My Favorite Books This Week

God Is Dead, by Ron Currie, Jr.

The first chapters of this book are the kind that will freeze you in place while you’re in the bookstore, which is more or less what happened to me the other day. The premise is that God takes the form of a woman in Darfur and is then murdered, helpless to prevent His own death, and things go from there. This book kind of took me captive and marched me to the counter. I couldn’t say I bought it, exactly.

Also, it has the coolest Anders Nilsen cover.

Ron friended me on myspace last year and I thought, I hope this book is good. Also because there was a random hometown connection: he’s from the same small town in Maine where my mother’s family has been for 300 years.

In any case, highly recommended. He’s definitely a talent to watch.

Best American Comics 2007

Last year’s debut was a little rocky, to my eye—the excerpts were from great comics, but didn’t make for a beautiful reading experience in and of themselves. This year, a complete change. This year’s edition has a cover by David Heatley, who is perhaps the most disturbing man in comics right now, and was edited by Chris Ware. And the excerpts are amazing. It’s a more than happy follow-up edition from last year. A must.

Vilette, by Charlotte Brontë

Not a new title. But I’m rereading it, and I love it all over again. This story of a peripatetic and somewhat plain English governess, who travels to a small town in France to work at a French school for young women, has one of the most peculiar endings of any novel, and is an amazing piece of fiction.

One of these days someone will write about the cultural impact of the squads of English governesses that covered the world, in counterpoint to the British Empire’s literal armies. But it’s not going to be me. I will, though, happily read such a book.

The Children’s Hospital, by Chris Adrian

I’ve written about Chris before and he came to read here last year. The afterparty for the reading was easily the wildest one of the year. I took the book out to shelve it and sat down with it again, and thought I’d mention it’s out now in paperback. The link I’ve provided is to one of my favorite stories of his, over in the New Yorker online archives, “A Better Angel”. In any case, Chris’s novel is the bravest thing I’ve read in a long time, and at 600-some pages, is remarkably concise. And more fun than you’d think an apocalyptic novel might be. Chris is reading this week at Amanda Stern’s Happy Ending series, so if you’re in New York, check him out.


  1. I started God Is Dead while waiting for a George Saunders reading to start. I really enjoyed it and now it’s on my list of books I need to read (you know, that one and a bunch of others).

  2. I have a huge stack and a wish list. Just what I needed, more books to add to the stack. I haven’t read Villette in years. I’ve been on an Austen kick. Maybe it’s time to re-read the Bronte’s.

  3. I just finished God Is Dead last night. I thought it was great. When I saw his author picture, I asked my roommate if he looks like someone we know. Then we decided that he doesn’t; he just looks like a guy from Maine (no offense). What a beard.

  4. No offense taken. Ron is, though, a verifiable hottie under that beard. But yes, my Uncle Stephen, who lives about 20 miles away, has the same beard.

    Tony, if you read it we can compare notes. Also, join Goodreads.

    Colin, good to see you here after crawling out from under all those rugby players.

  5. Hmm, I might have to check out Vilette; Emily’s Wuthering Heights was a book I absolutely hated when I had to read it in high school but then loved it when I had to reread it for college.
    I saw Anders Nilsen at the Small Press Comic Expo in Maryland this weekend, and his new book Dogs and Water is absolutely beautiful from when I looked through it. Although when I decided I might want to actually buy it, he had gone wandering around the convention so I decided it was no fun to buy it then when I missed the opportunity to talk to to him.

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