Showing posts with label Authors on My Radar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Authors on My Radar. Show all posts

Interview With Josh Kornbluth

Photo of Josh Kornbluth
So after recently listening to Ben Franklin...Unplugged by Josh Kornbluth, I decided I would try to hunt him down through Twitter and interview him for Abbreviated Audio.  I've been a huge fan of Kornbluth since I watched Haiku Tunnel (a film that made it into my top films of all time list).  He has a self-depricating humor that he is able to use to spin out some many great tales and observations about how we (or rather he) does things.  The film and the audiobook are both worth checking out when you have the chance.  

The interview was a lot of fun and can be found here at Abbreviated Audio.  What was so great about Kornbluth is that he came across as the same man one sees in the film and on the audiobooks.  I'm sure there is some filter, but he was both genuine and funny, which made me totally geek out about the interview.  Definitely check it out if you have the chance!


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Recommendations: The Graphic Novel Edition

Previously, I've provide an extensive list of recommendations on education books as well as another post on recommendations for social media books.  Now, I'm jumping into another realm of interest of mine:  graphic novels.  Apparently as of this writing, I've read over 1400 graphic novels in my life.  I guess that would mean that I have some experience and knowledge in this arena, right?  

Well, let's hope so.  Here is my list of the best of the best.  They are broken down into a couple categories--not by genre, really, but by single-volumes (e.g. 1 shot graphic novels), complete American series (multi-volume graphic novel series--often originating in comic form), complete Manga series (multi-volume manga series), and ongoing graphic novel series (series I am enjoying that are still publishing new volumes).  


The reasons why these stories make the list varies.  Much of the time, it's because of the power of its story but some are definitely a mixture of story and art.  (e.g. Gareth Hinds and anything with Jeff Lemire). Regardless, any of them are a good time!

Book Cover:  New York: Life in the Big City by Will Eisner.  Image Source: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2368/2221789420_4b3ea07be6.jpg

