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What I've been reading.....


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So many books, so little time. So, what the heck am I doing writing this interminable list when I should be READING???
Reading List 2001
104
23,122 pgs
Reading List 2002
80
20,767 pgs
Reading List 2003
101
24,050 pgs
Reading List 2004
81
21,653 pgs
Reading List 2005
106
24,846 pgs
Reading List 2006
82
21,436 pgs
Reading List 2007
69
22,268 pgs
Reading List 2008
111
30,900 pgs
Reading List 2009
98
29.878 pgs
Reading List 2010
78
23,946 pgs
Reading List 2011
83
24,133 pgs
Reading List 2012
77
22,319 pgs
Reading List 2013
67
22,412 pgs
Reading List 2014
68
21,248 pgs
Reading List 2015
65
19,081 pgs
Reading List 2016
46
14,060 pgs
Reading List 2017
58
17.801 pgs
Reading List 2018

    If you're curious, or simply nosey, this section is a listing of the books I've been reading lately. My reading habits tend to be all over the map as far as genre, and I also seem to have the retention ability of a screen door with the screens ripped out, and the door held open. So, more to the point, this list helps me to remember what books I've read so I don't end up buying them again. Wow, using the internet to store extra memory, how futuristic can you get?
     Now, enjoy! (Oh, and feel free to send me free books. No pressure, just a suggestion... )
~ 2003 ~

    January 2003
        One Door Away From Heaven ~ Dean Koontz (2001) novel, fiction (686 pgs)
Good story and characters, an uneasy mix of overall horror with some humor stuck on the top, and, in the end, it seems like some judicious editing would have helped. A page turner, but a slog at time to get through all those page.
        The Waiting Place ~ Marc Sutherland (1998) children's picture book (24 pgs)
Cool surreal black and white images of what a kid sees from his bed over night.
        Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor ~ Mervyn Peake (1939/2001) children's picture book (50 pgs)
Re-issue with limited color additions of Peake's original story. Probably too odd to get pubbed without his name today.
        The Little Book of Wrong Shui ~ Rohan Candappa (1999) humor, satire (160 pgs)
Satire of Feng Shui (or however it is spelled!) only 3.5 inches square. Some funny stuff, probably even funnier if I was more aware of the details of Feng, aside from it being another bit of newage nonsense.
        The Art of the Label ~ Robert Opie (2001) art, design, history (144 pgs)
Illustrated history of product label design, concentrating mainly on British material, great stuff!
        The Comedy Writer ~ Peter Farrelly
(1998) novel, fiction (357 pgs)
Odd little character study, about one of those guys who lets clearly off-balanced women actually move in with him and then try to deal with the results. Some fun stuff in here about trying to write screenplays in Hollywood.
        Mind Benders: Adventures in Lateral Thinking ~David J. Bodycome (1998)word, math puzzles (128pgs)
        Mystery Puzzles ~ Chris M. Dickson (1999) word, math puzzles (128 pgs)
Somewhat frustrating puzzle books, setting themselves up as being irritating and difficult. However, too many of the puzzles required special knowledge of different things to be able to solve, rather than simply by using logic and analyzing the material presented. As well, "Mind Benders" makes a big deal about using "lateral thinking", but that involves multiple-level problem solving, and solutions here bounce from allowing lateral thinking, or being literal. Not much fun.
        Barking Man and Other Stories ~ Madison Smartt Bell (1990) fiction, short stories (230 pgs)
Ten odd little tales. Some more straight-forward "plot" things, others more the "slice of life" style of just observing the characters for a period of time. But never boring, always interesting read.
        Being Invisible ~ Thomas Berger (1987) novel, fiction (262 pgs)
I've been a big Berger fan since reading "Neighbors". This one is kind of light weight, guy finds that he can become invisible at will, but then lots of Berger-people turning vicious or weird on him for no reason, and it all seems to wrap up way too quickly at the end. Better than many, but not one of his best.
        Still Catholic After All These Fears ~ Ed Stivender (1995) essays (222 pgs)
Thought there would be more of an edge to these stories of the author growing up Catholic, by cover blurbs like "A Catholic Garrison Keillor". He dances around some of the hard questions but, in the end, he's still a good Catholic boy.
        Keeping Up Appearances: Hyacinth Bucker's book of Etiquette for the Socially Less Fortunate~ Roy Clark & Jonathan Rice (1998) humor, television (192pgs)
Based on Clark's BBC series, which serves as a framework to quote from scenes. Fun, but only for hardcore fans.
        Flying Saucers Are Everywhere ~ Tom McHugh (1995) humor (135 pgs)
Fun little book skewering UFO stuff with a broad brush. Unlike the "Little Book of Wrong Shui" earlier this month, I even have enough background on the subject to get most of the jokes!
        Brain Droppings ~ George Carlin (1997) essays, humor (258 pgs)
A massive dose of Carlin weirdness, short bits and random observations. It's frighteningly funny stuff, and he admits up front that, while he is personally a very happy guy, a lot of this stuff, while funny, is also raw and angry. Great.
        The Whole Shebang: A State-of-the-Universe(s) Report ~ Timothy Ferris (1997) science (394 pgs)
Great book on the evolution of mankind's view of the universe, it's origins and how it all works.
        A Year At the Movies: One Man's Filmgoing Odyssey ~ Kevin Murphy (2002) movies, travel (362 pgs)
Murphy saw a movie every day for a year, all around the world. But this is less about the movies, than the varied experiences in seeing them in strange places and settings. This should be filed under travel, not films. A great read!

