book

Nervous Dream Cats; Unfamiliar Divine Awakening; Gifted Fear Outage; Nimona Unto Letters

Flutter, vol. 2: Don't Let Me Die Nervous, by Jennie Wood et al
Wanted this second graphic novel in the series enough to buy it, even though I'm trying not to buy things. Glad I did. It was very interesting in the way that makes me want to keep a book around. Gender stuffs, but also power stuffs.
(100, O3)

On Cats, by Doris Lessing
There's a lot of inaccuracy presented as truth in this book (at least as far as cat psychology and biology are concerned), but I really don't care, because 1) it's obvious how much Lessing cares about and is fascinated by her cats, 2) lots of stories about cats, and 3) Lessing seems to be one of those writers I could read and love no matter the topic. I haven't tested 3 out very hard yet, but so far, it does appear to be true.
(101)

Bear's Dream, by Janet Slingsby
Decent story about a teddy bear dreaming he is with all different kinds of bears. The illustrations are better than the text, but the text has the rare virtue among children's anthropomorphic books of not contravening biology. Er, I mean, other than the part where bears, both real and toy, can talk and all that. The *ecology* is sensible, is more what I'm appreciating here.
(102)

The Question of the Unfamiliar Husband, by E. J. Copperman and Jeff Cohen
You know, I can't decide if this mystery, whose protagonist is a man with Asperger's who works admirably hard at having a satisfying life (including going into business as a question-answerer), was more awkward and sometimes implausible-for-that-character than the first one, or if I am just more critical now that the OMG BEST PROTAGONIST EVAR excitement of the first one has worn off. Either way, I really enjoyed the book, still, and am digging on the series, still. At its best, it is all of the good things I want in a mystery novel.
(103)

The Divine Hours, vol. 2: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime, by Phyllis A. Tickle
I am still fitfully engaging with the liturgy / devotional practices of my childhood, and over Advent I was very much less fitful. The Advent prayers, hymns, psalms, etc in this volume made it even better than the other two... though perhaps it's just that Advent is my favorite season.
(104, O4)

Star Wars: Before the Awakening, by Greg Rucka
My inner fangirl was so happy with this, as it made some goofy things from the movie make more sense, and did not introduce anything new that irritated me. Plus! Greg Rucka! Can write in any genre like nobody's business! Clean, sharp, the kind of writing that seems effortless but probably takes a hell of a lot of work to pull off.
(105)

All Men Fear Me, by Donis Casey
Eighth volume in the Oklahoma-set Alafair Tucker mysteries. Sometimes they get a little heavy on the exposition, but in a way that I find endearing. Mostly I just love these characters, and their stories, so much. And I appreciate that even though she keeps bringing in new characters (and/or making quaternary characters central to a particular story), they always *fit*, feeling like part of the story right away. I wish I could have 5 or more books this good, in this series, TODAY, but I will be patient and appreciate the long, careful process the author takes with each new title. This series has, if anything, gotten better with age.
(106)

The Firefly Letters, by Margarita Engle
So I really don't like most novels written in free verse, insofar as it's just not a style that I enjoy at novel length. Especially YA novels, which are often (not always) verbally simpler than an adult novel-length poem would be. So it's no surprise that I didn't enjoy the style of this book nearly as much as I would've the imaginary book that the same author wrote that was, you know, a NOVEL novel. But that is hardly her fault. And it's a really good story. And the images are vivid.
(107)

The Gifted, by Gail Bowen
Oh boy. Another series mystery where I feel like the early books were much tighter, cleaner, and generally more well-revised than they are now. (Also, the crime that gets solved? happens about HALF-WAY through the book. Sign of bloat.) BUT, also another series where I'm really fond of the characters, I want to know what they're up to, and the best-written scenes have just as much sparkle and power as the earlier books did. *makes hand-wavey gesture* What're you gonna do?
(108)

