Some books, almost half of which are invisible


023) Consent (for Kids!): Boundaries, Respect, and Being in Charge of You by Rachel Brian, finished March 11

Not sure how I heard of this (someone on Twitter, maybe?) but I threw it on hold and read it to the 4yrold and she took away the basic concepts, no problem.

Next up: I'm assigning each of her three brothers to read it to her. It should be good for them too.

three or four days or something

024) Memoirs of an Invisible Man by H.F. Saint, finished March 12

I've owned this book probably over a decade but I finally read it in preparation for an essay I'll be writing for SFRA (I think: official notifications come Monday [which is before I'm writing this but after I'll post it] but I've been led to believe I'm in). UPDATE: Notwithstanding the editor's hints, the ultimate decision was a no. I still look forward to the issue, but dang. I'd done a lot of reading and rereading and thinking and notetaking in preparation. Anyone want an essay?

It shares some interesting traits with the main novel I'll be considering (The Invisible Saint, to be reread next) but it's the contrasts that are most striking. So striking I'm thinking about adjusting the thrust of my essay to be more about these two books specifically.

The main character is Nick Holloway which I feel certain is a reference to Nick Carroway---although this Nick is even more shallow and flighty. This Nick does get to be the main character of his own narration yet he still remains almost as unseen. (There are some interesting comparisons to be made about Jordan and Alice and their differing relationships to honesty, but that's not the essay I have in front of me.)

Saint has skill. The chapter-one sex scene ranks among the hottest I've read and he can drag things out without boring us. He's clearly not a proper science-fiction writer, however, and the book has mistakes that should have been disappeared during editing. (Nick's description of his evolving relationship with revolving doors, for instance). What apparently impressed some reviewers was its attention to detail regarding the difficulties of being invisible (and Saint offers some opportunities to his invisible that H.G. Wells did not), his willingness to just forget other details for convenience will throw off regular scifi readers. What happened to all that invisible dirt, Saint?

Anyway, I marked a lot of stuff. Hope it comes in handy!

a small number of weeks

025) Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh, finished March 20

I've been reading Allie Brosh since before she had a book deal, and the stuff that appears in her first book was largely written first for the blog. And it shows. The physical version of her stories her damaged by the page-based format. With very few exceptions, that is not true of Solutions. The stories seem imagined with the pages in mind. And while there are occasional moments where panels should really be swapped (and maybe are in the ebook? if it scrolls?), Brosh has basically figured out pages and uses them now to effect.

Her art is excellent at conveying emotion and being humorous. She's refined her comic voice to a sharp edge. Which is necessary if she's going to tackle the extremely painful stories she tackles---the suicide of her sister, her own depression---things like that.

So much pathos fuels the comedy. I hope these books are healing. As the librarian and I said to each other when I picked this book up, we're glad she's alive.


026) The Invisible Saint by Curtis Taylor, finished March 25

I got the proposal rejection just after I finished the first chapter of this book which I love and which I have not read since at least 2007, when I started listing all my books read. I considered just not continuing, but I didn't want to risk having it tainted by bitter feelings. I enjoyed chapter one; I would read on.

I'm glad I did. The book has its flaws but I genuinely enjoy it. It would have been fun to really pick it apart, and, I have to say, the potential comparisons with Memoirs could have been legion. And part of what makes Saint better is how much shorter is. It doesn't get lost in minutiae and it's lead character's redemptive relationship isn't borderline abusive.

It's a simple pleasure. And simple pleasures have value.

a couple weeks

027) Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, finished March 25

I recently read about this book which somehow had never quite caught my attention before. It's the first big DC collaboration between Gaiman and McKean and its success led directly to Sandman. Seems like an important thing to read.

And it is indeed super-protoSandman. The Orchid herself has 80s rockstar makeup. The story delves into DC lore while casting it anew. It's morally complex and its violence is of the worst sort.

It is quite good. It does suggest the paths comics would take more than be those things itself, but it's more than an academic read. I enjoyed reading it. But it does make me look forward to the fuller freedom they are about to enjoy.

four days

books from this year

001) The Sun Has Burned My Skin: a modest paraphrase of solomon's song of songs by Adam S. Miller, finished January 3
002) You're a Pal, Snoopy by Charles M. Schulz, finished January 4
004) Served edited by Theric Jepson, finished January 9
005) Served edited by Theric Jepson, finished January 17
006) Shem in Zarahemla by Stephen Carter and Jett Atwood, finished January 19
007) iPlates: Zerin's Sacrifice by Stephen Carter and Jett Atwood, finished January 21
008) iPlates: Alma in the Wilderness by Stephen Carter and Jett Atwood, finished January 24
009) Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard, finished January 27
010) Served edited by Theric Jepson, finished February 4
011) The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, finished February 4
003) Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, finished January 6

012) Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, finished February 5
013) My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett, finished February 15
014) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, finished February 16
015) Sisters by Raina Telgemeier, finished February 18
016) A Desolating Sickness: Stories of Pandemic edited by D.J. Butler, finished February 21
017) Nothing Very Important and other stories by Béla Petsco, finished February 22

018) Muppets Present "The Great Gatsby" by Ben Crew, finished February 24
Uncanny Avengers: Counter-Evolutionary by Rick Remender and Daniel Acuna, finished February 28
Guts by Raina Telgemeier, finished March 2
The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by D. Manus Pinkwater, finished March 4
022) Ghosts by Raina Telgemeieir, finished March 5

final posts in this series from
2007 = 2008 = 2009 = 2010 = 2011 = 2012
2013 = 2014 = 2015 = 2016 = 2017 = 2018 = 2019 = 2020


* the most recent post in this series *

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