GRAPHIC NOVELS



  • Benson, Gabriel, and Jeff Amano. Fade from Grace. Berkeley, Calif: Image Comics, 2005. Print.
  • Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. Print.
  • Busiek, Kurt, and Alex Ross. Marvels. New York, N.Y: Marvel Comics, 1994. Print.
  • Cunningham, Darryl. How to Fake a Moon Landing: Exposing the Myths of Science Denial. New York: Abrams ComicArts, 2013. Print.
  • Eisner, Will, Will Eisner, Will Eisner, and Will Eisner. The Contract with God Trilogy: Life on Dropsie Avenue. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. Print.
  • Eisner, Will, Scott McCloud, and Denis Kitchen. Life, in Pictures: Autobiographical Stories. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2007. Print.
  • Eisner, Will. Will Eisner's New York: Life in the Big City. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. Print.
  • El, Rassi T. Arab in America. San Fransisco: Last Gasp, 2007. Print.
  • Fleming, Ann M. The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam. New York: Riverhead Books, 2007. Print.
  • Gipi, . Notes for a War Story. New York: First Second, 2007. Print.
  • Gladstone, Brooke, Josh Neufeld, Randy Jones, and Susann Jones. The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media. New York: W.W. Norton, 2011. Print.
  • Goodwin, Michael. Economix: How and Why Our Economy Works (and Doesn't Work) in Words and Pictures. New York: Abrams ComicArts, 2012. Print.
  • Gross, Milt. He Done Her Wrong: The Great American Novel. Seattle, Wash: Fantagraphics Books, 2005. Print.
  • Guggenheim, Marc, and Paul Gulacy. Squadron Supreme: Hyperion Vs. Nighthawk. New York: Marvel, 2007. Print.
  • Gruenwald, Mark, et al. Supreme. New York, N.Y: Marvel Comics, 1997. Print.
  • Hickman, Jonathan. The Nightly News. Image Comics, 2007. Print.
  • Hinds, Gareth, and William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare's King Lear: A Graphic Novel. Cambridge, Mass: Thecomic.Com, 2007. Print.
  • Hinds, Gareth, and Homer. The Odyssey: A Graphic Novel. Somerville, Mass: Candlewick Press, 2010. Print.
  • Hobbs, Eric, and Noel Tuazon. The Broadcast. Chicago: NBM Publishing, 2010. Print.
  • Johnson, Mat, Warren Pleece, and Clem Robins. Incognegro. New York: Vertigo/DC Comics, 2008. Print.
  •  Kuper, Peter. The System. New York: DC Comics, 1997. Print.
  • LaRiccia, Michael V. Black Mane. S.l.: One Time Press, 2005. Print.
  • Lemire, Jeff. Essex County. Atlanta: Top Shelf Productions, 2009. Print.
  • Lemire, Jeff. The Underwater Welder. Atlanta: Top Shelf Productions, 2012. Print.
  • Mathieu, Marc-Antoine. The Museum Vaults: Excerpts from the Journal of an Expert. New York: NBM, 2007. Print.
  • Mazzucchelli, David. Asterios Polyp. New York: Pantheon Books, 2009. Print.
  • McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. New York: HarperPerennial, 1994. Print.
  • McCloud, Scott. Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels. New York: Harper, 2006. Print.
  • Millar, Mark, Dave Johnson, and Kilian Plunkett. Red Son. Santa Monica, Calif: Titan, 2004. Print.
  •  Miller, Frank, Klaus Janson, Lynn Varley, John Costanza, and Bob Kane. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. New York, N.Y: DC Comics, 2002. Print.
  • Miller, Frank, and David Mazzucchelli. Batman: Year One. New York: DC Comics, 2005. Print.
  • Moore, Alan, and Kevin O'Neill. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Vol. 1, 1898. La Jolla, CA: America's Best Comics, 2000. Print.
  • Moore, Alan, David Lloyd, Steve Whitaker, Siobhan Dodds, Jeannie O'Connor, Steve Craddock, Elitta Fell, and Tony Weare. V for Vendetta. New York: Vertigo/DC Comics, 2005. Print.
  • Moore, Alan, and Dave Gibbons. Watchmen. New York: DC Comics Inc, 1987. Print.
  • Morales, Robert, Kyle Baker, and Robert Morales. Captain America: Truth. New York: Marvel Pub, 2009. Print.
  • Normanton, Peter. The Mammoth Book of Best Horror Comics. London: Robinson, 2008. Print.
  • Ottaviani, Jim, and Leland Purvis. Suspended in Language: Niels Bohr's Life, Discoveries, and the Century He Shaped. Ann Arbor, MI: G.T. Labs, 2004. Print.
  • Pedrosa, Cyril. Three Shadows. New York: First Second, 2008. Print.
  • Peeters, Frederik. Blue Pills: A Positive Love Story. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008. Print.
  • Reed, Gary, and Galen Showman. Renfield: A Tale of Madness. Berkeley, CA: Image Comics, 2006. Print.
  • Rodionoff, Hans, Keith Giffen, and Enríque Breccia. Lovecraft. New York: DC Comics, 2003. Print.
  • Ruth, Greg. Lost Boy. New York, NY: Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic, 2013. Print.
  • Ryan, Johnny. The Comic Book Holocaust. Oakland, Calif: Buenaventura Press, 2006. Print.
  • Ryan, Johnny. The Klassic Komix Klub. Oakland, CA: Buenaventura Press, 2008. Print.
  • Satrapi, Marjane, and Marjane Satrapi. The Complete Persepolis. New York: Pantheon Books, 2007. Print.
  • Spiegelman, Art. The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale. Pantheon Books, 2011. Print.
  • Straczynski, J M, John Romita, Scott Hanna, Dan Kemp, and Richard Starkings. 'nuff Said. New York: Marvel Comics, 2002. Print.
  • Tatsumi, Yoshihiro, Adrian Tomine, Taro Nettleton, and Yoshihiro Tatsumi. A Drifting Life. Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2009. Print.
  • Tezuka, Osamu. Mw. New York: Vertical, 2007. Print.
  • Tezuka, Osamu, and Camellia Nieh. Ode to Kirihito. New York: Vertical, 2006. Print.
  • Tobocman, Seth. Disaster and Resistance: Comics and Landscapes for the 21st Century. Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2008. Print.
  • Tobocman, Seth, Eric Laursen, and Jessica Wehrle. Understanding the Crash. New York: Soft Skull Press, 2010. Print.
  • Tobocman, Seth. You Don't Have to Fuck People Over to Survive. Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2009. Print.
  • Vaughan, Brian K, Niko Henrichon, and Todd Klein. Pride of Baghdad. New York: DC Comics, 2006. Print.
  • Waid, Mark, and Alex Ross. Kingdom Come. New York, N.Y: DC Comics, 1997. Print.
  • Walker, George A, Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, Giacomo Patri, and Laurence Hyde.Graphic Witness: Four Wordless Graphic Novels. Buffalo, N.Y: Firefly Books, 2007. Print.
  • Ward, Lynd. Vertigo. New York: Random House, 1937. Print.
Book cover: Ex-Machina Volume 1 - Brian Vaughan

