Your house is burning down.
Which do you read as you await
the fire department?


056) Angel Catbird (vol. one) by Margaret Atwood, et al., finished April 21

Look: Margaret Atwood is a great writer. She can be amazing, but she can also be ... less. This is less.

I'm glad she's getting to finish up her childhood by writing pulpy comics stories. And maybe the bad Silver Age dialogue and plotting are intentional. Certainly the dumb names are intentional. Angel Catbird I can almost believe someone thought was cool, but Count Catula can't really be seen as anything but an intentionally bad joke.

All that said, in theory, this book could still be a good time. A lark. A fun ride.

But it's not. It just doesn't ... fly.

And the occasional education breaks to teach us about cat safety don't help.

two days


055) The Dinner Club by Curtis Taylor, finished April 21

Let me preface my remarks that this is the second novel by the author of The Invisible Saint, one of the most important books in my personal development as a writer. And that this book is enormously flawed, burying its potential under tons of dross that should have been edited out.

I intend to write a longer look at the novel after I read Rolling Home which, I take it, is a novella-sized rewrite of Dinner Club.

Or possibly it's still well over three hundred pages. (The Amazon page is giving mixed messages.) But it has a new title and I can get it for free on my Kindle, so I'll at least check it out. I hope it's an improvement because there's an excellent book at the bottom of The Dinner Club and it kills me to see it drowned and sunk, bloated and dead.
started on a Sunday probably three weeks ago


054) The Hotel Cat by Esther Averill, finished April 17

This novel was very important to me in second grade, but the last time I read it aloud, when my oldest son was in second grade, my now second-grader wasn't two. So we read it together. It suffered the indignity of many interruptions, but we enjoyed the experience. It's a magical book (and, I only recently learned, part of a rather extensive series), but it's hard to know, now, if it's anything special---or merely special to me.
But I'll keep reading it as long as there are second graders to share it with.


053) A Field Guide to Awkward Silences by Alexandra Petri, finished April 9

The library gave me this Free Gift about the same time I was becoming a fan of the author's newspaper work (she's, like, the millenial Dave Barry). And so I'm sorry to say that much of the book stutters where her columns often sing. Or, perhaps more fairly, being bound in hardcover,
is sometimes overworked (and thus finds difficulty being light on its feet) and sometimes I probably held to an unfairly higher standard.

On the other hand, some of these essays are excellent. Let's take the penultimate essay which combines a disformed dog and the author's bad driving. Each half of the essay behaves like a longwinded tangent of the other, but they interweave like a complicated dance in
a high-budgeted Austen flick on the BBC. Sometimes, you might forget they're partners, but they keep touching hands in passing and the conclusion of the dance brings them together in satisfying fashion.

Some of the others I enjoyed more as sociology---learning about competitive punning, for instance. A better editor would have realized that this isn't a celebrity memoir but a collection of tightly constructed humor. Some of those would have made terrific magazine articles, but here they're struggling against the collection's better instincts and trying to turn it into the moving tale of a young woman stumbling into recognition of her adulthood. A noble enough goal, I suppose, and in general I've nothing against making a collection of disparate essays thematically whole. But trust your material.


Let's keep an eye on her, shall we?
almost twenty months

Previously in 2017

48 – 52
052) The Ghost by Robert Harris, finished April 7
051) Injection, Vol. 1 by Warren Ellis & Jordie Bellaire & Declan Shalvey, finished April 7
050) Letters to a Young Mormon by Adam Miller, finished April 2
049) Fences by August Wilson, finished March 30
048) Art Ops Vol. 2: Popism by Shaun Simon and a crapton of artists including a panoply of Allreds, finished March 29

44 – 47
047) The Natural by Bernard Malamud, finished March 28
046) Let Me Drown with Moses by James Goldberg, finished March 26
045) Kaptara Volume 1: Fear Not, Tiny Alien by Chip Zdarsky and Kagan McLeod, finished March 25
044) The Big Book of Exit Strategies by Jamaal May, finished March 22

40 – 43
043) Casanova: Acedia Volume 1 by Matt Fraction and Fábio Moon and Michael Chabon and Gabriel Bá, finished March 18
042) Wolfie & Fly by Cary Fagan, finished March 15
041) Cyrus Perkins and the Haunted Taxi Cab by Dave Dwonch and Anna Lencioni, finished March 13
040) An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen, finished March 10

36 – 39
039) Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, finished March 9
038) In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown by Amy Gary, finished March 5
037) Ritual and Bit by Robert Ostrom, finished March 3
036) Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman, finished March 3

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


* most recent post in this series *


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

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