It's a shame the aliens didn't just dingo a cat instead.


112) Have You Seen Marie? by Sandra Cisneros and illustrated by Ester Hernandez, finished November 9

This book is attempting to be mythic in some way. It doesn't succeed.

The bulk of its playtime is spent caught in a---to mix my transmedial metaphors---broken-record picture book trope. And the deliberately mythic part is grandiose and obvious. Even when the cat show up, it's after three days in a cave.

I also am confused by the relationship between the words and the pictures. Sometimes they simply are not talking about the same thing. Given how closely they apparently worked together on this book, I am confused.

Anyway, if you haven't heard: Cisneros is a genius. So my bad for not loving it.



111) Haunting at Home Plate by David Patneaud, finished November 9

The Big O found this book gripping. And terrifying enough that at times he seriously considered abandoning it. The final scene got to him so much he threw the book to the ground.

So of course I had to read it.

Personally, I found the baseball scenes more gripping than the hauntings. Some nice bits of characterization and some silly shortcuts.

Overall, a book, were I the O, I would have read over and over as a kid.
from about six to a few minutes after midnight


110) Scholar of Moab by Steven L. Peck, finished November 8

Really, one could write a book as long as this book about this book and not run out of things to say. Happily, most of that copy would be positive as well. It's a pretty great book. Even when the town goes mad (as, say, in Rift), it's somehow believable, even though their particular madness is about as mad a madness as any I've seen.

The central conceit is that <Redactor> has come into a pile of papers relating to the curious life of one Hyrum Thayne, a young man of Moab who leads quite the Dickensian life. Although he never comes into riches (or even true scholarship, his believing to the contrary), comes into a position of power or equality or simple nearness with poetry, entymology, extraterrestrial life, dicephalic men, a mysterious painting, a wild-woman poet, and Gadianton Robbers.

One advantage afforded Peck through his use of <Redactor> (who never shares his real name) is that it allows a hidden, presumably rational point-of-view to organize and present the novel while generally avoiding making direct observations on the story. In other words, <Redactor> is Mormon (the man, not the people). He sculpts the text and controls the reader's experience while only occasionally dropping in as a voice of reason and sense.

Hyrum's own belabored writings emphasize this comparison. The first words of his journal are, "I Hyrum having been born of goodly parents am from Moab." And his attempts at educated verbage are heavily influenced by scripture throughout, including a pages-long passage he says he delivered to his local congregation as part of his accidental leadership to rid Moab of Gadianton Robbers.

Hyrum's life is a series of good intentions going awry in an endless variety of ways. He's not a bad man, but he's weak, liable to take the route of glory rather than the route of stability which leads him to an explosive death (though the comics-reader in me rushes to point out no body was ever recovered) and a statue that soon becomes the victim of another generation of smalltown kids apt to take the route of one moment of glory over a life of safety and stability and sensibility.

Perhaps the most stable characters in the book (until one goes mad) are the two-headed man. Peck's drawn this pair with such clarity and compassion that I'm wrought with guilt knowing I would have a hard time meeting such men and seeing past their otherness.

Every character in the novel is loved, by the end, by <Redactor>. He is a man of compassion---but aren't we all when we fully know another's story?

My docket is overfilled at the moment, but I hope to write more about this novel in the future. I may need to reread it first though, and you know how likely that is.


109) Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen, finished November 4

You have to wonder what's going on with a YA book that includes the phrase "this brilliantly observed novel" in the flap copy. That's not gonna sell kids on it, I'm pretty sure. It's an empty phrase we adults like to throw around, but kids see through that crap.

Anyway. I'm not reviewing the flap copy.

Structurally, this is about as generic a novel as I've read lately. This isn't a complaint per se as an observation that the details and execution will need to provide the originality. Generally, they succeed. It's not a mind-bending reinvention of the outsider-kid-finds-salvation-through-outside-adult genre, but the Scrabble angle is fun and provides some nice design elements. Plus, all the women seem to have breasts, so that's nice.

I always thought it was only gay men who are mystified by breasts' appeal but given Ms Nielsen's attempts at eroticizing breasts, I think straight women may have the same problem.

I'm sorry. This is all coming off very negative. I picked this book up on a whim from the library and it's due soon. I didn't have to read it. I didn't have to finish it. I did both. And I enjoyed it. Had some decent jokes, some decent pain. No, it's not a great original work, but it's a well written version of a story we've always loved. Props for that.
two days

Previously in 2013 . . . . :

Book 104 - 108
108) We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Jay Fowler, finished November 3
107) The Dark Wood by Christine Weston, finished October 23
106) Sunshine and Shadow by Lynn Johnston, finished October 18
105) Scarecrow by Michael Connelly, finished October 18
104) Third Helpings by Calvin Trillin, finished October 16

Book 101 - 103
103) Dorian by Nephi Anderson, finished October 14
102) Famous Modern Ghost Stories edited by Dorothy Scarborough finished October 13
101) Adventures in Cartooning by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, Alexis Frederick-Frost finished on October 11

Books 99 - 100
100) Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan et al, finished ~October 1
099) Dead Girl by Peter Milligan, Nick Dragotta, Mike Allred, finished September 29

Book 97
097) ZF-360 by Luisa Perkins, finished ~September 19

Books 94 - 96, 98
098) FF - Volume 1: Fantastic Faux by Matt Fraction and Mike Allred and Joe Quinones, finished September 24
096) Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, finished September 17
095) The Story of Chester Lawrence by Nephi Anderson, finished September 8
094) Calamity Jack by A Bevy of Hales, finished September 7

Books 90 - 93
093) The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver, finished August 28
092) Martyrs' Crossing by Melissa Leilani Larson, finished August 24
091) Mile 21 by Sarah Dunster, finished August 22
090) Piney Ridge Cottage by Nephi Anderson, finished August 20

Books 83 - 89
089) The Book of Job: When Bad Things Happened to a Good Person by Harold S. Kushner, finished August 19
088) From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg, finished August 18
087) Canyons of Grace by Levi S. Peterson, finished August 17
086) Good Dog by Graham Chaffe, finished August 16
085) Stone Rabbit #4: Superhero Stampede by Erik Craddock, finished August 6
084) Food Rules by Michael Pollan, finished August 4
083) Martha Speaks: Canine Comics: Six Daring Doggie Adventures by Jamie White, finished August 1

Books 78 - 82
082) Gone Fishing: A novel in verse by Tamera Will Wissinger, finished July 31
081) Making Money by Terry Pratchett, finished July 30
080) F-Stop by Antony Johnston and Matthew Loux , finished July 29
079) Almina by Nephi Anderson, finished July 29
078) Creature Feature 2 by TW Brown, finished July 28

Books 73 - 77
077) Salt Water Taffy: A Climb Up Mt. Barnabas by Matthew Loux, finished July 25
076) Doing Time by Kazuichi Hanawa, finished July 24
075) Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, finished July 23
074) Treasure Fever! by Andy Griffiths, finished July 22
073) Salt Water Taffy: The Legend of Old Salty by Matthew Loux, finished July 19

Book 72
072) Diary of a Single Mormon Female by Aleesa Sutton, finished July 17

Books 67 - 71
071) Gone Fishing: A novel in verse by Tamera Will Wissinger, finished July 12
070) Salt Water Taffy: A Climb Up Mt. Barnabas by Matthew Loux, finished July 12
069) The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket, finished June 29
068) Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg, finished June 28
067) And Now We Shall Do Manly Things by Craig J. Heimbuch, finished June 27

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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