COMPLETED AMERICAN COMIC SERIES



  • Bluesman by Rob Vollmar
  • Boys by Garth Ennis
  • Cartoon History by Larry Gonick
  • DC: The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke
  • DMZ by Brian Wood
  • Earth X series by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger, et al
  • Ex Machina by Brian K, Vaughan
  • Incorruptible by Mark Waid
  • Irredeemable by Mark Waid
  • Preacher by Garth Ennis
  • Rising Stars by J. Michael Straczynski
  • The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
  • Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire
  • Y the Last Man by Brian K, Vaughan
Book cover: Buddha Volume 1 - Osamu Tezuka

COMPLETED MANGA SERIES 



  • Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo
  • Barefoot Gen by Keiji Nakazawa
  • Buddha by Osamu Tezuka
  • Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba
  • Parasyte by Hitoshi Iwaaki
Book cover: Fables Volume 1 - Bill Willingham

ONGOING GRAPHIC NOVEL SERIES



  • The Walking Dead by Kirkman, Robert
  • Fables by Bill Willingham
  • Invincible by Robert Kirkman
  • The Unwritten by Mike Carey  
  • Powers by Brian Michael Bendis
  • The Manhattan Projects Jonathan Hickman,
  • The Best American Comics Series

What are your favorites when it comes to graphic novels? 




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Short Story #5: A Clean, Well-Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway

Title: A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

Author: Ernest Hemingway

Short Story #5 out of 365

Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)


Date Read1/1/2014
SourceThe World's Greatest Short Stories, Dover Thrift Edition, edited by James Daley.  The story can also be found on Archive.org.
Book cover: Worlds Greatest Short Stories - Dover Thrift Ed

Summary

Two waiters banter back and forth while waiting for an old deaf gentleman to leave the cafe.  Finally, the impatient and younger waiter of the two grows frustrated enough that he cuts off the old man so he can go home.  The older waiter scolds the younger for not understanding and appreciating what the old man seeks which is "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" to sit and drink at into the night.  The cafe represents this where the bars, homes, and other such places do not.  The younger waiter does not understand this and rushes home to his wife whereas the older waiter lingers and eventually lands in a bar, lamenting in his mind about a deep sorrow.


Reflection

It's definitely Hemingway.  Men lamenting about being men, short pithy dialogue, singular action, and though not directly mentioned, I imagined long moody stares into emptiness.  The older waiter's lament is fascinating as he moves into saying the Lord's Prayer but replacing all major words with "nada" instead of the actual word (akin to Smurf talk actually). 

The value of a "clean well-lighted place" for a man to drink in the evening is a fascinating one especially in relation to the "Nada" Lord's Prayer as Hemingway seems to suggest almost something religious and spiritual about the act.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.



