Eat Book for Good Health


034) King Lear by William Shakespeare, finished April 13

As a teenager, this play really did not work for me. I blamed it on being too young.

If I am no longer too young, methinks I am also not old enough.
four days


035) Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil by Jeff Smith, finished April 13

I probably would not have read this when the boys brought it home from the library except ... it's by Jeff Smith! Apparently his first work after finishing Bone (?), it does read and look like Bone in some ways if you're looking for connections.

I know very little about Captain Marvel, but apparently the movie's take is one of two. In the movie, Captain Marvel is just Billy Batson in a bigger body. The other version (as here) has Billy as sort of a magic lamp with Captain Marvel as the genie. (And possibly just future Billy all grown up?) It works well here, but that seems like a version that could get very dark very quickly. Sort of like the Hulk, only ... worse somehow.

I don't think that version of Captain Marvel has ever been done. But, again, I'm no expert.

Anyway, back to this Jeff Smith book, fun read! It's truly for kids, but it's also written and drawn in a way attractive to an adult audience. If he had ever done more, I would be interested. (The series sort of did continue, but without Mr Smith.)

Ultimately though I think Captain Marvel has to be for kids. It's a silly concept (even for a superhero) and with young Billy as protagonist, moving away from work-for-kids would lose its way quickly. I imagine. It does seem like Black Adam is a character they like to turn dark, but again: I'm no expert.
the thirteenth


036) The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy: Haunting the Hearts and Heaven of Mormon Women and Men by Carol Lynn Pearson, finished April 15

I'm not sure I'd realized, really, how much thought I've given this topic---especially because I haven't thought about it much in a long, long time. Perhaps I had blocked out thinking about polygamy because it can be an exhausting topic. But certainly it's on my mind. "The Widower," The Youngest Wife, some poetry forthcoming and as yet unaccepted---even "The Prophetess of Mars" is framed like a polygamy story, someone recently told me to my surprised agreement.

I think the biggest revelation Carol Lynn's book provides is this: I am free to reject polygamy. I think, after Lady Steed has read the book, and we can talk about it together, this will be a great weight lifted from us. I suspect this weight explains some things I've never quite been able to discern clearly.

I hope people are listening. This is an important book, and a true book---a necessary book and a difficult book.
three days


037) Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson, finished April 19

My kids had checked out at least this volume of Phoebe before and I had ignored it, thinking it was a Wimpy Kid-style book. Even had I known it was a syndicated strip, I might not have cared. This not precisely a golden era, after all. I don't mean to knock the strips being done, but they don't feel like a priority.

That said, I've been following the new Nancy since it appeared and the first strip delighted me. I just read an interview with that artist's editor at the syndicate and it mentioned that she also discovered/edits Phoebe and Wallace the Brave---two strips I did not know. Only the former had collections at my local library, so that's what I have now read.

And I liked it.

The introduction to this first volume was written by Peter S. Beagle (!) who compares its protagonist (favorably) to Calvin (!) and Charlie Brown (!) and says it is the best strip since Calvin's. So...impressive.

Having now read the first collection, I think a better comparison would be to Barnaby. Like Barnaby and unlike Calvin, Phoebe's friend the unicorn is unequivocably real. Like Barnaby and unlike Calvin, Phoebe's adventures are not limited t0 a primarily inner world and are certainly not limited to a short set of characters. It's expansively fantastical while remaining grounded in the small of an everychild's lived life. So yes. Phoebe's most obvious antecedent would have to be Barnaby.

the strips are colored in the book and, I suspect,
at times the lines are strengthened and, in at least one case,
cultural references (eg, Bono) may be written out


038) a novel by a friend, finished April 23

fivish days


039) Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett, finished April 27

Every time (or almost so) I read a Terry Pratchett book, I wonder if THIS one is the one I should have talked the school into adding to the textbook room. Rereading it, no. This is great. I find it emotionally moving, it's endlessly funny, and I think I've finally figured out the right way to teach it. (In the past I've taught it, let it lie fallow three years, taught it, etc.) But now? I think I'm figuring it out. The students have only just begun, but it seems to be taking.
perhaps two weeks


040) Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, finished May 3

I remember discovering this blog when it was still quite fresh, just as it was blowing up. Lady Steed and I would read it together, but it would take forever to get through as story as we were in literal danger of asphyxiation from all the laughter.

It's still good, but it's not as funny now. I have a few theories as to why:
1. I've read it before.

2. It's optimized for scrolling. Pages mess up the flow.

3. Smaller pictures.

4. We're older. Much of the insane stuff she does, grouchy old me wants to tell her to just stop doing stupid things.

5. It's 2019. We don't laugh at mental illness anymore.

6. I identify much, much more with her parents now. Those poor, poor people.

7. Miscellaneous similar points.
I would still recommend the book, no question, but the blog has a few stories the book does not (and vice versa) and is free. Maybe start there?
fivish days


The other books of 2019

001 – 005
001) Thornhill by Pam Smy, finished January 2
002) How to Be Happy by Eleanor Davis, finished January 3
003) Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, finished Janaury 4
004) Third Wheel: Peculiar Stories of Mormon Women in Love by Melissa Leilani Larson, finished January 6
005) Fox 8 by George Saunders, finished January 6

006 – 010
006) SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman, finished January 8*
007) Latter-day Laughs by Stan and Elly Schoenfeld, finished January 16
008) All We Ever Wanted: Stories of a Better World edited by Miner, Palicki, Chin-Tanner; finished January 19
009) Daytripper by Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá, finished January 19
010) Evolving Faith: Wanderings of a Mormon Biologist by Steven L. Peck, finished January 20

011 – 015
011) Kindred by Octavia E. Butler, finished January 22
012) Huck by Mark Millar et al., finished January 24
013) Marketing Precedes the Miracle by Calvin Grondahl, finished January 30
014) Uncle Scrooge:The Seven Cities Of Gold by Carl Barks, finished January 31
015) When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, finished January 31

011 – 015
016) Snotgirl: Green Hair, Don't Care by Bryan Lee O'Malley and Leslie Hung, finished February 16
017) Ghost of the Grotto by Carl Barks, finished February 20
018) When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs, finished February 22
019) Temple and Cosmos by Michael R. Collings, finished February 23
020) The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett, finished February 23
021) Fungus the Bogeyman by Raymond Briggs, finished February 24

022 – 027
022) One Dirty Tree by Noah Van Sciver, finished February 25
023) Snotgirl: California Screaming by Bryan Lee O'Malley & Leslie Hung, finished February 28
024) Sabrina by Nick Drnaso, finished March 7
025&026) Macbeth by William Shakespeare, finished March 14
026) Fences by August Wilson, finished Ides of March
027) N Is for Noose by Sue Grafton, finished Ides of March

028 – 033
028) Ethel & Ernest by Raymond Briggs, finished March 20
029) Let's Go Exploring by Michale Hingston, finished March 20
030) Gentleman Jim by Raymond Briggs, finished March 20
031) The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis, finished April 2
032) No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay, finished April 8
033) Letters to ta Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke, finished April 9

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