061) Bad Kitty for President by Nick Bruel, finished November 27

The Bad Kitty books are about a hundred thirty pages, heavily illustrated, smart, funny. This one teaches about presidential elections and it's a bit uncomfortably on the nose at times for a four-year-old book. Also, I'm so charmed that Bruel is able to talk to a cat for so many pages and never lose me.

one day


061) The Sculptor by Scott McCloud, finished November 26

When this book went on sale, there was a signed version on bn.com that was less than the same book unsigned on Amazon. I asked McCloud on Twitter and (etc) but no response. So I bought the B&N version. Then, a couple months later, they canceled my order. Still don't know what that was about.

I ended up returning to my original plan and picked it up from a local comic shop (this one this time). I was with a kid and he read his comic and I read 20+ pages of mine as we ate the best known gelato. Then I tried to pretend like I didn't just buy a giant book for myself right before Christmas so I stashed it on my nightstand and didn't touch it for about a year.

When I picked it up again, I just started over.

And then read it through.

As I intend to do again.

Scott McCloud has just proved he is not merely a theorist.

This is a beautiful book about the difficulty in balancing a life of art and a life of human relationships, and it does it with tools I've never before seen applied to the question. It's nuanced and ambiguous and beautiful and sad and happy. Upon finishing it, all I wanted to do was create and to kiss.

Which aren't, in the end, all that different.

Highly recommended.
depending on how you count, either twelve months or two, three days


059) Thurber by Burton Bernstein, finished November 21

I don't think any one writer has had a larger effect on what I think writing is and how it should function than James Thurber. Which is why I've just finished this 696-page block.

The text is problematic and it's easy for me to see why it made some of Thurber's family and friends angry, as well as why modern readers sometimes find is unreadable. Bernstein gets fixated on lesser topics like whether or not adolescent writings yet smell of genius or young Thurber's prolonged virginity. But I find these things easy to excuse because I loved living my hero's life. I flew through the early years. Once he hit success, I slowed down quite a bit, and he certainly doesn't always come off like a winner. Sometimes the pages-long quotations from letters is great and sometimes I wish Bernstein would have edited his sources a bit more.

Regardless, the book never became a chore, a thing I Just Have to Finish. I always was happy when I picked it up, even when his life was falling apart or he was disappointing me. The people you love will disappoint you. Certainly Thurber had something to say about that.

I don't know if I should recommend the book or not. If you want to read a biography of Thurber, there are other options. (Here are one and two.) Bernstein's came first which makes it important, but not necessarily best. Which is best? I don't know. If another one comes to me, I'll read it, but for now, it's been too too long since I've simply read the man himself. Whether I'll start with an old favorite or something I've only recently acquired, I don't know, but 2017 is not far away.
at least eighteen months possibly three years


058) The Complete Peanuts 1997 to 1998 by Charles M. Schulz, finished November 19

Rerun's on the cover of this volume, and rightly so. He has emerged as a vibrant and full character, consistently funny and honestly sweet. This entire collection is filled with an artist still at the peak of innovation. Andy and Olaf travelling the country hasn't quite figured itself out yet, but you can see it happening. Snoopy as a Valley Forge soldier, given another ten years of Peanuts, might well have become as iconic as the WWI Flying Ace.

Amazing. Forty-eight years and still going strong.

One of the truly great American originals.

a month

Previously in 2016


54 – 57

057) Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, finished November 17
056) Paco by Nathan Thatcher, finished November 3
055) The Complete Peanuts 1995-1996 by Charles M. Schulz, finished October 18
054) "K" Is for Killer by Sue Grafton, finished October 17

48 – 53

053) Girl & Flame by Melissa Reddish, finished September 30?
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
050) The Making of Pride and Prejudice by Susie Conklin and Sue Birtwistle, finished September 28
049) Only What's Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts by Chip Kidd, finished September 24
048) J is for Judgment by Sue Grafton, finished September 16

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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