Such quality. Such excellence.


Seven books, six of which I really loved and the seventh is the only one that left tears on my face! So . . . some good stuff, I have to say. You can't go wrong.


064) Here by Darlene Young, finished June 1

The cover is beautiful and the words inside are exquisite. You could argue it more adventurous than her first but I don't think I'd agree with you. Some of the adventures in some of the poems are more surface-visible, but I don't think that's the same thing at all. No, what we have here is two books that play with many of the same tools but stand alone as unique collection.

But I think that's a mark of a good poet. They are always themselves yet they are always doing something different. So let's applaud that.

It's late now and I have a late night tomorrow so I'll hold off on saying more, but I'm considering writing a more in-depth review for somewhere else. I'll let you know if it appears.

how long goes here

065) Theseus Volume 1 by Jordan Holt, finished June 1
066) Theseus Volume 2 by Jordan Holt, finished June 1

Before reading volume two, I sat down with volume one which, I knew from experience, would be a delight. And it was. (Although I skipped the interchapter prose.) (Not because it wouldn't be delightful.) (But because I wanted to get to volume two.)

And the story of Theseus's madcap adventures continues. There is some evidence, near the end, that he's interested in growing up. We'll see, in volume three.

Given the explosion of movie production for streaming, I just want to say: easiest adaptation in the world. It's darn near ready to film now.

But you don't need it moving to enjoy it. Holt has a great sense of pacing and little cutaway images and dialogue and just plain being funny. These are winning books. Highly recommended.

how long goes here

067) Reviews for Non-Existent Movies by Eric Goulden Kimball, finished June 5

I have a lot to say about this book.

First, I loved it. I love it so much. Reviews for nonexistent movies should become an established genre and we should all write them. Done.

I think I first read (on Ships of Hagoth) the review for Psycho or Smith, and when the book was announced (and the price was so cheap) I just bought it instantly, and deliberately ignored later excerpts about the likes of Doggerland, an alternate Star Wars prequel trilogy, and Clark Kent when the Hagoth email recommended them.

The reviews live up to the promise of the two I read beforehand. They range across films of multiple genres and quality, and they never fail to delight. I love the book.

I'm deeply tempted to try and talk my school into buying copies for my my sophomores. They're too cheap right now to buy anything, but maybe I'll try.

The two things that make me hesitate are the handful of Mormon films (not a dealbreaker, but may change how I use the book) and the enormous number of design and copyediting errors. They are legion. There are inconsistencies of design, one movie title ceases italicization partway through, there are multiple examples of missing words and incorrect words. It feels like it was run once through a subpar spellcheck and sent to press. On top of all that, the title page gives the copyright to Ships of Hagoth rather than the author. Which is either a grotesque mistake, shady business, or excellent evidence as to Eric Goulden Kimball's identity.

Because of course he is not real. Eric Goulden is Wreckless Eric's real name, though adding Kimball at the end is a fun resonance. According to his bio, lives with his wife in Tahiti (where else would he have found her?) where he works at a nonexistent university.

I'm not complaining, to be clear. As far as pseudonyms go (and pseudobiographies), this one is delightful.

Anyway, back to the errors. That's not a dealbreaker either because highschoolers would love being assigned the task of finding errors in a published book. No problem.

But whether I decide it's a fit for my pedagogy (and my skinflint district's budget) or not, conceptually and in execution (excepting, you know, the lazy polish) this is a wonderful volume of wonderful reviews and I loved it.

maybe four weeks

068) The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, finished June 6

This reads like a sequel or maybe an alternate version of Earth Abides (which, wildly, was also a #068, finished six years and five days ago). It also takes place in the Bay Area with UC Berkeley being an important setting. London's novel takes place at the end of the 37-years-younger Earth Abides and is one day in which the last-remaining plague survivor tells the story of the plague to some boys he's out watching sheep with. Well, he's in his dotage. The kids are watching the sheep.

It's a good pandemic novella, to be sure, though London's latent racism shines through (again) which is a bummer. The story's short in a good way and, if you now collect pandemic tales, worth your time.

I guess The Great Bay should be next for me.

two days

069) Anne of West Philly by Ivy Noelle Weir and Myisha Haynes, finished June 10

I had high hopes for this modernization of Anne Shirley, but it's only okay. It does manage some tearjerkiness at the end, but given how susceptible I am, it's a bit shocking that was the only moment I had tears on my face.

Part of the issue that the modern world doesn't track perfectly with the past. A sprained ankle can't really compare with croup in an era where respiratory distress could reasonably mean dead in the morning. And cramming Matthew's heart attack into the final pages perhaps required that modern medicine would let him survive.

And other choices were confusing. Why is Anne in love with Diana? Are we supposed to believe that's actually true or that Anne just can't tell the difference between close friendship and sexual desire? The text isn't clear.

