Sunday, May 01, 2016

Read in April

I'm still running behind -- I type this sentence on June 18, which is substantially later than I'd prefer -- but I feel like I'm catching up. In any case, these were the books I read back in April, which is when I stopped dragging an extra graphic novel around most days, and so the list shrank substantially.

One might think this would mean that I read more substantial books, or got through novels more quickly. But not really -- I've come to believe nothing is ever as simple as we'd like. I did it, I think, because most of the things below were library books, so they all had to go back at a particular time. (I also think I got back into Fallout Shelter this month, which stole a lot of commuting hours that should have been used for reading.)

Matthew Diffee, Hand Drawn Jokes for Smart Attractive People (4/4)

Diffee is one of the younger breed of New Yorker cartoonists -- meaning he's roughly of my generation rather than a fixture there since the mid-60s -- and this book is a more carefully designed and organized version of the typical collection of single-panel cartoons. There's some connective text, all of it looking like Diffee hand-lettered it, which may actually be the case. But the point of the book is to see a whole bunch of cartoons, and Diffee delivers there.

This is obviously only for people who enjoy the arch, elliptical New Yorker style, in the same way that mystery novels aren't for people who hate reading about murders. (That should go unsaid, I suppose, but a lot of things that should go unsaid have to be made clear far too often.) I think Diffee has a nice, soft-pencil style, and does the New Yorker-style cartoon very well, so I enjoyed a big book of his cartoons.

Tim Powers, Salvage and Demolition (4/5)

Anonymous, ed., Classic Put-Downs (4/10)

This clearly was a book for the smallest room in the house, and that's where I read it. It served well there, being a heavily designed book of nasty quotes from famous people, loosely organized into thematic categories mostly based on the occupations of the nasty people. It's not a book anyone would or should ever seek out, but it was perfectly adequate for what it was.

Catherynne M. Valente, The Boy Who Lost Fairyland (4/14)

John Allison and Lissa Treiman, Giant Days, Vol. 1 (4/18)

Bill Bryson, The Road to Little Dribbling (4/21)

May books will be coming up next, sometime in the future.

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