Caesar! Bunnies! Poetry! Gaiman!


039) Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, finished March 9

I first read Shakespeare my sophomore year of high school. Mrs Errecart said we were reading Julius Caesar and I was, I'll admit, pretty scared. Shakespeare??? It was going to be hard and boring and miserable.

Only it was not. I loved Julius Caesar. When I graduated high school, my parents got me Oxford's complete Shakespeare and he's been a big part of my life ever since.

But I've never again read Julius Caesar---which strikes me as rather remarkable, given how much Shakespeare I was assigned in college, not to mention the occasional for-fun reads.

But given the current climate, I thought this play might be a good choice. My AP kids are reading it next week and I just finished my first-ever reread in preparation.

And holy cow, guys. It's really good. So much fun to read. It's fast-paced and full of great dialogue. No fat on this baby.

Now to see if my students feel the same.....
couple weeks or so


038) In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown by Amy Gary, finished March 5

So let's start by noting that Gary's professional life is dedicated to bringing out the voluminous, unpublished treasures Margarite Wise Brown left behind. This doesn't excuse that the purple-prosed hagiographic tendencies of this biography, but it does explain them somewhat. It's also worth complaining about that the biography tells a lot about what was flitting through its characters mind at any given moment, but the notes don't clearly back up that level of detail. The other thing that drove me nuts was how Gary would set up a storyline as important, then completely forget it. See her parents, for example, but the most egregious example, I felt, was her relationship with illustrator Phyra Slobodkina. They were working together at Margaret's Maine home when she parroted the anti-Semitic language heard from her America First Committee friends (and broadcasts). Phyra, being Jewish, was offended and left the next morning. Margaret felt awful and planned to make an apology. Did she? Dunno. In the remaining 140 pages Phyra's mentioned only twice in passing and there's nothing about the whole anti-Semite thing. That sort of thing is the book's biggest flaw.

But flaws aside, I really enjoyed this book. I didn't know much about Margaret Wise Brown coming in except she had written a whole lotta books. In fact, the only reason I checked this book out is because I had to talk to a librarian for checkout, was embarrassed by what I was getting, and had grabbed the closest respectable-looking thing off the NEW shelves as balance.

Even with the salt poisoning, I'm now convinced she was a genius. And not in the mystical sense, but in the sense of she had an unusual ability and spent her life working to refine it. Learning about how she got into the trade and the amount of time she spent with kids finetuning her stories was inspiring.

And her stupid, stupid death at the hand of a French doctor was shocking, even though I knew she was doomed to die young. She seemed to be on the cusp of her first healthy romantic relationship and then she was dead.

There are other biographies about her which I'll probably never read, but I now add her to the list of writers I admire. And the list of writers who were taken from us much too soon. I have to admit to a great, never-to-be-consummated desire to know what she would have done next.

(In closing, here's a you-never-know for you. During probate following her death, the estimated future worth of Goodnight Moon was estimated at $200.)
maybe a month?


037) Ritual and Bit by Robert Ostrom, finished March 3

I really liked this collection. Even though some of the poems were dumb and some pushed a simple concept too far, I liked how adventurous it was and how it bounded about, sticking its nose in unexpected places and turning up all sorts of weird things, some of which even managed to be beautiful.

Here's to mating fun and ambition.
a week


036) Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman, finished March 3

Gaiman's an interesting fellow. I stopped reading his novels for adults (not in an I've-sworn-them-off sense) because they just don't work as well as his shorter works---comics, short stories, novels for kids. And although I wouldn't call this new collection a 100%er, it's mostly good and mostly very good when it's good.

Gaiman's at his best when he's mining old myths and tales and melting them to ore to pour into new moulds. And there are some lovely examples of this here. (But also some examples where it almost seems like a Gaiman imitator taking his schtick too far. So it goes.)

I started this in the audio version. I enjoy listening to Gaiman, I suppose. He reads well. Though I'm not sure that his is always the best voice for a particular story. But hey: he's a rock star. No way around that. Give the fans what they want.
sixty-two days

Previously in 2017

33 – 35
035) Under Brushstrokes by Hedy Habra, finished February 24
034) Rapture by Sjohnna McCray, finished February 20
033) The Destroyer in the Glass by Noah Warren, finished February 19

29 – 32
032) Old Boy, Vol. 8 by Garon Tsuchiya & Nobuaki Minegishi, finished February 18
031) Ms. Marvel Vol. 6: Civil War II by G. Willow Wilson et al, finished February 18
030) White Sand by Brandon Sanderson & Rik Hoskin & Julius Gopez, finished February 18
029) Honest Engine by Kyle Dargan, finished February 17

24 – 28
028) Best American Comics 2016 edited by Roz Chast, finished February 16
027) Old Boy, Vol. 7 by Garon Tsuchiya & Nobuaki Minegishi, finished February 16
026) Old Boy, Vol. 6 by Garon Tsuchiya & Nobuaki Minegishi, finished February 12
025) Old Boy, Vol. 5 by Garon Tsuchiya & Nobuaki Minegishi, finished February 11
024) Old Boy, Vol. 4 by Garon Tsuchiya & Nobuaki Minegishi, finished February 10

19 – 23
023) Ms. Marvel Vol. 5: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson & Takeshi Miyazawa, finished February 9
022) Ms. Marvel Vol. 4: Last Days by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona, finished February 7
021) Ms. Marvel Vol. 3: Crushed by G. Willow Wilson & Takeshi Miyazawa & Elmo Bondoc, finished February 7
020) Ms. Marvel Volume 2: Generation Why by G. Willow Wilson & Jacob Wyatt & Adrian Alphona, finished February 6
019) Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona, finished February 5

14 – 18
018) Curses by Kevin Huizenga, finished February 4
017) Precious Rascals by Anthony Holden, finished January 31
015 & 016) Anthem by Ayn Rand, finished January 31
014) Old Boy, Vol. 3 by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi, finished January 30

9 – 13
013) On Jupiter Place by Nicholas Christopher, finished January 30
012) Old Boy, Vol. 2 by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi, finished January 29
011) Old Boy, Vol. 1 by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi, finished January 28
010) Summerlost by Ally Condie, finished January 27
009) Heat Wake by Jason Zuzga, finished January 24

4 – 8
008) How the End Begins by Cynthia Cruz, finished January 19
007) Delinquent Palaces by Danielle Chapman, finished January 19
006) Pilot by pd mallamo, finished January 19
005) Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, finished January 16
004) I Hate Fairyland Volume 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young et al, finished January 14

1 – 3
003) The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, finished January 12
002) F in Exams: The Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers by Richard Benson, finished January 10
001) States of Deseret by William Morris, finished January 10


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final booky posts of
2016 = 2015 = 2014 = 2013 = 2012 = 2011 = 2010 = 2009 = 2008 = 2007

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