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Month in review

Reviews
Across the Continent by The Lincoln Highway by Effie Price Gladding
The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck
Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-Thief by Maurice Leblanc
Baby Driver: A Story About Myself by Jan Kerouac
Blackwork by Monica Ferris
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Buttons and Bones by Monica Ferris
Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
The Colossus of Roads: Myth and Symbol Along the American Highway by Karal Ann Marling
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff
Far from Fair by Elana K. Arnold
Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy by Susan Vaught
The Friendship Riddle by Megan Frazer Blakemore
The Inn Between by Marina Cohen
The Isle by Jordana Frankel Jem and The Holograms 1 by Kelly Thompson
Kissing in America by Margo Rabb
The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly
The Missing Ink by Karen E. Olson
Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson
The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks
No Ghouls Allowed by Victoria Laurie
Painting with a Lens by Rod Deutschmann and Robin Deutschmann
Photography of Natural Things by Freeman Patterson
Splat and the Cool School Trip by Rob Scotton
Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave by Jen White
Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley
Umbrella by Taro Yashima The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire
The Ward by Jordana Frankel
The Woman-Haters by Joseph C. Lincoln

Miscellaneous
My life as a teenage book addict, or, Sarah becomes a reader
Playing Pokémon Go as a parent
The terrible previews before Ghostbusters

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



The Colossus of Roads: Myth and Symbol Along the American Highway: 07/27/16

The Colossus of Roads: Myth and Symbol Along the American Highway by Karal Ann Marling

The Colossus of Roads by Karal Ann Marling is a short and intimate study of the oversized roadside attractions in the author's home state (as well as some surrounding states). One of the classic road trip tropes is the stopping at all these different oddly shaped buildings to see them, photograph them, and buy postcards of them. Nowadays that would also include taking selfies with them.

What I hadn't appreciated before reading Marling's book was how regional these structures are. There are a few in the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest, mostly along the older US Highway routes, rather than the Interstates but nothing in the density of the Great Plains.

The star of these colossi is of course, Paul Bunyan. He of the tall tales is a standard subject of the roadside attraction, so much so that among the handful of ones I can think of near me, he and Babe are there more than once. California has a pair at the Trees of Mystery and Oregon has another in Portland. Interestingly both of our west coast examples are taller than the one featured in Marling's book. Paul Bunyan is even included in the opening animation for Gravity Falls.

While I enjoyed the very localized history of the roadside attraction, I'm still testing the waters to see if there is enough here to make it a serious part of my project. By this I mean, there seems to be very little in the way of serious analysis or history of these attractions. The books I've read (with the exception of The Colossus of Roads) are more like A to Z guides to them (where they are and what they offer) or are lengthy interviews with the people who live near them.

Three stars

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