Northwest Passage: The Annotated Collection by Scott Chandler [link]
Man, I have such a complicated relationship with comics and graphic novels. I think they have great potential. There are some webcomics that I really love. (Check out Evan Dahm's Rice Boy.) And Watchmen was pretty incredible. But all the acclaimed graphic novels out there are drawn in that 40s-90s superhero style, which gives me a headache. That style is just so busy, and there are so many lines! Even Watchmen took me forever to read. Northwest Passage is drawn in a different kind of style, one for which I'm sure there's a name. It's clear and simple and bold and friendly to the human eyeball. It's the same kind of style as Tintin is drawn in. It's about some men at a fictional Hudson Bay fort, and there are also some French pirate types. It's very adventure-y, like an old Rafael Sabatini novel. I can say that it's the best Canadian Western Graphic Novel for Children I've ever read. "This comic book a very niiiice!" - Borat (timely cultural reference, 2011).
Finishing the Hat by Stephen Sondheim [link]
My girlfriend bought me this book as a Christmas present, which means that
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
Okay. I've owned Stranger for something like seven years. Heinlein is, along with Asimov, probably the most highly lauded writer of science fiction. I've been looking forward to reading Stranger, which says on its cover "The Best Sci-Fi Novel of All Time," for many years now. Moon probably comes in at a close second for consensus on his "best" work. Well, both of these books are terrible. I mean, really really terrible. The man can't put a sentence together to save his life. His characters are flat and idealized and (worst of all) inconsistent, and the plot is bloated and nonsensical. They are basically "idea" novels, which is fine, except that the ideas are silly and he can't write novels. And (cherry on top!) the books are horribly sexist. His female characters don't talk about anything but men, and are happy to let the male characters (whom they all worship) correct their astounding ignorance on every subject and protect them from danger (boring danger) at every turn. Ugh. Go to your room Robert Heinlein. You're grounded.