Books with looks!


095) What Was Left of the Stars by Claire Åkebrand, finished August 30

I first came to know Claire (or, her work) when we were working on Fire in the Pasture. I've read bits of her poetry when it's appeared in my feed and now I've picked up her first book.

The cover is a painting by---I'm guessing her sister-in-law?---Amanda Åkebrand. It's titled "The Garden of Eden" and it looks like the Moulin Rouge. It's a beautiful cover. And the right cover.

I'll write a longer (but not completely thorough) review for Motley Vision. Here's a link that will get you there.
about a month


094) Laughing Gas by P.G. Wodehouse, finished August 30

This has all the hallmarks of Wodehouse's comedic genius: well-meaning idiots, gloriously constructed strings of slang,
inexplicable love affairs, bubbly male friendships, and more! more! more!

That said, it's not surprising this book appears to currently be out of print.

The book takes place in old Hollywood, and it observes its racism without comment. And the Freaky Friday plot (a child star and a visiting English aristocrat change bodies at the dentist whilst concurrently under nitrous) is a danday set-up, but somehow both over- and under-used. Also, the end doesn't quite fulfill all the promises made by the beginning.

And, finally, the characters, though deliciously drawn, just don't come to life the way they do in his very best workds.

I don't disagree with those who claim Wodehouse is among the previous cenury's greatest artists, but this isn't the book with which to make thine argument.
about two months


093) Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman with illustrations by Skottie Young, finished August 30

Gaiman's small book is for young readers or---even better---parents to read to young readers who may then reread.
It's charming and funny and a sequence of clever gimmicks that combine to make something greater than their silly parts.

But not too much greater. It remains firmly grounded in the world of the silly.

two days


092) Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang, finished August 29

I often check short-story collections out from the library, read one or three, then return them. Generally,
I'm impressed by the writing, but I just have too many other things to read to take more than a representative sample.

This book I put hold because of an article in Wired about Arrival
(an article I can't find now because it's insanely difficult to find any magazine article on their website---why I'm not tweeting them all the time), but I wasn't totally sold on reading the book, so I didn't pick it up when the library set it aside for me. But as soon as we DID see Arrival, it went right back on hold.

I read the title story which inspired the movie. It was the same. It was different. I read the shortest story in the book. It was interesting. I started from the beginning. Here I recognized just how broad and masterful Chiang could be.
This story is a Tower of Bable tale that takes ancient cosmology seriously. As the tower grows, the moon passes by its workers.

Also featured is a world where sperm cells really are tiny humans awaiting an ovum to bring them to life. A world where angels are common occurrences and we can see with our own eyes whether the dead are lifted up to heaven or dropped down to hell. How I want to write a story placed in this world.

One thing that's clear reading these stories (and which is shown here) is how Chiang creates such deeply real worlds.
Genuine research. Geniune time. Geniune care.

The final story, written for the collection, did not seem to me, at first, as fully realized as the others.
Written as a documentary's transcript, it seemed a way to splay ideas without creating the world they fit in.
I should have been more trusting. It's a bigger challenge, but one Chiang was up to. If I ever teach a Chiang story,
I think it will be this one. If we could take away the tendency to judge by beauty, would we be right to do so?

This collection will keep me in thought for a long, long time. Check it out.

maybe two weeks


091) Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski & Lauren Myracle & Emily Jenkins, finished August 21

This book feels like it was written by a committee. And I'm not saying that because it has three listed authors, though that may count of evidence of my gut theory, but because of the nature of the writing itself. Sometimes it skips over important developmental moments to get to the next checkbox moment. It's hard to believe the novel wasn't first imagined by a room of educators and editors and marketers trying to put together a Needed Book not currently represented in the market.

That said, it does have a handful of brilliant moments and my kids---even the thirteen-year-old who started off chilly---all dug it and were glad to learn there are sequels.

So sure, it's a crass commercial project, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have its merits.
one leg of a long long car ride

Previously in 2017

87 – 90
090) The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold, finished August 15
089) Mormonism for Beginners by Stephen Carter, finished August 15
088) Ben, in the World by Doris Lessing, finished August 15
087) Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Al Franken, finished August 9

81 – 86
086) The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey, finished August 4
085) Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen by Dylan Horrocks, finished August 3
084) Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk, finished August 3
083) CatStronauts: Mission Moon by Drew Brockington, finished July 29
082) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, finished July 29
081) The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing, finished July 15

76 – 80
080) The Novel by James C. Michener, finished July 12
079) Dodger by Terry Pratchett, finished July 11
078) Big Nate: Great Minds Think Alike by Lincoln Peirce, finished July 10
077) Living Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson, finished July 7
076) The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, finished June 30?

72 – 75
075) Norse Mythology by Neil Gaimain, finished June 19
074) Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes by Matt Kindt, finished June 16
073) Wyrms by Orson Scott Card, finished June 15
072) Cairo by G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker, finished June 13

68 – 71
071) Abstract City by Christoph Niemann, finished June 9
070) The Wrenchies by Farel Dalrymple, finished June 8
069) Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham, finished June 5
068) Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, finished June 1

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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