My July Booklist

So, here’s what I went and read last month:

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty

World Without End by Ken Follett

Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horwitz

Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi

Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz

The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale

Dark Victory by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale

Red Son by Mark Millar

McMurty’s Lonesome Dove is a truly epic tale, and while the first 300 pages took some serious effort to get through, the book flew past after that. Wonderful read.

I heard Follett’s World Without End was a let down compared to the book’s predecessor, Pillars of the Earth, but I didn’t feel that when I read it (this could have something to do with the years that have passed between readings). World Without End is best described as people doing bad things to other people, often times with swords, but that hardly does the book justice. An amazing read, intricate plot. Simply incredible.

Scooped this up off the bargain shelf, but Horwitz’s Voyage Long and Strange is merely a decent read, hardly as fascinating or, sadly, relevant as his much better, earlier work, Confederates in the Attic, which I re-read this month as well. This was a good gym read, but I’m glad I only paid four bucks for it.

I know Douglas Preston best as co-author of the amazingly scary The Relic, and so was mildly interested in this book when it first showed up on our True Crime shelves, and it really is a gripping story, that of Monster of Florence: Preston gets rich from being an author, moves to Italy, finds out a serial killer did some butchering next to his home, and pairs with Italian journalist Spezi to investigate the killings, and then they both are targeted by the Italian police as accomplices in the murder. Interesting subject matter, but the story isn’t really interesting or particularly well told. Another bargain shelf find, but not much of a bargain, alas.

I’ve had two copies of Horwitz’s Confederates in the Attic, the first was a birthday gift to me probably nine or ten years ago, and the last time I saw it, I’d leant it to a coworker at a pizza shop up north of Baltimore (this was probably eight or nine years ago). Reading A Voyage Long and Strange was all the encouragement I needed to spring for a replacement copy of this book: Horwitz explores what the Civil War meant, in particular, to southerners both white and black. It’s sad, and kind of funny, but very much relevant. A truly fascinating read for any American.

I like my Batman stories grim and gritty: forget suits with nipples and Jack Nicholson as the Joker. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale collaborated for The Long Halloween and Dark Victory, sequels to Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One. Focusing heavily on the relationship between Batman, Jim Gordon, and Harvey Dent, with prime-bad-o’s the Falconi crime family, the three strong men of Gotham City’s legal, police, and vigilante forces struggle to trust each other and break crime’s back in a very 1940s crime noire tale of a serial killer.

Where I like my Batman stories grim and gritty, I don’t like my Superman stories … at all. Well, usually. Red Son imagines a world where Superman landed not in the American mid-west, but the Soviet frontier. Raised as a Soviet, this Soviet Super Man is all the things the American was (minus the whole “…and the American way!” bit). But it turns out that wherever his origins, all he wants to see is peace and prosperity for mankind, his efforts frustrated by Lex Luthor, president of the United States and his lone opponent. I don’t want to give away the ending, so I’ll only say that it took me by surprise and left me with a gentle smile on my face. Additionally, the alternate version of Batman (with his fur cap) made me laugh.

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