10.31.2011

Reading life review: October

Books read this month: 8
Books read in 2011: 102

As I prepared this entry, I thought, But I've read so much more than this! And I have. But I have only finished those listed below. That's right: My Lobotomy (Howard Dully), World War Z (Max Brooks), Just My Type (Simon Garfield), and at least a dozen more perfectly wonderful titles perch, bookmarked and abandoned, on what can only be called a book stack of reproach. Yes, I've been serial-dating my books again -- taking a number too great to be called decent out for a burger and fries, a movie, a kiss at the door even, and then not calling.

Ah, well. There are worse things. Sign me, An unapologetically promiscuous reader. Heh, heh, heh.

The Sibling Effect (Jeffrey Kluger)
Non-fiction. Subtitled "What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us," this personal-history-laden, pop-psych bestseller made quite a splash in late September and early October for its assertion that every parent has a favorite child. (Related links here, here, and here.)

The Magic Flute (P. Craig Russell)
Graphic retelling. The Lyric will present The Magic Flute beginning in December, so, yes, we picked this up by way of an introduction. The Misses and I agree with Publishers' Weekly:
Sure and confident, Russell's art switches from tense action sequences to slapstick without missing a beat. His sense of physical characterization is also impressive, helping readers keep track of Mozart's often confusing cast of characters. Even traditionally less-recognized aspects of comics presentation, like color and lettering, here serve the story brilliantly.
We're following this up with a related entry in 100 Great Operas And Their Stories: Act-By-Act Synopses (Henry W. Simon).

Johnny Tremain (Esther Forbes)
Fiction. With the Misses. We blew right over this title when they were in middle school, but when we embarked on our U.S. history course earlier this month, both of them expressed an interest in reading it, so we did. "There shall be no more tyranny. A handful of men cannot seize power over thousands." It was just the respite we needed before embarking on October's Shakespeare project.

Henry IV, Part I (William Shakespeare)
Classic, play. With the Misses. It was seven years ago to the month that I last spent time with Falstaff.

The Belles Heures of Jean, Duke of Berry Prince of France (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1956)
Très Riches Heures: Behind the Gothic Masterpiece (Lillian Schachert)
Art. A facsimile in the Adler's "Universe in Your Hands" exhibit (related entry here) led me to these titles, which discuss the beautiful "book of hours" that is widely considered the fifteenth century's most important illuminated manuscript. You can find the images and related commentary here, if interested.

The Walking Dead: Rise of The Governor (Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga)
Fiction. Two authors on a work of fiction rarely bodes well, and this 320-page zombie-gorefest is no exception. Fans of the comic book series, the television series, or both already know Rise explains how Philip Blake became the Governor, but, the so-called "twist" is apparent early on, and really? The book adds nothing new to zombie literature, generally, or The Walking Dead, specifically. Bad fiction, like everything else, though, is certainly relative, and I can honestly say that this isn't the worst book I've read in 2011. Nope. Sarah's Key still holds that dubious honor. (Related entry here.)

Feynman (Jim Ottaviani)
Graphic biography. Both the private and public lives of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman are described in this wonderfully accessible biography, which is illustrated by Leland Myrick. You'll find an excellent review here: "The Feynman picture-book is a fine example of gekiga for Western readers." Highly recommended.