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Short Story #4: The Grasshopper and the Bell Cricket by Yasunari Kawabata

Title: The Grasshopper and the Bell Cricket

Author: Yasunari Kawabata

Short Story #4 out of 365

Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)


Date Read:  1/1/2014
Source:  The World's Greatest Short Stories, Dover Thrift Edition, edited by James Daley.  The story can also be found on this website.
Book cover: Worlds Greatest Short Stories - Dover Thrift Ed

Summary

The narrator stumbles upon a group of children at night hunting for insects.  They each carry a homemade self-styled lantern (often made from an empty carton).  As he watched, one boy claims to have found a grasshopper.  He stirs up excitement with the other children asking who wants the grasshopper.  A girl asks for it and he reaches into the bush and grabs hold of it.  When he pulls it out and offers it to the girl, she states that it is a bell cricket.  When they both lean closer to look at it with their lanterns, the boy's name, which is part of the stencil on the lantern is projected onto the girl's breast while the girl's name which is part of the stencil of her lantern is projected onto the boy's wrist.  The narrator observes this instance and muses on the nature of their future relationships and the ideas around meeting grasshoppers who are really bell crickets and vice versa.


Reflection

I read this story aloud to my partner and it was a good thing too as she caught the fact that the lights projected the names onto each other's bodies which I had missed.  There is much more going on here than I can fully comprehend but I think some of that has to do with cultural representations of grasshoppers and bell crickets but I don't know enough about Japanese culture and tradition to really pull much from it.  Instead, the story felt to me like a bit of whimsical observation on behalf of the narrator about youth's potential and malleability but also permanence.  The potential and malleability is represented in their lanterns and the idea of a grasshopper turning into a bell cricket and permanence in names being written and branded upon one another.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.



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Short Story #3: The Path to the Cemetery by Thomas Mann

Title: The Path to the Cemetery

Author: Thomas Mann

Short Story #3 out of 365

Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)


Date Read1/1/2014
SourceThe World's Greatest Short Stories, Dover Thrift Edition, edited by James Daley.
Book cover: Worlds Greatest Short Stories - Dover Thrift Ed

Summary

The story starts with introducing the reader to a path to the cemetery that parallels the highway.  Soon, the reader is introduced to Piepsam Lobgott (Praisegod), a sad figure of a man who wanders the path to the cemetery to those few souls who ever loved him.  They are reside in the cemetery and he has fallen into a life of drinking.  When a young man on a bicycle rides past Piepsam on the footpath instead of the highway, Piepsam reproaches him and threatens to report him.  Long after the boy has left (who is nameless but the narrator addresses as "Life" in that he represents all that Piepsam has lost; beauty, youth, carelessness, etc), Piepsam yells and screams until he collapses.  The gathered spectators sent for men from the hospital and though in all likelihood, Piepsam is dead at story's end, I also wonder if he is actually dead or just gone mad and catatonic.  One wonders at this point if that is a moot point.


Reflection

I'm not sure I have read anything of Mann.  I may have but have since forgotten it or maybe was supposed to read it and never did.  I'm not quite sure.  But I liked this story.  The pacing is what struck me most.  It had a slow and meandering start as the narrator introduces the reader to the path, makes mention of things that are not relevant, but the pace quickens as we meet Piepsam, learn about his past and see him unleash his anger upon "Life."  As I read it aloud (I find myself increasingly enjoying reading these stories aloud), I found myself speaking faster with no discernible explanation other than the story seemed to demand it.

Additionally, like Short Story #2: How Old Timofei Died With a Song by Rainer Maria Rilke, this story had an intriguing first sentence:  "The path to the cemetery ran always parallel to the highway, always side by side until it reached its goal, that is to say, the cemetery."  That Piepsam is the sole walker of this path tells the reader that he is indeed the most likely to end up in the cemetery.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.



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Short Story #2: How Old Timofei Died With a Song by Rainer Maria Rilke

Title: How Old Timofei Died With a Song

Author: Rainer Maria Rilke

Short Story #2 out of 365

Rating: 4 (out of 5 stars)


Date Read1/1/2014Book cover: Worlds Greatest Short Stories - Dover Thrift Ed 
SourceThe World's Greatest Short Stories, Dover Thrift Edition, edited by James Daley.  The story can also be found through Google Books.

Summary

The narrator  is telling a story to a paralyzed man about a famous singer of songs named Timofei in Russia.  The narrator explains that songs are passed along from generation to generation and when written down lose some of their power to move people.  The narrator retells Timofei's tale in that his son ran away with a servant girl leaving him the singer all along in his older years.  As the man closely approaches death, the son returns after having ditched his family.  He learns some of the many songs the great singer has in him but eventually, the father dies and the son is left to become the singer.  When the narrator finishes, the paralyzed man asks why the son never retrieve his family (since Timofei was the reason for the son not bringing them back).  There is no answer to this but the narrator notes that the son died alone.


