Monday, June 17, 2013

The Big Ten

Down, CPA Boy. This is NOT any kind of college football related post. Well, except for this amazingly STUPID fact:

The Big Ten has TWELVE teams in it!

And corresponding to this, the Big 12 has TEN teams.


THIS is one of the many reasons college football is stupid. I am so very glad I went to a college that eschewed football.

I'm guessing I will get an explanation for this Big Ten/Big 12 situation at dinner tonight. Joy. 

But back to the regularly scheduled post about BOOKS.


I read the following ten books over the last six weeks:

  • Medusa's Gaze and Vampire's Bite: The Science of Monsters by Matt Kaplan
    • Vampires, werewolves, the minotaur, Medusa, Charibdys, dragons, etc...
    • The author delves into history and comes up with some pretty good scientific explanations for the creatures that have terrified humanity over the ages. Rabies, a scourge for much of human history, explains a lot of the vampire and werewolf hallmarks. Earthquakes help explain the underground rumbling of the minotaur in its labyrinth. Earthquakes and tsunamis can explain the whirlpool of Charibdys. A really interesting book.
  • Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary by Denis Kitchen & Michael Schumacher
    • Capp wrote one of the classic comic strips, "Li'l Abner" (which ran from 1934 to 1977). Turns out the guy was an absolute asshole. He cheated heavily on his wife, took petty vengeance on fellow cartoonists, lied about everything, and, worst of all, was a sexual predator. He made many appearances on college campuses and when he got some co-ed alone he would sexually assault her. In his day he one of the most famous men in America so he was able to get away with it for a while. 
    • It's funny how famous Al Capp was and how popular "Li'l Abner" was (the strip generated tons of merchandizing, movies and plays) and yet he's largely forgotten today. 
  • Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield
    • I really enjoyed this book. I love fonts even though I am terrible at identifying most of them. 
    • My favorite font is called Comic Sans. It's a simple font based on the lettering style of comic books which probably explains why I like it so much, says the woman with 6 boxes of comic books in her closet. Apparently most people HATE Comic Sans. I had no idea! The whole first chapter of this book details this hate. Here's what it looks like:
    • ComicSansSpec3.svg 
    • I don't care; I still love it.
    • The book also includes an overview of the history of typography which was fascinating.
  • Mary & Lou & Rhoda & Ted: And All the Brilliant Minds Who Made The Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classic by Jennifer Armstrong
    • This book was a quick, fun read. I grew up watching CBS on Saturday nights in the 1970s. The Fall season in 1973 lineup was All in the Family, M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show and The Carol Burnett Show.  This is widely considered to be the best lineup ever.
    • My favorite fact was that Georgia Engel, who played Georgette, was only 24 years old when she started on the show! (At the time Ted Knight, who played her love interest, was about 50.)
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
    • LOVED this book! It had an unusual structure which made its final twist shocking and heartbreaking. It's categorized as a young adult novel but this is historical fiction for any age. A British woman is caught in Nazi-occupied France and imprisoned and tortured as a spy. She is given the option to write out her confession. No spoilers here! 
  • Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
    • I was intrigued when I read the synopsis for this book: the daughter of a prostitute in 1950 New Orleans tries to rise above her beginnings. The book was fine but I don't remember much about it. 
    • So many novels set in New Orleans seem to take place in the French Quarter. I never knew anyone that actually LIVED in the French Quarter (except, I think, my Uncle Al stayed there briefly at some point). Most of my family members and family friends lived Uptown or in the suburbs. I think the French Quarter was a combination of too decrepit or too expensive so either really poor people lived there or really rich people had homes there. In any case, I am kinda tired of French Quarter novels
  • Wish You Were Eyre by Heather Vogel Frederick
    • The final volume of the Mother-Daughter Book Club series. A perfectly fine ending with all the main characters ending up at some sort of pinnacle. As one reviewer on Good Reads noted: "all the girls are apparently astoundingly gifted in their individual talent areas (by the end of the book we have a fashion designer getting bites in Paris, a published author, a national hockey champion, and a national singing contest finalist)." It's nice to see characters you like succeed but this really was a little over the top! 
  • Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
    • The first of 13 Sookie Stackhouse novels. Quick, fun read. I also watched the first season of "True Blood" the TV series based on these books. I like the show better so I will stick with that instead of reading books 2-13.
  • Locke & Key: Volume 5: Clockworks by Joe Hill
    • The second to last compilation of a comic book miniseries. The final volume should be out this summer and I can't wait to see how it all ends.
  • Joyland by Stephen King
    • An interesting story built around a murder mystery. The action takes place at a North Carolina amusement park in 1973. I enjoyed it because I generally like Stephen King's work but also because I worked at an amusement park in 1982. I only worked there for 2 months but the memory of it looms so much larger in my mind. We had no murder mystery at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk though. (But we had polyester uniforms!)


  1. Wow, I've read three of your ten! We never have this much overlap! ("Code Name Verity" was one of my favey-faves last year, and I just gave it to DJ for her birthday. [You already had it on your to-read list.] So glad you loved it!)

    My favorite font is Benguiat Frisky. I have no idea how to pronounce Benguiat, so I say it phonetically, which is not pretty at all: BEN-gwee-ott.

    1. Ooh, overlap! Which other two? I'm assuming Wish You Were Eyre since you have fed the author at your home! Mary & Lou??

      Benguiat Frisky is nice too (I looked it up)! I don't have that one on my computer though. I agree with your pronunciation; seems French-y, right?

      It's just annoying that something I love is universally derided. But my love will endure!

    2. Yes, Heather's book and Mary & Lou et al. I wish there'd been more on-set anecdotes, but I loved it nonetheless.

      I LOVE the cover of Joyland but I haven't read a new Stephen King since...The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, maybe? (Oh, wow, that was a HUGE lie. I just read a collection of stories, and it was *fantastic*. But I didn't read the JFK one or the cell phone virus one -- they're just so BIG.) Alas, Joyland is not getting rave reviews, including yours. And there's so much to read!

      I like Comic Sans just fine (and I live in the universe!). :) Until someone actually comes up to you and says, "Comic Sans, yuck! What an idiot you are!" I think you can rest peacefully in your love and let the anonymous haters go hang.