25 Women to Read Before You Die

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Author Archive: "Morgan R."

Last Go Round: A Real Western

Last Go Round is a tall tale set around the real-life events of the original 1911 Pendleton Round-Up, a controversy that still raises hackles to this day. It showcases a love of a good yarn and gives a salute to our bustin' bronco past (real or imagined). Let 'er buck!

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

This novella swallows you up. Like a trust fall into a pool, it surrounds and holds you in suspension. You know it. It comes to you in fog, like a dream you recognize and haven't quite woken up from. And like a dream, it's done. Just like that.

Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

I read this during a formative period when I was not a teenager anymore but not quite an adult. It was perfect timing. All of my foibles and insecurities were obliterated with this poignant memoir of a girl who has a rare type of bone cancer in her jaw and undergoes surgery and later reconstructive surgery all through her teens and 20s. Written as fiction but based on Lucy Grealy's real experiences, it destroys all your own personal vanities and superficial anxieties.

War and Peace

War and Peace for baby! Part of the second round of the Cozy Classics series, this book made me choke from laughing! One of the longest books in English literature? Don't care, 12 words — boom! And with accompanying felted dioramas! All of the Wang brothers' board books are HILARIOUS. See also: Moby Dick, Pride and Prejudice, Les Misérables, Oliver Twist, and Jane Eyre!

The Apprentices

The follow-up to Maile Meloy's first young-adult novel, "The Apothecary," The Apprentices picks up the adventure pretty much where it left off without missing a beat. It's two years later and Janie Scott is trying to put the pieces of her fragmented memory back together. It seemed like a dream, but so real! Meanwhile, Benjamin is on his own mission with his father halfway around the globe. Superbly written, The Apprentices is a fantasy adventure that still manages to seem plausible and realistic.

Walton Ford: Pancha Tantra

Awesome. Think John James Audubon prints in a more twisted and dark light. The title Pancha Tantra refers to an ancient Indian animal folktale book thought to be a precursor to Aesop's Fables. This has lots of sly wit and offhand comments interwoven with the artwork.

A Little Book of Sloth

Do you shriek or weep easily? Then be prepared to go into overload! These little bundles of SQUEE! will melt even the most curmudgeonly naysayers. You'll  find yourself saying, "Kittens? What kittens?", or possibly becoming what I call "sloth-drunk." As a super-sparkly bonus, a portion of the proceeds go directly back to the sloths!

The Breathless Zoo: Taxidermy and the Cultures of Longing

Taxidermy has been a particular fascination of mine ever since I was a small child. My family's favorite pizza parlor was covered with nature's lifeless bounty, as was Marsh's Free Museum in Long Beach, Washington, where we had a beach house. With Jake the Alligator Man as a close personal friend, it is no wonder that I found myself drawn to The Breathless Zoo. Taxidermy isn't a morbid or dark interest; it's more about the awe and wonder of trying to capture a creature's power and beauty. I think of it in the same vein as mummification — the urge to preserve life in a very small way. Like bottling fireflies. This book, however, takes the art to a whole new level. Each page is like peering into a new cubby of a curio cabinet.

Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir

Superb. This memoir is another good example for me of someone who is living a parallel life to my own. I always find solace in knowing that I'm not alone in experiencing trauma from family, love, or life. The voice is wonderful and the artwork is great.

The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Gilded Age Murder and the Birth of Moving Pictures

From the author of the National Book Award winner Slaves in the Family, The Inventor and the Tycoon is about the partnership of Eadweard Muybridge and Leland Stanford — one an eccentric inventor of stop-motion photography, the other a railroad baron with a penchant for racehorses. Murder, ingenuity, wealth, and sensation spiraled out of this union.

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