    February 2003
        Gustave Doré: A Biography ~ Dan Malan (1996) biography, art history (208 pgs)
Another Doré bio book from Malan (see reading of June 2002), with somewhat shorter and tighter biographical notes this time, as well as lots and lots of amazing artwork.
        The Unnatural ~ David Prill (1995) novel, fiction (237 pgs)
A hilarious alternate-world style story, where the funeral industry is the equivalent of professional baseball here, and follows one guy with some unique talents and ideas. Loved this book!
        Vital Parts ~ Thomas Berger (1970) novel, fiction (432 pgs)
A great Berger novel of a self-centered lead character put upon by the world, getting mixed up with cryogenics, among other things. Berger's worlds are always full of misunderstandings and over-reactions, and that's the fun of it.
        Tooth Imprints on a Corndog ~ Mark Leyner (1995) essays, humor (234 pgs)
Wickedly funny takes on modern life, and I need a dictionary to keep up with his vocabulary sometimes! Feels like he's taken Hunter Thompson one more step, a bit more humor in the mix of fact and fiction, and never know where it will go.
        Heart of a Dog ~ Mikhail Bulgakov (1925) novel, fiction (123 pgs)
Almost a fantasy/humor novel, as a scientist creates a strange new "man" from a mongrel dog, as the frame for a satire on the Soviet government system in the early 20th century.
        The Chronicles of Doodah ~ George Lee Walker (1985) novel, fiction (246 pgs)
Satire of big biz corporate culture, as guy goes through the tortures of the "Troubled Employees Department". Another reminder of why I'm glad I work for myself!
        Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut ~P.J. O'Rourke (1995) essays,humor (341pgs)
Kind of a look back at P.J.'s early work as a young liberal hippie, before becoming on the funniest conservatives around. His usual great stuff

    March 2003
        A Simple Plan ~ Scott Smith (1993) novel, fiction (417 pgs)
A real page turner. In fact, I started in late one night, finished it the next morning. Every time it seems like the story would simply have to end, saw there were still many more pages to go, and more twists to come. A "morally good" man finds himself caught up in events that snowball out of control, and finally giving over the the evil, or at least less morally judgmental, side of his nature.
        Religion, Feminism, and Freedom of Conscience - A Mormon/Humanist Dialogue ~George Smith (ed) (1994) essays (162 pgs)
Self-explanatory title, some interesting ideas and viewpoints, though it often boiled down to me that, if these people are so upset with the tenets of the religion, why not just leave it? But then, older I get, stranger all religions seem to me.
        Dirty Laundry: Stories About Family Secrets ~ Lisa Rowe Fraustino (ed) (1998) short stories (181 pgs)
Variety of short stories by authors of books for children and young adults, about how families deal with different "secrets", both large and small. Mix of stuff, some pretty interesting, some even quite intense.
        The Tetherballs of Bougainville ~ Mark Leyner (1997) novel, fiction (240 pgs)
Weird, almost stream-of-consciousness novel from Leyner, reminding me a lot of Gilbert Sorrentino's great "Mulligan's Stew" novel. Mixing all kinds of writing elements up to form a final "novel". I loved it.
        Why Not Me? ~ Al Franken (1999) novel, fiction, political satire (290 pgs)
Hilarious satire of presidential election politics. (Politics, like religion, seems so useless to mankind as I get older.)

