Dolphins, serial killers, Martians
Survivors, brothers, superheroes


Historical note: I'm trying out doing one of my regular posts without using my code. Instead, I'm just using Blogger's new visual composer. Boy oh boy oh boy oh boy....


063) Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell, finished August 21

I'm quite certain I read this back in elementary school. Or perhaps a teacher read it to my class. I don't remember exactly. I just remember being left a little off-kilter by it and never wanting to return to it even though it's among so many people's favorite books, including my wife's. But we have half a dozen copies at the house and it's the county library's summer read, so to support my wife in getting the kids to read it, I read it too.

Youngest son read it and didn't like "the grammar" so that was something I was on the lookout for. I see what he means. No contractions, that sort of thing. It does have a specific voice and I can understand why one might be put off.

Also, I'm fairly certain it spun between two seasons several times without getting to the rest of the year. And then the years started flying by and I quickly lost track of how much time had passed.

The story's based on four or five known facts about an actual girl-cum-woman and her years alone on one of the Channel Islands (which I wish I had known---the presence of the Aleuts early on made me put her geography much further north which made winters harder to understand) and her story as told by O'Dell is wonderful and amazing and heroic.

 Sadly, if you clicked on that link above, she was dead seven weeks after finally making it to Santa Barbara. Dysentery. And the rest of her tribe had died long ago following their "rescue." And there weren't many to rescue, the bulk of them having already been killed by Russians and Aleuts.

That massacre we see, though perhaps it's not immediately clear how devastating it was. And the book does not pull punches; terrible things do happen. But it gives Karana a happy ending. And that is what she deserved.*

a few weeks of irregular reading 

064) Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, finished August 24

I don't know if this is a wise thing to mention on the very public internet, but I am quite fond of serial killers. I read this encyclopedia, Bloodletters and Badmen, in my spare time both in high school and my first year at Bakersfield College. I read most of the entries, but I was drawn to the serial killers. Earlier, watching Psycho had changed the way I watch movies forever.

I'm not sure why this drive but I'm clearly not alone in American culture---we have serial killers out the wazoo. Mostly fictional, but still.

The experience of experiencing their experiences varies of course. Zombie was genuinely terrifying. My Friend Dahmer made me sad for the poor kid. I could not get through Alias Grace (arguable entry to killers, serial). And although it's just one thing among many that makes it excellent, my current great joy in reading East of Eden isn't hindered by such-a-one's presence.

In 2008, during the writers strike, CBS played reruns of Dexter---bowdlerized, of course. Lady Steed and I watched and enjoyed them, but she was never willing to take it up with the full-yuck dvds. Years passed. At some point I got a free copy of this, the first novel. Years passed. And now: I have read it.

I loved it. I haven't rushed this quickly through a book I didn't even intend to start reading in ages. The voice is snappy, the unfolding is thrilling. It's overthetop and constrained simultaneously. Reading Wikipedia, it looks like, by book three, it will descend into straightup supernaturalism, so maybe I won't read more but...you know what else I ran into for free some years ago?

Dexter season four---the one, I am told, which is the best of all thanks to a terrifying performance from John Lithgow.

Don't mind if I do.

five of eight days


065) Martian Manhunter Vol. 1: The Epiphany by William, Barrows, et al., finished August 28
066) Martian Manhunter Vol. 2: The Red Rising by William, Barrows, et al.,
finished August 28

A lot of interesting things going on in this two-volume story. I wouldn't say I loved it, but I certainly don't feel like a wasted my time, even if they think Death Valley is in Nevada. Dummies.

If I were writing an essay about this story though, I know for certain what I would be writing about. And it's not the connections to Darwyn Cooke's great book featuring J'onn because I know little enough about the character I'm sure I'ld just make a fool of myself.

Although he barely appears in the story, the story does take time up front to connect J'onn to Superman. The connection is telling. Superman, Clark Kent, as we all know from a million people being smart, is an immigrant, probably a Jew, who comes to America and fulfills the American dream, passing as human.

Or, let's be more specific, passing as white.

J'onn can do similarly (cf Cooke), but that's not what we see here. Clark passes as part of the majority people; J'onn in contrast becomes a metaphor for immigrants (or conscripts) who can't pass as white. And detail after detail backs this reading up. The Black girl who befriends Mr Biscuits and can see him as good, for one.

Mr Biscuits is J'onn's subconscious, after he splits himself into pieces (it's complicated). The other pieces are a Black FBI agent, and Arab woman, and an old (American?) white man in a cheap, vaguely superhero costume who represents J'onn's intelligence. And who is so confident of himself that he stands in front of a runaway tank and gets completely demolished.

Anyway, there's a lot you could do, staking your claim and doing some mining here.

Quite possibly, someone already had.

But, you know, I really didn't love it enough to go googling.

