The Far Side of the Other Side of the World
(and some plays)


015) The PreHistory of The Far Side: A 10th Anniversary Exhibit by Gary Larson, finished February 18

This is a book I've been eyeing for over twenty, picked up in stores and read a bit and placed back on the shelf. And now I've finally read Larson's seemingly mostly accurate explanation of how The Far Side came to be. I mean---I don't buy the part about his mom having him play in the street, but I do believe the part about the San Francisco Chronicle. More or less. And the sections on, say, what offended people, were fun and, frankly, enlightening. This is not just a book for completists. I would particularly recommend it to anyone interested in the craft of cartooning.

Incidentally, anyone else's kids not appreciate The Far Side as much as they obviously should? Are mine just defective?
month and half


014) Nation by Terry Pratchett, finished February 16

Before we get into how much I liked this book (a lot), I want to talk about how we consumed it.

I wanted to get the latest Moist von Lipwig book on cd as we've enjoyed listening to his previous adventures during car trips so very much. But alas. Our library has not picked it up. I decided to see if they had it over the Internet instead and since Our library offers e- and audiobooks via Overdrive, I checked it out. It didn't have Moist, but it did have this one so we installed the app on Lady Steed's tablet and listened to it on our recent drive to and from Idaho. Overdrive was convenient and easy. The selection's not massive, but it had plenty of stuff I want to consume (though not much I would like to consume with my kids. Recommended!

One of the cruelest things a book can do to me is present a world so close to ours, but better. I wish Nation were a true story. Not because the horror of a tsunami killing so many people is charming to me, but because how it resulted in a changed modern world---how it offered a path to redemption from many of 19th-century Europe's imperial sins.

But that's a minor point. The important part of any work of fiction, for me, is its characters. And leads Mau and Daphne are strong and interesting and change so much.

Mau's entire society is wiped out by the tsunami that deposits lone survivor Daphne's ship on his island. Pratchett slides from one point-of-view to the other with fluidity as these children become adults.

And they do become adults. Lots of fiction is about adolescence, but these kids don't have that luxury. The time for adulthood arrives and they must accept that, no matter how poorly it may fit.

The extended coda's a curious choice I'm not sure I agree with, but the rest of the novel is a mix of disaster and humor and respect and growth and heroism and faith that will inspire anyone. Marketed as a YA novel, but don't let that limit its audience.

four days


013) Fences by August Wilson, finished February 10

I love how much my students love this play. Reading it with them will prove a highlight of this year.
under a week


012) Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, finished February 6


Previously in 2014 . . . . :

Books tenth through eleventh
011) Adverbs by Daniel Handler, finished February 4
010) Death by Chocolate: Redux by David Yurkovich, finished February 3

Books sixth through ninth
009) The End of the World by Don Hertzfeldt, finished January 31
008) Ms. Marvel: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, finished January 24
007) Drop Shot by Harlan Coben, finished January 18
006) Cardboard by Doug TenNaple, finished January 15

Books first through fifth
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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