Harley Quinn, vol. 2: Power Outage, by Amanda Conner et al
With this book, Conner's Harley grew into all the potential I saw in the first book, and then slammed her way through my expectations and gave me more. Lobo-esque self-parodying wit, tons of plot, and art that keeps you wanting to turn pages all the way through.
(109)

Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson
As if the universe said, "What would be the perfect graphic novel for Maribou right now?" and then Noelle Stevenson made it. So many loves for all the parts of this book that if I start gushing, I'll be writing until tomorrow. And spoil the book for you. Just read it!
(110)

Do Unto Animals, by Tracey Stewart, illustrated by Lisel Ashlock
As a text on how to deepen your relationships with the animal kingdom, I didn't particularly enjoy this book. Way too many points of departure between me and the author, and the stuff I do think is good is either much more basic than I need, or outside my interests. However!!!!!! The artwork is amazingly wonderful, classic fauna/flora style (almost like Beatrix Potter? but a bit more robust and less British; shades of Merian and Audubon, sort of thing). If you like those kinds of pictures, you should absolutely take a look at the book, because it is copiously illustrated (almost every page has something great). If you are intrigued by the art but will not be picking up the book (or even if you will be!), you could always take a look at Lisel Ashlock's website.
(111)


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Oh My Goodness, y'all! For the first time since I don't even know when (July? May?), I AM CAUGHT UP ON BOOK POSTING. Feels good. *wanders off to read some more books*
  • Current Music
    Mister Rogers theme song
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General Snow Day; Little Western Jumpers; Sleeping Persephone Promise; Collected Burning Queen

The Snow Day by Komako Sakai, and Snow, by Sam Usher
The Snow Day was adorable and odd and imagination-stirring (it also had a protagonist that different reviewers have gendered differently, which I found cool). Which was awesome, but did make me like Snow less, since it is merely cute and amusing, and I read them close together.
(88, 89)

The General, by Janet Charters, illustrated by Michael Foreman; and The Moon Jumpers, by Janice May Udry, illustrated by Maurice Sendak
Two classics from my childhood that I had forgotten about, but fell in love with all over again on a second reading. Both texts are just exactly how they should be. The art for The General is whimsical and resplendent, while the art for The Moon Jumpers is innocent and dreamlike, with a touch of deeper mystery - so both illustrators matched their wonderful texts wonderfully well.
(90, 91)

Little Long-nose, by Wilhelm Hauff, illustrated by Laura Stoddart
A curious and enchanting fairy tale from outside the usual canon. I wish more fairy tales that involve spending seven years as a squirrel were INSIDE the canon, and this one is definitely a good candidate. Stoddart did a swell job with the illustrations, too.
(92)

Beyond the Western Deep, vol. 1, by Alex Kain et al
Charming anthropomorphic fantasy comic; the first volume was too short for me to really get invested in it, but I'm curious about what will be next.
(93)

Persephone, by Warwick Hutton
Beautiful, spare, well-illustrated retelling of the myth that I found most compelling (and beautiful and disturbing) as a child.
(94)

Sleeping Beauty, by Mahlon F. Craft, illustrated by Kinuko Craft
Kinuko Craft is one of my favorite illustrators of all time, so I loved this book, but mostly for intimate, art-related reasons. For example, I spent several minutes staring at one of the dresses' brocades, and tracing the pattern with my finger.
(95)

The Promise, by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Laura Carlin
Beautifully illustrated but ultimately frustrating picture book. Just too bluntly didactic and oversimplifying for me. But! Still worth it, because a) it started out well, and b) the illustrations.
(96)

Stella, Queen of the Snow, by Marie-Louise Gay
Delightful. Still enjoying the formula of this picture book series, and the artwork is vibrant and playful and carries the reader along.
(97)

Bryant & May and the Burning Man, by Christopher Fowler
Oh man. Did I enjoy this? Yes. Would I have enjoyed it if I weren't already so fond of most of the characters in the series? Really not sure I would've. I wish there wasn't so much pressure on later series volumes to get published quickly instead of thoroughly edited ... or maybe the editor just wasn't very involved. Either way there were large chunks of this that read woodenly. The splendid parts were as splendid as ever, though.
(98)

