A second batch of books for January


009) The End of the World by Don Hertzfeldt, finished January 31

I loved this book. Honestly, I bought it mostly to support an independent artist whose animation I love, but this book captures something along the lines of Edward Gorey in its disconnected sense of story captured in tiny enormous moments. (Think Gorey and you'll know what I mean.) Hertzfeldt however, instead of, say, a man stalking an opera singer, has chosen to address the end of the world. And with his stick figures and a few hundred pages, he addressed the end of the world. Frankly, this was as affective in its own way as The Road was in its way.

I'll be reading it again.

(Incidentally, something else I liked about this book was how it showed me a tradition I may be part of. Some of the art I do [such as "Faces" which how would you ever have heard of] behaves in a similar manner. Now that I can see what tradition I'm engaging, I'm interested in doing something more public with these projects.)

maybe fifteen hours


008) Ms. Marvel: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, finished January 24

So I totally get why everyone was so enamored of this last year. It's not just that it's a geeky Pakistani teenage girl who's the hero---it's that the writing is smart and funny and so is the art. Every page has little jokes or bits of foreshadowing buried in the background.

And maybe it just comes from working at the high school I do, but I really feel like I know this girl. I don't know a lot about Wilson, but she's captured something very true both about being a teenager and about growing up Pakistani-American---and she's done it with serious verve.

not so long


007) Drop Shot by Harlan Coben, finished January 18

The boys, apparently at random, picked this book our for me from Barnes and Noble as a Christmas present. I quite liked it, even though all the female good guys are drop dead gorgeous and all the male good guys are drop dead gorgeous and even though the jokes pound and pound and pound until you die from the lack of blood. The mystery itself was nice and intricate. Although one aspect of the mystery was obvious to me long before it was obvious to the dick, I didn't see how it resulted in the mystery's solution until the very end. Tight stuff.

I would love to know Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho lead was influenced by a character from this series.

Oh: and one other thing. This is the latest bit of art (this was the first) that's sent me thinking about "WASP culture." I had always thought WASP was supposed to be generic white Anglo American, but I'm realizing it's something much more precise (and moneyed) than that. Which is interesting. I'm as descended from William Bradford as the next guy, but none of my close blood's ever attended Harvard or been fictionalized in a Wall Street greedfest film. So . . . I'm suddenly curious about those weirdos with the money and cultivated landscapes. They seem different.
about nine days


006) Cardboard by Doug TenNaple, finished January 15

Exciting and vibrant and fresh and loaded with dumb moments that, in the final analysis, don't damage the kid in you's enjoyment.

one evening

Previously in 2014 . . . . :

005) The Complete Peanuts: 1991-1992 by Charles M. Schulz, finished January 10
004) City of Brick and Shadow by Tim Wirkus, finished January 9
003) Harem Scarem in El Cerrito by Neva Calvert Carpenter, finished January 4
002) iPlates Volume II: Prophets, Priests, Rebels, and Kings by Stephen Carter and Jett Atwood, finished January 4
001) Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut, finished January 3

final booky posts of

2014 = 2013 = 2012 = 2011 = 2010 = 2009 = 2008 = 2007

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