Reflection

I liked the oddity of this story.  I haven't too much Russian literature nor German for that matter (the anthology marks Rilke's story as a story from Germany, but clearly it has a strong Russian focus) but this story seemed to have exotic elements of Russian fiction.  Right from the first line ("What a real joy it is to tell stories to a paralyzed person!"), it grabbed me.  The line itself made me wonder if this was going to be a story akin to something Poe would write but instead, it was a much more humbling and basic story (basic in the sense that it represented a near-universal element of human fret, loneliness and isolation).  There's some fascinating parallels that occur in this story between the narrator and his fascination with the paralyzed man and the problematic relationship between Timofei and his son (who ends up alone).  I also liked the nod to oral tradition and the challenge of preserving oral tradition from one generation unto the next and how that is a very delicate chain.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.



Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email. 

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End of the Year Part 1: Reading

With 2013 over, I met my goal of over 365 books.  I read a lot of great books in the last year.  I gave a good amount of ratings between 2 and 4 stars but I reserve the 1 or 5 star ratings for special books.  This year, I found 19 books worthy of the 5-Star rating, which averages out to less than 1 out of 20 books or just under 5% of the books I read this year.  It has been an interesting trip through reading this year.  I read over 140 books more than I did in 2012.  And in total, I read about 150 traditional "books" and over 250+ graphic novels.  It was definitely a reading-intensive year.  But as is the case with any endeavor, you hit some great books and some not so great books.  Looking back, I see that I gave 5-star reviews to more books than I previously thought I did and gave a lot less 1 star reviews than I thought I might have.
Word Cloud of Books Read
Word Cloud of Books Read

My Rating System

I follow the 5 star reading of Goodreads since I use that as my tracking system for books read over the years.  
5 Stars:  It was amazing.  This means that it is a must-own and that it is in all likelihood the first book to rise to my head when recommending books on particular subjects.
4 Stars:  Really liked it.  It was a great read but I might have found some fault with it where I took issue with the argument, ideas, plot, evidence, etc.  I'll still likely want to own it and recommend it, but it's not without some flaws.
3 Stars:  Liked it.  Enjoyable for sure but didn't impress or move me.
2 Stars:  It was Ok.  I finished it and it had something redeemable about it, but not quite what I was looking for.  Mildly engaging but my life would be fine without having read it.
1 Star:  Did not like it.  Entirely unimpressive, disappointing, or potential drivel.

The 5 Star list for 2013:

  1. My Word!: Plagiarism and College Culture by Susan Blum
  2. A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy Who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She is Today by Kate Bornstein
  3. The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind by James Boyle
  4. Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives by Nicholas Christakis
  5. How to Fake a Moon Landing: Lies, Hoaxes, Scams, and Other Science Tales by Darryl Cunningham
  6. Experience and Education by John Dewey
  7. Modern Scholar: How to Think: The Liberal Arts and Their Enduring Value by Michael Drout
  8. In the Body of the World: A Memoir by Eve Ensler
  9. The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum by Temple Grandin
  10. Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business by Jeff Howe 
  11. Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier
  12. The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia by Andrew Lih
  13. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  14. You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself by David McRaney
  15. Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville
  16. Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger, and Citizens More Powerful by Beth Noveck
  17. The Lost Boy by Greg Ruth
  18. Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris
  19. The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial: A Drama In Two Acts by Herman Wouk

The 1 Star List for 2013

  1. Grifter, Vol. 1: Most Wanted by Nathan Edmonson
  2. The Answer! by Mike Norton
  3. Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglass Rushkoff
  4. Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match by Amy Web
  5. Webb, Amy
Apparently, I read a lot more good than bad if we measure by the extremes.  Most of my reads sat somewhere between 2 and 4 stars.