Ted Harrison Collected, compiled and commented on by Robert Budd
Beautiful, beautiful lithographs, with very little commentary. Despite the title, it is not every Ted Harrison Art ever, but rather only covers the prints he made. Some of my favorites were included, including some old favorites I'd forgotten about.
(99)
  • Current Music
    I can hear the drums from the church service next door
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Little Wolf's Jack; Authentic Marmalade Gruffalo; Frog Moon; Sister Doctor

Jack & Jim, by Kitty Crowther
Cute story, sweet pictures. Predictable but likable message.
(78)

The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My, by Tove Jansson
After years of adoring the Moomin novels and only slightly less adoring the comic strips, I thought it was about time I got around to this picture book. It was charming, vivacious, but not as wonderfully odd and hopefully melancholy as the novels are. Ah well.
(79)

The Wolf's Whistle, by Bjorn Rune Lie et al
Meh. I wanted to like this comic-booky twisted-fairy origin story of the Lone Wolf a lot better than I did. The story was inventive, the pictures were funny - and yet I felt nothing. *shrug* So it goes.
(80)

Orlando (The Marmalade Cat) Buys a Farm, by Kathleen Hale
A mad, glorious splendor of a book. Stuffed full to bursting of asides that don't make sense, but after about 3 pages one stops trying for sense and starts being excited to see each new surreal business that the author will depict with careful, harmonious brushstrokes. Wish these were easier to find. Kathleen Hale is the bomb. (The one sour note was a page about playing Indians that made me cringe at how awkwardly well-meaning racist it was - but that's a sign of the era in which the book was written...)
(81)

The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler
This picture book was just as good as The Snail and the Whale (by the same duo), except - I'd already watched the movie adaptation. And FOR ONCE the movie was so faithful to the book that it ended up being better than the book even though the book is excellent. How often does that happen?
(82)

The Authentic Bistros of Paris, by François Thomazeau, photography by Sylvain Ageorges
Started this on my lunch hour, meant to just flip through it for a few minutes before returning to another book I was in the middle of, ended up reading this one cover to cover instead. It's too out of date to be completely practical as a guidebook, but the pictures and the descriptions and the warmth the authors feel toward the bistro workers are all wonderful. One can always look up interesting places online for updates.
(83)

A Frog Prince, by Alix Berenzy
Modern retelling of the Frog Prince with a twist ending. The twist ending was alright, only alright. The illustrations were lovely, albeit not a patch on whomever illustrated the one I read most as a child. Would be pleased to read this to a kid if they wanted me to, though, which is something.
(84)

Whatever Happened to My Sister?, by Simona Ciraolo
I loved this almost-comic-book story about a girl worrying over her older sister's bizarre behavior. It was funny and emotional and quite real (even the predictably happy ending - I don't mind them when they fit the structure of the rest of the story properly).
(85)

Moon Man, by Tomi Ungerer
Surreal and dreamlike story about the man in the moon coming down to earth. I could see how incredibly well-done it was, but I didn't fall in love with it.
(86)

Doctor De Soto, by William Steig
Ha! My dentist had this book in his waiting room as a kid, and I went there frequently (non-fluoridated water supply), so I read this at least 7 or 8 times back then. Was afraid it wouldn't hold up but it totally did. Funny and wise.
(87)
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    listening to Dear Sugar
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Carry Children's Perfect French; Princeless Christmas: Dirty Old Ex Term; Eloise Elephant; Cat Tales

Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell
I avoided this book for some time because I thought it would be fanfic that the protagonist of another of her books wrote, and that had so much possibility for going horribly wrong. However! It was not, it was just her OWN story set in that YA fantasy world, and it was fabulous. I was deeply engrossed. Managed to critique / parody the genre without being as harsh as the Magician Trilogy, kept its balance very well throughout, and I am very fond of the characters. Plus Rainbow Rowell novels are incredibly dialogue-heavy and I love love love all the voices she uses. So basically I was in heaven almost the entire time.
(63)

