Just some books I read


031) Small Gods by Terry Pratchett, finished April 6

This was my in-the-car book when Terry Pratchett died. I don't know if it was any more or less appropriate than any other Pratchett book to be reading at the time, but it certainly colored my reading. Not in an effable way, but I thought about the author more than I usually would.

Small Gods, I believe, takes place long, long, long before most of the Discworld books. The primary characters are Brutha, a young fellow none so smart, and the great god Om---whose religion we know from other books---reduced to one believer and life as a tortoise.

Although all the usual Pratchett gifts for satire and close observation are on display, in some respects, this novel feels more straightforward. Even when, at the end, unexpected, impossible things keep happening keep happening keep happening. I don't know how many times poeple turned to me as I was reading this book and said, "What?"

Anyway, it builds on the idea I think Pratchett popularized, but that we see often now in books starring gods as characters (one example from a Pratchett acolyte) that the strength of a god is commensurate to the amount of belief in that god.

The novel has much to say about faith and superstition and manipulation and government and philosophy and goodness and evil and a million other things (it is, after all, a Pratchett novel), but it is also immense fun and pure pleasure. It is, after all, a Pratchett novel.
i dunno maybe a month


030) The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith, finished April 2

First: Violet Kupersmith is a fabulous new talent and let's all of us be excited she's on the scene.

Second, this lovely cover is perfectly appropriate for the stories therein.

Third, this is a stupid cover for this book. Just stupid. This book has major crossover potential with genre readers and this cover will never draw them in. Plus, sadly, "literary" fiction is never released mass-market anymore and so this book will fade away instead of finding new life with another audience. Meanwhile the hibrows can enjoy reading something that tickles their fun organ while gloating that it's better than popular stuff.

What sort of stupid world is this?

And I have to say: the choice of story title to make the collection title is part of the conspiracy to keep this out of the hands of reg'lar folk. What a shame.

What we have here are stories set in Vietnam or among the Vietnamese community in Houston. We have stories with ghosts and monsters and memories and maybes, the supernatural collapsing casually upon the everyday world. And wow are they great. Surprising, unsettling, beautiful. So glad my wife randomly picked this up in the library. Because I doubt I would have.
about a month


029) The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey: A Graphic Novel of Jewish Wisdom and Wit in the Wild West by Steve Sheinkin, finished March 29

At the boy's elementary-school's book fair, I was intrigued by a pair of books by one Steve Sheinkin (Bomb and Lincoln's Grave Robbers). I looked him up on the library website when I came home and besides putting those on hold, I also found this comic book about an Old West rabbi. So of course I had to have that as well.

The Rabbi is wise and simple and funny and I had no idea the West had so many Jews. Remarkable! Now I need to look up the good rebbe's continuing adventures.

In short, I found everything I love about old Jewish wisdom tales and Isaac Bashevis Singer and Asimov's Jewish jokes, all done in sepia with some cards on the side. What's not to like?

three days


028) Vivian Maier: Self-Portraits edited by John Maloof, finished March 23

When I watched the film (link to review), I was struck by Maier's peculiar life history (what had brought me to the film) but even more I was struck by her photography. And so I got this book.

I'm so glad I did. Some of the shots she got are nearly impossible to explain (at least with my knowledge)---layers of images upon images. This is startling and moving work. And to think this most anonymous of women will someday likely be one of the most recognized faces of the last century. . . . And one of the most recognizable shadows, sinister in other circumstances, her arms akimbo, gazing upon her own absence.

The introduction by Elizabeth Avedon gets to this problem for scholars. Here we have an artist who is clearly significant and of lasting importance, but her era has already been explained away---without her---and so we don't know what the right, accepted things to say about her are. Avedon knows the right vocabulary but not what she's supposed to say about a recently unearthed enigma. It's a curious thing to observe.

I only wish it had been three times as many pages.
two or three days

Previously in 2014 . . . . :

Books twenty-sixth through twenty-seventh
027) Passing by Nella Larsen, finished March 18
026) Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson, finished March 17

Books twenty-second through twenty-fifth
025) Ghost World by Daniel Clowes and Terry Zwigoff, finished March 16
024) Hawkeye: L.A. Woman by Matt Fraction and some very talented artists, finished March 15
023) Hawkeye: Little Hits by Matt Fraction and a large number of artists, finished March 14
022) Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction and David Aja and Javier Pulido, finished March 12

Books twentienth through twenty-first
021) Does Santa Exist?: A Philosophical Investigation by Eric Kaplan, finished March 11
020) Babymouse #8: Puppy Love by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, finished March 11

Books sixteenth through ninteenth
019) The Book of Mormon, finished March 3
018) Cow Boy: A Boy and His Horse by Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos, finished March 1
017) Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle, finished February 26
016) Drawings II by Jake Parker, finished February 19

Books twelfth through fifteenth
015) The PreHistory of The Far Side: A 10th Anniversary Exhibit by Gary Larson, finished February 18
014) Nation by Terry Pratchett, finished February 16
013) Fences by August Wilson, finished February 10
012) Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, finished February 6

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

No comments:

Post a Comment