As back-to-school season drew near, I craved the sort of books that slide down like a glass of Hi-C and some Oreos, a snack Debbie D.’s mother often served when we climbed out of the pool following a long afternoon of lazily spinning on floats and gossiping. What can I say? We were young and unworried. Anyway, that yen for the bound version of refined sugar explains these two selections:
■ The Gifted School (Bruce Holsinger; 2019. Fiction.)
■ A Good Marriage (Kimberly McCreight; 2020. Fiction.)
Good luck and a great conversation with my older daughter explain the four graphic works I finished since my last post:
■ Family Tree, Vol. 1: The Sapling (Jeff Lemire; 2020. Graphic fiction.)
■ Something Is Killing the Children, Vol. 1 (James Tynion IV; 2020. Graphic fiction.)
■ Undiscovered Country, Vol. 1 (Scott Snyder; 2020. Graphic fiction.)
■ The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist (Adrian Tomine; 2020. Graphic non-fiction.)
After revisiting our admiration of Jeff Lemire’s work, I poked around to see what he’s been working on lately. Say what you will about algorithms, I am grateful for the two recommendations that followed my discovery of Lemire’s Family Tree; I have enjoyed other titles by Tynion and Snyder and found these pretty solid. Tomine’s wry memoir arrived in my stack via a Goodreads recommendation.
This month, I concluded my Harry Potter reread:
■ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (J.K. Rowling; 2007. Fiction.)
The only book I’d go out of my way to recommend, though:
Conversations, in a family, become linguistic archaeology. They build the world we share, layer it in a palimpsest, give meaning to our present and future. The question is, when, in the future, we dig into our intimate archive, replay our family tape, will it amount to a story? A soundscape? Or will it be all sound rubble, noise, and debris?