7. Card, Orson Scott. Children of the Mind (Ender Quartet, bk. 4) (370 p.)
8. Adam, Michael. How to Tie Ties (48 p.)
9. Chaykin, Howard & Mike Mignola. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser (200 p.)
10. Usher, M.D. The Golden Ass of Lucius Apuleius (85 p.)
11. McKissack, Patricia C., Fredrick L. McKissack Jr., & Randy DuBurke. Best Shot in the West: the adventures of Nat Love (129 p.)
12. Forstschen, William R. Arena (Magic, the Gathering) (297 p.)
February total: 1,129 pages
2012 total: 2,924 pages
I'd read the first three books of Card's Ender quartet a few years back, but just recently came across a free copy of the last book in that sub-series, and so finished it off. I think the enjoyability for me really dropped off in books 3 & 4. Characters who aren't particularly likable, situations that--without likable characters--only barely hold my interest; book 4 especially, but also book 3, just are not as good as book 2, let alone the bar set by Ender's Game.
I somehow missed that Chaykin & Mignola had done a Marvel Epic miniseries adapting Fritz Lieber stories to comics. Now rectified. The best Lankhmar stories are here, save one (namely "Jewels in the Forest", and it sounds like Mignola wanted to include that one but Chaykin misunderstood which "the one with the tower" story he meant). This is relatively early Mignola, inked by the marvelous Al Williamson, so the art is not quite as angular, stylized & blotchy as Mignola is now. (And thus, in my opinion, is significantly more readable.)
I had to read The Golden Ass back in college, and was shocked and amused when I heard someone had come out with an adaptation for children. Then, lo and behold, it crossed my desk at work. It's... actually rather good, much better than I'd expected and significantly easier to get through than the original is, though it's possible I may have enjoyed it more because I'd previously read the original than because of this version's own merits. While the truly bawdy stuff is all omitted, it's still a bit raunchy--sort of like Arrested Development or early seasons of the Simpsons--particularly regarding the puns centered around the titular donkey. Filled with humor and some episodic adventure, though the setting in classical Rome, Greece, and Thessaly may be a turn-off for much of the intended audience. I recommend tracking it down and giving it a try, even though it's not going to suit everyone's tastes, as it really is one of the best ass stories around. (And thus the reason for the adjective "golden".)
I happened to flip through Best Shot in the West when it crossed my desk, and got so instantly hooked that I had to stop and read through it. It's a somewhat loose, graphic novel adaptation of Nat Love's autobiography, starting with his childhood as a slave on a Tennessee plantation, focusing mostly on his adventures as the most famous African American cowboy (and one of the best shots anywhere in the West, earning him the nickname "Deadwood Dick"), and ending with his time as a Pullman porter on the railroad. It's extremely episodic, telling various events that happened to him, in basically the order they happened, rather than trying to turn his life story into an overarching narrative. Parts of DuBurke's artwork reminds me a lot of Bill Sienkiewicz's work on New Mutants circa "The Demon Bear Saga", or his painted work a la his comic book covers (such as the cover to the original Dark Phoenix TPB), but not quite as exaggerated/surreal. It's really quite good and well worth tracking down, though as with The Golden Ass, there's something about it that I can't quite put my finger on that makes me think it doesn't quite reach the level of being great.
Feudalism: Serf & Turf