word soup.
Moneyball: The Art of Winning An Unfair Game. By Michael Lewis.

The blog got abandoned for a bit there, but I’m back at it. I decided to forego my usual round-up post for 2012, as, aside from plain losing track of what I actually read last year, the last few days of the year were a complete and utter shitshow. Here’s to 2013. I broke in my new Kindle by finally reading Moneyball, which has been on on my to-read list for a long-ass time.  

Moneyball is about a lot of things, but it uses as its nucleus the 2002 Oakland A’s, an underfunded, underloved baseball team. The financial structure of baseball is a part of the sport that I had little interest in as a younger fan. It’s the single biggest reason it took me so long to read Moneyball: I wanted to know a little bit about the system itself before I read a book dedicated to ripping it open and reading its entrails. The book’s a fascinating read, in large part because it doesn’t just dissect the 2002 Oakland A’s roster from top to bottom. (Actually, to its detriment, it ignores a lot of the smaller pieces of the roster pie.) It looks at the lives of the men who shaped it, the guys who spent their time sitting back and playing with numbers, trying to make sense of the sport.

The idea behind Moneyball is that there are holes in conventional Baseball Establishment wisdom, red herrings, accepted truths based on small sample sizes, heavily edited statistics, and good ol’ boys’ sentimentality that all serve to obfuscate deeper truths about How The Game Works. (Moneyball's alternate title could be Gentlemanagers Prefer On-Base Percentage.)

Largely, the book posits and explores interesting ideas. It’s kind of a mixed bag, truthfully. The big problems are, hilariously, holes in conventional Baseball Anti-Establishment wisdom, red herrings, accepted truths based on small sample sizes, heavily edited statistics, and good ol’ boys’ sentimentality, all of which serve to obfuscate the demonstrated and documented flaws in stat wizard Bill James’ and Oakland GM’s Billy Beane’s approaches. Notably: how do you talk about the A’s 2002 success and mention Barry Zito once, with that one mention being a quote that had nothing to do with Zito’s own contributions? Answer: by pretending that baseball can be boiled down to pure offense. Lewis discusses that measuring defense in baseball is difficult, because it’s not as relatively simple as measuring offense, and in many cases, the data past a certain time period simply does not exist. Which is fine and good, but his way of dealing with this seems to be complaining that the system for determining what is an “error” is illogical and simply not saying anything about defense beyond that.

If I have a big complaint about Moneyball, it’s that its scope was too small. I wanted Lewis to hang around and write more, examine the minor league system, explain the complexities of roster moves, delve into “the human element” (read: unreliable umpires), talk about how international recruiting works, especially given the expanding presence of Asian players in the MLB. 

More than anything, I wanted Lewis to follow up on the draft picks the A’s made in 2002 under Beane’s guidance, as I felt this would be a good way to assess the Moneyball Ideals In Practice. So I did some digging. Two of the draft picks that Lewis (and Beane) focused on were outfielder Nick Swisher and catcher Jeremy Brown. Swisher was considered a jewel by both the Baseball Establishment and the Baseball Anti-Establishment. He made the numbers nerds and the grizzled old men weak-kneed and slack-jawed. Brown, on the other hand, was overweight, not athletic, and not possessed of particularly stunning power numbers, but he batted with plate discipline, and so he too was taken by the A’s in the first round in 2002, while all of Beane’s Baseball Establishment scouts wailed and protested. This follow-up is admittedly pretty biased, as I didn’t really have to look Swisher up — I already knew of him, unlike Brown, whose name was unfamiliar to me. As I was reading Moneyball, I was already knew that Swisher had won the World Series with the Yankees in 2009, and that he’d just signed a pretty nice deal with the Indians. 

But the point was to see how the draftees worked out for the A’s. Swisher made it to the A’s in 2004, in time to appear in just over a tenth of the team’s games. A few years later, after winning the AL West with the A’s once, he was dealt to the White Sox for three minor-league pitchers, all three of whom later became trade chips in turn, each without contributing to the team’s 2012 division win. Personally I think Swisher’s something of an overrated player, but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s been at least a notable presence on some pretty successful teams, and that he’s been astonishingly durable and consistent (despite streakiness) besides. So: success. Clear success, even. Drafting Nick Swisher has clearly worked out really well for Nick Swisher. But not for the A’s. (Of further note: one of the prospects Beane received for Swisher happened to be Gio Gonzalez, who didn’t do a whole hell of a lot for the A’s, but was part of the Washington Nationals’ core pitching staff in 2012. The Nats got knocked out of the playoffs pretty early on, but they still had the best record in all of baseball, something Gonzales contributed to. So, again, a success, but not for the A’s. The other two prospects are not particularly notable.)

