December 2014: My month in books

I’ve been thinking of doing a Nick Hornby style review of what I’ve been reading for a while. I started one for all of 2014 then realized it was just a long tedious list and that I’d forgotten about lots of the books along the way. Instead, I’m going to do a monthly one. That’s one of my New Year’s resolutions.


Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel

The Redbreast (Harry Hole, #3) by Jo Nesbo

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

Last Day in Vietnam by Will Eisner

Dogs and Water by Anders Nilsen

Nobrow 9: It’s Oh So Quiet by Alex Spiro

Minor Miracles by Will Eisner

Alice Munro’s Best: A Selection of Stories by Alice Munro

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

Showa 1939-1944: A History of Japan by Shigeru Mizuki


Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco by Gary Kamiya

Lost in Mongolia: Rafting the World’s Last Unchallenged River by Colin Angus

The Sea Wolf by Jack London

Ulysses by James Joyce

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

I have once again failed to read Ulysses. It was my New Year’s resolution last year and I’m making it a resolution for 2015 too. Six years running. Maybe next year is the year. I started War and Peace while I was in Russia. The guidebook joked about it so I started it. I’m about three per cent of the way through. I remain optimistic that it won’t take me six years to read.

The other three unfinished books I just ran out of time for but I think they’ll be done by February. Fingers crossed. I like all of them though I try not to read The Sea Wolf on the Seabus.

My thoughts on Bitch in all it’s tremendous Ritalin addled horribleness have already been expressed at length. I will repeat that I hated this book and only finished it because I had to. Read one of her other books if you feel like trying Wurtzel out.

Jo Nesbo is an amazing writer whom I adore. I named my bike after one of his characters. I’m not going to tell you which. The Redbreast (Harry Hole, #3) finally came up as a hold from the library so I read my way through it. Even though he killed off a character I liked he was still up to his usual cleverness that keeps me coming back even though he is rude and kills off characters I like.

I bought The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman because I was dumb and left my ereader at home on a day off I was planning on ploughing through the horribleness that is Bitch. Instead, I had to go out and buy a book. After chatting with an employee at a local bookstore about how annoying it is that Neil Gaiman is constantly publishing brilliant work that one can never keep up with I decided to buy The Dovekeepers. One should read at least one Alice Hoffman book a year. It was the type of book that leaves you looking like you’re going to cry or beg someone for a hug in public places.

There are a few Will Eisner books I still haven’t read and I’m trying to work on that. That’s how I ended up with Last Day in Vietnam and Minor Miracles. They were good. Eisner was up to his old tricks in both. I should try harder to be more like Will Eisner and to push #wwwed.

I’ve previously read Rage of Poseidon by Anders Nilsen and it was really good. In one of my lacking self-control moments at the graphic novel section of the Burnaby Public Library I grabbed Dogs and Water. It was weird at times but good. If you’re into graphic novels he’s worth looking for.

I also picked up Nobrow 9: It’s Oh So Quiet by Alex Spiro because it looked cool. It was not cool. It was weird and horrible and a waste of paper. Live and learn.

After Alice Munro won the Nobel Price (all Canadians feel a warm glow and pride) I decided it was time to read her. I placed a hold on Alice Munro’s Best: A Selection of Stories at the library and since everyone else had come to the same conclusion as me I waited a long time before receiving a long and somewhat depressing volume that I had three weeks to read. I did not succeed. Fortunately my parents owned Alice Munro’s Best so I didn’t have to repeat the treacherous cycle. Her stories are good but not the type of thing you want to read more than one or two of at a time. It didn’t make it out to Vancouver with me so I made sure to finish it while home for the holidays.

Since The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner is a Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge Book Club selection I’ll write a separate post dedicated to it after discussing it with my sister.

I read the first edition of Showa back when I was living in Calgary and loved it. It’s taking them an annoyingly long time to translate them preventing me from just sitting down and reading them all in a row — I’m looking at you Drawn & Quarterly. Instead I had to wait and track it down at the friendly neighbourhood library in Metrotown. I actually spotted it back in October and never got around to reading it until now. Vol. 3 is out so I’ll have to track that down.