Saturday, February 28, 2009


Originally uploaded by drelk3
Check out this awesome bird photo my dad took. Any birder types know what kind it is? I'm too lazy to look it up.

Friday, February 27, 2009


I was on the air for the first time since 2006 this afternoon (barring the day-after-Christmas show where I accompanied Keith) and you can see my playlist here! Aren't you sorry you missed it? :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

2009 book 45

Jayne Anne Phillips' Lark and Termite
I've never read a book by Jayne Anne Phillips before--I think I was mixing her up w/ Jayne Anne Krentz, and assumed the books would be schlocky. Luckily, I read a good review of this novel, which focuses on a girl and her disabled brother in the 1950s, interspersing their stories with that of his father, a soldier in Korea. Anyway, I liked it a lot, and am sorry for ignoring Phillips' novels all these years! A-.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Hilarious article from the AV Club on yet another Obama comic book cover. This is something I deal with every day I work at the comic book store--the Obama/Spiderman comic book is still a huge seller, even on the fifth printing. A lot of people seem to be buying it for novelty purposes or as a souvenir, but there are some serious Obama memorabilia collectors as well. Savage Dragon #145 (as mentioned in the linked article) has a whole bunch of variant covers--my favorite (for amusement/bemusement reasons) involves Obama giving Savage Dragon a fist bump. Tres presidential! For realsies, though, I find the Obamamania of comic books (and its buyers) to be endlessly entertaining.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

2009 book 44

Christopher Fowler's The Victoria Vanishes
This is apparently the fifth book in a series I've never heard of before, centering on the Peculiar Crimes Unit of the London police, with the usual cast of police characters. Their mystery deals with a woman who is murdered in a pub that vanishes overnight. I will say the reveal was pretty engaging and interesting, though an early chapter that's totally shoehorned in is obviously going to figure importantly later--I wish Fowler had fit it into the story better. Anyway, B.

things and stuff

Andy Richter will be reunited with Conan . . . as his new announcer. (!!!) This seems like a step down for Richter, but I'm psyched to see them together again. In June. Sigh.

Salman Rushdie is such a bitter douchebag. (Though I do agree w/ him about Benjamin Button.)

This history of American women authors looks pretty cool.

Pearls before Swine is doing a whole week of Yiddish-related comics.

Snapple is going to start using real sugar instead of HFCS. Yum!

Monday, February 23, 2009

2009 book 43

Nancy Werlin's Rules of Survival
I always forget that I don't usually like National Book Award winners or nominees, and this YA novel about three siblings trying to survive their crazy mother was no exception. B-/C+.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

2009 book 42

Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Translated from the French, this novel centers on two of the residents of a fancy Paris apartment building--the middle-aged concierge and the twelve year old daughter of a well-to-do family, both of whom are pretending at mediocrity. Their lives intersect when a Japanese man moves into the building. I'm not sure how to describe this book--the usual "lovely" doesn't quite cut it. All the characters are great and I totally cried at the end. A.

Friday, February 20, 2009

2009 book 41

Kathryn Stockett's The Help
This novel--about a young white woman and two black maids who embark on a project together in Mississippi in 1962--has gotten mostly positive reviews and has already shot onto the bestseller lists. I will say that it's very readable, though I had a few problems with it--primarily that it squicks me out when white authors write from the POV of black people and use dialect. I think I would have given this a B+, but then I read the author's note at the end about how she loved her own black maid when she was growing up in Mississippi, and that made everything just awful and pretentious and white liberal guilt-ish. I don't know why her editor let her include it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

sad tv news, etc

Boo!! Apparently the Middleman won't be coming back to TV, which sucks, b/c it was pretty much the best show ever. A finale will be presented in comic book form. As someone who's read the Middleman comics, I'm pretty disappointed--it's just way better with Matt Keeslar and Natalie Morales delivering the hilarious zingers. I'm totally buying the DVD (even though I own all the eps from itunes) and hope lots of you buy it too, and maybe ABC Family will bring this amazing show back. I just don't understand why they're all over a crapfest like Secret Life of a Pregnant Teenager and her Very Annoying and Cliched Classmates when they could be airing a show that's actually good. Sigh!

Other stuff:

Here's the text of Haruki Murakami's speech on accepting the Jerusalem Prize. That guy rocks.

Proof that Snuggies are evil.

Kate Beaton does Scott Pilgrim.

2009 book 40

Josh Bazell's Beat the Reaper
A hitman-turned-doctor in witness protection is ID'd by a patient and stuff happens. Most of this book was entertaining (though somewhat glib, and the footnote got a little tiresome), but the last part was so gross that it gets downgraded to a B-.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Multimedia message

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Originally uploaded by wordnerdy
Gratuituous cat picture--JB jumped into the cabinet when I was getting a cereal bowl this morning.

2009 book 39

Kent Haruf's Eventide
The sequel to Plainsong is pretty depressing, which I'd forgotten, but it's still a good read. A-,

Monday, February 16, 2009

2009 book 38

Kent Haruf's Plainsong
After reading Blue Heaven, I decided to reread my favorite book featuring gruff but kindly old men who take in a pregnant teenager. I love those characters so much that I always forget there are other people in this book too, with stories just as powerful. A.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

2009 book 37

C.J. Box's Blue Heaven
I reread the entire Powers series today and was in the mood to read something else sort of gritty and noir-ish, and this thriller filled the bill well enough. It's about two kids who witness a bunch of corrupt ex-cops commit murder, and then become targets themselves. My favorite literary archetype, gruff old man with a heart of gold, was featured prominently, so this gets a A-.

