33. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
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2017 Reading Jubilee
Posted 11 November 2017 - 06:00 PM
19. The Joy of X by Steven Strogatz. I figured a change of pace from fantasy was necessary. I liked the book about mathematics, but it was a little off from what I expected. I like Steven Strogatz's work as a mathematician. I've been working through his Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos textbook slowly, and I was hoping for more depth from this book. It was a good guide for adding interesting material, like number theory, calculus, and differential equations, to my college algebra course, but I fear the students won't appreciate the material from this book. I do try to keep mathematics interesting for my algebra students, but sometimes it's like trying to spend a semester teaching students how to tie shoelaces. The more interesting topics are what to do once the shoes are on, not how to tie laces. Though I do have a book on knot theory that I need to work on yet.
I'm one-third of the way through Towers of Midnight, and it's a bit of a drag. Sanderson's writing is riddled with modern vernacular that I never noticed in Jordan's writing. Nothing too serious, but just enough to be...irritating I guess is the best word. Like a soft comfotable blanket with one rough patch. Sanderson's battle descriptions are not well written. He's clearly not familiar with pre-industrial battle strategy and tactics. I wouldn't say that I am either, but I have taken a semester of military history, and studied tactics and strategy for my own amusement. Suffice it to say that Sanderson doesn't write battles as well as Jordan. I fear for the depiction of the Last Battle in the next book. It's sad that Jordan didn't finish the series while he was alive. I'm almost done...I think I'll follow up with science fiction.
Posted 24 November 2017 - 11:58 AM
36. Kim Gordon, Girl in a Band. The autobiography of Sonic Youth's bassist/singer/co-founder, alt-rock queen and one-time co-founder of her own fashion line. Written shortly after her acrimonious divorce from adulterous frontman hurston Moore after 27 years of marriage, her memoir is a candid deep dive into her early family life marred by a toxic relative, the NYC post-punk rock and art scenes, and the frequent question of What's It Like Being a Woman in Rock, which later morphed into What's It Like Being a Mom in Rock. Her insights and confessions are surprising even before you realize Gordon isn't exactly the ultra-feminist you'd expect.
37. Noelle Stevenson, Nimona. In a vaguely steampunk-ish fantasy world, a shape-changing teen girl with a very tiny moral compass wheedles her way into an apprenticeship with the local villain. Eventually a relationship develops despite the clash of styles -- he prefers old-fashioned complicated sinister plots, while she wonders why they can't just go murder all the good guys. They're like Dr. Evil and Scott Evil but differently funny. Over time we learn not everyone is the stock cliché they appear to be, and what starts as peppy buddy comedy soon escalates into far more explosive consequences. All-ages fun that turns grim yet epic.
38. John Arcudi and Peter Snejbjerg, A God Somewhere. Quite a few super-hero creators have contemplated the question of what might happen if someone got superpowers in the real world. Nine times out of ten the answer is a corrupted conscience followed by nasty hyper-violence. Here, a simpleminded happy dude gets turned into Superman and takes about 15-20 pages before he begins to view us normals as ants. Bleeding ensues, along with ambiguous thoughts on humanist godhood and the friendships it leaves behind as the body count rises.
39. Various, Wildstorm: A Celebration of 25 Years. A hardcover salute to Jim Lee's former Image Comics imprint that was later subsumed into the DC Universe, but not before a lot of top talents made their mark in style. It's partly a clipfest, with lots of pin-ups and black-and-white reprints of previously published comics (e.g., the original WildCATs #1, the first two isses of Mark Millar and Frank Quitely The Authority run but with the original dialogue restored), but a few new gems are included. Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch reunite for a Jenny Sparks story; Jim Lee himself draws a few new Deathblow pages; for some reason Backlash takes up a lot of real estate; and we're treated to the complete script for the never-drawn second issue of Grant Morrison's 2006 WildCATs relaunch. I wouldn't recommend paying full price for this hardcover, and I'm glad I didn't have to, but longtime fans might appreciate the diamonds in the rough.
40. Melinda M. Snodgrass and George R. R. Martin, ed., Wild Cards: Lowball. The next-to-most-recent book in the long-running shared-world superpower anthology series spends about 150 pages reconnecting with characters from previous recent books before finally revealing that its central plot is Superhuman Fight Club. The violent consequences, standard both for this plot and for this series, venture into the realm of whacked-out body horror before dropping a big fat To Be Continued on us.
41. Joe Harris and Martin Morazzo, Snowfall. In a world where water is nearly extinct and mere moisture is a rarity, one man fights back against The System by making it snow a lot through magical science. Extreme climate transmogrification is a stretch of a premise far beyond the usual post-apocalyptic fare in this vein, but it suffers even more from a blatantly rushed ending, taking a hard turn toward fantasy instead of science, made necessary when the comics series needed to be truncated for presumably low sales.