100 Great Children's Picturebooks, by Martin Salisbury
So I THOUGHT I was done with gulping down picture books, once I got past the "best of 2015" and associateds, and then I read this book! A historical / visual feast for anyone who enjoys picture books and/or book history, fairly academic in tone, but personal enough to keep it interesting. I liked it even more than I expected to because it's quite British / European in its orientation, whereas most of what I see along these lines is quite American. So this book presented lots of books that either I'd never heard of, or that I had loved as a child and then forgotten all about. So much fun to read! And resulted in me library-borrowing about 60 more picture books.
(64)

Ultimate French: Advanced, by Living Language, and Perfect Your French, by Jean-Claude Arragon et al
Practicing for when I go to Paris in March! I have no idea what good they'd be as a proper study of the language, but as a way of getting the rust out of a language one used to be fluent in, they were pretty decent. Lots of things to read and listen to, and while I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the grammar, the explanations seemed solid enough. I think the Living Language one was better, but they both had their upsides.
(65, 70)

Princeless, vol. 4: Be Yourself, by Jeremy Whitley et al
Purest gleeful fun in a comic book. If The Wicked and the Divine wasn't my favoritest newish series, this would be. (And my inner 11 year old thinks the Wicked and the Divine is confusing, and has no idea why this isn't my favorite! BECAUSE IT IS AWESOME. My inner 13 year old, who really loves the sweet, matter-of-fact hints of romance between some of the female characters, agrees.)
(66)

A Newbery Christmas, edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Charles G. Waugh
Most of these stories are quite old, and only a few of them were remarkably good, despite all of them having been written by Newbery Medalists. The remarkable ones were delicious, and the rest were unremarkably good and created, as an assemblage, a very cosy, Christmasy feeling that was quite welcome.
(67)

Ex Machina, vol. 7: Ex Cathedra, vol. 8: Dirty Tricks, vol. 9: Ring Out the Old, and vol. 10: Term Limits, by Brian K. Vaughan et al
OK, first of all I really really liked this series, even the last few irritating volumes, and I understood the ending even if it was very frustrating. Second of all, I need to start remembering that Brian K. Vaughan writes endings that I find supremely obnoxious, and adjust my expectations accordingly - the middle of his series will always be best for me, it seems. Third of all, I really don't like it when I get the feeling that comic book people are trying to parody the whole woman-as-object thing, but ACTUALLY enacting it (book 8, I'm mostly looking at you, you better look embarrassed!). Volume by volume, 7 was great, 8 was vexingly full of jarringly-not-fitting-with-the-series-so-far drawings of a pin-up girl distraction (she never really rose to the status of an antagonist), 9 was fine though the self-insertion was pretty silly, and 10 was awesome until stuff started moving into the place for the VERY ANNOYING ENDING. Sigh. But you know what? Vaughan's so dang good that I will keep setting myself up for this again and again, guaranteed. Because the stories are worth it.
(68, 69, 71, 72)

Tales from Aesop, retold and illustrated by Harold Jones
Cute illos, very plainspoken retelling. I loved it because it was exactly like the one I read and loved as a child - finally found out who the author/illustrator was!
(74)

Eloise in Paris, by Kay Thompson, illustrated by Hilary Knight
I still love how daffy Eloise is. Fun to read about her in Paris when I am getting ready to go to Paris. Interesting (not offensive, not appealing, just interesting) how her rich-girl-ness shows up in all the minute details of the story, not just the big picture stuff.
(75)

The Guest Cat, by Takashi Hiraide
A gentle, melancholy story that is told in a very very Japanese way. It also has a very very Japanese way of feeling like a happy story even though much of what it contains is sad. Some lovely imagery. Good understanding of cats. Sympathetic characters (especially the titular cat).
(76)

