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If there was a Reader's Anonymous, my family would probably have shunted me off into rehab already.

Strangers In Paradise: I Dream of You

Strangers in Paradise, Volume 2: I Dream of You - Terry Moore It's interesting that my first assignment for my Gender in Comic Books class inspired some Feminist Rage when I read it.

You'll All Be Sorry!

You'll All Be Sorry! - Gail Simone A collection of Simone's YABS columns. Like most collections, hit or miss. I didn't care for the recurring fan fiction columns, but the stuff about Alan Moore and Dave Sim was HILARIOUS. YMMV, depending on how into comic geekery you are--after all, some of the jokes won't make sense if you don't recognize the context.

The Luxe

The Luxe - Anna Godbersen Some of the historical details seemed off, but who cares? It's Gossip Girl set in the 1890s and that's good enough for me.

Krampus: The Yule Lord

Krampus: The Yule Lord - Brom AWESOME

The Boy in the Song: The True Stories Behind 50 Rock Classics

The Boy in the Song: The True Stories Behind 50 Rock Classics - Michael Heatley, Frank Hopkinson meh.

The Pride (Runaways)

Runaways: Marvel Age, Vol. 1: The Pride - Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona, David Newbold Okay, I picked these up at the library, and I think they are just hard cover copies of the comics? So that it took me six books to read what was probably just 1 TP? Oh, well, I'll take it. Great storyline, lots of fun, will have to check out more.

Death of a Dude (Nero Wolfe Mysteries)

Death of a Dude - Rex Stout, Don Coldsmith SPOILER ALERTNo fancy flights of deductive fancy in this Nero Wolfe novel. I guess the point was to depict him as a fish out of water in Montana? Anyway, the case is solved by Saul Panzer running around in St. Louis. Also, there is absolutely no hint of who the killer is prior to the big reveal. Probably one of my least favorite Nero Wolfe novels ever.

I Saw You...: Comics Inspired by Real-Life Missed Connections

I Saw You...: Comics Inspired by Real Life Missed Connections - Julia Wertz, MariNaomi Hilarious! And sad. Sadly hilarious.

A Tale of Sand

Jim Henson's Tale of Sand - Jim Henson, Jerry Juhl, Ramón Pérez, Chris Robinson, Stephen Christy Another graphic novel I was too dumb to understand--le sigh.

Olivia and the Fairy Princesses

Olivia and the Fairy Princesses - Ian Falconer Another adorable Olivia book, this time about how it seems like every little girl wants to be a princess. Of course, not Olivia! I've thought about the issues with princesses and our culture before (see Cinderella Ate My Daughter) but I never thought about the European bias of it until Falconer has Olivia ask why no one ever wants to be an Indian princess or a princess from Thailand or Africa. Boom! A great choice for kids who are a little different and proud of it.

The Father Hunt (Nero Wolfe Mysteries)

The Father Hunt - Rex Stout, Donald E Westlake Very unsatisfactory. Too many unresolved questions at the end. Also, the cover depicts Nero Wolfe as having a beard. Pfui.

The Case of the Missing Marquess: An Enola Holmes Mystery

The Case of the Missing Marquess - Nancy Springer One nitpick: Part of Enola and her mother's success at eluding her famous brother, Sherlock Holmes, is predicated on the fact that he would not be aware of the vagaries of women's clothing, or the unconventional uses to which they could be put. However, we know from the canon that Holmes often disguised himself as a woman, so it was hard for me to believe that he would not have, at some point, figured out that his mother had hidden something in her bustle. Other than that one little detail, I really enjoyed it. I will be reading further in the series.

The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30)

