Murder and mayhem and light verse


021) M Is for Malice by Sue Grafton, finished March 28

Kinsey's halfway through the alphabet and with a few pages of beautiful writing at the end of this novel, she's changed in what I suspect will be fairly significant ways.

Here's what's interesting about these novels.

As genre fiction, each one's a well constructed detective story. I'm getting a better sense of Grafton's technique and so I start figuring out the solution before the end (not intentionally; I have no desire to outwit my hero), but the pleasure remains.

But if you treat the entire series as a novel, we have something more quote-unquote literary as Kinsey undergoes, here, a major catharsis, and over the course of the series is dealing with larger issues of family and meaning and belonging and etc etc. This stuff is barely visible within any individual novel. But as the books proceed, if you step back fifty feet, all those flurries of theft and murder fade away into the larger, human tale of one Kinsey Millhone.

Be careful or you might accidentally read some art.

. . . . .

Incidentally, more than any other reason, this is what bums me out that she died before writing Z. I'm pretty sure she was going somewhere. Imagine missing the last volume of Middlemarch. Sucks, doesn't it?
couple weeks


022) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany; finished March 31

Uneven. Some parts were dull. Some parts were moving. It must have been hella expensive to put on. And holy crap but this is a long play. Do they serve lunch halfway through?

I can see why diehards had issue with it---it's often attempting something much different than the novels; or, rather, it emphasizes themes that were merely supplemental in the novels. Some themes are superfluous which works better in a novel than in a play. Harry Potter himself recognizes that book five was a crap year. The magic, honestly, was the least interesting thing about this book though I imagine it was cool onstage. This is described as the rehearsal script but given the fact that stage directions are more poetical than practical, I wonder.

Anyway. I liked it fine.
under two weeks


023) It All Started with Hippocrates: A Mercifully Brief History of Medicine by Richard Armour, finished April 6

I only knew about his poetry so when this book popped up in a library search when I was looking for something entirely different, I put it on hold immediately. His poetry, after all, is hilarious.

This book was also enjoyable. Did I laugh? Yes. Like, actually? outloud? with sounds? Yes. I did.

I also learned a lot. Assuming I can successfully distinguish between the facts and the jokes. Which I think I can. But maybe not. Don't invite me to trivia night.

But the important thing is this: Armour's prose is also very funny. The closest comparison I think I can make is Will Cuppy, but I'm probably just revealing more of my geeky humorist interests than being helpful with that comparison. I am not sorry.
perhaps three weeks


024) Don't Bump the Glump by Shel Silverstein, finished April 14

His first book of poetry!

It's okay.

You can see where he's headed (some later poems are straight-up reworkings of some appearing here) and he's pretty much there, though the variety of feeling is what's lacking. The jokes hit, but they don't matter as much without the accompanying sincere feelings.
sitting on the porch


025) Coriolanus by Wm Shakespeare, finished April 16

It's exotic to read a play I know nothing about. This one is extremely troubling. In part because of the neverending violence, in part because of the no-one-to-like character list, in part because of its unsettling echos in modern politics.

I can see why the play has both lovers and dismissers. I can't tell you what opinion to have of it. After another two weeks grappling with it in the classroom, however, I hope to have a more settled opinion of my own.
three or four days


The other books of 2018

1 – 4
001) Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 3 by Ta-Nehisi Coates &‎ Brian Stelfreeze & al., finished January
002) The Complete Peanuts 1950-2000 by Charles M. Schulz & al., finished January
003) The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, finished January 10
004) El Deafo by Cece Bell, finished January 12

5 – 9
005) Cleopatra in Space: Target Practice by Mike Maihack, finished January 13
006) Nabokov's Favorite Word Is Mauve by Ben Blatt, finished January 15
007) Glister by Andi Watson, finished January 18
008) Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke, finished January 20
009) The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun by J.R.R. Tolkien, finished January 21

10 – 11
010) The Vision by Tom King et al., finished January 23
011) Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds, finished January 24

16 – 16
012) Anthem by Ayn Rand, finished February 8
013) The City in Which I Love You by Li-Young Lee, finished February 14
014) Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle, finished February 21
015) It Needs to Look Like We Tried by Todd Robert Petersen, finished March 7
016, 017) Fences by August Wilson, finished March 8

18 – 20
018) The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton, finished March 13
019) Star Wars Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to a Galaxy Far, Far Away by Tim Leong, finished March 22
020) Superman: Secret Identity by Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen, finished March 25

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

* the most recent post in this series *

final booky posts of
2007 = 2008 = 2009 = 2010 = 2011 = 2012 = 2013 = 2014 = 2015 = 2016 = 2017

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