(cuz blogger's new coding system doesn't like me)


057) Alive: New and Selected Poems by Elizabeth Willis, finished August 4

I learned of Elizabeth Willis from a forthcoming analysis in Dialogue and immediately put this book on hold. It was an excellent analysis: scholarly, insightful, provocative. And I'm glad I read it because I'm not sure I liked this collection enough to finish it if I had selected it at random.

Willis has a pretty unique way of poeming. Her poems lack much connective tissue which gives them a surreal quality even when all the images are grounded or even plain. She brings the poetry to words and phrases that ought to be pedestrian but somehow are not. She speaks of things without giving us any context or any way to uncover the context---at least, not through a casual read. To appreciate these poems, they need to be lived in for some time. (And frankly, that's time time I have for a library book.)

She also frequently makes found poems---or poems that feel like found poems---or poems that are partially found. My favorite example of this type is probably "The Witch" or "Classified"; these poems capture well both what she does well and what is frustrating about her---but are enjoyable no matter which way you lean.
two weeks or so


058) Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, finished ~ August 7

Something weird going on with the new Blogger interface. I'm certain I'd written about Roller Girl already, but . . . where is it? Dunno.

Anyway, after finishing Castle Waiting we went for this excellent book which I loved the last time I read it and loved it this time as well. It also let us talk about crying.

I love this book.
under a week


059) Beyond Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulllch, finished August 9

I checked this book out from the library shortly before we went into lockdown, but it got lost under my bed and I forgot about it. I found it just as the library was allowing returns to start back up, but I did not immediately return it, though it seemed hard to imagine I would fit in a reading just then.

But then Arwen recommended it so I decided to jump in and get it done. I'm so glad I did. (And she's right---it would be great to teach. Though I don't see how I'm getting copies purchased / to students just now.

I especially found the chapter on emoji useful. Although all were interesting and deepened my understanding significantly, the emoji chapter took a subject I genuinely do not understand, at all, and provided a scaffold for me to start building understanding. So thank you, Gretchen.

Plus, the book is a charming and erudite companion---a fun read.
one day in March and one week in August


060) Sisters by Raina Telgemeier, finished August 11

I've only read Drama of Raina's ouevre, which means I do not know the work she is best known for---her autobiographical comics. But after finishing Roller Girl , this was sitting out and it seemed like an obvious followup.

The 3yrold enjoyed it but not nearly so much as Roller Girl, nor did she find anything in particular to take away from it. (That I know of. Maybe something will appear in the next few days.) I liked it fine too, but I don't get why Raina owns the entirety of YA comics. She was, in a real way, first, but I don't see how she's better and there is so much competition now, I'm not sure what the explanation for her continued dominance is.

Again, not a knock. Just confusion. (If we can find it, we'll probably read Smile next.)
three of four days


061) Marble Season by Gilbert Hernandez, finished August 15

I picked up a signed copy of this book, signed, from a Comic-Con trip at the CBLDF booth, with the intention to give it to my kids. Then I didn't. Years passed and it remained in the present stash. Until finally we did roll it our one Christmas. And eveyone read it and no one thought much about it. Or, at least, they didn't have much to say about it.

Then we couldn't find Smile on the shelf and bedtime was NOW and there was Marble Season so... the youngest and I gave it a shot.

Weirldly, I don't think I myself had ever read it outside excerpts, as in BAC2014. I suppose it was largely what I expected---I know Beto and I have a sense of how he would do a kids story. And at first, it didn't do much for me. No real plot. Just a meandering through a few months of life. But then I discovered the 3yrold was retelling these plotless vignettes to my wife. And then I realized it was getting to me as well.

And this is where I became, unusually, genuinely grateful for a scholarly postscript, this one by Corey K. Creekmur, as he explained to me that Marble Season is "a version of what ... Raymond Williams ... called a 'structure of feeling,' a representation of the way life is lived, even or especially in the moments we might disregard.... The focus here is ... less on what childhood means that on what it feels like."

And that is exactly right. Childhood is a smear of moments scattered about like the toys and pretendings and people who fill it. Like Peanuts, Marble Season's adults are shunted to the side, but unlike Peanuts, these kids we know will grow up. We can almost see their trajectory. Maybe part of that is having seen some of them before, but no, not really. This is a true childhood in the sense that it is the fuzzy beginnings of people who will one day be adults. This story is complete in its uncompleteness, in its sense that it is childhood and not an end of itself.

Plus, it suggested a couple movies I should find and watch with Son #3: >Mr. Sardonicus and The Hideous Sun Demon.
three or four days


062) Frogcatchers by Jeff Lemire, finished August 17

I love Lemire's drawing and would not mind if he ditched all the Marvel and DC writing to just do his own books. This one is as lovely as any other. But I wouldn't call it his best. It's a meditation on death that leans so hard into its metaphor that it ends up feeling literal. Whereas works like Lost Dogs or Essex County, by virtue of their greater realism, end up carrying greater symbolic weight.

It's a funny thing.
after school



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

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