All in all, it was an interesting challenge that I enjoyed.  I don't think I would do it again as intentionally as I did this year (that is, set a goal of doing it), but I am glad I did it.  I do like the idea of having reading goals each year and changing it up to keep it challenging (just like one should change their workouts to keep their body in shape).  For 2014, I am aiming to do a short story a day as that will offer it's own set of challenges.
Word Cloud of Authors Read This Year
Word Cloud of Authors Read This Year

Here's the month by month breakdown.



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Short Story #1: The Fortune-Teller by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis

Title:  The Fortune-Teller

Author: Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis

Short Story #1 out of 365

Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)


Date Read1/1/2014Book cover: Worlds Greatest Short Stories - Dover Thrift Ed 
SourceThe World's Greatest Short Stories, Dover Thrift Edition, edited by James Daley.  The story can also be found here on the Project Gutenberg website.


Summary

Rita visits a fortune-teller that tells her that her lover, Camillo will not leave her.  Camillo, an agnostic to all things spiritual chafes her for doing so as he is afraid it will expose their illicit affair to her husband (and his good friend).  Camillo stays away for Rita for some time, until an urgent message from her husband, Villela, requests his presence.  Camillo's anxiety about Villela's intent (Does he know?) holds him back until he stumbles upon the same fortune-teller that Rita visited.  He enters and she assures him that he and Rita will be fine.  Somehow assured by the mystic, Camillo races toward Villela's home, finding new inspiration and faith in the spirit realm.  Upon entering the house, he finds Rita dead and Vilella quickly dispatches him.


Reflection

Having first come across Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis this past summer when I read an anthology of his, I was familiar with the elements in this story such as the love affair, the mystic, complicated relationships, and even, older women in relationships with younger men; all of it is common ground for Machado de Assis.  The twist at the end I slightly anticipated but was surprised how brutal and quick it came.  I very much like Machado de Assis's stories as he's able to forge such rich worlds, particularly around relations and culture in such brief stories.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.



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365 Books a Year Challenge: 46 Books in December

I have finished by quest to read a book a day and did a bit better (though more accounting the amount of graphic novels than anything else).  I read 412 books this year. Not too shabby!  With the end of the semester and some down time, I was hoping to read more traditional books but being hit with the flu and then the cold, made reading a bit harder.  However, I still had a good mixture of reads that I enjoyed.  So here are some of the best reads this month.

Newtown: An American Tragedy by Matthew Lysiak

Lysiak offers an investigative look at the Sandy Hook mass shooting in December 2012.  It's a powerful and intriguing book that balances the facts with the emotion.  He introduces the reader to all of the major people involved, sharing their history and they potential.  He does nto sugarcoat things but at the same time, he proves respectful in his descriptions.  It is a fascinating look at what unfolded and more importantly, a good look at the complexity of the challenges around mass shootings.
Book cover:  Reducing Gun Violence.  Source: http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1357930583l/17220135.jpg

Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis by Daniel Webster

Hand in hand with the above book is this book which was also born out of the Sandy Hook massacre.  While Lysiak's book puts a face to the events and challenges around mass shootings, Webster's collection of essays by different authors approach the mass shootings from any analytical vantage point, using research and existing evidence around gun violence to determine ways and opportunities of reducing it.  It offers many different approaches, none of which are monumental or unachievable and many of which do not necessarily challenge most people's thoughts around legality and appropriate level of response.  

Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger

Mayer-Schönberger offers an interesting look at what the world can look like with the increasing use of big-data t reveal correlations and connections of access.  There is certainly much to be concerned about as he points out in using big data to identify correlations over causations, but there is much to gained and it will be a tightly-walked line (if done right).  The book helps to better explain what is meant by "big data" and the myriad ways it can be used (or has been used) to improve the world.