The writer/artist teamup is tight enough that I don't feel I can place either lauds or blame on either party. When the book is weak, both are weak together. When strong, strong. Conceptually, I still like it. Maybe it's not-quite-there-ness is one more thing I can blame on the state of American editorial.

this morning

070) Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary, finished June 10

It's great fun to watch Ramona grow up and her father evolve and change as she does. It's, you know, literature.

about a month


Previously . . . . :

final posts in this series from
  2007 = 2008 = 2009 = 2010 = 2011 = 2012 = 2013
2014 = 2015 = 2016 = 2017 = 2018 = 2019 = 2020 = 2021 = 2022

Earlier in 2023

001) The Dark Room by Gerry Duggan & Scott Buoncristiano, finished January four
002) The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander, finished January 6
003) Rose by Jeff Smith and Charles Vess, finished January 10
004) Acting Class by Nick Drnaso, finished January 10
005) Red Scare by Liam Francis Walsh, finished January 11

006) The Short Reign of Pippin IV by John Steinbeck, finished January 18
007) Filmish by Edward Ross, finished circa January 20

HOW many times?

008) Maddy Kettle Book: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch by Eric Orchard, finished January 24 
009) Fantastic Frights: A Beginner's Guide to Scary Stories, finished January 24
010) Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary, finished February 2
011) Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, finished February 3
012) The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain, finished February 4

013) Is that all there is? by Joost Swarte, finished February 6
014) Edge Case by YZ Chin, finished February 7

If it weren't for a friendly sex talk, everything here would be miserable

015) Double Indemnity by James M. Cain, finished February 10
016) Sex Educated: Letters from a Latter-day Saint therapist to her younger self by Bonnie Young, LMFT, finished February 13
017) Unmask Alice: LDS, Satanic Panic, and the Imposter Behind the World's Most Notorious Diaries by Rick Emerson, finished February 20 

A Bookful Bounty for thee and thine 

018) I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jeannette McCurdy, finished February 27
019–21) The Abominable Charles Christopher by Karl Kershl, finished March 6
022) Displacement by Kiku Hughes, finished March 6
023) The Many Deaths of Laila Starr by Ram V and Filipe Andrade, finished March 6
024) The Homeland Directive by Robert Venditti and Mike Huddleston, finished March 7
025) Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare, finished March 14
026) Last West: Roadsongs for Dorothea Lange by Tess Taylor, finished March 15
027) 22 Young Mormon Writers edited by Neal E. Lambert and Richard H. Cracroft, finished March 19
028 & 029) Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare, finished March 23 & March 27

Literarily solving for X

030) X by Sue Grafton, finished March 28
031) Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary, finished April 5
032) Camera Man: Buster Keaton, the Dawn of Cinema, and the Invention of the Twentieth Century by Dana Stevens, finished April 5
033) Abe Lincoln in Illinois by Robert E. Sherwood, finished April 8
034) Theology of Play by J├╝rgen Moltmann, finished April 12
035) The Male Animal by James Thurber and Elliott Nugent, finished April 12
036) Bluffton by Matt Phelan, finished April 16
037) Number One Walking: My Life in the Movies and Other Diversions by Steve Martin and Harry Bliss, finished April 15

From Lolly to Elias

038) Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner, finished April 17
039) The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson, finished April 19
040) Beware the Eye of Odin by Wager/Odland/Madsen/Dukeshire, finished April 19
041) The Complete Peanuts: 1965–1966 by Charles M. Schulz, finished April 20
042) A Wealth of Pigeons by Steve Martin and Harry Bliss, finished April 22
043) Elias: An Epic of the Ages by Orson Ferguson Whitney, finished April 23

Old Hollywood & Olden Times

044) Straight Lady: The Life and Times of Margaret Dumont, "The Fifth Marx Brother" by Chris Enss and Howard Kazanjian, finished April 25
045) Voices from the Radium Age edited by Joshua Glenn, finished April 26
046) The Ballad of YFB by Aaron Brassea, finished April 28
047) Reynaud's Tale by Ben Hatke, finished May 3
048) Superman: Up in the Sky by Tom King and Andy Kubert, finished May 5
049) Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary, finished May 5
050) Resurrection Row by Anne Perry, finished May 6 

Saying good bye to our friend Kinsey

052) More Gross: Cartoons by S. Gross, finished May 9
053) I Am Blind and My Dog Is Dead by S. Gross, finished May 9
054) Batgirls: One Way or Another by Becky Cloonan / Michael W. Conrad / Jorge Corona / Sarah Stein, finished May 11
055) Batgirls: Bat Girl Summer by Becky Cloonan / Michael W. Conrad / Neil Googe / Robbi Rodriguez / Rico Renzi, finished May 11
056) Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton, finished May 12 

The tyranny of getting stuff in the right order

051) On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder, finished May 8
057) Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang and Guruhiru, finished May 13
058) Four in Hand by Alicia Mountain, finished May 17
059) The Glob by John O'Reilly and Walt Kelly, finished May 20
060) Why They Can't Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities by John Warner, finished May 24
061) Less by Andrew Sean Greer, finished May 25
062) Children of the Woods by Ciano/Hixson/Stevens/Otsmane-Elhaou, finished May 27
063) The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece by Tom Hanks, finished May 29


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