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« May, 2014 »

I got this book out not knowing that it was a story about books being challenged in the library. Enjoyed it. The good guys won. It seemed a bit two-dimensional in parts--the local religious people are really out in left field and seemingly nuts--but overall the story of the fantasy-book loving kid who lives in a place where the type of book he likes to read is seen as “evil” is well written and illustrated. Yay for good librarian characters and happy endings.

I Am Pilgrim

I can not tell a lie, I got this book as a Klout Perk and it was actually pretty good. Really good in fact. A bioterror thriller involving an inscrutable terrorist and the guy working for a shady US intelligence service who was assigned to stop him from killing everyone in the world. Very nitpicky. Very well done. It’s gotten some flack for being sort of anti-Muslim since there is a lot of negative weight given to the primary terrorist who is a bit of a zealot. I paged through this, in hardcover, zip zip zip and was sorry when it was over and sorry that there weren’t any other fiction books from Hayes to read next.

The Catch

This book seemed shorter than some of Mayor’s others and had a huge cast of characters that was a bit tough to keep up with. This time the gang goes to Maine ostensibly to straighten out a cop killing but they wind up finding out some stuff about some of their own when they are up there. I liked the story, enjoyed the cop work but got a little bogged down in the sheer number of side stories even though this book went by pretty quickly.

The Dumbest Idea Ever!

I try to read all the chunky graphic novels that come into my library. Gownley is well known for his Amelia Rules books which I haven’t read so this was all new to me. It’s a great story of basically what it’s like to be a kid with an idea in a dead-end town (mining town in this case) and trying to work on your dreams. Along the way we catch a glimpse of teen romance, Catholic schooling, good parenting and good friendships. I really enjoyed this.

Lio: Happiness Is a Squishy Cephalopod

This is more a collection of strips than a graphic novel. I saw this book in the library and thought it was more the story of a boy and his squid, but it’s so much more. It’s really weird and dark in a way that makes it mostly-palatable for a newspaper strip but only just barely. Lio is a weird kid with a penchant for creepy-crawlies, robots and other weird kid stuff. These strips have almost no words i them (no one ever talks) but they are incredibly deep and layered just the same. As a huge fan of Gahan Wilson’s “kid” character, Lio has some of the same weirdnesses, updated for this century.

Killer Year: Stories to Die For.

What a great book! I picked it up at a library book sale thinking it would be good to bring on a trip and sort of wondering how crime fiction was going to translate into short stories. I read a lot of mysteries and have read some true crime in my day but it was all book length stuff. So I went into this collection --an attempt to sort of show off some of the best short crime writing from 2008--with a bit of skepticism but it was all so good. All the stories were succinct, gripping and many stuck with me for days afterwards. Most of the stories also have introductions from other crime writers which was a really nice touch. All in all it really gave the crime writing genre a palpable feel as a thing in addition to being a great collection of readable stories which I think was part of the point.


Another story within a story here. I like it now that Gunther has moved on to different relationships. This one has a lot of his family who are characters that I really like. It also tangentially involves the budding internet which was a little weird (I generally dislike it when someone does internet-stuff and do it wrong) but it was mostly in service to the main story and didn’t try to get too technical and fail at it.

The Second Mouse

Yay, the folks are back in Vermont and interacting with each other in Vermont-y ways. I liked this one more than some of the other recent ones. Less Zigman, more Sammy and Kunkel. Gunther gets laid. We visit some tiny Vermont towns and a lot of weird loose end seeming things resolve. I liked this.

St. Albans Fire

Another totally good book by Mayor that takes place partly out of the state, this time in Newark NJ of all places. A good mystery, not as much State-of-Vermont stuff in it (or the other people besides Kunkle who I am getting a little tired of) and an ominous portent of the end of the relationship between Gunther and Zigman which might be just fine.

Who wants a cheap rhinoceros?

No idea at all why this never-checked-out book from the Silsby Free Public Library wound up on the free shelf of my local thrift store but I am glad it did. Previously published under his “fooling no one” pseudonym Uncle Shelby this book about how to play kid games with a very large rhino claims to be “revised and expanded” but for all I know that’s what the original claimed also. Silverstein’s great combination of amusing drawings and funny rhino situations make this a great book for young and old alike.


Even though a lot of Seinfeld’s early stuff can sound dated, I was surprised how funny parts of this book were. It’s just random observations about stuff, a lot of it nothing special, but none of it is off color and some of it is laugh out loud funny.