Books I Read on our Trip:

Read on for my thoughts on each.- The Red Dahlia by Lynda La Plante
This one was lent to me by my co-worker Bridget right before we left on the trip. It’s a pretty straightforward crime thriller and I plowed through it, finishing just before we landed in America. I found the resolution a little surprising, mostly because I was expecting more of a twist. I also thought that the characters got remarkably dumb at the end; I knew where the villain was waaaay before they figured it out. Still, it was a relatively entertaining page turner.

Map of Bones by James Rollins
My Dad’s wife Cindy lent me this one to read on the flight to Orlando. It’s basically a Da Vinci Code knockoff, with a bunch of secret agents running around Europe trying to defeat an ancient society of alchemists. I couldn’t even name a single character at this point, so they must have all been pretty forgettable. Mostly I was hooked because the initial murder takes place in the Cathedral in Cologne, Germany, where I’ve actually been. But I’d only recommend this one if you’re a big Dan Brown fan.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Comic) Issue 2
Yay! Picked this one up at a comic book store in Evanston, Illinois. Giles! Willow! I’m a big fan.

Marvel 1602 (Trade Paperback)
I actually found this one at Target in Goshen, Indiana. I hadn’t heard of it before, but the idea of Neil Gaiman setting superheroes in Elizabethan England was too cool to pass up. I really liked it! Luckily I’ve been exposed to enough of the Marvel universe now to recognize most of the characters. I especially liked meeting the Fantastic Four, since I haven’t really read any of their stuff yet. (It took me, like, ten minutes to get what had happened when the glass thing in Doom’s bedroom breaks and “someone” calls Natasha a whore. That ruled.) So overall, I’d give this one a big thumbs-up to newbie fans like me who are still wary of jumping into the current comics chronology.

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud
This was awesome. I picked it up on a whim at a bookshop in O’Hare and I just devoured it. I remember at one point actually feeling like a lightbulb had gone off over my head as McCloud perfectly illustrated how and why comics work. It reminded me of a lot of my film studies in college, but it’s written in such a way as to be accessible to everybody. Now I’d just like to find something similar that talks about the history of comics, especially as pertains to the 20th century. Any recommendations?

The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs
I actually haven’t quite finished this one yet. I picked it up at LAX and I’m about 2/3 of the way through. It’s about one guy’s random obsession with reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. I’m enjoying it in much the same way I enjoy Bill Bryson’s work. It indulges in my love of pointless trivia and knowledge while occasionally making me laugh out loud. So far, so good!