But, man. If only there were an essay to write....

under a week

All right. Well, it probably took a bit longer, but just a bit, to use the composer rather than my simple html templates, It arranges the code in a very nonfriendly way for humans, which is why I left the weird font thing alone. I couldn't figure out how to do it in the visual composer, and the code is unbearable to look at. Anyway, it's done. And at least we got pictures back. The below was done the old-fashioned way.


books from the recent and distant past

books one through five
001) Titiana in Yellow by Dayna Patterson, finished January 1
002) The Tree at the Center by Kathryn Knight Sonntag, finished January 5
003) After Earth by Michael Lavers, finished January 12
004) Monstress, Volume One: Awakening by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, finished January 15
005) The Last Hot Time by John M. Ford, finished January 17

books six through eleven
006) The Marriage of the Moon and the Field by Sunni Brown Wilkinson, finished January 25
007) My Parents Married on a Dare by Carlfred Broderick, finished January 26
008) The Garden of Enid: Adventures of a Weird Mormon Girl (volume one) by Scott Hales, finished January 26
009) The Garden of Enid: Adventures of a Weird Mormon Girl (volume two) by Scott Hales, finished January 27
010) Solid State by Coulton / Fraction / Monteys, finished February 9
011) Into the Sun: Poems Revised, Rearranged, and New by Colin B. Douglas, finished February 16

books twelve through sixteen
012) Wag the Dog: A Study on Film and Reality in the Digital Age by Eleftheria Thanouli, finished February 17
013) Flaming Carrot Omnibus: Volume 1 by Bob Burden, finished February 17
014) The Electric State by Simon Stålenhag, finished February 22
015) The October Faction Vol. 2 by Steve Niles and Damien Worm, finished February 24
016) Minus by Lisa Naffziger, finished February 26

books seventeen through twenty-two
017) Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks, finished February 29
018) Calexit by Matteo Pizzolo | Amancay Nahuelpan | Tyler Boss, finished March 7
019) Emma by Jane Austen, finished March 8
020) Animal Man by Grant Morrison, Book One, by Morrison and team, finished March 14
021) The Chuckling Whatsit by Richard Sala, finished March 16
022) Gloriana by Kevin Huizenga, finished March 18

books twenty-three through twenty-seven
023) Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive by an Allred-led team, finished March 20
024) Homespun and Angel Feathers by Darlene Young, finished March 25
025) Jinchalo by Matthew Forsythe, finished March 28
026) Lost Dogs by AUTHOR, finished March 28
027) The Pearl of Greatest Price: Mormonism's Most Controversial Scripture by Terryl Givens with Brian M. Hauglid, finished March 29

books twenty-eight through thirty-two
028) If Mother Braids a Waterfall by Dayna Patterson, finished April 2
029) Witchy Kingdom by D.J. Butler, finished April 11
030) Prayers in Bath by Luisa Perkins, finished April 14
031) On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden, finished April 22
032) Missile Mouse: The Star Crusher by Jake Parker, finished April 22

books thirty-three through thirty-seven
033) Irreversible Things by Lisa Van Orman Hadley, finished April 27
034) Pillar of Light: Joseph Smith's First Vision by Andrew Knaupp and Sal Velluto, finished May 3
035) Hermana by Becca McCulloch, finished May 13*
036) Best American Comics 2017 by Ben Katchor, finished May 19
037) "Q" is for Quarry by Sue Grafton, finished May 22

books thirty-eight through forty-two
038) Draft No. 4* by John McPhee, finished May 22
039) Salt by Susan Elizabeth Howe, finished May 25
040) Endless Night by Agatha Christie, finished June 5
041) A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle, finished June 8
042) Caldera Ridge by Jack Harrell, finished June 10

books forty-three through forty-seven
043) God's Man by Lynd Ward, finished June 13
044) Zot! 1987–1991 by Scott McCloud, finished June 17
045) Big Fish by Daniel Wallace, finished June 20
046) Skeleton Key by Anthony Horowitz, finished June 24
047) Exhalation by Ted Chiang, finished June 28

books forty-eight through fifty-one
048) iZOMBIE: Dead to the World by Chris Roberson & Michael Allred (et al), finished July 4
049) iZOMBIE: uVAMPIRE by Chris Roberson & Michael Allred (et al), finished July 4
050) iZOMBIE: Six Feet Under & Rising by Chris Roberson & Michael Allred (et al), finished July 6
051) iZOMBIE: Repossession by Chris Roberson & Michael Allred (et al), finished July 6

books fifty-two through fifty-six
052) Remember the Revolution! by James Goldberg, finished July 14
053) Future Day Saints by Matt Page, finished July 19
054) Animal Man: The Hunt by Jeff Lemire & Travel Foreman, finished July 22
055) Superman: Before Truth by Gene Luen Yank & John Romita Jr. & Klaus Janson & Dean White, finished July 27
056) Castle Waiting: The Lucky Road by Linda Medley, finished August 1

books fifty-eight through sixty-two
057) Alive: New and Selected Poems by Elizabeth Willis, finished August 4
058) Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, finished ~ August 7
059) Beyond Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulllch, finished August 9
060) Sisters by Raina Telgemeier, finished August 11
061) Marble Season by Gilbert Hernandez, finished August 15
062) Frogcatchers by Jeff Lemire, finished August 17

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