These are the books


071) Abstract City by Christoph Niemann, finished June 9

I know Niemann's work from The New Yorker and WIRED, but I hadn't given him much thought until I bumped into one of his visual essays on National Geographic. I then put every Niemann book our local library has on hold. Most were kids' picture books, and I liked them, but this book I liked very much indeed.

It's a collection of his visual essays. They range from slice-of-life to series of puns to humorous "science" essays to historical remembrances to memoir.... And the art that goes along with each essay is unique. Several, sure, use his inky style, but one, while in that style, is drawn with coffee on napkins. One is made from cut leaves. The Berlin Wall essay is composed of weaved black and orange paper (analog pixel art!). One is made of ... shall we call them voodoo dolls?

In other words, Niemann is succeeding at baizzerrism beyond even my stated intentions. So of course I like him.

Anyway, in essence, what we have here is someone pushing their skills into whatever whimsical direction he pleases, and uncovering delight every step along the way.
Or, in other words, here is a fellow who has held onto the fun in art.

The afterword is an essay I would like to bring to my classes. Creativity is always possible. It just takes work and work and work. That's all. Anyone can do it.
So long as they work.
a few days


070) The Wrenchies by Farel Dalrymple, finished June 8

This is a book I found through BAC. I have no idea what it is or what it's about. I mean, sure, I can tell you scores of details, but no way I can answer the seemingly simple question, What the hell?

The book is scrambled in terms of time and geography and reality, its violence not only literal but in the very lines and colors smeared across the page.

Unquestionably, reading this book is an experience.
about a month


069) Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham, finished June 5

I think, for girls, these things tend to be more intense (or perhaps this is more a comment on my people skills), but I recognize these feelings.

Shannon Hale's comics memoir (drawn by her Princess in Black-partner) is filled with the sorts of ambiguities we expect from good literature. In her afterward, she even says that she left some parts messy (that she would not have in fiction) because it was more true. Maybe, perhaps, I want more nonfiction from my YA novelists.

Because the messiness does make it more true. Even our hero engages in casual, accidental cruelty. And that cruelty may never be revisited because life is not that neat.

One of the most heartening things about this book---and part of the reason I expect it will become a classic---is that everyone is weak at times, everyone is strong.
Everyone is kind at times, everyone is cruel. And they all become real people.

And the future looks bright indeed. Ending on hope for that future is satisfying because it doesn't promise too much---while also promising the whole world.
one evening


068) Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, finished June 1

The introduction from personal favorite Connie Willis set me up to expect to be immediately wowed.
I was not. I was, however, intrigued. And I kept reading.

Ish, our hero, is a man of his time. Like another book I read recently,
the novel is liberal-minded and thus exposes its of-the-time illiberal failures (racism, sexism) by how it attempts to be enlightened. (Makes me wonder what we'll sound like in seventy years.) But part of this, it ends up, is civilization itself.

Like Ish, I'm desperate to see this postapocalyptic life be redeemed by books and reading and education and civilization, goldarn it! (Skip to the ** to avoid grand-scale spoilers.)

It's when Ish is able to give up on civilization---or, more accurately, see that his bias for civilization is unjustified---that the book goes from being a just-fine postapocalypto to something startling, something that makes my soul feel like it's standing on the edge of a cliff with only clouds below.

And it's not just Ish's giving up on civilization that gives this feeling; it's also the way Stewart represents him as an old man. I don't know if that's what being ancient feels like, but it felt real. My insides feel emptied out and filled with ice.

I still feel a bit like that moment when the rollercoaster crests....

**I only heard about this book when a local oldtimer told me and Lady Steed it was a step up from Station Eleven, both because she found the newer book underwhelming and because Earth Abides takes place locally, which is nice added-value.

I disagree as to the relative qualities. I think Station Eleven is, overall, the superior novel, but that is no knock on Earth Abides which is powerful in its own way. And I agree that reading anything ever that takes place where you live is of itself powerful. We should all have that experience. Not just people from Manhattan.

Anyway, if you want to read a postapocalypse that lets the violence sing between the scenes and focuses instead on one man's mind and his relationship with other people,
the past, and the future, this is the one for you. It ain't no Road. And although Earth Abides apparently inspired it, I suspect it ain't no Stand either. It's too quiet a book for that.
But that's how it gets you.
more than five months

Previously in 2017

64 – 67
067) One Minute till Bedtime selected by Kenn Nesbitt, finished May 30
066) The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder, finished May 25
065) Wonder Woman: A Celebration of 75 years by (various), finished May 24
064) Leiathan with a Hook by Kimberly Johnson, finished May 12

60 – 63
063) Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, finished May 10
062) Cover by Peter Mendelsund, finished May 10
061) Sacred Heart by Liz Suburbia, finished May 8
060) Age of Reptiles Omnibus, Vol. 1 by Ricardo Delgado, finished May 4

57 – 59
059) Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, finished May 1
058) Little Tommy Lost: Book One by Cole Closser, finished April 28
057) Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett, finished April 24

53 – 56
056) Angel Catbird (vol. one) by Margaret Atwood, et al., finished April 21
055) The Dinner Club by Curtis Taylor, finished April 21
054) The Hotel Cat by Esther Averill, finished April 17
053) A Field Guide to Awkward Silences by Alexandra Petri, finished April 9

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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