Not the end of the year yet
(just the end of these books)


We're approaching the end of the year folks! So it's easy to make vampire metaphors or talk about short books or books I've been reading far too long.

I'm just happy that I like all these books. Even the last one. Which kept losing its grip on me and then started to anger me and then came together and won be over in the final pages. Maybe I like that metaphor for the end of the year best.

Anyway. Books.


135) Garlic & the Vampire by Bree Paulsen, finished date

What a charming little book this is! Little Garlic confronts the new vampire in the neighborhood. Her agender bestfriend Carrot believes in her but Celery's a real jerk. The witch who I assume made them is a lovely human being. Sort of like Tiffany's mentors only with all the rough edges ground off.

I'm delighted a second volume exists. What a pleasant world to spend time in.

before and after dinner

136) Patrik the Vampire by Bree Paulsen, finished date

The author bio in the previous book mentioned she had also done vampires for adults. I expected something more divergent from Garlic's story but this isn't at all, really. It has the same sweetness, the same vampire-gone-straight, the matter-of-fact reality of varieties of queer. Just with more blood and deep conversations about heavier topics.

As I was approaching the end of its web run (longer than the kickstarted book) I started to realize that, in a way, Bree Paulsen is the opposite of Anne Rice. I haven't read all of the Vampire Chronicles (I loved the first two, but the third outraged me with its stupidity and that was that), but they are largely about indulgence. Devouring the world. Seeking and taking physical pleasure. A fantasy of no regret. Which makes them sound simpler and more pornographic than is fair, but as a summary, that stakes it.

Patrik's story is about platonic friendship and controlling your urges and respecting other people's space and hoping others can be their best selves and discovering your were wrong when you thought otherwise.

And she does it while juggling multiple time periods.

That the story remains light and hopeful and charming while jumping to topics like abuse and suicide and (etc) is a pretty firm signal that she knows what she's doing.

That said, kids comics pay better once your crack into the great field of effort Raina hath forged. So I imagine this story's kaput. Enjoy what's there.

before and after bedtime

137) Harbinger by Shelley Puhak, finished December 16

Each poem in this collection is titled similarly to every other. Behold Part I:

portrait of the artist as Cassandra
portrait of the artist in labor
portrait of the artist in the NICU
portrait of the artist as a twelve-year-old girl
portrait of the artist as a squirrel
portrait of the artist speaking Viking
portrait of the artist's ancestors
portrait of the artist with the family dog
portrait of the artist as a dud
portrait of the artist as a mommy
portrait of the artist telling a bedtime story
portrait of the artist as a 100-year-old house
portrait of the artist as anonymous

Anyway, I liked it. I suspect some poems were retitled in order to become part of the collection but that often created a new layer of pleasure. And although there are moments the collection dragged for me, it always returned to sparkling life. It's good stuff.

three months

138) Sheets by Brenna Thummler, finished December 17

I didn't pick this because her work was so great with Anne, but if I'd made the connection, I would have. I also didn't make the connection to a book I've had on my list at Hoopla for ages because this is the collector's edition and has a different cover.

Anyway, it comes off like something that will be as popular as it became. But it really wasn't that good. Some lazy character development, plot points that happened because it was time and not because they worked, et cetera. It's an immature work.

But enough small pieces work well enough that I would be interested in reading her work again. I'm not going to bother with the sequel but in a few years, some new thing she does, why not? She has potential. Let's assume she'll develop it.

one day

139) Marcus King, Mormon by Nephi Anderson, finished December 18

This is a short novel about 130 little pages. And not his strongest work. Although there are solid elements, the whole thing is haunted by a budding polygamist apologiam that Nephi never quite commits two. The two ladies are okay with both being married to Marcus but one dies and so they're never married to him, in this life, simultaneously. In other words, I'm not sure Nephi could convince even himself, not quite. Which means the books comes off not quite right. The pov twist in the final pages is cute and underscores what does work in the book, but ultimately I think we have to call this a failed experiment.

maybe three weeks

140) Mormon Lit Blitz Anthology: 2012–2016, finished December 19

I loved it. I love it for the breadth it presents and for the many moments of excellence. An excellent place to start. Keep it in the bathroom.

almost a year

141) The Longest Journey by E.M. Forster, finished date

If you'd asked me ten pages before the end I would not have believed I would say this, but I loved The Longest Journey.

It didn't seem to be going anywhere. Every good-seeming thing was followed by a pile of much worse-seeming things. And then (spoilers) the main character DIED!!! He just—he was there one sentence, then he lost his legs in the next sentence, and he was dead in the third! The heck!