Getting back to it. Unsurprisingly, Brown is less impressive. He didn’t appear in an A’s game until 2006. He appeared in a grand total of 5 MLB games, then spent the entirety of the 2007 season in AAA. It was an unspectacular season, and he followed it up by retiring from baseball, because Kurt Suzuki was a better catcher, defensively, and probably weighed half what Brown did. (Hilariously, Suzuki has since also gone to the Nats.) So: I hope he invested that signing bonus somewhere good.

Now, obviously, this is a really small sample size. And given that Moneyball was published in 2003, when both Brown and Swisher were still slugging it out in the minors, Lewis simply couldn’t have known how the careers of those two men would pan out. I still think it’s an interesting thing to follow up on, especially because Lewis couldn’t have known. In much of the book, Lewis is allowed to cherry-pick his own examples, and in fact towards the end he uses a charming anecdote of Jerry Brown’s early minor leagues success to justify Beane remaining with Oakland and to validate Beane’s approach. Brown and Swisher are examples Lewis picked, on faith, and only one worked out. Notably, the one who worked out was the one beloved by both traditional and new-wave scouts.  

Mostly to me this comparison epitomizes the knee-jerk resistance against the book and the ideals it espouses. Moneyball is fascinating, sharply written, and highly informative. I think that the people who write it off or are hostile towards it assume that Moneyball purports to be a complete, catholic, and unified Theory Of Baseball, which it doesn’t, and isn’t. What Moneyball is talking about is a synthesis of ideas, a philosophy that’s still developing and still in flux. A philosophy that’s rebuilding, if you will. That’s how it should be read. And it should be read.

Witch Week. By Diana Wynne-Jones.

Apparently I was supposed to read The Magicians of Caprona after I read Witch Week. Whoops. It doesn’t really matter, though — their plots aren’t dependent on each other, though of course Chrestomanci shows up in both. 

I liked this one good deal more than Caprona, though it doesn’t quite have the charm of the first two Chrestomanci books. 

Witch Week concerns a rather dreary boarding school in a world where witches are burnt upon discovery. Since plenty of witches aren’t discovered until well into their adult years, there’s a sizable number of “witch orphans,” the children of witches who become wards of the state. 

Except, oops, there’s a witch in the midst of one of the classes. Hijinks ensue. As with most of Wynne-Jones’ stories, getting from point A to point Z is so delightfully zig-zaggy that sharing any further details feels just…wrong, somehow. 

Very LeFreak. By Rachel Cohn.

Very LeFreak reads like a parody of Rachel Cohn’s work. I’m a staunch defender of her writing — even the worst of Naomi’s bullshit in Naomi and Ely’s No-Kiss List was rendered at least a little entertaining by the fact that Naomi was such a thoroughly believable character in her hideous self-obsession. (I’ve known people like Naomi. Reading her perspective wasn’t always pleasant, but it never veered too far away from realism for me.) The heroine of this book…not so much. 

Very LeFreak is the ultimate Quirky Girl. I can’t even call her a Manic Pixie Dream Girl because she’s too specific to Cohn’s quirks for that. She has masses of untamable, sexy hair! She fucks around with the freedom of the Truly Liberated! She’s a hacker chick! She is so unbelievably sexy that everyone wants her! She’s smart but self-sabotaging! She listens to disco! She carries on a strange and totally deep long-distance relationship with some internet dude she’s never met! She renames people when their given names are too dull to suit her wild, quirky moods! 

And then she goes to rehab for addiction to the internet. 

And then there’s random lesbian troo luv at the end. Which, you know, I’m all for a lesbionically happy ending, I really am. But it was weird. And out of left field. And piled on top of the other heaps of quirks that Cohn had shoved into Very’s character (and really, self-impressed young things: if your name is Veronica and you’re going by the moniker of Very, odds are good you are going to be humiliated by yourself in hindsight), the sudden revelation that all along she was just so in love with her best friend/roommate doesn’t really work for me. Clumsy, clumsy, clumsy.