    April 2003
        Imajica ~ Clive Barker (1991) novel, fiction, fantasy/horror (880 pgs)
Might not have tackled this monster if it hadn't been given to me for free. His writing flows, with tons of good individual ideas, but the over-arching epic background of uniting multiple parallel worlds, the multi-named characters, it all just got to be hard work to keep track of. Plus I wanted some of these people to just get over it all and get on with things. I enjoyed the trip, but doubt I'd ever read it again. Amazing illos by Richard Kirk in the back of this one!
        My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist ~ Mark Leyner (1990) fiction, short stories (154 pgs)
Early Leyner shorts, seem more consciously "arty" in some approaches, also very much more stream-of-conscious as toss-it-all-in than the later works. Still a one of a kind. To quote one character here in speaking of the author: "You're creepy in a sort of attractive way."
        The Size of Thoughts: Essays & Other Lumber ~ Nicholson Baker (1996) nonfiction, essays (355 pgs)
Wow! I actually read sections of this out loud to myself, I enjoyed this so much! Essays on the history of nail clippings, the demise of library card catalogues, the history of the "dash" mark in punctuation, all done up in engrossing style. I will admit the final long series of essays on the use of the word lumber in literature did get a big long for me, but hey, overall, this is a keeper!
        Compass Reach ~ Mark W. Tiedemann (2001) novel, science fiction (340 pgs)
Great basic sf space adventure stuff, well written, and a fun read
        Nimbus and the Crown Jewels ~ Jim Smith (w/a) (1981) children's picture book (28 pgs)
Cute little story of a kitten looking for his dad, with anthro-animals in victorian clothes and settings.
        The Story of Mrs. Lovewright & Purrless the Cat ~ Lore Segal(w), Paul O. Zelinsky(a) (1985) children's picture book (32 pgs)
I loved this one, since it didn't go where I had expected it to for a children's book.
        Ben's Dream ~ Chris van Allsburg (w/a) (1982) children's picture book (32 pgs)
Wonderful, mostly wordless black and white images from Allsburg as boy dreams of sailing his bed around world.
        Victoria House ~ Janice Shefelman (w) Tom Shefelman (a) (1988) children's picture book (32 pgs)
Tale of rescuing a run down Victorian house in the country and moving it to city to restore in. How could I pass that up?
        City by Numbers ~ Stephen T. Johnson (w/a) (1998) children's picture book (32 pgs)
Wow! Realistic paintings of details in city that form numbers 1 through 21. Amazing variety and imagination here. Wow!

