot (though this claim should perhaps be tempered by the fact that I was listening rather than reading and that the book was abridged). Generally, I did not mind this sloppiness, because the book's argument to the reader is that life is meant to be enjoyed in its sloppiness. And that's a cheerfully humanist, blatantly optimistic, shamelessly cheerful sort of message, and a sloppy messy explosion of scenes and characters and life only help to further the point. If it seems like Clarence is trying to make a point, but can't remember what the point is, you may be in the right book.

Mrs. Elner Shimfissle, pretty much the best person ever according to the novel's nontheology, has died. And if I write more about it, that writing may appear on AMV.
four days


067) And Now We Shall Do Manly Things by Craig J. Heimbuch, finished June 27

When this book started out, I loved it. Loved it. I felt like the author and I were simpatico. I knew what he felt, being frustrated with starting a family and never having money (or the right skillsets to get money). And I understood the notion that hunting might be a path to becoming a full man. I was gungho. But a few things kept me from finishing the book as quickly as I had started it. The first was his modern American notion that accepting a brand's image and then buying that brand's products makes you into a new person with that image. Seriously. I hope Land's End keeps Heimbuch in gratis nice boots the rest of his life. The second was Sandy Hook. Unlike Heimbuc,h who had always had a good relationship with guns, I've never been better than ambivalent. I may have as many hunters in my family as he does, but I don't think I've ever shot a .22 in my life. Nor do I desire to start. And his gun fetishism juxtaposed with stark tragedy pushed me far away from the text. In the end, I knew the Heimbuch at the beginning of the book, but I was never able to believe in his transformation. And since the transformation is what the book is all about, the book did not succeed for me.

And although the bagging a pheasant may have Made Him a Man, I suspect seeing this book sell a million copies would have made him feel twice as much a man. And the pathos of his character makes me feel bad that I won't be helping this dream come true.

/free copy received for review/
most of a year

Previously in 2013 . . . . :

Books 62 - 66
066) Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, finished June 20
065) World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks, finished June 20
064) The Little Friend by Donna Tartt, finished June 20
063) Encyclopedia Brown Finds the Clues by Donald Sobol, finished June 19
062) Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary, finished June 19

Book 61
061) The Backslider by Levi Peterson, finished June 14

Books 54 - 60
060) The City: A Vision in Woodcuts by Frans Masereel, finished June 13
059) Gods' Man by Lynn Ward, finished June 12
058) Mad Man's Drum by Lynn Ward, finished June 11?
057) Destiny: A Novel in Pictures by Otto Nückel, finished July 8
056) Passionate Journey by Frans Masereel, finished June 7
055) The Sugar Bean Sisters by Nathan Sanders, finished June 3
054) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, finished May 28

Books 47 - 53
053) Farm 54 by Galit Seliktar and Gilad Seliktar, finished May 20
052) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, volume seven by Hayao Miyazaki, finished May 18
051) Dark Day in the Deep Sea by Mary Pope Osborne, finished May 15
050) The Big Skinny: How I Changed My Fattitude by Carol Lay, finished May 14
049) Moonlight on the Magic Flute by Mary Pope Osborne, finished May 12
048) This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz, finished May 6
047) Blizzard of the Blue Moon by Mary Pope Osborne, finished approximately May 4

Books 41 - 46
046) The Red Diary / The Re[a]d Diary by Teddy Kristiansen / Steven T. Seagle, finished April 28
045) The Five Books of Jesus by James Goldberg, finished April 22
044) The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, finished April 20
043) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Volume 6 by Hayao Miyazaki, finished April 18
042) Baseball as a Road to God: Seeing Beyond the Game by John Sexton with Thomas Oliphant and Peter J. Schwartz, finished April 15
041) The Hand of Glory by Stephen Carter, finished April 13

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 some Ed.D., finished January 10
001) Jellaby by Kean Soo, finished January 8

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