Thursday, December 03, 2009

More books I've read in 2009

Esquire A.J. Jacobs decided to read the Encyclopedia Brittanica, all eight bajillion pages of it. In "The Know-it-all" he tells the story of his year-long foray into the fount of all earth's knowledge. This was something I wanted to do when I was a kid -- actually at one point my goal was to read every book in the Richmond Public Library -- and if I was going to do it I should have done it then back when I had a working memory. Now I'm lucky if I can remember what happened in the Buffy comic book I read last night, so my reading the encyclopedia would be like pouring water into a bottomless pit. But I enjoyed reading Jacobs's account. It's not just about what he learned in the EB, it's also about his life at Esquire, his jealousy of his super-smart brother-in-law, his stint on "How Wants to be a Millionaire", the frustrations he and his wife are having with infertility, and the problem his wife is having with his habit of spouting off irrelevant facts at inappropriate moments. But it's got plenty of useless facts he learned too. And some not so useless -- like the fact that man and dalmations are the only mammals that produce uric acid. So if you're worried about a drug test, just see if you can borrow your local fire-station's mascot. Jacobs also wrote "The Year of Living Biblically" which I enjoyed and his new one is "The Guinea Pig" which I am looking forward to.

I also read "Connective Tissue" by Bob Fingerman, who did a comic many years ago called Minimum Wage that I liked a lot, and not since that has done anything for me. Connective Tissue just proves my theory that if you leave male artists alone and let them draw whatever they want, all they'll ever draw is naked women and monsters. This book is about a video store clerk who is transported to a world where nobody wears clothes and monsters roam the street. Problem is the naked people are as grotesque as the monsters. Fingerman continues his streak (so to speak) of disapppointing me, and I'm beginning to think Minimum Wage was a fluke.

I also read "Mean Seasons" the fifth volume of Bill Willingham's Fables and enjoyed it very much. But it's been a couple days since I finished it and don't remember that much about it already (see what I mean about my memory) only that Snow White had six kids and they float around in the air.

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