    May 2003
        Ducks! ~ Daniel Pinkwater (w/a) (1984) children's picture book (32 pgs)
Another wonderfully weird Pinkwater book for kids.
        Metal of Night ~ Mark W. Tiedemann (2002) novel, science fiction (372 pgs)
Another fine sf tale from Tidermann in the same milieu he created for "Compass Reach" above
        Anno's Flea Market ~ Mitsumasa Anno (w/a) (1984) children's picture book (42 pgs)
Wordless trip through old-fashioned town flea market that is packed with stuff. My "Personal Possessions" gone huge!
        A Paper Zoo ~ Renée Karol Weiss (ed) Ellen Raskin (a) (1968) children's picture book (40 pgs)
Selection of poems around animal themes, the stylized animal artwork is what caught my eye to pick this up.
        Where the Forest Meets the Sea ~ Jeannie Baker (w/a) (1987) children's picture book (32 pgs)
Amazing collage work for the illustrations here, dense with detail and texture. Wow.
        The Water of Life ~ Barbara Rogasky (w) Trina Stuart Hyman (a) (1986) children's picture book (40 pgs)
Got this for the Hyman art, the stylistic successor to the wonderful Mercer Mayer.
        The Mousehole Cat ~ Antonia Barber (w) Nicola Bayley (a) (1990) children's picture book (32 pgs)
Beautiful detailed artwork in this one
        Mama Cat's Year ~ Norma Simon (w) Dora Leder (a) (1991) children's picture book (32 pgs)
Lovely art, soft color in wash and pencil inside line, style I'm working toward. And the artist knows how cats move!
        Killing Time ~ Thomas Berger (1967) novel, fiction (381 pgs)
More plot than character driven than most of Berger's other novels I've read, but still great, with his odd, disturbing characters and an oddly moral killer
        Adventures of a Verbivore ~ Richard Lederer (1994) nonfiction, language (277 pgs)
More fun with words and grammar... no really! Great essays on the oddity of the English language.
        A Choice of Sundials ~ Winthrop W. Dolan (1975) nonfiction, history, science (148 pgs)
First section history is interesting; second half more nuts-n-bolts technical on the math behind sundials, beyond me!
        Wendal, His Cat, and the Progress of Man ~ V. Campudoni (w/a) (1994) graphic novel (100 pgs)
Looks like a children's picture book with very simple drawings, but oddly touching tale ala a combination of Jules Feiffer and Vaughn Bodé. I like it!
        Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of "The Big G" ~ Steve Ryfle (1998) non-fiction, movies (375 pgs)
Everything you ever wanted to know about 40 years of Godzilla movies; amazing depth of detail, from an author clearly fanatical about his subject!
        Pastoralia ~ George Saunders (2000) fiction, short stories (190 pgs)
Wonderfully odd, funny and disturbing stories. Lots of inner dialogues and strange folks. I want more by this author.

    June 2003
        Them: Adventures With Extremists ~ John Ronson (2002) non-fiction, society, politics (330 pgs)
He hangs with Christian & Islamic fundamentalists, the KKK, Giant-Lizard theorists, all explaining to him how some other group of "them" actually controls the world. As if anyone really was in "control" of this mess!
        The Witch Doctors: Making Sense of the Management Gurus~ John Micklethwait & Adrian Wooldridge (1996) economics, business (370 pgs)
An overview of decades of management theory, good and bad, mostly bad. Like anyone really knows how to make "business" work for everyone, but they keep trying to explain it.
        The Afterlife Diet ~ Daniel Pinkwater (1995) novel, fiction (254 pgs)
Lots of good ideas and moments, but a bit of a disappointment, didn't pull it all together for me. A fun read, but I think Daniel has and can do better.
        In A Sunburned Country ~ Bill Bryson (2000) travel, history (307 pgs)
Another great Bryson travel book. I thought he was mellowing in his "old" age, but then realized he didn't run into as many crowds of people in Australia, which is often what sets him off. Always a great read.
        Book ~Robert Grudin (1992) novel, fiction (251 pgs)
I think somewhere a few months back I likened a novel to "Mulligans Stew", and I'm doing it again, as this book uses all sorts of styles and formats to tell a core story of a semi unsuccessful author and his crazed stalker. It's a keeper.
        A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again ~ David Foster Wallace (1997) non-fiction, essays (353 pgs)
I loved this collection. Engrossing, intelligent writing with a real sense of humor. Long essays, with the ones on county fairs and cruise trips the best, but full of great writing, great observations. Looking for more of his work!
        The Broke Diaries ~ Angela Nissel (2001) non-fiction, humor (212 pgs) Trying to get by as a broke college student. Funny stuff, and scary, like how to handle money in a world of banks when the banks don't even want the little bit of money you do have. Makes me feel better about my own financial woes.

