2012-09-20

Comics and Vonnegut

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051) The Zabîme Sisters by Aristophane, finished September 20

I picked this book up at the library assuming it was a comics adaptation of an Aristophanes play I'd never heard of before. Not so. Aristophane is a Caribbean/French comics creator who died only a year older than I am now.

Here is the first page:


At first I was uncertain but by the end, I had grown to love his brushstrokes and the understated storytelling. I liked it, in other words, much better than Kampung Boy which in its attempt to cover more territory actually tells us less.
three days over more than a month



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050) Little Death by Thomas Kriebaum, finished September 16

(Note first that this book was sent to me gratis from the publisher; I was confused when an unmarked package with British stamps arrived in the mail.)

This comic is written by an Austrian, but questions of translation hardly matter since the book is nearly word-free. But other questions remain. Like: Was this originally published serially? Which is an important question as complaints of repetitiveness don't come up when you get one chapter every six weeks. Rather than on the very next page.

After I finished it, Lady Steed picked it up. And besides the above complaint (in the form of "it went on a little long"), she liked Little Death---she laughed more in any given chapter than I did in the entire book.

I found the book tonally troubled. Is it supposed to be funny? What kind of funny? I suppose it's supposed to be ironic, but I couldn't quite get a grasp on what it was being ironic about. This mini Grim Reaper---is he a sadist? Sometimes it seems like it, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes people are horrified to see Death, sometimes delighted. But who feels which way is chaotic. And does Death care who he kills? Or does it just need to be someone? Is he just doing his job or does he totally dig this gig?

I don't have answers to any of these questions and that made the book hard for me to enjoy. People who expect less from comics will probably enjoy it more.

Nice Charlie Brown, though.

The following images were taken from the artist's webpage. They give a good sense of what the book's about and whether you'll be interested.





not long



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049) God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut, finished September 11


I'm a but late this year on my every-summer Vonnegut, but I've finally read God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. It's been high on my list because most years I teach Slaughterhouse-Five, and Rosewater makes a cameo in that novel.

But he's hardly the only connection. Besides him, we have Kilgore Trout (and the book Farmer wrote, which has no relation to Sh5, but fascinates me all the same since I've been trying to finish that piece of trash for nearly five years), the firebombing of Dresden, poo-tee-weet, Rumfoord, Tralfamadorians (and in a manner that makes Billy seem perhaps crazy after all), and more and more and more. Holy crap it should be required reading for all kids reading Sh5. I'm a fool for never reading it before.

Besides the connections, it's just a great book. It's Vonnegut grounded in the real world. By which I mean no aliens or timequakes or ice-nine.

And I just enjoyed it ever so much. I do like me some Vonnegut.
about three weeks



Previously in 2012 . . . . :

Read the reviews of 44-48.
048) American Nerd: The Story of My People by Benjamin Nugent, finished September 7
047) Powers by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming, finished September 6
046) Simply Science by a number of authors and illustrators for All Aboard Reading, finished September 5
045) Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach, finished September 3
044) The Strange Case of the Walking Corpse: A Chronicle of Medical Mysteries, Curious Remedies, and Bizarre but True Healing Folklore by Nancy Butcher, finished August 27


Read the reviews of 40-43.
043) How to Analyze the Works of Stephenie Meyer by Marcela Kostihova, finished August 13
042) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, finished August 10
041) Captain America: Man Out of Time by Mark Waid and Jorge Molina, finished August 1
040) If You Believe in Mermaids . . . Don't Tell by A.A. Philips, finished July 28


Read the reviews of 37-39.
039) The Smartest Man in Ireland by Mollie Hunter, finished July 27
038) Blockade Billy / Morality by Stephen King, finished July 12
037) Dispirited by Luisa M. Perkins, finished July 9


Read the reviews of 34-36.
036) Hyperion by Dan Simmons, finished July 2
035) A Short Stay in Hell by Steven L. Peck, finished June 27
034) Kampung Boy by Lat, finished June 22


Read the reviews of 29-33.
034) The Giant Joshua by Maurine Whipple, finished June 20
033) Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl, finished June 18
032) Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart, "finished" June 18
031) Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese, "finished" June 15
030) The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon, finished June 9
029) Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick, finished early June


Read the reviews of 25-28.
028) Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, finished May 24
027) The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan, finished May 16
026) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, finished May 10
025) Dominant Traits by Eric Freeze, finished April 10


Read the reviews of 21-24.
024) The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White, finished April 2
023) UNTITLED MS by Kyle Jepson, finished March 12, 2012
022) The Complete Peanuts 1981-1982 by Charles M. Schulz, finished March 4
021) The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, finished March 3


Read the reviews of 14-20.
020) Billy Hazelnuts by Tony Millionaire, finished February 25
019) Good-bye, Chunky Rice by Craig Thompson, finished February 26
018) Madman 20th Anniversary Monster HC by [everybody], finished February 25
017) Billy Hazelnuts and Crazy Bird by Tony Millionaire, finished February 25
016) Billy Hazelnuts by Tony Millionaire, finished February 25
015) Habibi by Craig Thompson, finished February 20
014) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: 1910 by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill, finished February 15


Read the reviews of 12-13.
013) Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell, finished February 12
012) Black Hole by Charles Burns, finished February 11


Read the reviews of 6-11.
011) The Complete Peanuts: 1979-1980 by Charles M. Schulz, finished February 4
010) Blankets by Craig Thompson, finished February 4
009) Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, finished February 2
008) The Millstone Necklace (forthcoming) by S.P. Bailey, finished January 31
007) American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, finished January 27
006) Across a Harvested Field by Robert Goble, finished January 23


Read the reviews of 1-5.
005) Hark! a Vagrant! by Kate Beaton, finished January 21
004) The Death of a Disco Dancer by David Clark, finished January 12
003) Bucketfoot Al: The Baseball Life of Al Simmons by Clifton Blue Parker, finished January 9
002) Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror by Chris Priestly, finished January 9
001) What of the Night? by Stephen Carter, finished January 5

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