As you like it—whether that is religion, disease, prehistory, motherhood, or good common sense


108) The Book of Mormon, finished on October 19

Busy adolescents, sure, but is it actually true that six years have passed since we last finished this book as a family? Really? Egad.

I'm pretty sure we started over for Come, Follow Me, but STILL.


110) As You Like It by William Shakespeare, finished on November 8

I know this is supposed to be (at least one of) the best comedie(s), but I didn't love it. Reading the essay at the end of the book, I see my impressions weren't crazy. The essayist agrees that there's a big gap in the plot. But then she goes on to talk about all the many things that are happening and suddenly it was more fun. Sometimes, it's nice to have a guide.

friday and monday

111) Premonition by Michael Lewis, finished on November 8

In The Fifth Risk, Lewis showed how the Trump Administration demolished the United States Government's ability to do science.

In this sequel/prequel, he shows that the problem was endemic before Trump and his goons showed up. But that the best people were fighting both before and during covid, trying to make the system work.

In short, we should have lost our faith in the CDC looong before 2020 and remade it. We didn't. We still haven't. I don't know if we can.

The epilogue, which is supposed to be a bittersweet moment of heroism, is merely depressing. But I can't disagree. If America can't make keeping people alive sound profitable, this sort of thing will just keep happening. Capitalism must be our savior because we have rejected all other gods.

Well, that's a depressing review.

This book is a thriller! Wildly fun to read and filled with vivid characters fighting heroically against impossible odds!

The only downside is we know how this story ends. Which is to say, it still hasn't. And no matter how heroically you try to change the outcome in January 2020 or March 2020 or May 2020, we the readers know perfectly well it will not happen. It will not happen. It will not happen.

And so no matter how delightful a companion Michael Lewis is on this journey, ultimately, the book's bound to leave you a bit melancholy.

coupla weeks

112) Tuki: Fight for Fire by Jeff Smith, finished on November 12

I've had this book for a while now, and just finally set down to read it. It's the first volume of I think two (I bought both volumes but two isn't released yet) from the creator most notably of Bone.

I bought the b&w versions because the correct way to read Bone is in b&w. But I'm not certain that's the case with Tuki. You can tell that Jeff Smith designed this art for color from go, and while it still works well in b&w, something's missing. Dang.

The story takes place in ancient Africa, a couple million years ago, when multiple human species shared the space. It has hints of the mystical and a steely-eyed kumbaya relationship of friendship from our isolated humans as they come together across species.

It was a fun read. Lacks the chaotic joy of Bone but I'm glad I bought it and I look forward to #2 coming in the mail.

It's being released to the general public in less than a month, so it's not a bandwagon yet, if you hate jumping on those.

(Click on the title above rather on this link. It's currently cheaper not on Amazon.)

one night

113) A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother by Rachel Cusk, finished on November 13

Lady Steed read this book then complained to me that it was a pointless read because it only says things any mother already knows and so why need put them down on paper? And then she insisted I read the book. So, perhaps, the true audience should be nonmothers.

Perhaps amusingly, the book's introduction claims that for all her reading, Cusk has found no one to really discuss what it is like to become a mother and therefore her book fills an unfilled niche. A bold claim. And a strange one for a book, a significant percentage of whose pagecount, is spent in long extracts from other authors. To mention a few, Swann's Way, The Rainbow, Jane Eyre, The Secret Garden, "Frost at Midnight," Dr. Ferber, House of Mirth, The Great Fortune, Madame Bovary—plus a bevy of shorter quotations, paraphrases, and disguised sources.

I was surprised to arrive at the extended copyright page at the end of the book and not see the various essays listed. In fact, nowhere in these pages is the sense that the book is a composite of previously published work. And a cursory internet search leaves that feeling intact. Apparently this is a work composed whole and not a collection. Which is hard to believe because the book covers the same time period over and over again from slightly different perspectives. And while this could be called clever artistry, creating the feeling of being trapped in days all identical to one another—what it really feels like is pieces written far various venues later collected.

