I did it! I finished 15 books in 15 days! Woot! And for those of you attempting this folly with me, thank you. For those of you reading along, thank you. For my family, who were even more neglected than usual, thank you.
I encourage everyone who participated in this project to comment. By everyone, I mean those who read 15, those who tried, those who considered it, and those who just read the reviews. What was your favorite, or least favorite? How many books did you move off your TBR shelves? What’s the biggest insight you take away?
And now, last but definitely not least, #15: Asterios Polyp. David Mazzuchelli was the artist/collaborator with Frank Miller on two of my favorite superhero graphic novels, Daredevil: Born Again, and Batman: Year One. Both are classics, and good examples of superhero books for those who dismiss superheroes. Asterios Polyp is Mazzuchelli’s first solo work, and it’s a masterful one. Having just finished it, I look forward to reading it again. It also made me want to read The Odyssey; few books have that power.
Asterios of the title is an Updike-ish architect. Recently divorced, his apartment building is struck by lightning. He grabs three items and his wallet, and takes a bus to the middle of nowhere. The story alternates between the present, where he works as a mechanic in a small town, and the past, his marriage to the artist Hana. Throughout, the art and story focus on duality, yet together they achieve something that transcends either/or.
The art is highly stylized (formalistic, the reviews call it) as is the use of color, playing with variations on cyan, magenta and yellow. Each character has their own font, as well as their own art style. The many layers of artistic variation are dizzying but exhilarating.
Asterios Polyp was just awarded the first-ever LA Times Book Prize for Graphic Novels. For more reviews, check out those from
And, to sum up my 15/15/15 reading: In Other Rooms, Other Wonders; Shakespeare Wrote for Money; Eats, Shoots and Leaves; Mercury; Chocolate War; Unwritten; Ex Machina: Dirty Tricks; Buffy: Retreat; This is Water; Desperate Characters; Borrowed Finery; The Slave Dancer; Stitches; The Catnappers; Asterios Polyp.
favorite book read: can’t pick just one! Asterios Polyp, Stitches, Catnappers, Slave Dancer, Chocolate War
least favorite books read: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Retreat and Ex Machina: Dirty Tricks
# of books out of 15 moved off TPR shelves: 14, 5 of which had been there over a year
lesson learned: do this in winter next time–late December or early January
next book: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
book on deck: Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon
next book project: Baroque Summer