Archive for the ‘graphic novels’ Category

in between sneezes

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Laboring away on Labor Day at the reference desk (#1 question: “What time do you close?”) is as good a time as any to make this note to self:

  • read Daniel Alarcón’s Lost City Radio this week.  Wow. Excited to read more by him–I expect to read his book of short stories sometime this month.  Although I am breaking my Pulitzer promise to myself.

Other activities this week:

  • baked molasses cookies
  • made world’s best fritatta (out of How to Eat Supper, I’m beyond obsessed with Lynne Rossetto Kasper)
  • Alison Bechdel’s Essential Dykes to Watch Out For (this is super great!  I loved watching Bechdel grow as an artist & writer.  Fun x 1000.)
  • started Mockingjay, can’t stop reading Mockingjay, etc
  • wanted to destroy all plants because of allergies
  • was overwhelmed by Spanish class, and then excited, and then overwhelmed again, and then excited again
  • etc

Top 10s!

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

I like to think that I’m fairly reliable, but plenty of people would tell you that I’m not.  My pen-pal Shanna could tell you that I never ever ever write back (she writes the loveliest letters, too) and she’d probably even tell you that we’re not pen-pals anymore because I was so miserably bad at responding.  Sorry Shanna!  Many of my friends could tell you of times that we had plans and I canceled at the last minute because I really just didn’t want to leave the house (sorry trivia team!!!).

Just as bad, I have regrettably promised several different friends at different points in the last year that I would make a list for them of my top-10 favorite graphic novels/comic books.  I must have promised Kate this more than 6 months back, and months and months and months ago Jason  & Kelly sent me a message asking me the same on goodreads that I just plain neglected to respond to.  I am really by no means any kind of authority on graphic novels or comic books–I feel far more comfortable talking about favorite pieces of fiction or poetry (or even my favorite celebrity gossip blogs).  I was awfully late getting into comic books.  I had always loved X-Men (and continue to follow a couple of the different trades) and my dad tried to get me interested in Superman, but the BSC and the Saddle Club were pretty much way more exciting when I was young (what can I say, Stacey’s tales of being a young fashionable diabetic really resonated with me).  I started reading graphic novels with Bone & was very much hooked.

Creating this list was kind of a serious struggle.  For one thing, I can hardly remember many of the titles that I’ve read.  I’ve never consciously kept track like I do with novels.  For another, I really loved many titles when I first read them.  Some things meant a lot more to me at the time–when crafting this list, I tried to take this into consideration.  Three years ago, as a miserable senior in college, I positively adored Jeffrey Brown, whom I could completely commiserate with.  Now?  I can barely stomach passing by a Jeff Brown book in the comic store.  I also need to note that while one trade of a series might have really stood out to me as the end-all-be-all of comics, in the end I just combined all the trades as one series.  This might not do some specific favorite trades justice.  Apologies.

  1. Jessica Abel-La Perdida
  2. Brian K. Vaughan & others-Y: the last man
  3. Aline Kominsky Crumb-Need More Love
  4. Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon-Preacher
  5. Jason Lutes-Berlin 1&2
  6. Adrian Tomine-Summer Blonde
  7. Julie Doucet-365 Days
  8. Alison Bechdel-Fun Home: a family tragicomic
  9. Craig Thompson-Blankets (this is one that has so much life significance that it has to be on the list)
  10. Andres Nilsen-Dogs & Water

My list is awfully heavy on the drawn & quarterly side of things (which I don’t mind because I fully admire 99% of the work d&q artists put out), so a special mention #11 should go to Pascal Blanchet for White Rapids.

I’m sure that tonight I will get home and smack myself on the forehead for forgetting three or four ALL TIME FAVES, but for now, this will have to do.

Simple kinda life never did me no harm

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

At about 75 degrees my tolerance for the heat disappears and I collapse on the tile floor in my underwear. I spent a big part of the weekend doing just this. It feels good, and I use no energy to do so. I also periodically crunch ice cubes with the dog.

To escape the heat, I did one of my favorite things this weekend. I went to West Virginia! This means I did no reading at all, whatsoever (this is sort of a lie: I read volumes 3-4 of the Walking Dead and most of Julie Doucet’s My New York Diary–the former which still underwhelms me a lot and the latter which is so great I can’t even describe it. Doucet draws like a clusterfuck. There is so much on every page and in every panel that my little eyeballs get gigantic. Also I like that she is French Canadian, which is irrelevant. But the Walking Dead pretty much sucks & I can hardly follow the storyline or what order the panels/conversations are in, which strikes me as incredibly stupid, on my part AND on the part of the illustrators. However, because I am a glutton for punishment I will continue reading them.)

Either way, yes, I went to West Virginia in a sad attempt to escape my 85 degree apartment. I ate at least 3 donuts.



