Saturday, December 31, 2016

Both the Books I Read in December

There is a possibility that I'm going to finish my current book before midnight, but I kind of doubt it. I had the last two or three hours blocked out for reading, but something came up, and I don't think I'm staying up until midnight, anyway, so I'm going to just go ahead and say I only read two books in December, rather than three.

The two books were:

1) Jon Morris' Legion of Regrettable Supervillains was an interesting glance at some of the more hilariously bad villains that have graced the pages of comic books over the years, but I think it spent too much time in the Golden Age, and missed some real modern era clunkers like Nanny, Dr. Mayavale, or Orca the Whale Woman.

I breezed through this like I did the companion book, The League of Regrettable Superheroes last year. I didn't learn much in either case, but I was entertained.

2) I took most of the month reading Paul Theroux’s Deep South because I was thinking about it a lot as I read. Over the course of four seasons (spread, I think, over two years), Theroux gets in his car in New England and drives south, over back roads and highways, avoiding major cities and instead focusing on small towns across the southern US. Along the way, he goes to festivals, barbershops, churches, cafes, gun shows, small businesses, social support agencies, and anywhere else that he thinks people will talk to him. And they do love to talk to him, telling their stories and the stories of people before them.

Between talking to people, Theroux also discusses the literature of the South, and mixes in some history. What he really focuses on, though, is poverty, both generational and recent (mostly due to factory closings as jobs move overseas), and the ways in which the US is failing its own people while giving millions to countries abroad to build schools, homes, and farms. Theroux talks to people in the back woods, the hollers, and the Mississippi delta who don’t have electricity, who still use outhouses, and who have no hope for change, and wonders why our government and many global charitable foundations aren’t doing more for them. Reading this, I wonder the same things. I'm not saying we shouldn't help other countries, but we could definitely do a better job taking care of our own.

It was a decently long book, so I don't feel too badly about my poor December showing, but I think two books in a month is my lowest showing for a couple of years, at least.

1 comment:

Mrs. Splapthing said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR JOEL!!!