Elephant Don, by Caitlin O'Connell
The content of this book was super interesting, about male elephants in Namibia and their ever-shifting social connections. The writing was quite good - particularly good at making one feel like one was actually there observing with the author - but badly needed more copy-editing. I copy-edit as a hobby (or more of a compulsion that finally has an outlet, really), so I *often* think books need more copy-editing, but I almost never mention it because I know how complicated such things are. This book? REALLY needed more copy-editing. Wish U of Chicago had been able to accomplish that; I would've enjoyed the book more for not being pulled out of it by a glaring mistake every few pages (sometimes more than once per page!).
(77)
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    KMRB is playing Bach
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28 Sail Itch; Penguin Person Thing; Mean Flea; Snow Treasures

28 Days, by Charles R. Smith Jr., illustrated by Shane W. Evans
A poem and illustration about each of 28 different African-Americans of historical note, in honor of Black History Month. Mostly I liked the illustrations (great!) better than the poems (reasonably good!), but some of the poems were AMAZING.
(53)

The Book Itch, by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
I was hesitant to read this picture book because I'd already read the author's (excellent) middle grade book about the Mich(e)aux family and I was wary of boredom setting in. But I'm so glad I read it! It is GLORIOUS, all the things I liked about the middle grade book and some new things too. Most of all, the illustrator is a FREAKING GENIUS who brought the story of Lewis Michaux and his African National Memorial Bookstore to gleeful, vibrant, powerful life in a way that the text alone couldn't have managed. Such a gem!
(54)

Sail Away, by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Ashley Bryan
Sadly, most of the illustrations in this compilation of Hughes' poems about the sea didn't really work for me. Also, while I loved some of the poems (I reread one of them 8 times), I also found myself thinking "Who is the audience for this?? The pictures are for young kids and the poems talk about sex and death!?!?" That said, there were a couple of pages where everything pulled together and there was magic happening. Just wish that could've been the case throughout.
(55)

Love Is My Favorite Thing, by Emma Chichester Clark
Sweet picture book about a misbehaving dog, told from her perspective. Didn't totally work for me, but I was charmed enough that I requested the collection of illustrated blog posts about the same dog through interlibrary loan.
(56)

The Penguin Lessons, by Tom Michell
This was actually one of the first books I read this year (just forgot to log it right away), and I absolutely loved it. Michell writes in exactly the way I like about his relationship with a FREAKING RESCUED PENGUIN, and then to top that, it is ALSO a story about a British expat living in South America, and it is ALSO a boarding school book, and it is ALSO full of frankly acknowedged ambiguities. Another one of those books where I feel like the author was playing "things that will delight Maribou bingo," and won on 5 or 6 sheets at once.
(57)

How to Be A Person, by Lindy West et al
Ennnnnnh to this supposed guide for teenagers about to head off to college. Lindy West shows signs of being a writer I will frequently enjoy, and so I wanted to delve into her back catalog. Except this isn't just by her, it's by a ton of people who were writing for the Stranger at the time. And it isn't (mostly) earnest a la Incomplete Education, it's mostly tongue in cheek and snarky and mean and people thinking they are funny when I very much think they are not. That said, there were some excellent chapters, just not enough of them.
(58)

Let it Snow, by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
Perfect anotidote for the previous book - teen romance novellas, Christmas, a blizzard, connected plots / overlapping characters, and I was reminded (yet again) that I really dig Maureen Johnson and should provide my inner teenager with more of her books. (I already knew how much said teenager loves John Green, and Lauren Myracle was ... out of her league compared to the other two, but perfectly acceptable.)
(59)

Lola Levine Is Not Mean!, by Monica Brown
Early reader chapter book with spark and verve enough that I'll be reading the sequel. Lola is no Clementine or Ramona (at least not yet), but who is?
(60)

Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection, by David A. Hanks et al
Sooooooooooooooo many pretties. Got interested the Driehaus Collection after some friends visited the mansion/museum where it is housed. Excellent, creative photography of the collection (which is more lamps and vases - including some vases I'd never seen anything like before - and not so many windows), and satisfying accompanying text.
(61)