Imago. By Octavia Butler.

The conclusion of the Xenogenesis trilogy has the most alien narrator — an ooloi child of Human and Oankali parentage. It’s interesting, actually, the progression of viewpoint characters. The first book was focused narrowly on a human woman, and while the second one had a variety of narrators, it focused mostly on a mixed-race male character, specifically one whose Oankali traits were well hidden until the second puberty he underwent in his early 20s. The trilogy concludes with a mixed-race third-gender narrator — the more comfortable the reader is with the world and the theories Butler proposes, the more alien our viewpoint character can become. (I particularly like positing a black woman as the most human human, to borrow a phrase.)

I don’t have much to say about Imago, at least not for the purposes of this blog. The world of the Xenogenesis story is a complicated, layered one, and I think that the issues and quandaries that it raises are best experienced with the flow of the story itself. 

Adulthood Rites. By Octavia Butler.

Adulthood Rites is a far less personal story than Dawn — Lilith is a less important character, and the perspective is shared among several characters. It’s still very good, and it still has a few surprises of its own. It’s also the book where Butler really starts to examine what a mixed Oankali/Human civilization would be like. 

The revelation from Dawn is that the Oankali are a species of genetic traders, and in saving Humanity, they intend to interbreed with them. By the time Adulthood Rites has begun, Lilith has given birth to several Oankali/Human mixed children, and Humanity has begun the work of repopulating Earth — with Oankali partners, of course. The glue that holds all this together is the Oankali’s third gender, the ooloi. The ooloi can manipulate genes and cells, and have sterilized all humans who haven’t agreed to mate with them. Each mixed family unit is comprised of an ooloi, a set of male/female Oankali mates, and a set of male/female Human mates. 

It’s interesting that there’s so much surrounding gender and the way gender is perceived and developed in Lilith’s Brood, because an awful lot of it is influenced by fairly mainstream evolutionary biology. Human males rarely settle down the way the Oankali expect them to, instead preferring to travel from village to village and “spread their seed,” as it were, whereas human females stick to one village to raise the children. Mixed-race males behave just like human males do. This is, the ooloi explain to Lilith, a simple fact of male Humanity. There are outliers, but the vast majority of Human males are not given to monogamy. Butler doesn’t really bother to delve into why this would be so universal.  

Dawn. By Octavia Butler.

I read Dawn and its two sequels as a single book, Lilith’s Brood, but I’m writing them up separately. 

Dawn begins a few centuries into the future. Earth has been pretty well ruined by nuclear war. Lilith, a human woman, wakes up with no memory of leaving Earth. It’s not until she’s woken up and been sedated several times that her captors reveal themselves to her — they’re an alien species called the Oankali, and they’ve come to nurture the human race and Earth back to good health. 

The Oankali’s plan is revealed to Lilith rather slowly, and it’s not until midway through the second book, Adulthood Rites, that the reader is made aware of the scope of their plan. That’s good, frankly; it allows each aspect of the Oankali’s utterly alien nature to sink in.

The Oankali are easily one of my favorite alien species in science fiction. They’re both compassionate and completely immovable. They genuinely want to help Earth and the humans, but it’s not a deal that anyone really has a way of turning down. Humans who rebel violently are sedated indefinitely (probably the slowest, most gentle application of the death penalty) and humans who simply refuse to go along with the Oankali’s plan are sedated and revived periodically, in an attempt to recondition them. 

Dawn is a surprisingly personal book. For all that there are big, literally global concepts and themes being bandied about — gender, race, family, humanity, compassion, free will, to name a few — the book maintains a sharp, narrow focus on Lilith’s journey, keeping her at the absolute forefront of all of the action and relating each new revelation about the Oankali specifically to Lilith’s life and person. It’s a raw story, and difficult to read in places. 

ABANDONED: Wide Awake. By David Levithan.

I hate this book. Levithan often bumps up against the edge of being too twee. It’s a real problem in his writing, but one that I generally just gloss over, because I’m uncomfortable with the concept that an abundance of earnestness in teen lit is inherently a problem. In Wide Awake, Levithan jumps the shark, nukes the fridge, and fucks the ghost. It’s beyond bad. 

