read the ocean by the cupful

Wednesday reading — dreams and nightmares

What I've been reading

I read Challenger Deep, Neal Shusterman's new book, which is very different from the other books of his that I have read, all of which feature pretty straightforward storytelling. This book, written in collaboration with his son for reasons which become evident, is attempting something more complicated and ambitious, and while I didn't always wholly enjoy it I definitely admired it?

I read George Washington is Cash Money: A No-Bullshit Guide to the United Myths of America, which is, obviously, Better Myths: America Edition. Like the regular mythology version, it is a lot of fun, although it does Johnny Appleseed without including the absolutely vital fact that the whole point of planting all those apple seeds everywhere was booze. You wouldn't want to eat apples from trees grown from seeds, because every time you plant an apple seed you are rolling the dice, only the dice have zillions of sides and most of them are shitty apples. This story, which for some reason we spent all kinds of time on in elementary school, is all about planning ahead so you can get drunk in the future, which is something that really should have gotten the Better Myths treatment.

I read The Sculptor, a longish graphic novel by Scott McCloud about a sculptor who makes a classic Faustian bargain: magical ability to sculpt anything in exchanged for a drastically reduced lifespan in which to use it. It's really great, full of these great little details that I really loved, except even though I feel like it's really trying to be the realistic, thoughtful depiction of a manic (actually bipolar) pixie dream girl scenario, I feel like I just can't enjoy that character, no matter how skillfully depicted, when she is also shaking up the life of the protagonist and teaching him how to live and love. It's still too on the nose. It doesn't sit right with me. And this is still a book that I would say I really liked a lot. And yet.

I read The Sandman: Overture. Actually, I started trying to read it as it came out, but the publication dates kept slipping until I decided that I would be better off if I waited and read it all in one go. It definitely fulfilled my expectations in terms of feeling like it belonged with the rest of the story and also having the most amazing, jawdroppingly gorgeous art imaginable.

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Wait wait, Johnny Appleseed was on a quest for hard cider? I always wondered how you grew apple trees since they're normally grafted.
I'm not saying you should do a homeschool unit about this, but you should totally do a homeschool unit about this.