Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Books read in June 2007

Here's the books I finished in June.

100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed by Melissa P. - This was billed as a semi-autobiographical book of sexual adventure, but I'll be honest, it really made me a little ill. The protagonist is much more a victim of various kinds of abuse and manipulation than a free-spirited libertine.
The Dragon Quintet ed. Marvin Kaye - Five short novels about dragons from Orson Scott Card, Elizabeth Moon, Tanith Lee, Mercedes Lackey, and Michael Swanwick. All but the last are authors I'm quite familiar with. The best of the five, in my opinion, is Lee's "Love in a Time of Dragons".
Absolutely, Positively Not by David LaRochelle - This has been on my to-read list for awhile. I have a fascination for stories about coming out, and though I usually prefer memoirs, this fictional YA account was good, with a lot of wry humor.
Elk's Run by J. H. Fialkov - Very dark graphic novel about a utopian community edging into totalitarianism.
Stardust by Neil Gaiman - I pulled this from the shelf because I realized I hadn't read it, and the movie was coming out. At the same time, I requested the illustrated version (see below) through Interlibrary Loan. The story of Dunstan Thorn and his search for a fallen star is wonderful fantasy, and I can see why Susannah Clarke chose Gaiman's village of Wall as the setting for one of her short stories. Though it's much lighter in tone, the world of Stardust bears a striking similarity to that of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.
The Skills to Pay the Bills: the Story of the Beastie Boys by Alan Light - Another long-time to-read. I've been a big fan of The Beastie Boys since I was re-introduced to their music a few years ago. This slim biography gives a great overview of their career so far.
Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein - This is billed as Heinlein's fantasy novel, but really it is more a multi-worlds book in the same vein as Job.
The war within : one step at a time by G. B. Trudeau - I picked this up on impulse while eating lunch downstairs. It collects a series of Doonesbury comic strips dealing with the character B.D.'s recovery from his Iraq war injuries. Moving and funny at the same time.
Children of Húrin by J. R. R. Tolkien - Frankly, I was disappointed by this long-awaited Middle-Earth novel. Here are some of my thoughts as published on a BBS while I was reading:
"I haven't read the Silmarillion, and [Children of Húrin] was completely impenetrable to me at first. I kept having to look at the map (which handily folds out so you can see it while reading without having to flip back and forth) to figure out what places he's talking about. I kept trying to relate them to things I know in Middle-Earth, and couldn't. Finally I looked online and learned that THE ENTIRE LAND OF BELERIAND SANK BENEATH THE OCEAN. You'd think that might be worth mentioning somewhere. [In fact, it's in the Introduction, though I didn't know it at the time] Now that I've gotten into the story and know who the major players are, I'm having more fun with it.
"I still feel like it could have been packaged better for the "only read LOTR" crowd, but I suppose that's just me being petty. The story itself was pretty good, albeit quite a downer."
Bardín the Superrealist by Max - Based on the cover, I expected this graphic novel to explicate surreallism in some way, and parts of it did, but interspersed with comics about the inane and scatalogical. I'd like to see more.
Stardust (illustrated edition) by Neil Gaiman - As noted above, I interlibrary loaned this version of the novel illustrated by Charles Vess, a favorite of mine. I did completely reread the text, and the illustrations really brought it to life. I highly recommend this edition.
Alex by Mark Kalesniko - Extremely bleak graphic novel about an alcoholic artist's struggles with commercial failure and his return to the hometown he loathes.
Plastic Man: Rubber Bandits by Kyle Baker - Highly amusing comic story about perennial DC goofball Plastic Man, in which we discover that he has a previously unsuspected son. Or does he? Baker's art here is reminiscent of Jon Krikfalusi's Ren and Stimpy TV animation. Over-the-top and lots of fun.
Blaze by Richard Bachman - I admit that, with the exception of the Red Sox book he wrote last year, I've read every single thing that's ever come out of Stephen King's typewriter. I've often been disappointed, but I always read it anyway. In this case, I enjoyed myself. Blaze is a caper novel, and is definitely darker than most of King's work. That's part of what makes it a Richard Bachman novel. There are overtones of Of Mice and Men, and no feel-good ending, but it's an exciting read, and had my emotions bouncing from pity to laughter to anxiety in a very good way.
The Blue Fairy Book ed. Andrew Lang - I was excited to see the first few of Andrew Lang's Colour Fairy Books show up in the library booksale back in May. They are collections of fairy tales from various traditions that Lang edited in the late nineteenth century. I've really enjoyed the first one, and I'm working my way through the Red Fairy Book now.

Total June reads: 15. Total YTD: 76

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