42. Various, The Best of Omega Comics Presents Vol. 2. Anthology reprinting several short stories from a publisher whose works are rarely seen beyond comiXology or conventions, where at least one of their creators has become a recurring friend at the conventions we attend. Interesting just to note that there can be life in print comics beyond what Diamond Distribution allows through its kept gates.
43. Dan Gearino, Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture. An illuminating history of your local comic book shops, one of the least profitable and often least professional industries in America. Comic book fan and accredited journalist Gearino charts the early beginnings of geeks selling comics out of backrooms and basements in the '70s (e.g. future Mile High founder Chuck Rozanski) to the '80s when shops began to proliferate and some of then began to buy actual cash registers; from the expansion of the direct-sales distribution system to the '90s implosion caused chiefly by Marvel that led to today's Diamond Distribution monopoly; with stops along the way for success stories from the owners of some of those very shops, including an extended appendix profiling some of the better survivors still around today despite the obstacles. Parts of the book focus intently on Gearino's current stomping grounds of Columbus, OH, which is why Laughing Ogre Comics is offered up as a curious example of a shop that's lasted, but anyone who's interested in the retailer side of things -- and of the younger days of a lot of its more famous participating geeks -- will find this a must-read.
Posted 24 November 2017 - 08:01 PM
4. "Moby Dick", Herman Melville: 500 pages until you get to the whale.
5. "Oliver Twist", Charles Dickens: Classic tale of orphan boy who is secretly someboy...like Star Wars or Harry Potter! But without magic or lightsabers.
6. "Thrawn", Timothy Zahn: The missing years of our favorite Chiss.
7. "Bloodlines", Karen Traviss: From Princess Leia to General Leia, how did it all happen?
8 "Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War", Mark Harris: Hollywood directors suffered, too!
9. "The Gift of Fear", Gavin de Becker: Learning to recognize the signals your body is sending you to avoid danger.
10."The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris", David McCullough: America's historian tells the story of American painters, writers and other travelers living in Paris during the 19th century.
11."Theodore Rex",Edmund Morris: Warts and all, but entertaining story of our 26th President.
12."In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin", Erik Larson: The story of the American Ambassador to Germany during the 1930's and his crazy, floozy of a daughter.
21. "Storm of the Century", Al Roker: Roker's wonderful narrative of the people and the events that blew through the 1900 Galveston Hurricane.
22. "Liberty or Death: The French Revolution", Peter McPhee: Standard what happened book.
23. "Not I", Joachim Fest: German historian Joachim Fest's autobiographical account of his father's principled stand against Nazism and its affect on his wife and children.
24. "James Madison", Jeff Broadwater: Short book about our 4th President.
26. "Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War", Brian Matthew Jordan: Little covered study of the lives of Union veterans in the decades after the war.
27." The American Spirit", David McCullough: A series of speeches by McCullough given at various universities.
28. "Subalterns and Raj: South Asia since 1600", Crispin Bates: One of our kid's college textbooks about India predominately.
29. "Wars of the Roosevelts: The Ruthless Rise of America's Greatest Political Family", William J. Mann: From TR's compensating machismo to Eleanor's insecurities, the clan that dominated American politics for almost 50 years in all its dysfunctional glory.
45. "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy", Eric Mataxes: Biography of the famous German pastor who opposed Hitler.
46. "Eisenhower: In War and Peace", Jean Edward Smith: The diplomatic army officer finds himself riding a wave of popularity that propels him into the White House.
47. "Hissing Cousins: The Untold Story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth", Mark Peyser: Theodore Roosevelt's daughter Alice and his brother Elliott's daughter Eleanor could not have been more alike...or more different. The complicated relationship between the cousins is detailed featuring the ups and, mostly, the downs.
48. "The Coming of the Third Reich", Richard Evans: Part I of a series intended to explain in layman's terms what happened. This first book analyzes the history of Germany from the formation of the country after the wars of German unification in the 1860s that left a Bismarkian influence heavily manipulated by the Nazis in the 1920s,
59. "Prisoners of Hope: Lyndon B. Johnson, The Great Society and the Limits of Liberalism", Randall B. Woods: An examination of the policies of the Great Society and its legacy.
Posted 14 December 2017 - 08:05 PM
54. The Explosive Child, by Ross Greene
55. Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster, More, by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Probably gonna close out the year for me. Started Crossroads of Twilight but I doubt Ill finish by the end of the year, especially if its as bad as I keep hearing.