In short, I don't recommend reading this book in a rush in order to return it to the library. You may end up reduced to skimming chunks as I did because she's meandering through repititions.

An unkind way of saying this is that the book is self-indulgent. Which, given the reactions to her later book on marriage, seems, perhaps, prescient.

Regardless, I think my wife's opinion is the best. It probably doesn't say anything that those who lived through it don't know all too well. But to those adjacent to that experience—or, especially, those who have viewed it only from a distance—it will let you inside.

Naturally, your own experiences will vary. Perhaps your baby will not cry in precisely this way; perhaps you will not require the same escape from breastfeeding; perhaps you will not happily afford the same sequence of European nannies.

You know: different.

week or so

114) The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett, finished on November 17

When the four-year-old and I started this, we took off like a rocket. The first night or three we read an entire chapter. And then we slowed down. And then she took to having her mother put her to bed because she didn't want to read about Tiffany. Because there were no pictures. Even though she loved the book and talked about the characters even when it wasn't bedtime.

So we finally finished, months later. And it was great. But I'm not sure my plan of going on and reading the other four Tiffany books (which I have not read before) at bedtime is quite ready to execute.

Which is a shame. Because Tiffany Aching is a role model any young girl can look up to.

about five months

Previously . . . . :

books from this year

1, 2, 4, 5, 6

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
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

12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

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

18, 19, 20, 21, 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

23, 24, 25, 26, 27

023) Consent (for Kids!): Boundaries, Respect, and Being in Charge of You by Rachel Brian, finished March 11
 Memoirs of an Invisible Man by H.F. Saint, finished March 12
 Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh, finished March 20
 The Invisible Saint by Curtis Taylor, finished March 25
 Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, finished March 25

28, 29, 30

028) Scrap Mettle by Scott Morse, finished March 26
029) Dugout: The Zombie Steals Home by Scott Morse, finished April 1
030) The Barefoot Serpent by Scott Morse, finished April 1

31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36

031) Is Sex Necessary? Or, Why You Feel the Way You Do by James Thurber and E. B. White, finished April 1
032) Boys Who Became Prophets by Lynda Cory Hardy, finished April 11
033) George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends by James Marshall, finished April 12
034) Stuart Little by E.B. White, finished April 14
035) Achilles by Elizabeth Cook, finished April 15
036) Have It Your Way, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz, finished April 15

37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42

037) The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne, finished April 21
038) The Mystery of the Dinosaur Graveyard by Mary Adrian, finished April 22
039) The Garden of Enid—Volume One by Scott Hales, finished May 2
040) Tiny Writings by Danny Nelson, finished May 5
041) Whispering Death! by R.A. Christmas, finished May 6
042) Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, finished May 9

43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48

043) T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton, finished May 14
044) Sweet Tooth – Volume 1: Out of the Deep Woods by Jeff Lemire, finished May 22
045) Sweet Tooth – Volume 2: In Captivity by Jeff Lemire, finished May 22
046) Sweet Tooth – Volume 3: Animal Armies by Jeff Lemire, finished May 22
047) Sweet Tooth Deluxe Edition – Volume 2 by Jeff Lemire, finished May 22
048) Sweet Tooth Deluxe Edition – Volume 3 by Jeff Lemire, finished May 23

49, 50, 51

049) A Book of Lamentations by James Goldberg, finished on May 23
050) How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell, finished on May 25
051) We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, finished on May 26

52, 53, 54, 55, 56

052) Vertigo CMYK, finished on June 5
053) Plutona by Jeff Lemire and Eme Lenox and friends, finished on January 5
054) The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael edited by Sanford Schwartz, finished on June 9
055) Pastwatch: the Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card, finished on June 11
056) American Cult edited by Robyn Chapman, finished on June 12