Wide Awake takes place in the hypothetical near-future, and it’s some kind of bizarre, freakish combination of liberal and libertarian fantasy. And, no, the two do not mesh well. In case you were wondering. In this near-future, marriage equality has been achieved (yay!) but there’s widespread environmental trauma (boo!). A large sect of Christians have managed to become rather pro-gay. Commerce has somehow been completely revamped as well; hardly anyone leaves their house to go to work. (WHO BUILDS THINGS? THIS IS NEVER DEALT WITH. BLUE-COLLAR JOBS EXIST, AND ALWAYS WILL.) Capitalism is sort of alive? Who even knows. All I know is that instead of buying things in stores, you just try them on and then pay money to the charity of your choice, and then receive a discount for when you then purchase those same items online. There also isn’t a whole lot of detail about how these apparent global changes have touched, you know, the rest of the globe.

Which makes no sense. There’s no discussion about what goes into accrediting a charity. (The Trevor Project is a charity. So, technically, is Exodus International. “Giving to charity” is not an apolitical act.) There’s no discussion of the basic economics that would allow such a thing to work. There’s no attention paid to the larger social changes that have happened in Wide Awake's world — global peace is neat and all, but the world is complicated, and boiling it all down to “and then we all decided to love each other!” doesn't really solve anything. 

If you’re going to write an explicitly political story, then your politics have to make some kind of sense. The world in Wide Awake simply doesn’t. An environmental crisis causes the Catholic church to not only rethink its stance on gay people, but on women in the clergy? On the very nature of who Jesus was? The description of the Church given by Levithan resembles nothing so much as the Buddy Christ from Dogma. It’s a peculiar, incoherent fantasy, and not a particularly pleasant one, either.

Kindred. By Octavia Butler.

I don’t know what I was expecting from Kindred

Halfway through, I looked up and told my sister, “It’s a fucking tragedy that this book isn’t required reading for every high school in America.”

Kindred is a fantasy novel about a woman in 1976 California, Dana, who has a strange link to a boy living in Maryland in the 1800s. When Rufus’s life is in danger, Dana gets pulled to that point in time — presumably to rescue him. She does so, repeatedly, soon realizing that the boy whose life she keeps saving is an ancestor of hers. Complicating matters is that she’s black and he’s a white slaveowner. Further complicating matters is that she is married to a white man in 1976, and her husband Kevin is pulled along with her for various parts of her journeys.

Kindred is an ugly book. It’s grim in its faithfulness to history. And it should be read.

The Magicians of Caprona. By Diana Wynne-Jones.

This book was a real disappointment to me, after how much I enjoyed Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant. It was just missing that sense of fun twistiness that I so strongly associate with Jones’ writing — the whole thing was rather by-the-numbers. A pair of feuding Italian families, divided further by a forbidden romance…you see where this is going. 

The villain isn’t any fun, either; a bitchy enchantress who hoodwinks the dimwitted ruler of Caprona without much charm. A rare miss.

Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List. By Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.

Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List is about a pair of best friends, the sort of best friends your whole life, shared history thing. The list itself is a list of people that neither one of them is allowed to kiss, for fear of introducing conflict to their soulmate-style friendship. Except it’s a little more complicated than that. Cohn and Levithan rotate perspectives, and it soon becomes abundantly clear that when Naomi says I love you to Ely, she means it rather differently than when Ely says it to her — somehow, she has never gotten over Ely coming out, and still believes that the two of them will marry and raise beautiful babies and live happily ever after. 

"I’m reading this book Rachel Cohn wrote with David Levithan," I said to my sister Kara when I was about a third of the way through. "So far, everyone’s kind of an asshole, but in a pretty charming way."

To keep it on the level of the book itself, neither Naomi or Ely ever thought to put themselves or their boyfriends on the No Kiss List, which of course blows up in both their faces when Ely falls in love with the boy Naomi’s currently stringing along while she waits for Ely to devirginize and then marry and then ride off into the sunset with her. (Seriously. Naomi takes great pleasure in stringing boys along, dead positive that somehow, somehow Ely will be the one to take her virginity. It’s…not pleasant to read.)

"This is weird," I told Kara when I read another third. "The addition of Naomi’s perspective makes everyone else look better, not worse. She’s such a horrifyingly awful, selfish person that Ely literally stealing her boyfriend seems actually…almost noble.”