The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30) - Mark Bauerlein Now, to sum up my feelings on this book in a way that hopefully doesn't fulfill the author's dire prognostications: Bauerlein and I share, I think, a horror at the currently rising tide of anti-intellectualism in the USA. We trace the blame for this problem, however, to different sources. Bauerlein believes that the culture wars of the sixties promoted a belief among the young that there was nothing worthwhile to be gained from the past. I would argue that the roots of anti-intellectualism go much deeper and dismissal of the "experts" and the "eggheads" is a pervasive strain of American thought. My main problem with the book's argument is that Bauerlein seems to be saying that young people today are much more shallow, narrow-minded, and peer-obsessed than they were in the past. I just can't agree with that argument. I accept that kids today have many more sources of information and distraction than they probably did in the past; that doesn't mean I buy for one second the idea that the majority of teens (and people in general) 50 or even 100 years ago were striving to improve their minds and familiarize themselves with the world of ideas. Intellectual activity on the scale he's referring to has always been the province of a minority. The very studies Bauerlein cites show that, while students have not drastically improved in a variety of ways since the 1930s, neither have they drastically declined. There are some points that I agree with Bauerlein on: the echo chambers we can currently create for ourselves that prevent us from stumbling upon information we disagree with; the ridiculousness of the current craze regarding "self-esteem," our incredibly narcissistic culture, the elevation of youth culture to the exclusion of everything else, etc. I just don't think we can lay the blame for all this on young people.One point I found interesting was his continued harping on how young people today only listen to popular music, not classical or jazz. Jazz was the popular music of its time! He does admit that the passage of years has allowed us to determine what was great and what was merely a passing fad in regards to jazz, but he doesn't seem to take into consideration that jazz is not a dead artform. People are still making jazz. Some of it is very good, and some of it is terrible. Nor does he consider that 50 years from now, Skrillex may be regarded as one of the musical masters of the early 21st century. We just don't know.Another problem I had with the book is that he really harps on remembering FACTS. Students can't remember facts! Gosh, why would they? He sounds like Homer going on about how writing was going to ruin everyone's memory. Yes, with access to the internet and our various portable data devices, it's probably easier for us to look up the date of the battle of Shiloh than remember it. Isn't it more important that we know what the battle was about and it's larger ramifications? Not that I'm saying that students are learning that, either. I was startled that, although this book was finished in 2008, Bauerlein made no reference to No Child Left Behind and "teaching to the test" which I personally regard as a large part of students' narrow worldviews. Instead of being encouraged by teachers to learn for the sake of learning and for potential applications to their future, instead students are drilled in what they need to pass their exams. I think this gives them the idea that education is just something you have to muddle through in order to get a job, and then you'll never have to think about any of this crap again. Bauerlein admits that a large part of the problem he is detailing is just teens being teens. He feels, however, that we don't give teens enough of an incentive to want to become mature, intelligent adults, and in that I can't disagree with him. When the adults are acting like spoiled kids, why expect the kids to do better?

Underground: The Disinformation Guide to Ancient Civilizations, Astonishing Archaeology and Hidden History (Disinformation Guides)

Underground!: The Disinformation Guide to Ancient Civilizations, Astonishing Archaeology, and Hidden History - Preston Peet Oh, how I love a good conspiracy book. It's like a good science fiction novel, with the added frisson that someone out there actually believes it. Plus, you can play spot the logical fallacies! The Disinformation books are a good clearinghouse for ideas that are not "mainstream," and this is one of their better ones. The articles run the gamut from "Quite plausible" to "Wonder what drugs they've been taking?" I particularly enjoy the ones that start off very realistic and then make a wonderful left turn deep into loony land. Also, just FYI, Von Daniken is still out to prove aliens landed here in prehistory, dammit!That being said, there are arguments in here so painful to read that they will make anyone with a firm grip on reality want to stab themselves in the eye. So reader beware.

Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama

Are You My Mother? - Alison Bechdel Bechdel's follow-up to her first memoir, Fun Home, is purportedly about her relationship with her mother, but delves deeply into her personal experience with analysis and her research into the subject. There is a lot about Virginia Woolf and a psychologist named Donald Winnicott. At times, it felt disjointed, but I love both her writing style and her art, and the end tied it all nicely together.

Two Whole Cakes: How to Stop Dieting and Learn to Love Your Body

Two Whole Cakes: How to Stop Dieting and Learn to Love Your Body - Lesley Kinzel I enjoyed this short introduction to body positivity by Kinzel. I have followed her blog (also Two Whole Cakes) for a while now, and was excited to read this, especially after reading an excerpt in Bitch Magazine. Light but never fluffy, Kinzel is an excellent writer (must be those double-master degrees) with a gift for language that packs a wallop. I can't deny that a good part of my enjoyment derived from the fact that Kinzel and I share similar backgrounds and stories of growing up--she is, I believe, three years older than me, which means I spent a whole lot of my time going "Yes! I remember that!" I remember squeezing into the largest size in straight stores because there were no plus-size places yet. I remember the continual dieting--Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, etc. I remember the social ostracizing, the eventual camaraderie with a group of fellow outcasts. I even remember the cultural markers, like Queen Latifah and Sassy. And, whether it is because of our similar backgrounds or another factor all together, I share Kinzel's desire to stand out, to be noticed, no matter how much negative attention that may bring. So, I quite enjoyed this on a personal level. It does well on a meta level too, though, I think. You may be a chubby middle-aged woman or a fat 16 year old boy, but Kinzel clearly explains the dangers inherent in our current obsession with obesity.