And then the final chapter, which should have been the world's grossest epilogue, managed to recast everything through it's precise language and excellent details. It went from being petulantly nihilistic to beautiful and meaningful.

If the first five pages make you want to throw the book away, don't bother. But if you find them at least 40% intriguing as you find them irritating, it's likely worth the journey.

  year and a half


Previously . . . . :

Previous Posts

001) U Is for Undertow by Sue Grafton, finished January 4
002) Far Sector by N.K. Jemisin et al, finished January 7
003) Joseph Smith and the Mormons by Noah Van Sciver, finished January 7
004) The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, finished January 11
005) The Art of Perspective by Christopher Castellani, finished January 11
006) Bad Kitty Goes on Vacation by Nick Bruel, finished January 12
007) Remina by Junji Ito, finished January 15
008) The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill, finished January 15
009) The Tea Dragon Festival here by Katie O'Neill, finished January 15
010) A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett, finished January 18
011) Diana: Princess of the Amazons by Shannon & Dean Hale and Victoria Ying, finished January 26

012) Just Julie's Fine by Theric Jepson, finished January 28
013) The Art of Description by Mark Doty, finished January 28
014) Green Lantern: Legacy by Minh Lê and Andie Tong, finished February 5
015) Serious Concerns by Wendy Cope, finished January 9
016) The Art of Mystery by Maud Casey, finished February 11
017) The Art of Bible Translation by Robert Alter, finished February 13
018) No Longer Human by Junji Ito, finished February 15

019) Zatanna and the House of Secrets by Matthew Cody and Yoshi Yoshitani, finished Febraury 17
020) Fuzz by Mary Roach, finished February 19
021) Deserter: Junji Ito Story Collection by Junji Ito, finished February 25
022) You May Already Be a Winner by Ann Dee Ellis, finished March 4
023) Audience-ology by Kevin Goetz, finished March 4
024) The Writing Life by Annie Dillard, finished March 7

025) Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett, finished March 8
026) The Croquet Player by H. G. Wells, finished March 11
027) Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It by Michael J. Trinklein, finished March 12
028) Nightwing: Leaping into the Light by Bruno Redondo and Tom Taylor, finished March 13
029) Batman: The Court of Owls by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion, finished date
030) Invisible Ink: My Mother's Secret Love Affair with a Famous Cartoonist by author, finished date
031) Ghosts of Vader's Castle by a slew of folks, finished March 15
032) The Flintstones Volume 1 by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh, finished March 16
033) The Flintstones Volume 2 by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh, finished March 16
034) The Jetsons by Palmiotti/Brito/Sinclair, finished March 16
035) Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles by Mark Russell and Mike Feehan, finished March 18
036) Ballad for Sophie by Filipe Melo and Juan Cavia, finished March 19

You tell me whether it's garbage-in or not

037) Bride of the Far Side by Gary Larson, finished March 23
038) Batman: Night of the Owls by the entire DC bullpen, finished March 23
039) The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, finished March 25
040) The Pocket Book of Ogden Nash, finished March 25
041) Slaugherhouse-Five or the Children's Crusade: a Duty Dance with Death by Kurt Vonnegut / Ryan North / Albert Monteys, finished March 28
042) The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith, finished March 28
043) Jem by Frederik Pohl, finished March 31
044) The Mundane Adventures of Dishman by John MacLeod, finished March 31
045) Because Sometimes You Just Gotta Draw a Cover with Your Left Hand by Stephan Pastis, finished April 4

Books: extralong edition

046) Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! Vol. 1: Hooked On A Feline by Leth/Williams/Allegri, finished April 9
047) The Hatred of Poetry by Ben Lerner, finished April 11
048) Weird Al: The Book by Nathan Rabin with Al Yankovic, finished April 11
049) My Year of Flops by Nathan Rabin, finished April 16
050) The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennet, finished April 19
051) Beast of Burden: Occupied Territory by Dorkin & Dyer & Dewey & Piekos, finished April 16
052) Building a Better Life by Stealing Office Supplies: Dogbert's Big Book of Business by Scott Adams, finished April 22
053) On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder, finished April 27
054) Salt Magic by Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock, finished May 5
055) Star Wars Adventures: The Weapon of a Jedi, finished May 6
056) Hemingway in Paradise and Other Mormon Poems by Scott Hales, finished May 8
057) Romeo and Juliet: The War by a team assembled by Stan Lee, finished May 10
058) The Dark Horse Book of the Dead edited by Scott Allie, finished May 14
059) A Little Lower than the Angels by Virginia Sorensen, finished May 15