    July 2003
        Multiple Sarcasm ~ Alice Kahn (1985) non-fiction, essays (264 pgs)
Social observations from a San Francisco columnist. Lots of funny stuff, though sometimes veers too close to "PC-ism" in handling things that it looks like she really wants to make fun of. Must be a result of living in the middle of it all.
        Boxcar at the Center of the Universe ~ Richard Kennedy (Jeff Kronen(a)) (1982)young adult (89 pgs)
Okay kid's light fantasy book, but most impressive were the black and white pencil illos by Kronen.
        Dirty Jokes and Beer ~ Drew Carey (1997) humor, essays, fiction (237 pgs)
Fun mixed bag of actual jokes, a bit of autobiography, behind-scenes of TV, and several very black-humor short stories.
        Jemima J ~ Jane Green (1999) novel, fiction (373 pgs)
Thought it might be more humorous ala "Briget Jones Diary", but more a straight formula romance, not my cup of tea.
        Second Coming Attractions ~ David Prill (1998) novel, fiction (248 pgs)
Great satire, with dark core on Christian film-making and the abortion issue. Only Prill could pull off this type of story!
        Should We Burn Babar? Essays on Children's Literature and the Power of Stories~ Herbert Kohl (1995) nonfiction, essays, literature (178 pgs)
Takes a deep, almost overly PC for me, look at the ideas and themes in children's books, including Pinocchio & Babar

    August 2003
        The Eyre Affair ~ Jasper Fforde (2001) novel, sf/fantasy (374 pgs)
A world where you can physically enter novels, plus time travel and the Shakespeare/Bacon rival groups. A mystery, adventure, literature in-joke novel, and a fun read, always a page-turner until done.
        Lincoln ~ Gore Vidal (1984) novel, historical fiction (657 pgs)
A "novelization" of Lincoln's years in the White House. Sad time for the nation, and so many sacrifices. Amazing read.
        Apocalypse Wow! ~ James Finn Garner (1997) humor, satire, sociology (174 pgs ) - RE
Published just before the "end of the world" millennium change, he looks at all the nutty prophets in both science and religion, getting into a panic over an arbitrary calendar change. Very, very funny stuff. These people all need a life!
        Antics! ~ Cathi Hepworth (w/a) (1992) children's picture book (30 pgs)
Simple but wonderful idea, a word for every letter of the alphabet that has "ant" in it. (brilliant, chant, quarantine) with really beautifully drawn artwork.
        Ascending Peculiarity: Edward Gorey on Edward Gorey ~ Karen Wilkin (ed)(2001) art, bio (292 pgs)
Collection of interviews with Gorey from various sources over 26 years. Great talent, but very "eccentric" person!
        Moving Mars ~ Greg Bear (1993) novel, science fiction (402 pgs)
-unfinished- I gave up around page 140. For me, too much politics/history/"relationship" stuff, and not enough grand SF ideas. I lost track of why who was doing what , and found that I didn't care, so just stopped. Sorry Mr. Bear.
        The New Victorians ~ Rene Denfeld (1995) sociology, feminism, censorship (339 pgs)
Detailed look at how the women's movement and feminism have gotten a bit too "odd" for most folks. Hell, even I was a card-carrying member of N.O.W. in the '70s. Great observations on true equality vs crazed fringe issues.

    September 2003
      The Glamour Factory: Inside Hollywood's Big Studio System ~Ronald L Davis (1993) history (444 pgs)
Great depth of info on all aspects of the Hollywood movie system in mostly the '30s through '50s. Fascinating tidbits.
        The Fermata ~ Nicholson Baker (1994) novel, fiction (303 pgs)
I've loved every Baker book I've read so far, but this bizarre pornish book of a guy who can stop time, then undresses women (and that's the least of it), is a kink too kinky for me. Sad characters, and Baker's usual obsession for detail is often more disturbing than enlightening. An "experiment" in "literary porn"? Who knows, but not really working for me.
        Cities in Flight ~ James Blish (1955 - 1962) novel collection, science fiction (593 pgs)-RE-READ-
Collection of his stories of how the cities of earth have literally flown off to the stars, travelling around selling their services, and it all ends up with the literal end of time! Big, broad classic sf ideas and adventures.
        Merlin ~ Robert Nye (1978) novel, fiction (215 pgs) -RE-READ-
A different take on the Arthurian legend, with Merlin now the bastard son of the devil, a baptized Christ, as it were. Weird and raunchy, it's a quick read of this interesting offshoot off all those Arthur-based books.
        White Light ~ Rudy Rucker (1980) novel, science fiction (279 pgs) -RE-READ-
Rucker explains the afterlife through mathematics (seriously!) and a journey to life-after-death land. A favorite author.
        Software ~ Rudy Rucker (1982) novel, science fiction (212 pgs) -RE-READ-
You can be immortal by having your thoughts put into a robot body. It's an old sf idea, given a great Rucker upgrade

