The Muppets vs the Avengers
(vs anxiety vs a giant chicken vs ghosts)


018) Muppets Present "The Great Gatsby" by Ben Crew, finished February 24

Curious  as to what might happen, I gave my AP students a choice: they could research what people say about Gatsby on JSTOR or Reddit, and bring back their newly gained wisdom to class. In conversation, it came up that someone had written a Muppets-starring version now that it was in the public domain. Curious I looked it up. And you know what? It's really good.

It does drag a bit (Nick's VO and the on-set sequence at the end) but it has jokes that made me 100% literally laugh out loud and it solves most of the problems you can imagine arising from this combination. Plus: this is the first draft. Cut the guy some slack, huh?

Besides, the mid-denouement on-set sequence I was talking about before? Made me cry.

So when one of the week spots is still strong enough to leave me in tears, I think we can agree it's time to greenlight. 

one day

019) Uncanny Avengers: Counter-Evolutionary by Rick Remender and Daniel Acuna, finished February 28

I saw this series mentioned in a thing about Agatha Harkness and picked up the first issue and it was kind of everything that I find tiresome in superhero comics. Which is maybe good because it reminded me I'm only reading things I already own this year?

two night-reads

020) Guts by Raina Telgemeier, finished March 2

We finally made it to the third (and, so far, latest) volume of Telgemeier's memoirs of her childhood. This one is about the anxiety she suffers and her adventures with vomiting and therapy and other such things. I'll be selling it short here because I don't really want to get into it, but let me just say that all three books are excellent and it's no wonder she is the behemoth she is. It's no wonder kids love her.

maybe a week

021) The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by D. Manus Pinkwater, finished March 4

This is a classic work of Pinkwater. As absurd premise (boy loves giant chicken, giant chicken gets loose in Hoboken, panic ensues) treated with simplicity and heart and highly graphic black-and-white marker drawings. It's absurd and charming and ultimately kind. The baby was very worried about Henrietta as we read.

Incidentally, in terms of family history, this is the last book I read at bedtime to the previous child. We read the first chapter or two and then he finished it on his own after I left. And that was that.

 about twenty days? can that be right?

022) Ghosts by Raina Telgemeieir, finished March 5

So Raina does not only memoir but also fiction, as you may recall, but unlike her other novels this one is less strictly realistic. It deals with similar themes and emotions as her other books but this one straight up has ghosts wandering around.

Sugar skulls were in the air in 2016. A couple animated features were around the corner. And ol' Telgemeier was introducing sisters and parents and good neighbors and new friends to my wife's hometown.

(Not an exaggerration. That's her beach. That's her cypress grove. That's her headlands. That's her middle school. That's her hill home. And, less you think you're going crazy, the endnotes affirm. We took wedding photos in these locations.)

What I really liked about this book is how the addition of ghosts didn't change the lived-in reality I expect from a Telgemeier novel. Everything felt just as real as it always has. Her style of art and writing have always taken us inside her character's anxieties and blisses and (etc) and so upping the health ante to cystic fibrosis is no more surprising than the sudden appearance of actual ghosts.

I do have some thoughts about how and when the book got explicit about little sister's drive to meet ghosts, but they're not the sort of reservations worth making after a first read.

In short, another winner. She's five for five.

three 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

7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 3

007) iPlates: Zerin's Sacrifice by Stephen Carter and Jett Atwood, finished January 21
iPlates: Alma in the Wilderness by Stephen Carter and Jett Atwood, finished January 24
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard, finished January 27
Served edited by Theric Jepson, finished February 4
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, finished February 4

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, finished January 6

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