Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Top Ten (November 2010)

1. BINK AND GOLLIE. By Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, Illustrated by Tony Fucile. I saw this pic book on many a list this year and just last month got a look at it. It's cool and quirky. And it's three short stories about two girls who are pals that do fun, weird things and seem to live alone without parents. Fresh. Liked it.

2. OCTAVIAN NOTHING BOOKS. By M. T. Anderson. Full disclosure: I must've picked up the first Octavian Nothing book and attempted to read it, oh, six... seven times. It is hard to get into. Finally, I put my head down and chewed into the first chapter. Glad I did. And then I chewed through the second, equally gratifying book. I won't say it wasn't hard for my puny brain to follow at times (the language is authentic (I can only assume) to the time--American Revolutionary War--and kinda tedious on my little head), but the payoff is good. Very, nicely well done.

3. GEORGE AND MARTHA. I read the original James Marshall again last month at my local library. A Halpern-Cordell house fave. I forgot how good it is. I like that James Marshall.

4. DAVIDE CALI BOOKS. I knew about THE ENEMY, but after a bit of online investigating, found out that Cali has some amazing looking books out there. Many of which are not in English (unfortunately for me).

5. JOHN SEGAL BOOKS. This guy has this super cool way of illustrating where he just uses watercolor and he uses the edges of the painted areas to define the form. No line, I mean. It's very sweet and inventive. I especially love SLEEPY HEAD and FAR FAR AWAY.

6. ZOHAR LAZAR. I think he (an illustrator, mostly editorial as much as I can tell) must've just recently gone onto facebook. When I saw his name suggested as a "friend", I was reminded to go check out his website again (I'm a fan, but haven't followed his work/website in quite some time). He just gets crazier and better and better. Good grief.

7. J CHURCH. A west coast punk (pop-punk?) band I was into in the college years. Sadly, the singer and frontman, Lance Hahn, passed away in recent years. I was somehow reminded of these guys and have been listening to them online again.

8. DON'T STOP NOW. Huzzah! M'lady, YA scribe Julie Halpern, has a new book coming out in June ('11)! Her third novel, and I got to read the brand new Advance Readers Copy (ARC). So funny, so good, and a fun road trip romp with a bit of mystery woven in. Loved it.

9. THE DRONES. Australian rock band. Raw and rough around the edges good. Highly recommended.

10. CIRCUS. Did you catch this miniseries doc on PBS last month? It was quite fascinating. Circus culture is not what one might expect. Not what I expected anyhow. This was a really neat look in and out of the big top. What goes into making a show. An act. A circus life. Specifically that of the respectable Big Apple Circus. And did you know people still actually "run off and join the circus"? Fascinating.


Anonymous said...

Leave this feature -- you should do it every day!

James Marshall is amazing, a true original.

LOVE Julie's cover and look forward to reading the book.

James Preller

Matthew Cordell said...

Thanks, man! One thing... Julie's cover will change from this when it's in final form. Was still some back and forth after ARCs went out. They always do a great job over at F+F.