Books forty-five to fifty-one
Nothing else is getting done


045) Eric by Terry Pratchett, finished May 31

Let's start by admitting that the Rincewind books are my least favorite Discworld books (though thanks to this one for clearing up the pronunciation of his name---it's like what blows from the west, not a toy duck, and the first vowel matches the second).

This one (which reads FAUST ERIC atop each page) is based on Faust (tada!) and it's primary satirical targets (outside whatever Rincewind is ever normally satirical of) are teenage hackers and corporate culture, each of which reeks of the 90s. In other words, I suspect most will agree: Eric has not aged as well as Discworld books as a whole are apt to do.

(I am interested that Eric was apparently as popular a name in Britain as it was in America for that generation of hackers, er, teens.)

A friend of mine who reads Terry Pratchett novels over and over again and thinks they are all pretty much excellent, even if he does have favorites, dismisses Eric as subpar. I tend to agree.

I wonder if this is because he has a cowriter (not listed on the cover or the title page, but on the page of other-books-by, Josh Kirby is mentioned---perhaps it is a reference to this version only).
at most twenty days


046) The Library Book by Susan Orlean, finished June 7

This is my first Susan Orlean book, although I'm pretty sure I've read her work in The New Yorker. I picked it up off the new shelf at my local library simply because the cover was eyecatching and tactilily inviting.

I opened it up and read a tad and, somehow, took it home. A few days later I read the first chapter and I was hooked.

The locus of the book is a fire at the Central Branch of the Los Angeles Library in the mid80s. It explores that day, the leadup, the results, the favored culprit---but she also spins off in many other directions, back to the beginning of libraries and into the future. Along the way we meet many fascinating librarians, and one is left with utter confidence in the vital importance of libraries.

We Must Have Libraries.

It's the sort of book that made me want to start/improve endless Wikipedia articles but alas---someone else had placed it on hold and the book needed to return home.
perhaps two weeks


047) Sing to It by Amy Hempel, finished June 8

I'd never heard of Amy Hempel before which, I suppose, tells us something about what I pay attention to. But, having read this review, I wanted to learn more. So I went to the library and brought this book to high-school graduation. Between waiting to start, suffering through, and walking/training home (plus twenty minutes of Little League party-avoidance), I got this entire book read today. It's not that long.

Not only is the book not long, neither are the stories (you can read the entire first story in that review linked above). Most of them are no more than three pages. The final story is much, much longer (and the weakest of the bunch), but over all, this is the perfect book to carry about during a day of errands.

I don't know that I "love" this book, but I certainly admire it. She writes the perfect short of bizarre gems that I used to aspire too---and she makes me want to read them again.
one day


048) The Emma Press Anthology of Fatherhood, finished June 17

This slim volume is comparable to the Everyman Library's Pocket Classics, although the poem's are wholly contemporary---no Shakespeare or Plath will be found in these pages.

And, frankly, that's a loss. This exact collection with some ballast (or, if you prefer, leavening) from the past, would make it stronger and more engaging. The collection has some wonderful entries, but no collection wins on every point. Adding some works from those who have survived centuries, or even just decades, of consideration naturally increases the hit rate.

I'm not complaining. I'll probably pick up another sometime.
two days


049) Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy, finished June 28

This volume came out the same year as The LEGO Batman Movie---which means they were both being worked on simultaneously. And I doubt there was much sharing of info. And yet they both begin the same way. With Joker describing his relationship almost romantically and Batman denying it. Now, the stories go in very (very) different directions from that point, but the connection is striking.

Anyway, the story does interesting things. Joker gets on his meds and works to save Gotham from the chaos of both villains and Batman. It's pretty good. But what I like most is how loose it plays with the mythos. Jason Todd was the first Robin, Dick second; there are two Harleys, Thomas Wayne knew Mr Freeze---why not? I wish the DC movies trusted their audiences this much.
one day


050) The Great Pie Robbery and Other Mysteries by Richard Scarry, finished July 1

(Hey. It qualifies.)

I put most of the library's Richard Scarry Books on hold because I've developed an interest in the evolution of his illustrative style.

But one of the great delights is rediscovering how witty Richard Scarry became. This collection consists of three mysteries originally published separately: The Great Pie Robbery (1969), The Supermarket Mystery (1969), and The Great Steamboat Mystery (1975). Sam Cat and Dudley Pig are our intrepid gumshoes and they're serious and silly in equal measure. And perhaps my favorite aspect of these books is how Scarry gives each character a rich character, usually without drawing attention. Yes, he points out how badly Dudley drives, but not nearly as much as he could. And Sam's relationship with a broom in the first story goes utterly unremarked upon even though it is key to much of what happens in the story. They're like the great silent clowns, but the images, being sequential rather than continuous, leave much of the humor to careful readers only. Or rather, in the case of target audience, repeat readers.
one sitting


051) "O" Is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton, finished July 1

I think because of a line in Deathtrap, I thought a bit about the construction of this book as I was reading it, trying to see how it was pieced together. But I admit that even trying to start from the end I now know and work backwards, "O" is a complex maze.

I do like how we're working our way backward through Kinsey's past as the books continue and it makes me all the more sad, knowing we'll never get "Z" Is for Zero. I'm sure she had something in mind.

about two weeks


The other books of 2019


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 Michael 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

034 – 040
034) King Lear by William Shakespeare, finished April 13
035) Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil by Jeff Smith, finished April 13
036) The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy: Haunting the Hearts and Heaven of Mormon Women and Men by Carol Lynn Pearson, finished April 15
037) Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson, finished April 19
038) a novel by a friend, finished April 23
039) Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett, finished April 27
040) Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, finished May 3

041 – 044
041) The Birthday Party and The Room by Harold Pinter, finished May 6
042) When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie & Edwin Balmer, finished May 11
043) Aquaman: Sub Diego by Will Pfeifer / Patrick Gleason / Christian Alamy, finished May 18
044) The Tragedy of King Leere, Goatherd of the La Sals by Steven L. Peck, finished May 22

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