Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Reading List: August 2009

Rather than use this monthly post as a place to worry in writing about the lack of progress I am having with my thesis, I'll just say that things are getting written and even if I end up writing 20,000 words over a long weekend I will have this finished and defended by Thanksgiving so I can apply to PhD programs and do this all over again in a few years. My motto: Live and Don't Learn.

Not much content this month, especially with at least three reviews being scrapped when I found they had nothing original or (potentially) enlightening to say. I worked for a while on something about Disney's acquisition of Marvel this afternoon, so maybe that will see the light of day before long. Jenny Davidson did an interesting meme tonight, so maybe I will break a self-imposed rule and do it here tomorrow.

Last month I finished 9 books and 9 graphic novels. Here is what they are:
  • Bob Schieffer's America by Bob Schieffer
  • Uncanny X-Men: Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire by Ed Brubaker, et al.
  • Outside the Dog Museum by Jonathan Carroll
  • Star Trek: Countdown by Mike Johnson, et al.
  • Cooperstown Confidential by Zev Chafets
  • Swamp Thing: A Murder of Crows by Alan Moore, et al.
  • X-Men: Emperor Vulcan by Christopher Yost & Paco Diaz Luque
  • Love and Obstacles by Aleksandar Hemon
  • The Father of All Things by Tom Bissell
  • 100 Bullets: Wilt by Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso
  • Uncanny X-Men: Divided We Stand by Brubaker & Michael Choi
  • Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
  • The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman & Tony Moore
  • Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon
  • Castle by J. Robert Lennon
  • Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke
  • Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It by Maile Meloy
Read Lennon, Meloy, and Hemon, a favorite of mine. And don't read any more X-Men comics; I'm done with them after these pitiful volumes. Comments, questions, some small sign that people actually read this?


Gary Rees said...

How was Chabon's foray into non-fiction? I didn't know that this book was out yet--did you find an advanced copy at the used bookstore? I recently picked up an advanced reader's copy of Richard Ford's "The Lay of the Land." It was signed and personalized by Ford to a guy named Edward Nawot. Inside the book was a photo copy of a review Nawot wrote about "The Lay of the Land" (which appears to have been published in some-sort of magazine or newspaper). I guess Nawot wasn't a fan of Ford or the book since he pawned his copy off at a Houston used bookstore. It is a bit odd, though, that Nawot took the time to copy his own work and carefully place it in the Ford text. Maybe a type of lit-crit/review tagging!?

Anonymous said...

I'm here. Tell me about 100 Bullets-- I hear good things, but not much specific.

Jon Polk said...

My Seattle connection managed to acquire an ARC of Chabon's latest and forwarded it to me. I'm not exactly sure why it's being billed as his first work of nonfiction since Maps & Legends came out last year, but it was enjoyable. Most of the essays were collected from his column in Details, but they were new to me. Solid, enjoyable, great prose, but just didn't seem to resonate with me. Probably b/c I have no children and a lot of it was about being a dad.

The Lay of the Land was good, but I still think The Sportswriter is the best Bascombe book, though again I think that is due to my age and Bascombe's age in the two books: mid30s in the latter, about 60 in the former.

100 Bullets. I scrapped a review of the final collection b/c I was just summarizing. One of the best uses of color I've ever seen in a comic; one doesn't usually associate bright colors with noir stories, but it works here on several levels. I read the series stretched over about seven years, and as a result found it hard to remember who was who when some characters only showed up sporadically. In addition, most wear black suits with black ties, so they all kind of look the same.

I was a bit disappointed w/ the conclusion, but the more I think about it the more it seems appropriate. It's definitely worth reading, one of the best crime comics ever, but you will benefit from trying to read them consistently rather than occasionally as I did. Let me know if you have any other specific questions.