Saturday, December 31, 2011

Welcome to the Nerd Farm!

What I try to do with reviews at this Bookshelf blog is keep it simple and spoiler-free, and let you know whether I'd recommend you pick up a copy of what I just read. Seems to work okay. This time, a brief review of Welcome to the Nerd Farm! (Andrews McMeel, 2007).

At last, I have purchased the only outstanding hole in my Doonesbury library. I put it off because I was just completely certain that somebody was going to announce the incredibly long-overdue comprehensive reprint program that I have been hoping to see around the time of the 40th anniversary celebrations this year, but, well, as 2011 comes to a close and we still don't have one...

(We do have two more recent collections than this. I received 2009's Tee Time in Berzerkistan as a gift when it was released. Red Rascal's War, the latest collection, is quite new and on my to-do list to pick up sometime.)

It took me a long time, but I recently reread all of Doonesbury that is in print, which is about 70% of it. I had been keeping a blog which detailed what strips were missing, but man alive, did that ever turn into a chore. It's much more satisfying to just read without letting it turn into work. Around 2002, the books entered their sixth design incarnation - oh, my poor, ugly shelves! - and at least seemed to finally start collecting every strip without skipping any. These are easily picked out as the large format books, about 8x11, with black spines.

The principal storylines in this collection, which is set during George Bush's second term and cover all the empire-crumbling shenanigans around it, include Alex's first hectic year at MIT, BD's PTSD, and Mike attempting to convince his mother to come live in Seattle with him and his wife Kim. As always, the cast grows, and there's plenty of self-aware humor in the reader mail. Creator Garry Trudeau never goes for the easy answer, and keeps complicating things for his characters. It's a terrific, and very funny read. Recommended.

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