Kara read Something Borrowed last year and had this to say about the book’s morality: “Apparently sleeping with your best friend’s fiance is okay as long as you’re totally for-real in love with him.” Which is such a fucked-up way to interact with the world. Ely being for-real crazy in love with Bruce doesn’t really justify either his or Bruce’s actions, but at the same time, having Naomi’s perspective on the matter makes it clear that when Ely and Bruce talk about Naomi not loving Bruce and in fact having more than a little disdain for him, they’re not projecting or self-justifying. 

Or maybe they are, but they’re at least correct. Naomi’s not mad at Ely for kissing her boyfriend — she’s mad at him for not wanting to kiss her. And leaving all questions of sexuality aside, nobody owes you their desire — Naomi’s righteous fury at Ely would seem a lot less terrible if she didn’t make it abundantly clear that she not only feels entitled to Ely’s love and to his desire (and to dictate the terms of both) but she’s utterly unashamed of it. She makes it clear to Bruce that really, yeah, all that I love you stuff was just her spinning her wheels, waiting for Ely to stop sleeping his way through NYC’s young gay population.

Boy Meets Boy. By David Levithan.

I remember this book being on display at my local public library during the summer I was 14. I remember being too scared to check it or even pick it up off the table where it was displayed. I don’t remember the other books or even the theme of the display itself. I grew up in a fairly conservative suburb; I don’t know which intrepid librarian put Boy Meets Boy on display in the YA section, and I don’t know how it managed to stay there for the full month of July without anyone complaining enough for it to be taken down. At school a few months later my friends and I furtively passed around a copy of Keeping You A Secret and felt very, very special. Reading a teen lesbian love story felt very revolutionary at a Catholic all-girls’ school. 

As a teenager, I stared at the cover of Boy Meets Boy and wondered if it was worth it, to snag a copy and curl up in a corner of the library (or even, heaven forbid, take a copy home with me) and let anyone who passed me by know that I was reading a book about gay people; that I was by implication One Of Them. It felt safer a few months later; the cover ofKeeping You A Secret was ambiguous enough and enough of my friends were also reading the book that it felt to me like this shared secret, something we carried together as opposed to an undefinable, terrifying burden that I was unsure of how to take for myself. 

My point is that I don’t have the ability to write an objective review of a book like Boy Meets Boy. It’s not Great Literature, and the central thesis of the book reads as more than mildly preposterous to me — that there’s this random suburb where PFLAG is just as important as the PTA, and sometimes the overwhelming tweeness of the town (including local institutions like the I Scream ice cream parlor, where horror movies are served along with ice cream and a record shop sharply divided by the two owners’ distinct tastes) tips the book into self-parodic territory — but, you know what? All fiction is basically a fantasy, and as far as fantasies go, I can’t find too much to say against Boy Meets Boy. It’s a story without a real villain, only confused people who are sometimes baffled about how to show love. It’s sweet. It made me forget, while I was reading it, that I’m often not a person but instead a controversial topic.

The Annotated Sandman, Vol. 1. Edited by Leslie Klinger.

I should have known better.

Katy bought this one for herself and read it first, and her review was not kind. Still, I thought, Whatever, it’s still worth reading, right?


What’s astonishing to me is how thoroughly The Annotated Sandman fails at each of its possible goals. It’s not a particularly good literary analysis of a work that happens to be in a medium that rarely inspires respected literary analysis — Klinger doesn’t do a good job of explaining the convoluted backstory of the various DC characters who pop up early in the narrative, and he never references the artwork except to point out details that Gaiman included in his original scripts. It’s not a particularly good “behind-the-scenes” look with interesting notes about the way the finished product evolved, as Klinger provides very little insight into the process of creating Sandman. It’s particularly frustrating to see Klinger write as though Sandman was solely Gaiman’s creation, given Gaiman’s reputation for working closely with the series’ artists. It’s not even a serviceable analysis of Sandman as a work. Klinger only rarely points out the thematic connections between characters and events, and when he does, it’s the shallow stuff he seems interested in, like the connection between Gilbert telling Rose an especially gruesome version of “Little Red Riding Hood” shortly before a serial child rapist and murderer wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with a wolf attacks her. 

Given that Klinger and Gaiman both reference the voluminous annotations and notes about the original comics made by Usenet-dwelling fans, the thin and airless commentary is especially grating. The backstories for various minor DC characters read like hastily-summarized Wikipedia entries. The few theories that are proposed (“Are the dream vortices the price that Morpheus must pay for Nada’s love?”) aren’t investigated or supported, and Gaiman’s own commentary about what he was trying to do with various themes and plot arcs is rarely interacted with, just quoted as though that adds anything.