Friday, February 13, 2009

great comics

I spent the afternoon going through my many boxes of comics and trying to organize them a little; as a reward, I've been rereading two of my all-time favorite series, Castle Waiting and Bone. They're also both pretty steady sellers at the comic book store--Bone is especially popular w/ the 6-8 set, but almost-30-year-old me enjoys it quite a bit too. :) If you're ever looking for something to read, you can't go wrong with either of those series--Bone finished its run a long time ago, but has been coming out again in color more recently, and Castle Waiting is an ongoing series that has a few different collected editions (I especially like this one, which collects the first couple of mini-series and looks like a classic fairy tale).

Now I'm getting ready for a geek night in--Dollhouse and BSG!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

links etc

I took a break from reading today after my 6-books-in-2-days book binge. Here are things to tide you over:

Anne of Galactic Gables.

Check out these awesome art cars! I like the floppy one.

Everything else I've shared lately was time sensitive and seems silly now--sorry!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

2009 boks 34, 35, 36

P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast's Chosen, Untamed, and Hunted
Why yes, I did stay up way too late last night and rush home this evening so I could finish all the books in the series (so far? I mean there's been five books, but only like three months of story, so I imagine there will be more). Anyway, in these the Goddess-worshiping, element-dealing, basically Wiccan Special vampi(y)res have to battle evil and whatnot--the usual plotlines. And though the writing is totally silly and awkward, and the protagonist falls in love with a new dude every five minutes, I seriously could. not. stop. reading these! Yay teen vampire books?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

2009 book 33

P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast's Betrayed
The second House of Night novel (terrible series name, but what can you do) starts off being kind of terrible and predictable, but actually got pretty exciting toward the end. It's sooooo Harry Potter meets Twilight, with the super-Special protagonist and her band of merry friends, but it's totally a fun guilty pleasure.

2009 book 32

Toni Jordan's Addition
A woman who's totally OCD and obsessive about counting starts dating a guy and her life inevitably changes. I got this from the library b/c I loved the cover--all multicolored polka dots on a blue background--but it was a pretty good read. B+.

2009 book 31

P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast's Marked
Yay, I found a new series of teen vampire books to read! The Casts, a mother-daughter writing team, spell vampire w/ a Y ("vampyre") so you can probably guess a little bit about the books from that. Anyway, it's sort of a Twilight meets Harry Potter thing, where teenagers suddenly start going through the capital-C change into vampires, and then get toted off to vampire boarding school. No, really. Protagonist Zoey is part Cherokee and the book merges Goddess vampire mythos with Cherokee ancestor spirits mythos in a fairly entertaining way. Everyone is sexy and whatnot, but this first falls strongly on the moralizing side of things (blow jobs and pot are explicitly bad). It's pretty much what you would expect--outcast teenager finds her niche and a motley crew of friends at vampire school, finds out she's Special, takes on the head bully girl, and gets involved with the requisite teen vampire hottie. Also, the writing is somewhat terrible--lots of exclamation points at parts. Still, I was thoroughly entertained and am totally reading the next one.

Monday, February 09, 2009

2009 book 30

Philip Hensher's The Northern Clemency
God, I feel like I'e been reading this book for a year. This Booker nominee started off strong--about two families and their intertwined lives, in 1970s England, full of great small familiy dramas--but 300 pages in, it got really boring, skipping ahead years at a go and giving ridiculous plot lines to all these minor characters. I swear I found one two page section that described characters who aren't even in the rest of the book. And the bits that were interesting just got left by the wayside. A few of the characters were really lovable, but several were loathsome. Anyway, it was really slow and way too long (597 pages). I wonder if the Booker committee made it all the way through or just started it and said, hey this is good, let's nominate it, and didn't realize that it totally dropped off in quality halfway through. OK. C.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

2009 book 29

Barbara Trapido's The Travelling Horn Player
This sort-of-sequel to the other Trapido novel I read recently picks up 17 years where the first one leaves off, introducing some new characters into the mix. Unfortunately I didn't like it quite as much, though it was still fairly enjoyable and I love Trapido's narrative tone. B/B+.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

2009 book 28

Nancy Werlin's Impossible
I wasn't really expecting to like this much after reading it was inspired by Simon and Garfunkel's "Scarborough Fair" (not that it's not an awesome song, just, it sounds like a lame writing exercise or something). But really it's inspired by the ancient ballad, and the story is a modern fairy tale, as a teenaged girl discovers she's trapped in a family curse. I realize none of this sounds like a good read, but it was one. A/A-.

2009 book 27

Hallie Ephron's Never Tell a Lie
This was maybe the worst and most predictable mystery I've ever read. F.

Monday, February 02, 2009

2009 book 26

Lauren Groff's Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories
Groff publicist or publisher or someone sent me this since I loved her novel Monsters of Templeton--attention publishers, if you send me free books I will probably read them and blog about them! Anyway, I loved the first three stories a lot and found the others to be slightly meh. I guess that evens out to a B.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


Originally uploaded by wordnerdy
Jimmy loves to drink from the faucet--and I happened to have my camera with me this time!