Not five but six books. What a bargain!


091) East of Eden by John Steinbeck, finished Oct 28

After getting onboard the Steinbeck train, I got stuck at the station, undecided on my connector. I could do The Grapes of Wrath, which passes through my hometown and was banned in county schools and libraries for decades, but which is hella long, or I could read East of Eden, one of my wife's absolute favorite books that I've "meaning to read" for nigh on twenty years now, but which is even longer. And so I hesitated.

What I fool I was!

I finally acted because the Relief Society book group picked it. I got started early enough that I could, feasibly, have finished in time with dedicated effort, but that moment coincided with all my waking moments being spent working on my fireside, which thus came together nicely but, ha ha, I wasn't reading East of Eden in the moments leftover.

Which was fine, actually. Four months is about the right speed. Slow enough to really savor, but not so slow that I could forget the characters or the meaning of timshel.

When the book began (with a gorgeous rendition of the California landscape) I came to the theory that this would be Middlemarchy---about a community more than any one person or family. And then it swung to the East Coast and I was, like, HOW BIG IS THIS THING?

Lady Steed, rereading it for the book club. had forgotten everything before the final third or so. And I can understand why. Although I loved the history of the family (and it does focus in on one family, then one generation, then one person in the final pages) I expect it will be those final relationships and pages that are most likely to remain vivid as the years past.

That said, add Cathy to literature's great villains. Add Lee to literature's wisest observers. Add Sam to literature's great holy men. And so on.

Lady Steed says that when she read it in high school, a lot of the students struggled because the novel is controlled by a single Bible story, and the number of characters whose names start with C or A is not exactly subtle. But what Steinbeck does with those initials is subtle. All things are rich and complex, much like real people.

One thing Steinbeck does that I'm still mulling is make himself a character. Only barely. I think we see him as a child, once, but his realness does color the narration now and then. It's a curious choice and one I'm still deciphering.

over four months

092) Impollutable Pogo by Walt Kelly, finished November 2
I have always wanted to read and to like Pogo. But I've had this and another collection for about a decade now and this is the first time I've made it through. It's a bit wordy, and its wordiness is made more problematic by its idiosyncratic idioms---each character seems to have their own. Some have over-the-top faux intellectualism, some are more simple Southern boys.

I finally picked it because the baby wanted us to start a new booklength comic and it was handy. I knew it would be child-friendly at least inasmuch as it would be moral and wholesome. Whether she would enjoy it was a big tbd.

She did, though we have also started volume one of the Complete Peanuts to supplement. Between the two, we have something nice going. I think I'll bust out the bigger collection and see how it goes.

Pogo has nice, lived-in feel to it. The situations are absurd and satirical, but the characters aren't aware of this. They just live in this world and hafta make their way through it.

One thing worth mentioning. Based on a couple reputable sources, the line "We have met the enemy and he is us"---arguably Pogo's greatest legacy---was born in an Earth Day poster (1970) and then appeared in the Earth Day strip of 1971. This is not true.

Impollutable Pogo was published in 1970 of strips that had previously appeared in newspapers. The final strip of the collection appeared on an August 8 (I'm not sure what year). This could feasibly place it after the Earth Day poster, but it most certainly comes before the Earth Day strip---a strip so famous it represents Pogo on Wikipedia.

Perhaps most interestingly, instead of a line Pogo says <i>to</i> Porky Pine, it is something Porky Pine says:

All yall comics folks and specialisterans needs to update your researches.

(I have contacted both pages shared above.)

almost a month

093) The Regrets by Amy Bonnaffons, finished November 3

I don't remember how I bumped into this online. But the conceits intrigued. The cover (though I liked it and I like it even better live and in person) seemed small-press but I wandered over to my library and they had it! How about that!

Here's the gist: A man has died. But something's gone wrong and he can't quite leave this world. While stuck behind he falls into a relationship with a woman---as he slowly disappears.

There is more to it of course (and so much more sex than you may be imagining). The writing is lovely and, as appropriate, often right on the cusp of being  a bit too much.

For an October book, it was a lovely read. Haunting but not scary. Romantic and philosophical. Speculative yet grounded.