    October 2003
        Wetware ~ Rudy Rucker (1988) novel, science fiction (183 pgs) -RE-READ-
So, had to re-read the sequel to Software, right? Still lots of fun and loaded with great ideas. Wonder if he has written a third one since this, make it the "classic" trilogy that publishers love so.
        I Gotta Go ~ Ian Shoales (1985) essays, social satire, humor (185 pgs ) -RE-READ-
Merle Kessler's "Ian Shoales" persona from Duck's Breath Mystery Theatre, a social critic who doesn't like much of anything about society, and complains about it all in such a funny way!
        Kooks: A Guide to the Outer Limits of Human Belief ~ Donna Kossy (1994) fringe and cults (288 pgs)
I love these people, especially from a safe distance, it just makes me feel normal for a change to read all their wayout beliefs and such. Weird religion (already pretty damn weird!), science, politics, conspiracy nuts, and the unclassifiable!
        Fun Along the Road: America's Tourist Attractions ~ John Margolies (1998) travel, Americana (128 pgs)
Photos old and new of those strange roadside attractions all over America. Just wish he had put a map in here showing where these all are, so we could reference that on our trips to art festivals around the country.
        Utopia ~ Thomas More (1516) novel, social satire (154 pgs) -RE-READ-
Classic novel of the "classic" perfect society. Like all such utopia's, it seems it would only really be perfect for a small number of people, and probably not a place that the author himself would be able to stand living in for very long!
        Nightmares in the Sky ~ Stephen King (w) f-stop Fitzgerald (photos) (1988) architecture, art (128 pgs)
A nice but ultimately pedestrian collection of photos of stone gargoyles in New York City. The King text tries to make it spooky, but fails for me. (And I'm a fan of most of his work.) Just like the old Victorian mansions in horror movies, no matter how much I am told they are scary, I just think they look great, maybe need a little upkeep. (Also have a suspicion that King himself might be this "f-stop" guy....nothing to back that up, just an odd feeling...how....spooky....

    November 2003
        Carnival Culture: The Trashing of Taste in America ~ James Twitchell (1992) culture, media (306 pgs)
Goes over much of the criticism of the "decline" in quality of books, movies and television, but underlying message seems to be a good one that people should just lighten up. A little heavy on factoids at times, but overall good read.
        Little Green Men ~ Christopher Buckley (1999) novel, humor, satire (300 pgs)
A great novel satirizing the whole UFO cult mind, along with shots at Washington society, politics, and power brokers. And yes, the government is behind the whole UFO thing! Ack! Really funny stuff, need to find other Buckley books.
        Sexual Personae: Art & Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson ~ Camille Paglia (1990) literary criticism (718 pgs)
Some people have too much time on their hands. Painfully detailed over-analysis of art and literature through the ages to support a theme of decadence in art, stretched to the breaking point. I'd hate to be in this professor's class!
        The Fantasy World's of Peter Beagle ~ Peter Beagle (1978) fantasy (430 pgs) -RE-READ-
Contains "Lila the Werewolf", "The Last Unicorn", "Come, Lady Death", and "A Fine and Private Place", four superior fantasy stories from a master of the genre.
        Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber ~ Adèle Lang (1998) novel, fiction, "humor" (193 pgs)
Tale of a self-obsessed bitch (their own description), it tries to be funny in the way that "Absolutely Fabulous" was, but fails miserably. Just a relentless flow of horrible behavior by the lead character. ugh

