Shelf Life: December 2011

The last segment for 2011. For the full list, see 2011 Books Read.

126. The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides

Centres around Madeleine Hanna, an English major in an on-again-off-again relationship with Leonard Morten (who may or may not be David Foster Wallace), much to the chagrin of Mitchell Grammaticus, who’s in love with fair Madeleine.

It received mixed reviews, but I had fun with it. I like lit crit, deconstructionist thought, and spiritual ambiguity.

127. CBGB, edited by Jamie Hernández

An odd graphic anthology celebrating the iconic club, CBGB. Not stellar.

128. Speaking Out Louder, by Jack Layton

A new edition was issued after Layton’s death, and I bought it to learn more about his political views as he portrayed them. While gratingly over earnest at times, it wonderfully outlines what Jack was about, and how he was trying to change our world for the better.

Jack, you are missed.

129. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote

I adore Audrey Hepburn, and the film of the same name, but this is the first time I read the short story. There’s more back story here, Holly Golightly’s a bit more complex, and it certainly ends in a different place.

The other short stories in the collection were also strong. This is the first Truman Capote I’ve read, and now I see I’ve got to add more to my reading list.

130. Half-Blood Blues, by Esi Edugyan

Nominated for just about every prize for fiction, and winner of the Giller, Half-Blood Blues is told from the perspective of Sidney Griffiths, a mediocre jazz musician. Chapters alternate between then (German-occupied Paris) and now, leading up to a reunion of the surviving members of the band.

It’s a wonderful book.

131. Notes from Underground, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The big D likes his madmen, and I like them too.

132. Killdeer, by Phil Hall

Winner of the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, this is a beautiful collection.

133. Inseperable, by Emma Donoghue

The author of Room chronicles the history of desire between women as portrayed in English literature. It’s an excellent book.

134. Goodnight iPad, by Ann Droyd

A cute riff on Margaret Wise Brown’s classic Goodnight Moon, in which we bid goodnight to all manner of electronics.

135. Bonk, by Mary Roach

The science of sex. Less sexy than you’d think, and way, way more disgusting. Lots of fun.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Volume 5: Predators and Prey, by Jim Krueger

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Volume 6: Retreat, by Jane Espenson

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Volume 7: Twilight, by Brad Meltzer

I know, it’s silly, but I can’t help it. I’m helpless to see where Joss Whedon would have taken Buffy had it continued for another season.

They’re not great, but they’re not as bad as I’d feared, either.

The Walking Dead, Volume 4: The Heart’s Desire, by Robert Kirkman

The Walking Dead, Volume 5: The Best Defense, by Robert Kirkman

The Walking Dead, Volume 6: The Sorrowful Life, by Robert Kirkman

The Walking Dead, Volume 7: The Calm Before, by Robert Kirkman

The Walking Dead, Volume 8: Made to Suffer, by Robert Kirkman

The Walking Dead, Volume 9: Here We Remain, by Robert Kirkman

The Walking Dead, Volume 10: What We Become, by Robert Kirkman

The Walking Dead, Volume 11: Fear the Hunters, by Robert Kirkman

The Walking Dead, Volume 12: Life Among Them, by Robert Kirkman

Once I’d started, I just kept going, and read just about everything that had been published up to this point. I’d originally bought them for my husband, but then I wanted to see where this was going. If a cure would be found. What would happen with Lori’s baby. All the other loose threads the show and comics had strung me along with.

I found a few answers.

Hark! A Vagrant, by Kate Beaton

I heart her comic and Tumblr so much. I couldn’t wait to give Beaton actual cash.

Hark! A Vagran takes staples from literature and history and infuses them with a modern sensibility with hilarious results. Whether tackling the Brontes, mocking hipsters, domesticating Wolverine, or writing sexy Batman, Beaton is always on target. She has a gift for wonderfully expressive faces and, it’s true, butt jokes.

For more, see my recommendation on the Advent Book Blog.

Skim, by Mariko Tamaki

The story of Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a would-be Wiccan Goth who falls in love with her teacher. Heart breakingly realistic. I would have wanted to be her friend in high school.