060) Irredeemable by Mark Waid, et al., finished May 20
061) Stanslaw Lev's The Seventh Voyage by Jon J Muth, finished May 23
062) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight translated by Simon Armitage, finished May 28
063) Heike's Void by Stephen L. Peck, finished May 30

064) Night Weather by JS Absher, finished June 2
065) Will Eisner Reader, finished June 2
066) Pen Pals by Aaron Cometbus, finished June 4
067) I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett, finished June 6
069) Pluto: Urusawa × Tezuka 001 by Naoki Urasawa et al, finished June 16
070) The Gadget War by Betsy Duffey, finished June 16

071) Sensational Wonder Woman, finished June 22
072) Ain't Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin, finished June 27
073) 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides) by The Oatmeal, finished June 29
074) Socks by Beverly Cleary, finished June 29
075) The Ultimates Volume 1: Super-Human by Millar/Hitch/Currie, finished June 30
076) In China with Green Day by Aaron Cometbus, finished July 4

077) V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton, finished July 7
078) Spin by John Bennion, finished July 10
079) The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker edited by Robert Mankoff, finished July 11
080) The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett, finished July 23
081) W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton, finished July 25
082) How About Never—Is Never Good for You? by Bob Mankoff, finished July 28

083) Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less by Leidy Klotz, finished July 29
084) Ape and Essence by Aldous Huxley, finished July 30
085) Urban Legendz by Paul Downs / Nick Bruno / Michael Yates, finished July 30
086) The Best Film You've Never Seen by Robert K. Elder, finished August 1
087) It's a Good Life if You Don't Weaken by Seth, finished August 4
088) Spencer Kimball's Record Collection: Essays on Mormon Music by Michael Hicks, finished August 7

089) The Last Man by Mary Shelley, finished August 11
090) Funny Business by Revlio, finished August 13
091) The Sopratos by Stephan Pastis, finished August 15
092) Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham, finished August 16
093) Best Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham, finished August 16
094) Friends Forever by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham, finished August 16
095) The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard, finished August 20

096) One Trick Pony by Nathan Hale, finished August 20
097) My Darling from the Lions by Rachel Long, finished August 22
098) Chivalry by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran, finished August 23
099) Chouette by Claire Oshetsky, finished August 25
100) Weiner Dog Art by Gary Larson, finished August 26
101) A Bestiary of Booksellers by Aaron Cometbus, finished September 2
102) Slaughterhouse-Five, or. the Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death by Kurt Vonnegut, finished September 9

103) Long Live the Pumpkin Queen by Shea Ernshaw, finished September 10
104) Bug! The Adventures of Forager by a trio of Allreds, finished September 22
105) The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel, finished September 24
106) Fangs by Sarah Andersen, finished October 2
107) The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North, finished October 3
108) Brindille by Frédéric Brrémaud and Federico Bertolucci, finished October 5
109) Shelterbelts by Jonathan Dyck, finished date

110) The Complete Peanuts: 1961 – 1962 by Charles M. Schulz, finished October 9
111) Theseus: Volume One by Jordan Holt, finished October 19
112) Over the Garden Wall by Pat McHale and Jim Campbell, finished October 20
113) Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel, finished October 20
114) A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, finished October 21
115) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Amazing Adventures: The Meeting of the Mutanimals, finished October 22
116) Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, finished October 26
117) Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, finished October 27
118) Love by Frederic Brremaud and Federico Bertolucci, finished October 27

119) What If? 2 by Randall Munroe, finished October 28
120) The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy by David Graeber, finished October 28
121) Disquiet by Noah Van Sciver, finished November 3
122) Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo: The Road to Epoli by Ben Costa and James Park, finished November 3
123) 2 A.M. in Little America by Ken Kalfus, finished November 8
125) The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. LeGuin, finished November 16

126) The Darkest Abyss: Strange Mormon Stories by William Morris, finished November 18
127) Silver Screen Fiend by Patton Oswalt, finished November 22
128) Ramona and Beezus by Beverly Cleary, finished November 24
129) The Love Map: Saving Your Love Relationship and Incidentally Saving the World by Carol Lynn Pearson, finished December 1
130) Gardener by Matt Emmons, finished December 1
131) My Wife Wants You to Know I'm Happily Married by Joey Franklin, finished December 2
132) Earthborn by Carl Dennis, finished December 8
133) Fantastic Four: Road Trip by Fraction | Bagley | Araújo, finished December 10
134) The Complete Peanuts: 1963 – 1964 by Charles M. Schulz, finished December 10

final posts in this series from
  2007 = 2008 = 2009 = 2010 = 2011 = 2012 = 2013
2014 = 2015 = 2016 = 2017 = 2018 = 2019 = 2020 = 2021

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