New Things

2010 is over. I don’t know what exactly to say about it, now that it has passed us by, but I’ll say this: it was long. And it was short. And it was really great, except for the horrible parts. Which sort of made up most of it. I don’t know exactly how all that works out, but you guys let me know if you have any insights, will you?

I won’t waste time going into gratuitous detail about my New Year celebrations. They involved Bombay Sapphire, friends, fresh guacamole, and far, far too many taquitos. But also on New Year’s Eve, perhaps as a symbol of things to come, my copy of Neil Gaiman’s Melinda arrived. I had promised a rundown, and I am as good as my word (at least today):



The book was wrapped in a grey envelope featuring a plate of the illustrator’s Tesla cat painting on the front, along with the book number; 257, in my case. I pulled it out with a giddiness that bordered on mania, being careful to avoid hurting the envelope or book in the process.



The cover is beautifully embossed, silver characters scattered across the surface next to a painting of a dog built seemingly of both flesh and machine. I ran my hands across it and enjoyed the texture, as well as the fact that the book itself is almost my favorite color.



The book is printed on thick, beautiful paper that is a joy to the fingers. Apparently a German import, this paper has red bits mixed into the pulp to give it a unique look. The black inks used for the illustrations are deep and satisfying, and the painted works spread throughout are actually prints mounted above the pages rather than printed upon them.



The text itself is hard for me to give too much comment on, as I’ll need more time to read it over again and let it linger in my mind. I can say, at least, that it’s clearly resonant and has done some lingering with me already, but never seems too decadent, especially when contrasted with the effusive atmosphere of the illustrator’s visual interpretation. Perhaps too simple a thought in the end, but I like it, and that is certainly good enough for me just at present. It begins with a song and ends abruptly, almost frustratingly, being jarring in that “right” way which only makes sense when you are so entranced as to forget the end will come as soon as it does, close the cover while wishing that there was more, and still manage to avoid feeling shortchanged as you place it back upon the shelf.


(You can also see these pictures apart from this post via the new Photos page I’ve put up.)

If you couldn’t tell, this makes me happy. I also still have The Best American Comics 2010 anthology to read through, upwards of 10 new titles garnered in the last 3 or 4 months, plus the ever-growing catalogue of unread books that stretches as far back as my memory seems to go. While I don’t know what 2011 is going to bring, it seems there will be a boatload of reading to accompany it. Which is good, really, for inasmuch as there are parts of me feeling eager for the coming adventure, other parts still fear the unknown darknesses of those baser prospects. Yet whether good things come, or bad, I have much to be thankful for, and the pleasing aroma of these many books is a better reminder than I likely deserve.

Here’s to 2011. May it bring all of you new and unexpected joy.

[This post originally appeared at]


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