The Story of Diva and Flea, by Mo Willems, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi
Cute picture book for slightly older kids. The author's love of Paris and the illustrator's love of the tale the author is telling both shine through. High marks for fun.
(62)
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    KMRB is playing Bastille's "Flaws"
desert sea

After Trouble Saga; Forest Rutabaga; Treasury Escapes Crushed Monkey; Tower of MARTians

Saga, vol. 5, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
I think this is my favorite Saga yet. The Lying Cat is also my favorite animal companion at the moment. <3.
(41)

Get in Trouble, by Kelly Link
Sometimes I say, "Ugh, I don't really like short stories.." and then I follow it up immediately with a list of except fors. Kelly Link is almost always at the top of my except for list. I particularly appreciated that many of these stories were quite long, which made me like them even more. Kelly Link, man. *resists the temptation to stop writing this post, go find ALL the Kelly Link stories, read or unread, and then do nothing but read them until they are all gone*
(42)

Never After, by Laurell K. Hamilton, Yasmine Galenorn, Marjorie M. Liu, and Sharon Shinn
Four relatively fluffy non-traditional fairy tales. I particularly liked the one by Marjorie M. Liu (which is good, 'cause that one was why I picked up the book). Not a huge fan of the Galenorn story, too awkwardly I Am A Paranormal Romance for me. The other two were excellent.
(43)

The Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Fairy and Folk Tales, by Theresa Breslin, illustrated by Kate Leiper
What an absolutely wonderful book. The illustrations glow with life, the stories fall trippingly off the tongue. So glad I own another book by this pair; I'm saving it for a day when I can curl up with it and forget the rest of the world exists.
(44)

Stella, Fairy of the Forest and Roslyn Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth!, by Marie-Louise Gay
The Stella book was charming, funny, and full of love in the same way as Any Questions was, hurrah! Roslyn had adorable illustrations and was fun, but would not have jumped out at me as a "more of this author please"... so I'm glad I didn't read it first.
(45, 46)

The Amazing Hamweenie Escapes!, by Patty Bowman
Meh. Turns out that some wonderful books do not need a sequel after all. And this was one of them. Funny awkward pictures, droll text - but just didn't have the spirit and frankness of the first book.
(47)

Finding Monkey Moon, by Elizabeth Pulford
A delicate, warm story about searching for that one stuffed animal most kids have that they cannot do without, after it goes missing. Made me want to figure out which box my Lambie was in and rescue him. The night time pictures are cosy inside and mysterious outside.
(49)

MARTians, by Blythe Woolston
Dystopia that's more about imagining experiences than world-building. Notably fond of Bradbury. Pulled me in and kept me there. Wry and oddly kind.
(50)

Tower of Thorns, by Juliet Marillier
Oh ho! The Blackthorn and Grim series has hit its stride now that there isn't so much need for exposition. Really hope she has another one out soon. (Also, nearly every time I read a Juliet Marillier, or even read a review of one of her books, I go make a little note in my books-to-read file that says READ SOME MORE JULIET MARILLIER. I shudder to think how many of those notes are in the file by now...)
(51)

Ms. Marvel, vol. 3: Crushed, by G. Willow Wilson et al
A lot of the Marvel Universe stuff in this one, which I don't really read enough of the other titles to fully appreciate (she's bonding with who to the what now?) - but there were some really poignant moments, some really kick-butt moments, and a decent amount of jokes. Makes me feel like an 11-year-old to read this series, in a good way.
(52)
  • Current Music
    "Won't you be my neighbor?"
eye

Lost Daily Brock; Mother Wilfred Snow; Open Fire; Take Amazing Lions

Some Things I've Lost, by Cybele Young
So utterly beautiful that I neither remember if there was a story nor care. Really gorgeous papercrafting work.
(31)

Daily Rituals, by Mason Curry
Short bloggish pieces (it used to be a blog) about various writers' daily rituals. You'd think it would get monotonous, but as a pick-up-put-down book? It totally didn't.
(32)