Klinger also does a poor job of differentiating between fictional history and real history, especially in the first several issues; he then later makes a point of nitpicking a minor interaction between Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare, pointing out that there’s no historical evidence the two ever met. Which: accurate, but entirely missing the point. It’s been overwhelmingly accepted by pop culture and academia that Shakespeare and Marlowe knew each other at least in passing. 

Overall, Klinger’s attitudes towards the queer characters and themes inSandman is sorely lacking. He conflates transgender people with crossdressers and drag queens, argues about the historical accuracy of Marlowe’s homosexuality, completely ignores the thematic relevance of Desire’s androgynous presentation and identity, and doesn’t bother to discuss the way Sandman impacted queer representation or even the difference between queer representation at the time of the comic’s writing and the annotations’. I have a low tolerance for that crap to begin with, but if you’re going to be anxious around the issue of women and queers, maybe don’t work on annotating fucking Sandman, which is: full of women and queers being taken seriously. 

Aside from all that, there are several mistakes in the notes themselves; repeated footnotes, notes referencing incorrect panels or pages. Even more frustrating for me, the pages themselves aren’t numbered, making it sometimes difficult to figure out exactly which page Klinger was referencing, much less which panel. 

The She. By Carol Plum-Ucci.

It’s always nice when something ends up being sort of perfectly tailored to your personal philosophy. 

The She is about a teenager named Evan, whose parents died almost a decade ago at sea. Evan overheard their mayday call, and can’t help but think they were gobbled up by The She, a mythical creature that is purported to live in deep waters and occasionally gobble up unlucky sailors. Emmett, Evan’s older brother, thinks otherwise: he’s a atheist socialist working on his philosophy dissertation who believes utterly in cold, hard facts and refuses to accept the idea that there’s a sea-witch who eats people hiding out in the water.

I like any story that confronts the nature of truth and myth. I sort of expected similar themes given the other Plum-Ucci book I read, What Happened To Lani Garver, but overall I think it works a bit better in The She. Characters in The She have long, drawn-out philosophical conversations that don’t feel like an infodump or like the author having an argument with herself. 

Certain elements of the story feel unnecessary, particularly the specifics of another character’s dysfunctional family and abusive father as well as a twist about Evan’s mother, but Plum-Ucci manages to keep it all from getting too sordid. Thankfully.

Queer Cowboys and Other Erotic Male Friendships in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. By Chris Packard.

Off to a slow start this year. About ten days ago I was like, “Fuck, I need to start reading so I don’t go a whole month without an entry!” 

That worked out well. 

Queer Cowboys was a gift. Clearly from someone who knows me super well! I ended up liking the book itself, though really it functions more as a few essays on specific topics. I don’t know, dude, any book that starts off with questioning whether Jim and Huck had sex on their raft — that’s gonna be a good book. 

It’s not super deep — a lot of the homoeroticism that Packard references really comes about as a side effect of treating women as second-class citizens, and there’s very little inquiry into this reality, which would have been nice, given what a common trend it is for single-sex spaces to have undercurrents of homoeroticism. 

Still, generally recommended.

2011 in numbers and words.

Total number of books read: 84
Average books per month: 7
Nonfiction books: 11 (~%13)
Comic books: 36 (%43)
Kindle books: 22 (%26)
Abandoned books: 2; The Magicians by Lev Grossman, Jesus and the Eucharist by Tad W. Guzie (had to give up on this one when mono ate my brain in the early part of the year — I plan to start over on this one.)
Books in Limbo (begun in 2011 but will finish in 2012): The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace (technically started in 2010 but I do still pick it up periodically), Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Biography by Marion Meade

A little bit different from last year — mainly in that I did a hell of a lot more reading on the Kindle and comic books. I’d hoped to work my way through books I already owned and to read more nonfiction, and it was basically a bust on both fronts. Whoops. 

The first two months of the year, I was sick as hell with mono and basically had no energy for anything more demanding than the average comic book, which is probably why I read so fucking many comics this year. Well, that and I’m still feeling out what and who I like in comics. 

2011 was an off year for me in a lot of ways. Looking forward to 2012. Happy New Year. Be safe. 

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