A book from a sitting Senator
a book from one of America's great figures
and an extremely popular piece of crap


116) Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle by Jeff Flake, finished October 11

Jeff Flake came to the House before the Tea Party, but I've always associated him with that crowd. And it wasn't until the last couple years that I became aware of him as anything other than [generic Republican]. Then he pushed back---firmly---against Trump. And I started looking around and paying attention and listening to him. Now I have an appreciation for the man and, having recently read and enjoyed Al Franken's new book, I decided to balance my diet with Flake's.

It was hard to imagine me, Theric,
reading two full books by two sitting senators in one year, but at least I would start it. But then it arrived and, hey, it's under 150 pages and, hey, it's well written. Compelling. Interesting. Largely fair and insightful. I ate it up.

Of course, having written a book about why being fair and insightful---honest---is part of the reason he will almost certainly lose his primary next year. But he's doing the right thing and I hope that keeps him warm at night.

Flake's book is modeled after one with a near-identical title by Barry Goldwater, Flake's Arizonan progenitor. Goldwater of course is remembered very differently by different people. Flake is a fan, but a clear-eyed fan. As part of his demonstration in favor of truth, he calls Goldwater on his sins---and calls himself on his own sins as well.

In fact, one thing that Flake and Franken have in common---at least according to their books---is a desire to state the truth and find political compromise honestly through a path paved with truth. I can't tell you how refreshing it was to read this from both sides of the aisle. In a world which seems cast from venomous polemic,
hearing people in positions of authority, both Democrat and Republican, call their own party out (while, granted, hinting the other side's even worse) and to call for more bipartisan work, warms the ol' heart cockles.

It's hard to look at 2017's Senate and think "functional," but for all the Garland-shaped horrors, there are bright spots of hope.

At least until Bannon's Senate is seated, I suppose.

In the meantime, we can share our faith in American priciples and idealism and move forward.
under two weeks


115) Stickeen by John Muir, finished October 4

My eight-year-old read and enjoyed this very much. So did I. This is a much more impressive read than most of the stuff he's picking up. It helps that we went to Muir Woods than the Muir House (where he let me buy this for him). It also helps that this edition is beautifully designed and illustrated.

Get your kids to read something a hundred years old with a philosophical bent and a cute dog. Pick up Stickeen.
fourish days


114) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, finished October 3

According to the acknowledgments page in the back, this novel went through a plurality of drafts with much professional help to get it into its mussy final form. I almost wish I hadn't forced myself to finish the book and read this depressing fact.

Look: the plot's dandy and the worldbuilding is excellent. It's everything else that's crap. Here's a couple examples so you know what kind of blonkey goes on in this trash heap.

1. Two thirds of the way through the book, the protagonist needs to be able to play guitar well. He can! Guitar is never never mentioned anywhere else in the entire book.

2. The first time we meet the hero's best friend, Aech, we learn the hero usually calls him a random name beginning in H such as Hugh or Humphrey. This literally never happens again over the next 300+ pages.

These are egregious examples, but the book is rife with laziness and sloppiness and ugliness. It's astonishing to me that this is from a major press.


Anyway, Hitchcock said he would never make a film of Crime and Punishment because it was already perfect so why bother. But a good book? Or a mediocre book? That's where you find the source material for a great movie.

Which is just a way to say that I have a lot of faith in Spielberg. And his willingness to improve on this subject matter.

Okay, one more thing. You know what would have helped a lot? Ditching the first-person p-o-v. That's not a law of nature when writing a teenaged protag. And it would have forced Cline to solve a lot of the book's most pervasive problems.

Okay, done.
two weeks

Previously in 2017

109 – 113
113) Paper Girls Volume Three by Vaughn/Chiang/Wilson/Fletcher, finished September 29
112) Paper Girls Volume Two by Vaughn/Chiang/Wilson/Fletcher, finished September 28
111) Artichoke Tales by Megan Kelso, finished September 26
110) Adulthood Is a Myth: A Sarah Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen, finished September 20
109) The Hunt for Vulcan: . . . And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe by Thomas Levenson, finished September 19

103 – 108
108) Gast by Carol Swain, finished September 19
107) Paper Girls Volume One by Brian K Vaughan et al, finished September 16
104, 105, 106) Fences by August Wilson, finished September 15
103) Drama by Raina Telgemeier, finished September 11

100 – 102
102) Clean Room Vol. 3: Waiting for the Stars to Fal by Gail Simone et al, finished September 9
101) Clean Room, Vol. 2: Exile by Gail Simone et al, finished September 7
100) Clean Room, Vol. 1: Immaculate Conception by Gail Simone et al, finished September 7

96 – 99
099) Title by Rachel Hunt Steenblik, finished September 7
098) “L” Is for Lawless by Sue Grafton, finished September 6
097) How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff, finished September 2
096) Flight, Volume 4, finished August 30

91 – 94
095) What Was Left of the Stars by Claire Åkebrand, finished August 30
094) Laughing Gas by P.G. Wodehouse, finished August 30
093) Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman with illustrations by Skottie Young, finished August 30
092) Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang, finished August 29
091) Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski & Lauren Myracle & Emily Jenkins, finished August 21

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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