    December 2003
        Sick Puppy ~ Carl Hiassen (1999) novel, fiction (341 pgs)
Great read, a mix of wonderfully bizarre Hiaasen characters, running around Florida, with politicians getting the main shaft of the mockery, though plenty of other targets are hit. A fun book.
        The South Beach Diet ~ Arthur Agatston (2003) diet book (310 pgs)
Yep, this one might actually work. Let's see what the scale and tape are reading at this time next year.
        The Collected Short Fiction of Bruce Jay Friedman ~ Bruce Jay Friedman (1995) short stories (400 pg)
Several dozen wonderfully quirky short stories from four decades of great writing. Unclassifiable as a group, all great.
        Timeline ~ Michael Crichton (1999) novel, sf (496 pgs)
Sure the movie is out, but who can afford to see that now? Besides, the books always have more detail. Can quibble on some of the plot points, but damn fun page-turner slam-bang adventure reading. Oh, and time travel is impossible.
        Chaucer's Canterbury Tales ~ Geoffrey Chaucer (1938) [R.M. Lumiansky trans: 1948]short stories (383pgs)
OK, I started reading with the best of intent, got to get the classics under my belt, ya know....but damn, this is hard to slog through, even in the updated (mid 20th century) prose. Ended up doing major skimming in second half. Shows it's age with references to astrology as if was real, knocks on Jews, and over-all "Christian is the only way to go" attitude, along with other 600 year old motifs. Nice cover, though.
        The Remarkable Farkle McBride ~ John Lithgow(w) C.F. Payne(a) (2000) children's picture book (44 pgs)
Fun, quick tale of a little kid who keeps mastering different musical instruments, only to grow tired of them, until he finds his ultimate musical "instrument". Great, expressive artwork on all the characters.
        The Cast-Off Recast: Recycling & the Creative Transformation of Mass-Produced Objects ~Timothy Correll & Patrick Polk (1999) art, society (148 pgs)
Broken into three parts: muffler men of Southern California; The "recyclers" of Tanzania; and a look at the shelters made by homeless people in several countries around the world; all looks at how people re-use the castoffs of society.
        How Murray Saved Christmas ~ Mike Reiss (w) David Catrow (a) (2000) children's picture book (30 pgs)
Santa is out of commission, so Murray the diner owner has to step in. Hilarious visuals that even more to the basic kid's storyline, this is a keeper.
        The Most Timid in the Land ~ Oliver Herford (w) Sylvia Long (a) (1997) children's picture book (28 pgs)
Medieval bunnies compete for the hand of the princess to determine who is the most timid in the land. A fun idea, but doesn't really have a strong ending to make it all work.
        Welcome to Hide-a-Way Hollow ~ Bill Kirchner (w) Kristi J. Pierro (a) (1988) children's pic. book (32 pgs)
Had to really search for the creator names, not on the cover, or the spine! This has the feel of a corporate project to push a TV show or something. Cute but basic stuff, and Cindy and I both mostly upset that there was a scene with a dog trying to see the bunnies leave at the beginning, and he is never brought into the story again. How heartless!
        Cover to Cover: Creative Techniques for Making Beautiful Books, Journal & Albums~Shereen LaPlantz (1995)crafts (144pgs)
A great guide for hand-made book binding of all sorts, from basic stitching to the most elaborate of multi-fold designs, with some ideas in here I'd like to develop further for some of my own small-press projects down the line.
        The Circus of Mystery ~ Maura Fazzi & Peter Kühner (w/a's) (1991) children's picture book (32 pgs)
That page count includes the end papers and covers, since the story runs through it all. Amazing artwork, in b& w and color, and combining b&w with color! Super detailed scenes, one aerial view of fairgrounds after rain, with reflections of things off page seen in the puddles, is fantastic. An extraordinarily visual book, hope these folks have/will do more.
        Sue Patch and the Crazy Clocks ~ Ann Tompert(w) Rosekrans Hoffman(a) (1989) pic book (48 pgs)
Cute story of a king with a castle full of clocks, all with different times, and the little girl who helps him set them all right.


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