Maribou (maribou) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

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eight rose crows; dead plain portraits; Mendel's Leaky Cartooning; Orthodox Widow

The Crows of Pearblossom, by Aldous Huxley (reread)
When I was small, this was one of many picture books I adored, albeit with a starker story than most of the others, and I had no idea who the storyteller was. It just came back into print and I am amused that "the man who wrote the story about the crows and the snake" is Aldous Huxley. Whimsical, but sharp-toothed.
(56/200, 32/100)

The Eight, by Katherine Neville
Back when The DaVinci Code came out, I worked in a used bookstore. People would often ask me if I'd read it and if I liked it. I didn't like lying or giving negative reviews, and I suspected I wouldn't enjoy it much, so I never read it - that way I could say "I haven't read it, but Booksellers X and Y did and they thought it had these sterling qualities..." This usually worked a treat, but one of my regular customers once squinted at me after I used that evasion, and said, "Yeah, I don't think it'd be your thing. You strike as someone who'd like Katherine Neville a lot better." I still haven't read The DaVinci Code, but The Eight is a marvelous confection. One third Bonfire of the Vanities, one third Jean Plaidy, one third Gertrude Bell, and lashings of charm, tied together with a compelling thriller plot and topped off with a dash of the supernatural. Great fun.

Fables, vol. 15: Rose Red, by Bill Willingham et al
Absorbing and immersive and pitch-perfect. When does the next one come out??
(58/200, 33/100)

The Unwritten, vol. 3: Dead Man's Knock, by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
This one was thorny and complicated and entirely swell. I took perverse pleasure from reading the choose-your-own-adventure part straight through instead of following the paths.
(59/200, 34/100)

Two Cents Plain, by Martin Lemelman
Martin Lemelman grew up behind his parents' candy store in Brooklyn, in the Fifties. The story he tells is so vibrant and so concretely detailed that I almost felt as though I had been in those rooms, on those streets - wrestling with his brother, hearing his parents' memories of the war, making ice cream sodas, and watching the neighborhood change. The way he works photographed objects into the otherwise standard comic format is remarkable.

100 Portraits, by Barry Moser
It was interesting to see so many of these at once, and there are a few of them I'm madly in love with. They look on the page as though Moser himself in is love with most of his subjects.

Adventures in Cartooning, by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost
This is a charming show-em-don't-tell-em cartooning primer aimed at the elementary school set. It's very Ed Emberley-esque (and they give him props), but more linear/story-focused, less about the details of individual critters.

A Leaky Tent Is a Piece of Paradise, edited by Bonnie Tsui
Fresh! New! Takes on nature writing!! Aw, I kid. It was an interesting collection of essays about the natural world - though my favorite, "Courting," was about the mediated experience of nature found on the tennis courts. Worth seeking out if nature writing and/or essays are your bag as they are mine.

Mendel's Daughter, by Martin Lemelman
This was as powerful and intimate as Two Cents Plain. The subject is his mother's family's experience in the Holocaust, so it is NOT a fun or lighthearted book. Worth reading, but only when you have the strength for it.

Northlanders, volume 4: The Plague Widow, by Brian Wood et ali
Ah, stylized imaginary violence of far distant history, so much more pleasant to contemplate.
(65/200, 35/100)

Chapters for the Orthodox, by don marquis
This was an entirely odd little volume of short stories that mostly featured either the Devil, Jehovah, Jesus, or some combination of all three, traipsing around New York City and having shenanigans. Also it was written in the 30s. Also one of the stories seemed to presage the Manhattan Project, only with shades of the Rosenbergs, oh, and did I mention two of the main actors in that one were a flea and an Airedale? Yeah. don marquis is one of my favorite poets, because of his archy & mehitabel stuff, and maybe it's that familiar voice, but all the weirdness hung together for me.... in a very 1934-iconoclast way.

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