Saturday, September 12, 2009


Check out this strip from A Softer World. Happy Birthday to me.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Summer 2009 Reading Spectacular #14

Well, August was a busy month and, although I didn't read as copiously as I am usually wont to do during the month, I thought I should wrap up this year's Summer Reading Spectacular. Today, being Labour Day, marks the end of the Summer Reading Spectacular.

While vacationing, I did manage to read a few things.

First, I finished Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon, an author new to me. Dismantled concerns itself with a group of individuals who, as art students a decade ago, fancied themselves quite the revolutionaries until a fateful tragedy alters their paths. In the present, several unsettling events force them to revisit that event from their paths and threatens to expose what they've worked so hard to conceal. The author is quite masterful at jumping between times and events, revealing the mysteries of the past in increments, looping foreshadowing, fractured flashbacks, and connecting it all to the current situation. A whim purchase, Dismantled certainly kept my attention. (It's not a book for my parents, though. Ha!)

Next, I finished Trenton Lee Stewart's The Mysterious Benedict Society, a good humoured romp for young readers. Through a newspaper ad and a series of unusual tests, Mr. Benedict (or, as I like to think of him, The Mysterious Mr. Benedict) puts together a team of young spies who, using each of their unique strengths together, must get to the bottom of nefarious goings-on at a curious private school on an island. Silly and fun, I'll have to read the sequel, especially since the first chapter was provided as a sneak-peek at the back of this edition.

Upon returning home, I read American Born Chinese, a Michael L. Printz Award winning graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang. You may recall that I had to read this because it beat out The Book Thief for the award that year. Now, I believe that it's the format (it's the first graphic novel to receive the award) that eked it out the winning slot more so than any other factor, but that is not to say it's not good. The novel follows three seemingly unrelated stories all related to the Chinese American experience. The structure (yes, all three stories prove to be connected, in the end) is inventive and works well, and there is a very truthful core to the book. The artwork is clean and infused with humour (as is the story itself). (I still believe The Book Thief should have won, but I can't really begrudge this book its win, either, because it is genuinely good.)

Finally, I finished A Widow for One Year by John Irving. While in BC, I finished the books I'd brought with me and, seeing this on the shelf where I was staying, knew it was a safe choice to start, since I had the exact book on my shelf at home. I took note of the page at which I left off in BC, came home and continued with my own copy. I'm not overly familiar with Irving, though I have read and enjoyed A Prayer for Owen Meany. I'm a bit torn on A Widow for One Year, simply because it's preoccupation with characters' varied sexual appetites isn't particularly my usual fare. Still, I like Irving's writing style and the book kept me reading, if only to see where the group of distinctly flawed folk would end up.

There you have it! Another summer of reading is behind me. I don't feel like I managed to read quite as much as I did last year, but I did manage to clear a few more titles off my "to be read" shelves. Of course, I did accidentally arrive at a store for a huge book sale, so ...

Here's a photo of this summer's reads (give or take any books, like Velocity, which I may have forgotten to set aside for the photo).