Scared Straight: Why It's So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why It's So Hard to Be Human by Robert Minor

Minor's book is rather complex for the lay reader but extremely profound and useful for everyone as it identifies the elements of "straight culture" that reinforce a variety of expectations, demands, and problems in our culture.  He teases out a variety of perceptions about how our culture pushes people towards being "straight."  He's careful to distinguish between being heterosexual and being straight, seeing them as quite different.  That is, heterosexuality is understood as the desire and attraction to members of the (perceived) opposite sex whereas "straight" is the ways that attraction is expected to be displayed.  It's a powerful book that many could glean much from as it comes to how we understand our own and others sexuality.
Book cover:  The Lost Boy by Greg Ruth.  Image Source:  http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1365465556l/17265276.jpg

The Lost Boy by Greg Ruth

Ruth's The Lost Boy threw me for a loop.  I anticipated it to be just another graphic novel to enjoy but he craftily assembles a story that fits into the tradition of The Neverending Story, Labyrinth, or the Bridge to Terabithia.  It is a typical fantasy coming-of-age story of a boy who moves into a house where he discovers that another boy has gone missing and gets entangled in finding out what happened to the "lost boy."  I found the art and the story just well developed and engaging.  I may have to go back and read some of his other stuff.  

Reading Tallies for Each Month

So for a recap of the previous months and what I've read, you can check out the link listing below or check out my Goodreads profile for a listing of all books read this year (and previously).
So that my reading challenge for 2013.  I've honed in on my challenge for 2014 and will be updated everyone on that shortly.  For those that have actually read and kept up to date with my ramblings on my monthly readings-thanks!

BOOKS

  • Social Media for Educators: Strategies and Best Practices by Tanya Joosten
  • Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe by Tim Leong

AUDIOBOOKS

  • Culture and Anarchy by Matthew Arnold
  • Increasing Our Longing to Help Others by Pema Chödrön
  • The App Generation: How Today's Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World by Howard Gardner
  • The Motherfucker With the Hat by Stephen Adly Guirgis
  • Wayne of Gotham by Tracy Hickman
  • Newtown: An American Tragedy by Matthew Lysiak
  • Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger
  • Scared Straight: Why It's So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why It's So Hard to Be Human by Robert Minor
  • Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis by Daniel Webster
  • Pretty Fire by Charlayne Woodward
  • The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial: A Drama In Two Acts by Herman Wouk

GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • Wolverine: Season One by Ben Acker
  • All-New X-Men, Vol. 3: Out of Their Depth by Brian Michael Bendis
  • Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown
  • Vader's Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown
  • Sex: Book One: The Summer of Hard by Joe Casey
  • Iron Man: Season One by Howard Chaykin
  • Avengers Assemble: Science Bros by Kelly Sue DeConnick
  • Monkey King, Volume 1: Birth of the Stone Monkey by Wei Dong Chen
  • Harbinger Volume 2: Renegades TP by Joshua Dysart 
  • Harbinger Vol. 3: Harbinger Wars by Joshua Dysart
  • Fantastic Four Volume 2: Road Trip by Matt Fraction
  • Fantastic Four, Vol. 1: New Departure, New Arrivals by Matt Fraction
  • Goliath by Tom Gauld
  • Invincible Universe Volume 1 by Phil Hester
  • The Manhattan Projects, Vol. 3: Building! by Jonathan Hickman
  • Cable and X-Force, Vol. 2: Dead or Alive by Dennis Hopeless
  • Uncanny X-Force, Vol. 2: Torn and Frayed by Sam Humphries
  • Uncanny X-Force, Vol. 1: Let It Bleed by Sam Humphries
  • Green Lantern, Vol. 3: The End by Geoff Johns
  • Daredevil: Season One by Antony Johnston
  • The Walking Dead, Vol. 19: March to War by Robert Kirkman
  • Hawk and Dove, Vol. 1: First Strikes by Rob Liefeld
  • The Savage Hawkman, Vol. 2: Wanted by Rob Liefeld
  • Batman Incorporated, Vol. 1: Demon Star by Grant Morrison
  • Lazarus, Vol. 1: Family by Greg Rucka
  • The Lost Boy by Greg Ruth
  • The Superior Spider-Man, Vol. 3: No Escape by Dan Slott
  • The Joker: Death of the Family by Scott Snyder
  • Thor: Season One by Matthew Sturges
  • Batman and Robin, Vol. 3: Death of the Family by Peter Tomasi
  • X-O Manowar Volume 3: Planet Death by Robert Venditti
  • X-Men, Vol. 1: Primer by Brian Wood
  • The Massive, Vol. 2: Subcontinental by Brian Wood

So what did you read in the last year that you found enjoyable, useful, or inspiring?




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