Posted 30 December 2017 - 09:10 PM
44. Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me. Award-winning longform epistle by the celebrated intellectual, comics geek, and beloved Twitter user (well, till he deactivated his account literally the day after I started reading this), whose primary purpose is to tell his son that America was built on a foundation of white evil, there is no God, everything is horrible, there's basically no hope, and he should get woke so he can feel hopeless and miserable too, unless he doesn't, in which case, that's cool. And, side note, Howard University is awesome and here's a list of the best black intellectuals to follow. Interesting at some turns, distressingly nihilist at others. In the book's concluding anecdote, he details his meeting with Dr. Mavis Jones, an accomplished black woman whose son was murdered by a black police officer, but who today remains a pillar of strength imbued by her faith in God. Coates respects her but doesn't get her. Frankly, I'd rather hear more from her.
45. Mimi Pond, The Customer is Always Wrong. 450-page hardcover original graphic novel inspired by the creator's own young-adult years as a California waitress in the post-Summer of Love days trying to figure out her life after the happy hippie times have faded but the heavy-duty drug culture never went away. Pond eventually broke out and went on to become an accomplished cartoonist for various magazines (National Lampoon, et al.) as well as a onetime TV writer with credits including the first full-length episode of The Simpsons, but she watched the rise and fall of a lot of friends along the way. Imagine Alice meets Trainspotting done as a sequel to Mad Men's California episodes. Though the initial focus is on our main character and her thwarted attempts to rise above, the best parts come later in examining her friendship with the restaurant's manager, the guy everyone in her circle respects most but who continually has the worst luck, sometimes but not always by his own doing. A prime example of why there should be more actual novel-length graphic novels, if it were economically feasible.
46. Kyle Baker, Nat Turner. Before 2016's The Birth of a Nation was exiled from Hollywood for its director's past sins, this graphic-novel biography depicted the life and times of the leader of one of the most infamous, bloodiest slave rebellions in American history. It's mostly silent at first, then complemented with passages of Turner's own words taken from the 1831 tract "The Confessions of Nat Turner, the leader of the late insurrection in Southampton, Va., as fully and voluntarily made to Thomas R. Gray". Racism is terrible, slavery is worse, and the horrifying violence it enabled was the worst, and Baker pushes the damage even harder than 12 Years a Slave did. But he also doesn't shy away from Turner's response as a self-professed man of God who's not a saint by any definition, judging by the level of sanguinary atrocity he and his followers committed in response to centuries of cruel oppression. Much of our history is violence in response to more violence, shocking and messy and regrettable, but for better or worse, this is how things went down in America. Anyone who thinks "slave" was just another word for "employee" back in those times is a liar or a fool, and needs to have works like this shatter their unintelligent hermetic bubble so they can be brought to repentance and maybe America can just...I don't know, start over, maybe.
47. Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, and Erin Humiston, Calla Cthulhu. All-ages action adventure that's what if Buffy were the daughter of Cthulhu but she fought monsters anyway and had green tentacle hair. Highly recommended for girls who dig monsters and/or monster-fighting.
48. Dustin Harbin, Diary Comics. Thick collection of several years' worth of autobio comic strips that are seemingly about nothing at first until enough time passes that the author begins to accumulate experience and light wisdom that inform his noodling and broaden his horizons. Memoirs by young-adult artists used to be a bread-and-butter subgenre for indie comics publishers in past eras, and often read alike, but Harbin's condensed meanderings and anecdotes form a more fully realized portrait as the years accelerate and life changes come harder and faster.
49. Various, Spitball 2: A CCAD Comics Anthology. A brilliant idea by a professor at the Columbus College of Art & Design: commission a series of comic-book short-story scripts by some of the medium's most renowned writers, give them to the school's top art students to draw, sit back and enjoy the results. Greg Rucka, Jonathan Hickman, and Kelly Sue DeConnick are among the pros who contribute ideas and inspiration for the new kids to turn into panel-by-panel narrative. The results are wildly experimental, wholly unbeholden to ye olde Marvel and DC standards, and a good sign of what the future of comics -- or webcomics! -- might yield one day.
50. Tom King, David Finch, Mikel Janin, Ivan Reis, et al., Batman, Vol. 1: I Am Gotham. One among the first wave of DC Comics' "Rebirth" initiative, which was conceived as sorry-not-sorry atonement for the fatal flaws of its 2011 "New 52" line-wide reboot. Batman didn't start over so much as he was given new life in the hands of Tom King, one of the best new comics writers of the century. Between The Vision, Omega Men, and The Sheriff of Babylon, King has produced basically all my favorite comics of the last two years. I figured I might as well give his Batman a shot, and largely wasn't disappointed. I'm still irked that new readers are given next to no inkling of who new supporting player Duke Thomas is, but Batman himself is put through a number of outlandish challenges, from dealing with Silver Age losers like Kite-Man to single-handedly (!) trying to prevent an airliner from crashing into Gotham. The main story arc involves a Superman/Supergirl-analog duo who try becoming superheroes through shady internet superpower dealers, which...doesn't go well. So now I'm more excited and have some Batman to catch up on.
