Friday, November 4, 2016

Books of October

October total: 62
Year to date: 341

Fiction
Shadow of the Giant (Ender's Shadow, #4)       Card, Orson Scott
Shadows in Flight (Ender's Shadow, #5) Card, Orson Scott
Alvin Journeyman (Tales of Alvin Maker, #4)   Card, Orson Scott
Heartfire (Tales of Alvin Maker, #5)     Card, Orson Scott
The Crystal City (Tales of Alvin Maker, #6)         Card, Orson Scott
The Book of Esther       Barton, Emily 
The Angelus Guns       Gladstone, Max 


Nonfiction
Last Night, a Superhero Saved My Life   Mignogna, Liesa
How to Be Drawn         Hayes, Terrance
A Popular Dictionary of Sikhism      Cole, W. Owen

Comics
Wonder Woman, Volume 2: Guts          Azzarello, Brian
Wonder Woman, Volume 3: Iron           Azzarello, Brian
Wonder Woman, Volume 4: War           Azzarello, Brian
Wonder Woman, Volume 5: Flesh         Azzarello, Brian
Wonder Woman, Volume 6: Bones       Azzarello, Brian
Lumberjanes #21         Watters, Shannon
Lumberjanes #20         Watters, Shannon
Lumberjanes #19         Stevenson, Noelle
Lumberjanes #18         Watters, Shannon
Lumberjanes #26          Watters, Shannon
Lumberjanes #27           Watters, Shannon
Lumberjanes #25          Watters, Shannon
Lumberjanes #22          Watters, Shannon
Lumberjanes #23         Watters, Shannon
Lumberjanes #24          Watters, Shannon
Lumberjanes #28          Watters, Shannon
Giant Days #2 Allison, John 
Giant Days #3 Allison, John 
Giant Days #4 Allison, John 
Giant Days #5 Allison, John 
Giant Days #6 Allison, John 
Giant Days #7 Allison, John 
Giant Days #8 Allison, John 
The Only Living Boy #1: Prisoner of the Patchwork Planet        Gallaher, David 
Lost & Found     Tan, Shaun
Bird Cat Dog   Nordling, Lee
#1 Freedom! (Miss Annie)       Le Gall, Frank
Little Robot     Hatke, Ben 
The Only Living Boy #2: Beyond Sea and Sky     Gallaher, David 
Aquaman, Vol. 1: The Trench   Johns, Geoff
Avatar: The Last Airbender (The Rift, #1)     Yang, Gene Luen 
Avatar: The Last Airbender (The Promise, #3) Yang, Gene Luen 


Picture Books
This Bridge Will Not Be Gray     Eggers, Dave
Matisse's Garden         Friedman, Samantha
Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin Byrd, Robert
Draw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrews           Haskins, Kathleen Benson
Neville   Juster, Norton
The Hello, Goodbye Window   Juster, Norton
The Devil You Know     Hale, Nathan 
New York is English, Chattanooga is Creek         Raschka, Chris
Everyone can Learn to Ride a Bicycle   Raschka, Chris
Arlene Sardine  Raschka, Chris
Hip Hop Dog   Raschka, Chris
Like Likes Like Raschka, Chris
Give and Take    Raschka, Chris
The Genie in the Jar     Giovanni, Nikki
The Other Side  Banyai, Istvan
Night Shift Hartland, Jessie
Tell the Truth, B.B. Wolf Sierra, Judy
A Day with Wilbur Robinson  Joyce, William 
Five Creatures  Jenkins, Emily
The Fun Book of Scary Stuff     Jenkins, Emily

Quick Takes
Reading the Alvin Maker books touched off a general Orson Scott Card kick for me this month.  I really like that man's myth-making.  And reading them together let me see interesting parallels-- while their methods are somewhat different, both Alvin and Bean are working to repair the world, and yet any project of creating peace is always tenuous, and hard won progress can be undone.

For comics fans, I highly recommend "Last Night, A Superhero Saved My Life" which includes essays about the many ways comics can change-- and save-- a life.  This is in many places a serious collection, with discussions of loneliness, trauma, and depression.  But ultimately it is about how shared stories can help us find hope, direction, and community.

I've enjoyed how the Azzarello run on Wonder Woman plays with Greek myth, but I'm disappointed by the weak character development of most secondary characters.  This review I found captures a lot of my feelings about the run as a whole.  Good parts: It captures Diana's compassion and intelligence well, and does interesting things with the soap-opera of Olympus. Bad: It undercuts the Amazons in some weird ways and surrounds Diana with a lot of men who aren't even well-developed or interesting characters.

"How to be Drawn" is a very interesting collection of poetry, especially in its adoption of technical writing forms such as architectural descriptions, worksheets, legal briefs, police paperwork, interview transcripts, etc. This is poetry for the modern world, and poetry for a black America that struggles against the boxes it is forces into, against the rules it is told it must follow to survive.Poems that especially struck me include "How to be Drawn to Trouble", "Gentle Measures", "Who are the Tribes", "Black Confederate Ghost Story", "The Rose has Teeth" and "Model Prison Model"

"The Book of Esther" is a massive waste of potential.  The core concept is brilliant-- an alternate history in which a Jewish state of Khazaria is the heir of the Khazar khaganate, and which after years of accepting Ashkenazi refugees now faces invasion by Hitler's Reich.  Yet the execution majorly stumbles, more interested in navel-gazing explorations of the main character's self-doubt and excursions into kabbalistic arcana than in development of the alternate world.  There are some interesting developments-- such as the presence of Muslim and animist Uighurs as the business class of the Khazar state-- but there's not much to make this genuinely feel like a story set in the 1940's instead of 2016, and the Nazi's never materialize as a real threat worth caring about, even during the book's climactic battle.  Still, I'd love someone else to take a crack at the concept.

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