Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Books Worth a Look XXIII

I completed two worthwhile reads over this past weekend -- Aaron Cometbus's Chicago Stories and Tim Hall's novel Half Empty.

The former is a slim, self-published volume -- no publisher credited -- that collects Aaron's Chicago-related writings from Cometbus Nos. 35, 37-38, 41, and 45. Sporting a color cover by Megan Kelso, it's a quick, clever read in the spirit of Aaron's characteristic writing. That said, it was odd to read him typeset -- not in his iconic handwriting.

And the latter is a 235-page novel written by former New York Hangover contributor Tim Hall. Largely set in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, Half Empty follows the loves and losses of a recovering alcoholic. Working as a designer, the main character, Dennis, half-heartedly extricates himself -- and not so successfully -- from a complicated relationship as he begins a decidedly less-complicated, and perhaps healthier, partnership with another woman. The story addresses workplace hierarchy and etiquette, faithfulness, and the funny things love can make us do. In the end, Dennis doesn't quite end up with what he was aiming for -- and I'm left with a feeling of befuddlement. What did Dennis learn? Who wins or loses here? Still, an awesome local novel.

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