51. Alec Longstreith, Weezer Fan. Fun memoir chronicling the life cycle of an OG Weezer superfan, from their debut album up through 2010's Hurley, from merely loving "My Name is Jonas" to co-running their official fan club to meeting them in person to meeting them again so he could say less stupid things to them. I'm not sure how much non-Weezer fans would get out of this, but I thought it was a blast and, as a fan but a bit short of "super-", learned a lot. Weezer are coming to Indy this July with the Pixies, but we'll probably be on vacation that weekend, and even if we aren't, the seat prices are horrendous by my standards, and I learned in 2016 that I hate hate hate hate HATE cheap lawn seating, so for now I'll have to settle for living vicariously through this book and this lucky guy.
Posted 31 December 2017 - 02:27 PM
64. "Benjamin Harrison", Charles Calhoun: Short biography of the 23rd President
65. "Selected Writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder", LIW: Letters from Laura to her daughter, friends and schoolchildren who wrote to her.
66. "Ravensbruck: Life and Death Inside Hitler's Concentration Camp for Women", Sarah Helm: The story of the camp from its beginnings as a penal institution for offenders and political prisoners to its use as an extermination camp for Russian POWs and Jews.
67. "Revolution on the Hudson", George C. Daughan: The American Revolution as it pertained to NYC and the Hudson River Valley.
68. "The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Harrison", H.W. Brands: Biography of the American Colonies' printer, inventor and statesman.
69. "Berlin Diary", William L. Shirer: Journal of the foreign correspondent in Berlin during the late '30s and the first year of WWII.
70. "The Gods of Prophetstown: The Battle of Tippecanoe and the Holy War for the American Frontier", Adam Jortner: The Rise of William Henry Harrison against the backdrop of rising Indiana wokeness is cast as a religious revival pitting the morality-eschewing Deists of the Age of Reason against the Originalists of the Shawnee.
71. "Franklin and Lucy: Mrs. Rutherfurd and the Other Remarkable Women in Roosevelt's Life", Joseph E. Persico: The complicated marriage of FDR and Eleanor leads him to find feminine company elsewhere...and helped us win WWII apparently.
Posted 31 December 2017 - 04:43 PM
142. Tales of Shadowmen vol 4 by Jean Marc Lofficier
143. Deadpool MAX omnibus by David Laphm
144. House of Silk by David Horrowitz
145. Aloha from Hell by Richard Kadrey
146-155. Deadpool Classic vol 1-10 by Joe Kelly, Christopher Priest and others
156. Thor the World Eaters by Matt Fraction
157&158. Journey into Mystery Complete Collection vol 1-2 by Kierron Gillen
159-161. Cable and Deadpool Ultimate Collection vol 1-3 by Fabian Nicieza
162-164. Liberty Meadows vol 2-4 by Frank Cho
165. Young Avengers omnibus by Kierron Gillen
166. X-men Epic Collection: Second Genesis by Chris Claremont
167. Morbicuksen Kosto by Elena Mady
168-171. Deadpool by Daniel Way the Complete Collection vol 1-4
172. The Green Lama: Crimson Circle by Adam Garcia
173-175. Guardians of the Galaxy Year 3000 vol 1-3 by Michael Gallagher
176. The Last Witness: Shattered Prophecy by Gerald Welch
177. Deadpool Classic vol 15 by various
179. Dragon Claw by Peter O'Donnell
180-182. Secret Warriors vol 1-3 by Brian Michael Bendis and Jonathan Hickman
183. Secret Warriors The Complete Collection vol 2 by Jonathan Hickman
184-185. The Immortal Iron Fist Complete Collection vol 1-2 by Matt Fraction
186. Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
187. Hotel Valhalla by Rick Riordan
188-191. Jessica Jones Alias vol 1-4 by Brian Michael Bendis
192. Jessica Jones The Pulse Complete Collection by Brian Michael Bendis
193. Camp Half-Blood Confidential by Rick Riordan
194. Showcase Presents: The Phantom Stranger vol 1 by various
195. Infernal Device and others by Michael Kurland
196. Spiderwick Chronicles 1-5 by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
197. X-men: Messiah War by various
Posted 03 January 2018 - 02:26 PM
1. Where and when? You don't want to see. THE. MOST. BORING. ROCKY TRAINING MONTAGE. EVER.
2. Speed reading? No but I'm assuming you don't mean the drug variety. Then yes.
3. Sleep reading? No but not sure whether because the old belief of different sides of the brain makes reading asleep impossible or not, I've heard it might not be so. I do however keep two books by my bed and I read one before going to sleep my cat comes next to me and promptly curls up on to the book to nap. Hence second book.
4. Lying? Believe me (yes, I'm aware of the paradox but hang on) if I were lying about totals, my OCD would make put in even tens. I do admit however I finished the last book a tad after midnight on 2018's side because the appendix material was massive.