I’ve been remiss in writing about my reading! Here’s the recap of my four books from February (March coming sooner).
I’m trying to read a book each week in 2018, and you can follow along at home! Expect a mix of fiction, historical non-fiction, comics and graphic novels, and movies-related books over the next 52 weeks!
Week of February 4th
This week’s book is Cinegeek by artist Pluttark. Originally published in Europe, this looks like a kids’ picture book, but it is decidedly not. Each page is a single strip on some geeky movie topic, such as “Actors Who Were Smart to Take On a Screen Name,” or “Actors Who Might’ve Played James Bond, But … No.” The art is charming and the writing humorous, but the book is best taken in small doses of a few pages at a time. Part graphic novel, part humor book, part movie trivia tome, this is a cute time-waster if you love movies, and a bargain at $14.99.
Week of February 11th
This week’s book is a ringer, something I’ve read in the past. I’m in the middle of another book right now and not ready to write about it, so I turned to my bookshelves and pulled out a definite “desert island” book, at least for me. Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe is the definitive history of the company, from the launch of Fantastic Four #1 through the 2010s. It’s all here, warts and all. Since I firmly believe the greatest era of Marvel Comics was from FF 1 through what I term “the split” era (when Tales of Suspense, Tales to Astonish, and Strange Tales broke up into Iron Man, Captain America, Sub-Mariner, Hulk, Nick Fury, and Doctor Strange in their own titles), this book is my “bible,” the true, unvarnished history of the Marvel Age of Comics and beyond: the cosmic ‘70s, the rise of the X-Men, the Jim Shooter era, the fall into almost-ruin and bankruptcy, and the controversial era of Bill James and Joe Quesada. I could pick up this book right now and start re-reading it and enjoy every word. It’s probably the best comics history I’ve ever read.
Week of February 18th
This week’s book is Grist Mill Road by Christopher J. Yates. It’s a thriller about three middle school kids who share a life-changing experience in the 1980s and reconnect in 2008. I have to admit, this one was slow-going for me and a bit tedious. The book veers back and forth in time and reflects three different voices (Matthew, Patrick, and Hannah). When I read fiction, I know I’m going to let an author manipulate me, take me down the path (or in this case, roads) that tell the story, but hearing the same story from three different points of view in three different voices is a bit much. I’m not sure this is a book I can recommend, to be honest. It has an additional secondary character who is entirely superfluous and could have easily been eliminated from the book, thus focusing more on the reasons why things happened to the leads, and making a shorter, punchier read.
Week of February 25th
This week’s book is Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books by Paul Collins. I’ve been fascinated by the Village of Hay-on-Wye in Wales, just across the border from England, since I first discovered it here on Instagram. It is literally a town of bookstores and, as such, it’s like the proverbial heaven to me (there’s either 32 or 40 stores, some owned by the same owners, so I’m uncertain how many actual stores there are). I’m planning a trip there this fall, but Collins beat me to it, moving his family over to Hay in the early 2000s. It’s a fascinating book, where Collins writes not only about his experiences living in Hay, but also some of the weird, wonderful, and incredibly obscure books he comes across (not to mention some of the weird, wonderful, and incredibly obscure people in Hay). I look forward to my long weekend in Hay and hope I can find my way there via train and hired car later this year.
I post a new book every Monday on Instagram. Follow me at gg92101 there for the latest!