57, 58, 59, 60, 62, 63

057) Messages on the Water by Merrijane Rice, finished on June 14
058) Words on Fire by Jennifer A. Nielsen, finished on June 16
059) There There by Tommy Orange, finished on June 19
060) The Shakespeare Stories by Andrew Matthews and illustrated by Tony Ross, finished on June 19
062) The Garden of Enid: Adventures of a Weird Mormon Girl, Part Two by Scott Hales, finished on June 20
063) Do the Movies Have a Future? by David Denby, finished on July 14

61, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69

061) World War Z (abridged audiobook) by Max Brooks, finished June 23
064) The Child Buyer by John Hersey, finished on July 14
065) Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, finished on July 15
066) Dani and Ramen: A Nomad's Tale, volume one by Jake Morrison, finished on July 17
067) Dani and Ramen: A Nomad's Tale, volume two by Jake Morrison, finished on July 17
068) The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey, finished on July 23
069) Kirby: King of Comics by Mark Evanier, finished on July 23

70, 71, 72, 73, 74

070) It's a Magical World by Bill Watterson, finished on July 29
071) Future Day Saints: The Gnolaumite Crystal by Matt Page, finished on August 1
072) Dutch House by Ann Patchett, finished on August 5
073) Long Walk to Valhalla by Adam Smith and Matthew Fox, finished on August 7
074) House of Women by Sophie Goldstein, finished on August 10
075) Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, finished on August 10

76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83

076) The House by Paco Roca, finished on August 11
077) Are Comic Books Real? by Alex Nall, finished on August 13
078) Top Ten by Alan Moore and Gene Ha, finished on August 16
079) Baby-sitters Little Sister: Karen's Roller Skates by Katy Farina, finished on August 17
080) Lulu Anew by Étienne Davodeau, finished on August 17
081) The Nature of Oaks: The Rich Ecology of Our Most Essential Native Trees by Douglas W. Tallamy, finished on August 24
082) Thor: The Goddess of Thunder by Aaron/Dauterman/Molina, finished on August 24
083) Pashima by Nidhi Chanani, finished on August 25

84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89

084) Now We're Getting Somewhere by Kim Addonizio, finished on August 27
085) I Am Young by M. Dean, finished on August 30
086) The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye presented by Sonny Liew, finished on August 31
087) The Oven by Sophie Goldstein, finished on August 31
088) Witchlight by Jessi Zabarsky, finished on September 3
089) Loverboys by Gilbert Hernandez, finished on September 3

90, 91, 92, 93, 94

090) Apocalypse Taco by Nathan Hale, finished on September 4
091) In by Will McPhail, finished on September 4
092) Deadpool Does Shakespeare by Gerry Duggan and Ian Doescher, finished on September 4
093) WE3 by Grant Morrison, finished on September 4
094) The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin, finished on September 21

95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100

095) Deeper Thoughts by Jack Handey, finished on September 23
096) Lightfall: The Girl & the Galdurian by Tim Probert, finished on September 23
097) Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O'Connell, finished on September 28
098) My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones, finished on September 29
099) Anne of Green Gables by Mariah Marsden and Brenna Thummler, finished on September 29
100) The Grownup by Gillian Flynn, finished on October 1

101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107

101) The Glass Looker by Mark Elwood, finished on October 3
102) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness after Siobhan Dowd, finished on October 6
103) Poison for Breakfast by Lemony Snicket, finished on October 12
104) Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook, Ko Hyung-Ju, Ryan Estrada; finished on October 13
105) Romance or The End. by Elaine Kahn, finished on October 14
106 & 107) Macbeth by William Shakespeare, finished on October 18


109) Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir, finished on October 29

108, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114

108) The Book of Mormon, finished on October 19
110) As You Like It by William Shakespeare, finished on November 8
111) Premonition by Michael Lewis, finished on November 8
112) Tuki: Fight for Fire by Jeff Smith, finished on November 12
113) A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother by Rachel Cusk, finished on November 13
114) The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett, finished on November 17

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 the books-read series *

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