We Forgot Brock!, by Carter Goodrich
Goofy but fun kid's picture book about a kid and his imaginary friend. Satisfying ending.
(33)

The Big Snow, by Jonathan Bean
Sweet, plausible story about a kid's excitement waiting for a big snowstorm to start. Adorable pictures, too.
(34)

Mother Bruce and Wilfred, by Ryan T. Higgins
Mother Bruce is one of my favorite picture books EVER. Maybe even better than some of my favorites as a little kid, she whispered cautiously. I laughed and laughed and laughed. I even snorted a couple of times, and lost it completely once. Wilfred, an earlier book of his, was good too - not nearly as good as Mother Bruce, but that just means Higgins is at the top of his game right now. I can't wait to read his next book! (And I'll probably read another of his old ones.)
(35, 48)

Fire Engine No. 9, by Mike Austin
Picture book for very young kids, full of delicious onamatopeia and lots of bright colors.
(36)

Open Very Carefully, by Nick Bromley, illustrated by Nicola O'Byrne
Kind of silly meta book about a crocodile on a rampage within the very! book! you! are! reading! right! now! I am the world's hugest sucker for kid's meta books (imprinted early on The Monster at the End of This Book), so I quite enjoyed it. Not particularly transcendant of its genre.
(37)

Take Away the A, by Michael Escoffier, illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo
My brain has a big hole where the memory of this book should go. How odd. I know I very much liked it and I remember marveling at the process of translating a book of wordplay from French to English... but that's all I got. Sorry! Even without remembering it, I do feel confident that if you like kids' alphabet books that are weird, and/or if you like wordplay, you will enjoy this too.
(38)

Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible, by Stan Lee et al
Graphic memoir by Stan Lee (with help). It was a) highly entertaining and also b) complete self-hagiography. Sometimes unintentionally a, due to b, but often intentionally a - Stan Lee can certainly tell a good story. I imagine you either saw "graphic memoir by Stan Lee" and are going to read it no matter what anyone says, OR would only read it if it was actually amazing, fantastic, and incredible. It is not those things. But it was fun.
(39)

Counting Lions, by Katie Cotton, illustrated by Stephen Walton
Lovely lovely black and white animal photography that also serves as a pretty decent counting book for kids. I can't imagine that the kids who are the right age for needing said counting book will have ANY interest in the conservation message, which is aimed more at like 10 year olds? (or maybe at parents, I guess) But whatever was needed to get these beautiful pictures on the shelves, I will accept.
(40)
  • Current Music
    I have Mr. Roger's "Look Carefully" song stuck in my head. Could be worse.
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Wicked Divine Wonder Questions; Chronic Southern Nebula; Santa's Rabbit; Attic House

Any Questions?, by Marie-Louise Gay
A completely delightful picture book FAQ by a widely beloved Quebecois writer. Lots of anecdote and side funny bits and even a complete example story that is a very fine story all on its own merits. I was surprised by how great this book is!
(21)

The Wonder Garden, by Jenny Broom, illlustrated by Kristjana S. Williams
Now this one is gilt-laden and ENORMOUS (width/height, not thickness), so it was no surprise at all that it was lovely and well made. The illustrations, which predominate, weirdly manage to be both Victorian AND hypermodern at once, which continues to puzzle and fascinate me, and the accompanying text is very factual without being dry. 9 year old me would've been attached at the hip to this book.
(22)

The Wicked + The Divine, vol. 1: The Faust Act and vol. 2: Fandemonium, by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie et al
The only thing better than falling madly in love with a new comic book series, is doing so and then finding out that you like the second volume even better than the first. Has entered the pantheon of Maribou-approved comics. (It's a very small pantheon that doesn't include many of the titles I am currently enjoying - it may eventuallly, but then again it may not - so this is a Big Deal.) MORE PLEASE.
(23, 73)

