10 April 2014

2014 reading list, January – March

Allie Brosh, Hyperbole and a Half.  NY: Touchstone, 2013.

In which are described things that are, like the author’s dogs, and things that happened, like her depression, or the hot-sauce debacle.  Includes lots of funny stories, and lots of funny pictures.

All happy families may be the same, but Vonnegut’s only foray into drama isn’t about a happy family: a father presumed dead returns home and takes issue with his wife’s suitors.  And unlike most of his fiction, the world does not end.

Thomas Ott, Cinema Panopticum.  Seattle: Fantagraphics, 2005.

In this wordless graphic novel, a girl at the fair uses her few coins to watch a series of strangely horrifying films.

Eric Smith, The Geek’s Guide to Dating. Philadelphia: Quirk, 2013.

Unlike The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing, a fine piece of fiction, this Guide is intended as a real self-help book for the lonely intellectual.  It might succeed.  The advice is all solid—exactly what your grandmother would have suggested.  The tone, however, is aimed at fifteen-year-old boys, full of bad puns on inane pop culture references.  Not that fifteen-year-olds don’t need dating advice, but sections on living together and marriage make clear they are not the target audience.

A re-boot of the author’s webcomic Roomies!, Dumbing of Age follows a group of Indiana University students from their freshman year in 1997, this time focusing on the female characters.  This first collection covers their first week, from move-in day through their first party.

A collection of Sheldon strips on a common theme: coffee. Almost as addictive as the magic bean juice.

Umberto Eco, The Prague Cemetery. NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.

An historical novel, presented as a memoir by the author of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and as intricately entertaining as is expected of Eco.

Elie Wiesel, Night. NY: Hill and Wang, 1960.

A short, terrible document of human horror greater than anything from Stephen King or HP Lovecraft, and most similar to Solzhenitsyn’s Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.

Anthony Burgess, Nothing Like the Sun. London: Allison & Busby, 2002.

An imagining of Shakespeare’s love life, based on both known history and a pointed reading of the sonnets, which vividly recreates the time.

A collection of comics from the website, featuring a former porn star and her robot boyfriend navigating their unorthodox relationship.

Annie M.G. Schmidt, translated by David Colmer and illustrated by Sieb Postuhuma, A Pond Full of Ink. Eerdmans Books, Grand Rapids MI, 2014.

More Shel Siverstein than Dr. Seuss, this collection of short stories-in-verse tells of truculent children, eccentric adults, and exotic animals. The silly situations are delightfully illustrated, with each poem on a colorful two-page spread. This should be enjoyable for all ages.

Alasdair Gray, Old men in love: John Tunnock's posthumouspapers. Easthampton: small beer press, 2010.