What he’s finished reading of late


028) Road to Bountiful by Donald S. Smurthwaite, finished April 7

See review at AMV.

A couple complaints that didn't fit there:

1. What's with the title? Jeez. Really? Road to Bountiful? Geesh.

2. Why did he shred the check? It should be a powerfully symbolic gesture, but as far as I can tell it doesn't mean anything. If it was supposed to mean something, the set-up failed. As it is, shredding the check actually goes against some of the lessons Levi supposedly learned.

3. Why the few paragraphs scattered through the end that bust apart the present tense and turn this into a story from Levi's past?

In the end, it's a good book if seriously flawed. Like the other Whitney finalist listed today, I'm worried if these really are the five best books we've got going. . . .
about three weeks


027) Atlas of Prejudice: Mapping Stereotypes, Vol. 1 by Yanko Tsvetkov, finished April 6

I had to skim half of two of the essays (and skip a couple of the European maps) in order to finish on time, but as best I can tell, Tsvetkov's nailed it. He even understands Americans. Get a glimpse.

a bit of afternoon


026) Thelwell Country by Norman Thelwell, finished April 6

Cartoons that mostly maintain their humor after half a century and whose eye for detail has grown only more compelling.

a bit of afternoon


025) The House at Rose Creek by Jenny Proctor, finished March 31

See review at AMV.
about three weeks


024) Barnaby, Volume One by Crockett Johnson, finished March 17

Today I was recounting how I had read "A Modest Proposal" in my "bad Irish accent" and the boys asked me to demonstrate. So I recited "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and the recognized the voice and cried out, Mr O'Malley! The four-year-old ran to the shelf and pulled off our first volume of Fantagraphics's Barnaby reprints and after dinner we reread some favorite moments.

We actually finished the comics months ago, but I hadn't finished reading the afterstuff until tonight. I wish, rather, that similar endnotes were included in the Peanuts volumes.

Another difference between our Barnaby and our Peanuts is that the manufacture of Barnaby's a bit crappy. Maybe we blame this on its heaviness and wideness, but it should be able to sit on a shelf, don't you think, without falling apart?

Sigh. Let's hope it's just my copy. It was obviously weakly bound from the time it arrived in the mail.

Anyway, it's easy to see why everyone was gaga over Barnaby back in the day. It's also easy to understand why Johnson didn't have the stamina to stick with it for fifty bleeding years. (Schulz was something unique in the annals of comicsdom.)

Barnaby's unique aesthetic---clean lines, Futura-set text, lots and lots of words, contemporary sensibility, historical and literary references---keeps it both everlastingly fresh and wholly of its time.


023) A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver, finished March 17

This is to writing poetry what I found Stephen King's On Writing to be on writing prose: just as good a guide to reading it. i can't think of a better way to teach poetry than to hand one of these out to each student and say read this---read as she says, write as she says---repeat repeat repeat---now you know poetry.

I'm seriously considering ordering these for my classes.
a month or so


022) Irene #3 edited by dw, Andy Warner, Dakota McFadzean; finished March 15

I read this comic somewhere online and, on the strength of it, bought this comic. Although "Dance Yourself to Death" was the best of the bunch, it's pretty indicative of the overall quality.

It's a bit weird though, for one comic to clearly be by and old guy, and then to read the bios and learn he only has a year on me.

Anyway, check out the artists:

! * ! * ! * ! * ! * ! *

I haven't checked out all these yet, but most of what I have checked out has been great.
two or three days

Previously in 2014 . . . . :

Books 18 - 21
021) Love Letters of the Angels of Death by Jennifer Quist, finished March 14
020) The Iowa Baseball Confederacy: A Novel by W. P. Kinsella, finished March 12
019) The Complete Peanuts: 1989 - 1990 by Charles M. Schulz, finished March 11
018) Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poppypants by Dav Pilkey

Books 14 - 17
017) Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 2: The Revenge of the Ridiculous Robo-Boogers by Dav Pilkey, finished February 22
016) Who Was Jim Henson? by Joan Holub, finished February 18
015) The Reluctant Blogger by Ryan Rapier, finished February 15
014) The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell, finished February 14

Books 10 - 13
013) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, finished February 12
012) Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown, finished February 5
011) The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell, finished January 27
010) The Complete Peanuts 1987-1988 by Charles M. Schulz, finished January 25

Books 6 - 9
009) Heat by Mike Lupica, finished January 22
008) Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel, finished January 21
007) Impasse by Kohl Glass (story by Jason Conforto), finished January 16
006) Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan, finished January 16

Books 1 - 5
005) The Man Who Grew His Beard by Olivier Schrauwen, finished January 12
004) Pokémon Black and White, Vol. 1 by Hidenori Kusaka and Satoshi Yamamoto, finished January 10
003) Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hick, finished January 7
002) The Drop by Michael Connelly, finished January 7
001) The Rejection Collection, Vol. 2 edited by Matthew Diffee, finished January 6

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