Worth checking out.

about three weeks

094) The Complete Peanuts: 1950 to 1952 by Charles M. Schulz, finished November 9

The baby decided to pick up Peanuts again and she went for the big books. So I grabbed volume one.

I've been meaning to reread these books prior to ever finishing volume one, so this is overdue for me. Reading aloud has been pretty great, too. Although she doesn't really understand all that much, she loves looking and listening. And I do too. It's delightful to watch the characters make first appearances and develop into themselves. Reading these early volumes the first time over fifteen years ago, I was constantly exclaiming in delight as every piece of Peanuts first arrived.

These characters are important and I'm so glad they are fully available to us.

maybe a month?

095) You Are Too Much, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz, finished November 14

Before we could move to volume two, Colleen came into about a dozen midcentury massmarket Peanuts collections in excellent shape. So we got her a box and tossed in our other ones (of which this is one) and now these are our nightly reading. So far so fun!

two nights

096) David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism by Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Wright, finished November 16
I cannot think of many history books I've enjoyed reading more than this one and vanishingly few, among those I've read, as thoroughly documented.
I think I remember being skeptical of the topical organization when I began, but it actually was a great way to explore McKay's life and ministry. It was like the tide, coming and going. As each chapter ended, I met him again as a younger man and followed him into old age, over and over. Echos upon echos.
I also enjoyed meeting the men at the top as men, with their foibles and politics in addition to their heroics and depth. I doubt I'll see it, but I would love to see similar books written, most especially of Gordon B. Hinckley, who is but a bitplayer in this volume.

The books has loomed so large in my mind the last couple years that I kept referencing it in Face in Hat---to the point that my cohost eventually decided we should have a season working our way through it. So far we've covered correlation, missionary work, and politics.

eighteen months


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

books fifty-eight through sixty-two
063) Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell, finished August 21
064) Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, finished August 24
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

books sixty-seven through seventy-six
067) Marble Season by Gilbert Hernandez, finished September 3
068) Half Magic by Edward Eager, finished September 4
069) Lux by Elizabeth Cook, finished September 12
070) Rachel Rising 1: The Shadow of Death by Terry Moore, finished September 12
071) Rachel Rising Vol. 2 : Fear No Malus by Terry Moore, finished September 12
072) Rachel Rising Vol. 3 : Cemetery Songs by Terry Moore, finished September 14
073) Rachel Rising Vol. 4 : Winter Graves by Terry Moore, finished September 15
074) Rachel Rising Vol. 5: Night Cometh by Terry Moore, finished September 17
075) Rachel Rising Vol. 6: Secrets Kept by Terry Moore, finished September 17
076) Rachel Rising Vol. 7: Dust to Dust by Terry Moore, finished September 18

books seventy-seven through eighty-six
077) A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, finished September 19
078) Echo by Terry Moore, finished September 21
079) Bone by Jeff Smith, finished September 21
080) The Resisters by Gish Jen, finished September 22
081) Knight's Castle by Edward Eager, finished September 26
082) Drama by Raina Telgemeier, finished approximately September 28
083) Leaving Megalopolis by Gail Simone and J. Calafiore, finished October 2
084) Don't Hassle Me with Your Sighs, Chuck by Charles M. Schulz, finished October 2
085) The Hard Tomorrow by Eleanor Davis, finished October 2
086) Smile by Raina Telgemeier, finished October 8

books eighty-seven through ninety
087) The Twilight Children by Gilbert Hernandez and Darwyn Cooke with Dave Stewart, finished October 9
088) Sloth by Gilbert Hernandez, finished October 10
089) Poppies of Iraq by Brigitte Findakly and Lewis Trondheim, finished October 15
090) Hot Comb by Ebony Flowers, finished October 18

books ninety-one through ninety-six
091) East of Eden by John Steinbeck, finished Oct 28
092) Impollutable Pogo by Walt Kelly, finished November 2
093) The Regrets by Amy Bonnaffons, finished November 3
094) The Complete Peanuts: 1950 to 1952 by Charles M. Schulz, finished November 9
095) You Are Too Much, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz, finished November 14
096) David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism by Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Wright, finished November 16

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