Nebula Awards Showcase 2014, edited by Kij Johnson
I wanted to start getting back into these with the volume edited by Kij Johnson, because I was quite sure that her additional selections would be very readable and interesting. And they were! Hurrah. Backstory: when I lived in a small place growing up, our unusually large-for-its-population-base library had just about EVERY volume of Nebula, Hugo, etc., award winners. And I read just about EVERY volume they had. Realized during last year's Hugo business that I missed reading those, as well as the Year's Bests that I started reading mostly in college. (Think I read some *really old* Year's Bests as a kid, but nothing contemporary.) Such anthologies used to be the 2nd most common way I had of finding new non-YA authors to devour. (The first way was randomly pulling things off the SF paperback rack without paying attention to series order, cover art, or blurbs, then reading the first few pages and a middle page to see if I felt interested. It worked better than you might think.)
(24)

How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness: A Mindful Guide, by Toni Bernhard
No such book is ever going to be perfectly pitched to teach me only the things I need to know (or need reminding of) without talking about other stuff that I either already knew or feel decidedly skeptical about. That said! This had a positive, gentle, helpful and non-saccharine tone that I really appreciate. It was frank about the author's own struggles. The chapters are pleasingly short, which demonstrates the author's practical insight into what chronically ill people need out of a self-help book. And I learned stuff. Actually, sometimes now when I get stressed out about medical things, I hear my own version of stuff the author said, pointing out a different perspective. Which is so far more helpful than annoying, if only just. So I think some other people might also find it helpful? I'm always so hesitant to recommend this sort of book because I dread other people forcing self-help books on me. But I'm glad I read it. If nothing else, hearing that lots of the things I've figured out on my own are ALSO the opinion of someone who sells books on the subject? Allows me to feel smug;).
(25, O2)

A Very Southern Christmas, edited by Charline R. McCord and Judy H. Tucker
These were friendly, warmhearted stories and I at least mildly enjoyed all of them. A few were downright excellent. However, I never really stopped being annoyed that when they say "Holiday Stories from the South's Best Writers" in the subtitle, what they MEAN is "the South's Best White Writers." I think it was probably a bad marketing decision, but regardless, the hyperbole inadvertantly underlined the samey-ness of the stories and left a bad taste in my mouth about how sometimes racism can be as simple as ignoring what should stare you in the face. Too bad. As I said, the stories were good to excellent. (And I do realize that if I go back and reread a bunch of old SF best of anthologies, similar sorts of sameyness will rear their heads from time to time. But I'll be *ready* for those...)
(26)

Poems in the Attic, by Nikki Grimes
A charming story, well-illustrated, that is probably my least favorite set of Nikki Grimes poems ever. Whenever I'm unimpressed by a book from an author I like, I feel like the fault must be in me, not them.
(27)

In the House of the Wicked, by Thomas E. Sniegoski
*sings the tasty tasty theological urban fantasy song* The stakes are really ramping up here, and this was one of the best books in the series. Really looking forward to the rest.
(28)

Santa's Favorite Story, by Hisako Aoki, illustrated by Ivan Gantchev
This was some illustrator's favorite Christmas story, and the illustrations are impressively magical. (I'll probably go on a Gantchev binge at some point.) The story is fine, but did not catch my heart.
(29)

Rabbit Ears, by Amber Stewart, illustrated by Laura Rankin
This OUGHT to be the sort of didactic story I don't care for, given that the entire point of the book is to get kids to be less avoidy about bathtime, which isn't even the sort of goal that I care about. So that's TWO strikes (one for being didactic and one for not choosing something that matters to me personally to be didactic about). However, the book is so darn cute (both illustrations and words), and the emotional give and take so realistic (I mean, for human kids, not for bunnies :D), and the solution to the dilemma so plausible - that I loved it! I'm always extra pleased when that happens. I'm not sure it would actually convince any little kids to do what the author wants them to do, but I think they might enjoy the story and then be sneakily tricked into lowering their defenses on the topic of washing, generally. Unless they were rotten little cynics like I was at that age, in which case they would probably deconstruct the rhetorical traps used by the story and drive their mothers up a wall! But grown up me is nonetheless all aswoon over TEH CUTE.
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