Some more of those paper things


053) Girl & Flame by Melissa Reddish, finished DATE

This was sent to me to review. But I've been slow about such things at late. It's taken me a while to get through this slim volume, but this is hardly my most egregious act of slowness....

Here's the gist: A flame destroys a house, killing the Girl's father and brother and lover. All she is left with is a bit of the flame that becomes her companion.

So yes: this is a work of surrealism. With, you know, some postmodern touches and stuff. Which means I am obliged to say what I always say in these situations: this stuff is way more fun to write than to read. This is still true. But it refers more to the novella as a whole than to each individual page.

Most of the--let's call them chapters of this novella are about a page long. The publisher made some strange design decisions (notably inconsistent font sizes to make things fit nicer---coincidentally my only real regret re The Fob Bible), but generally, these bitesize portions of this strange world are really just right. Rather like prose poems along a common theme.

There are many things I could say about this book, but what most interests me is its classic take on same-sex friendship. the novel seems to suggest that the Girl and the equally female Flame end up with a closer relationship than the Girl ever had---or could possibly have had---with her father or her brother or her lover. Ultimately, it's her friendship with another woman that is most fulfilling.

Classically of course, this idea is ancient. Most of my top-of-the-head examples are male (David and Jonathan, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, 19th-century Mormons), but hey---what about Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn? I mean---before they started kissing?

Anyway, the book has some interesting things to say about female friendship. And it has some rather beautiful moments at the end. Is it worth reading? Well, depends. I love this kind of thing in film, but when it comes to reading, I'ld still rather write.
at least two months


052) The Garden of Enid: Adventures of a Weird Mormon Girl, Part Two by Scott Hales, finished September 29
051) The Garden of Enid: Adventures of a Weird Mormon Girl, Part One by Scott Hales, finished September 29

I don't want to say to much about these before they're released, but they are great (scroll to the bottom and read for yourself)---funny and resonant---and I'm glad they'll be in paper form.

One sales pitch might be: This is like Letters to a Young Mormon only in funny pictures.
one day


050) The Making of Pride and Prejudice by Susie Conklin and Sue Birtwistle, finished September 28

Lent to me by a mother via her student (also this: which I doubt I will do more than skim, but which is filled with fascinating info).

The Making of covers the creation of the seminal 1995 BBC P&P from initiation to postproduction. I'll admit I did just skim much of it as I can't hold onto the book for long and have limited interest in certain portions of preproduction, but I did enjoy very much reading about, for instance, the script and the actors and the food.

As with any book of the type, the reader's enjoyment is largely determined by the quality of the pictures. Good pictures, ergo good book. This was a good book.
one day


049) Only What's Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts by Chip Kidd, finished September 24

This is a beautiful book, made with love and a close eye. I only wish it could be larger and have more pages. But then it probably would have been too expensive to receive for Christmas.

The book is filled with perfectly executed photographs by Geoff Spear stretching from before Peanuts to the very end. Largely focused on the strips, but including all sorts of paraphernalia well beyond the expected Met Life ads and paperback collections.

Reading this book is much like taking a visit to the museum except you can take nine months to walk through it.

I wish we had a coffee table or somesuch to leave this on so I could easily pick it up and look at just one page and not feel on a quest to read one page after another until reaching the end. Which was fine, but not the best way to experience a book like this.
nine months less one day


048) J is for Judgment by Sue Grafton, finished September 16

At time this felt like a bit of a drag. Time for a break from Ms Millhone, I'm afraid. I never quite cared about this mystery. But, that said, I am very interested in our PI's newly developing family situation. And I love how this series is paced more like a giant novel than a series of sequels.

I'm fond of this world called Santa Teresa. I'll be back. I just think I want to carry around some nonfiction for a while. You understand.
twenty-two days

Previously in 2016

42 – 47

047) Jumpers by Tom Stoppard, finished September 6
046) Dark Watch and other Mormon-American stories by Williams Morris, finished September 5
044) Pariah Missouri: The Promised Land by Andres Salazar and Jose Pescador, finished August 29
043) Pariah Missouri: Answering the Call by Andres Salazar and Jose Pescador, finished August 28
042) "I" is for Innocent by Sue Grafton, finished August 25

38 – 41
041) The Devil Is Due in Dreary by David Parkin and Allan Jefferson, finished August 19
040) No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy, finished August 1
039) Lady Killer by Jamie S. Rich & Joelle Jones & Laura Allred, finished July 30
038) Tribute to Sparky, finished July 25

34 – 37
037) Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, finished July 22
036) UR by Stephen King, finished July 20
035) Fante Bukowski by Noah Van Sciver, finished July 13
034) "H" Is for Homicide by Sue Grafton, finished July 12

31 – 33
033) Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet by Victor L. Ludlow , finished July 5
032) Sistering by Jennifer Quist, finished July 1
031) Sayanora Slam by Naomi Hirahara, finished June 6

26 – 30
030) Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, finished May 30
029) Best American Comics 2015 edited by Jonathan Lethem, finished May 30
028) G Is for Gumshoe by Sue Grafton, finished May 21
027) The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 2: Squirrel You Know It's True by Ryan North & Erica Henderson, finished May 20
026) "F" Is for Fugitive by Sue Grafton, finished May 12

19 – 25
025) Soldier Dog by Sam Angus, finished May 6
024) Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola and Emily Carroll, finished May 1
023) The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 1: Squirrel Power by Ryan North and Erica Henderson, finished April 30
022) Little Robot by Ben Hatke, finished April 26
021) What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsun, finished April 26
020) Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, finished April 23
019) The Only Child by Guojing, finished maybe April 21

15 – 18
018) 77 Love Sonnets by Garrison Keillor, finished April 21
017) Fidelity by Grace Paley, finished April 20
016) The Jam Jar Lifeboat & Other Novelties Exposed by Kay Ryan, finished April 15
015) Work & Days by Tess Taylor, finished April 1

11 – 14
014) The Little World of Liz Climo by Liz Climo, finished March 29
013) Forgive me, I Meant to Do It by Gail Carson Levine, finished March 26
012) Fences by August Wilson, finished c. March 14
011) The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson, finished March 19

010) Folk of the Fringe by Orson Scott Card, finished March 9

5 – 9
009) The Naked Soul of Iceberg Slim by Robert Beck, finished February 29
008) Half Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer, finished Feb 20
007) Bless this Mouse by Lois Lowry, finished February 16
006) Dendo by Brittany Long Olsen, finished February 14
005) Dream House on Golan Drive by David G. Pace, finished February 5

1 – 4
004) Mormon Shorts, Vol I by Scott Hales, finished January 23
003) Shirt in Heaven by Jean Valentine, finished January 18
002) Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, finished January 14
001) Spy School by Stuart Gibbs, finished January 9


* most recent post in this series *


final booky posts of
2015 = 2014 = 2013 = 2012 = 2011 = 2010 = 2009 = 2008 = 2007

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