Some of these things are quite delicious


045) Castle Waiting: The Lucky Road by Linda Medley, finished at midnight so either June 2 or 3

This is one of the most striking works of fantasy I've read in some time. It's a fully realized world dripping of references to fairy tales and nursery rhymes. The characters are as fully drawn as Bone's. It has bad people but isn't oppressed with the specter of an unspeakable evil such as Sauron. Although it begins with a woman on a quest, what she is seeking is simply refuge. She finds something even better---not mere safety, but also friends and welcome and a home.

All is charm and pleasantness.

Which may sound boring, I suppose, if you think fantasy should be running from one great battle to the next, but the rhythms of life at Castle Waiting are interesting and human and peopled with folk worth spending time with. It's quiet and quaint and pretty darn great.

Medley's published hundreds of pages more than were included in my volume. Which is to say that Castle Waiting is a place you could go to live as well.
under a week


044) The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami and translated by Ted Goossen, finished June 2

I know people love Murakami and now I can say I've read him in a gloriously overdesigned (by Chip Kidd) book-shaped short story. And it's the sort of silly surreal magical nonsense I was afraid it would be. Don't get me wrong: I didn't dislike it. But I've read better library hells and I've read better absurd writing and I'm relieved to be relieved of this obligation.

Strangely, before bumping into this book at the library, I had just taken Kafka at the Shore off my to-be-read bookshelf in a fit of realism. Great timing!
two and from school


043) The Round House by Louise Erdich, finished June 1

This was lent me by a fellow Little Hill English teacher with a glowing recommendation and I'm so glad I accepted the loan and read it. This is a marvelous book.

The story of a boy on the rez whose mother has been brutally raped and, because tribes are not allowed to prosecute non-Natives, will not see justice. That's the story, basically. Here are a few of the things I loved about it.

These boys are as randy as, say, Sherman Alexie's, but something about her matter-of-factness of it seems less pleased with itself. I'm not even sure if that's a virtue, but it's a weird age and she's a sixty-year-old woman and she nailed it. I'm impressed.

Speaking of sex, I enjoyed the dirty chatter of the elders in the novel. I love the idea of a culture where in old age you can finally get away with saying things about sex that generally just get swallowed. That seems healthy, culturally speaking.

The novel's grappling with both Catholicism and the native medicine struck me as fair and human---human not in the dismissive Hypocrite! sense but human in the more accurate striving sense.

The character development in the novel was stellar and clean. Although I don't see any compelling reason for her to have forgone quotation marks (can I assume this affectation will die with her generation?), the voices and mannerisms of the characters allowed for no more confusion than in a properly punctuated work of fiction.

The Round House should be read by anyone from a minority culture looking to see how to do exposition. Do it like this.

And at 317 pages it never hesitated, never dawdled. It was efficient storytelling---never rushed, just progressing. I'm not sure about the cluster of endings (or, more, about the final ending), but that's not because it was wrong in some way, but because it was an unpretentious complicating. The sort of ending likely to reward moments of quiet contemplation when laid over the more immediately satisfying and transparent pages.

Anyway. Erdrich's The Beet Queen was the source for the prose question on this year's AP Lit test. So she's basically canon now. Get on this train.
maybe two weeks


042) Best American Comics 2014 edited by Scott McCloud, finished May 31

I may have spent as long typing in and reading the websites Scott McCloud recommended as I did actually reading what was printed in the book. And that was AOK. Just use the look-inside feature on Amazon and search for thunderpaw and you'll be in the middle of some amazing stuff. And don't just read what's linked to. Bum around a bit and read some of the other work on those pages as well. You won't be disappointed.

McCloud went about this collection slightly differently (which seems rather common of the Best American COMICS editors). He broke the book into sections and introduced each separately. And although he seems (as seems rather common of the Best American COMICS editors) to feel obliged to include some of the ol' living masters, he does a better job justifying his choices, even if I don't always agree.

By grouping the comics together, he emphasizes various trends in the field. Which is great---that gives a better sense of what's going on out there.

I'd already read some of my favorites from this book, but of course it's given me another list of Things to Seek Out---which is one of the things I love about these books.

And, alas, this one too must go on a high shelf. There's always work not safe for kids in these collections. That will probably what gets me to finally stop buying them someday. But I'll find a way to keep reading them regardless.
a few months

Previously in 2014 . . . . :

Books thirty-seventh through forty-first
041) The Brothers K by David James Duncan, finished May 18
040) Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis, finished May 18
039) Skandalon by Julie Maron, finished May 1
038) The Final Story by Jeff Shaara, finished April 29
037) Shutter Volume 1: Wanderlost by Joe Keatinge and Leila Del Duca et al, finished April 29

Books thirty-second through thirty-sixth
036) The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis, finished April 27
035) Zero Volume 1: An Emergency by Ales Kot et al, finished April 22
034) Deadly Class Volume 1: Reagan Youth by Rick Remender, finished April 19
033) Animal Man Vol. 4: Splinter Species by Jeff Lemire et al, finished April 17
032) Swamp Thing Vol. 4: Seeder by Charles Soule et al, finished April 15

Books twenty-eighth through thirty-first
031) Small Gods by Terry Pratchett, finished April 6
030) The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith, finished April 2
029) The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey: A Graphic Novel of Jewish Wisdom and Wit in the Wild West by Steve Sheinkin, finished March 29
028) Vivian Maier: Self-Portraits edited by John Maloof, finished March 23

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

1 comment:

  1. .

    I found the exact copy on Amazon after all. I left the link though as it takes you to books easier to purchase and with more pages. I did, however, [EDIT: Fixed title of book #45.].