04 May 2010

Merry month of May!

I plucked the review copy of One Bloody Thing After Another because its back cover featured blurbs by Kate Beaton and Ryan North, the two best webcomickers going (Hark, a Vagrant and Dinosaur Comics, respectively)--the author, Joey Comeau, writes the photocomic A Softer World with Emily Horne, and I'm pretty sure he's Beaton's roommate. No mere nepotism here, though--it was a great, twisted, blackest-humor read, about a girl with a suddenly-flesh-craving mother, her lesbian best friend, and an old man with the world's dumbest dog and an annoying headless ghost who's trying to tell him something. Fine holiday fun.

Also read Muriel Barbery's Gourmet Rhapsody, having loved her surprise-hit The Elegance of the Hedgehog (except for that gutwrenching page turn), perhaps the only NYT bestseller ever to feature a cogent gloss on Husserl in the first fifty pages. Rhapsody's story is concurrent to Hedgehog's (there's a cooler term for that; what is it? Intraquel?), about a dying food critic's mental search for the ultimate flavor. His gustatory memories are interspersed with chapters from those surrounding him, and this more or less saved the book for me, because the critic is an unabashed sonofabitch, not someone I really wanted to spend time with. Most of the other narrators couldn't stand him either, with the notable exception of his cat.

And I reread Peter Cameron's amazing, amazing The City of Your Final Destination, spurred by the recent film adaptation (which hasn't gotten great reviews, and I think they stuck Laura Linney and Charlotte Gainsbourg in the exact opposite roles they should have had). This novel (about a KU doctoral student, his preternaturally capable girlfriend, and the executors of the late German-Uruguayan novelist about whom he's trying to write his dissertation) has simply some of the best, most elegant and fluidly created characterization I've ever read, and perhaps the most well-recorded, naturalistic dialogue.

AND! I finally, for the first time in maybe two and a half years, came to the bottom of my stack of books to read, and rewarded myself with a trip to the Greenpoint branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. I checked out two collections of Lorrie Moore short stories (already read Self-Help, a razor cut to the bone), William Gibson and Bruce Sterling's founding steampunk novel The Difference Engine, and China Mieville's kids' book Un Lun Dun. Spring's finally, definitively arrived; I'm going to sit in the sunshine and read as much as I can stand.
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