We drove down the Ohio River a ways. We stopped in Beaver. We made a lot of dumb jokes. I knitted a lot. The dog slept a lot. I ate a bunch of snacks. THEN BEST OF ALL: we went to the Fiestaware Outlet. I go here probably twice a year, because it is one of my favorite places on the planet. I have more Fiestaware than I know what to do with (seriously, cupboards of the stuff), but this doesn’t stop me from continuing to shop there.

Fiestaware Outlet!

Fiestaware Outlet!

fiestaware-071 I bought a few things that I don’t necessarily need, and a few things that will make excellent presents, and a few things that I actually did need, which was exciting. Everything looks nice in Fiestaware. It’s problematic.

This is an excellent day-trip. I recommend it for all who appreciate fine, minorly imperfect Fiestaware at a serious discount.

Also, donuts make this trip even better than it already is.

It is theoretically going to cool down this week, so hopefully I can crack a book or two without breaking a sweat.

My Fledgling love of sci-fi (bad pun)

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Sometimes when it’s insanely nice out I get a little depressed, because I would secretly rather be inside reading. This weekend was one of those times. It pained me to do so, but I forced myself outside. I went to the dog park numerous times. I went on many walks. I went to a barbecue. I sat on the fire escape. I drank beer. I obsessed over knitting lace WHILE drinking beer WHILE sitting on the fire escape:

Lace ribbon

Lace ribbon

This pattern is so fun and joyful to look at while working on it. It is like a magical surprise of happiness with every new row.

It finally turned gloomy yesterday, and I was able to sit around doing nothing to my heart’s content. I finished all of Preacher. I am sort of crushed to be done with it. I really, really savored volumes 1-6, but I FLEW through the last three because I was so excited to find out what was going to happen. I was like a little kid with this series.

Yesterday, listening to records and drinking copious amounts of coffee, I also finished Octavia Butler’s Fledgling. It’s kind of like Twilight’s sophisticated grandmother. Butler is obviously an established writer and has a greater grasp on, say, coherency and language than Stephanie Meyer can ever hope to. I don’t ever read science fiction (and I don’t really know why not–I would probably like it), but I enjoyed this immeasurably. Butler is a really sparse, meager writer, but her grasp on storytelling is phenomenal. In Fledgling she has created the fantastic, scary world of the Ina (like vampires, only not) and I was extremely sad to have left it. My finishing of Fledgling coincided with the end of the weekend: the saddest time of all, multiplied by two because I am now bookless. I don’t know where to turn. I feel empty and a little naked.

What next?!

Battling the common cold.

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

I am currently terrified that I might be getting a cold. I have that weird itchy throat feeling. It started yesterday on the bus. My head got all bloaty, and my eyes were burning, and I was sneezing like mad. I kicked into cold-battling overdrive last night. No way am I getting sick this week. NO WAY. It is THAT time of year schoolwise, so hello tons of papers and hello tons of patrons. My precautions consist of:

  • frenzied handwashing (seriously every twenty minutes. I am out of control and was almost incapable of using public transportation today)
  • slurping down an Emergen-C once an hour (wasn’t this stuff debunked? Why am I still relying on it? I hope the debunking was debunked)
  • crossing my fingers and eating a Zinc lozenge every two hours
  • hoping that Emma is on to something with this incredible, delicious soup (I think you are, Emma! It’s amazing! I used way more garlic than you said to, but I am a garlic-hound and it only made it more tasty!)
  • laying on the couch last night, snuggling with my dogfriend reading Daddy’s Girl (Debbie Drechsler), David Chelsea is in love (David Chelsea), Aviary (Jamie Tanner) [I am honestly Not Wild About This Book At All), the Sportswriter (Richard Ford)--I know, I'm still reading it--and watching Always Sunny incessantly.
  • treating aforementioned dogfriend with all the love I can offer her. I don't like to be all animal-hokey (okay, yes I kind of do), but I swear she can tell when I am not feeling 100%, and on those days, she snuggles me like her life depends on it. Oh, this dog. Last night she got her special, favorite dinner of: normal doggie kibble (1/2 serving), 1/4 of an apple, 1 whole carrot chopped and peanut butter. Isn't this the face of a champion snuggler?
my special dogfriend

my special dogfriend

Time will tell if I’ve escaped the wrath of the common cold. Back the fuck off, cold. I’ve got my eye on you.

Life wish-list

Friday, March 20th, 2009

I think this post will be something that I come back to time and time again to update. A running list of my obsessions, if you will.

  • Lucy Knisley-French Milk
  • Adrian Tomine-Scrapbook-
  • Leanne Shapton-Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry (this is already winning as my favorite book of 2009)
  • All of Y (I only have 1,3-6. I lent 2 to someone and I forget who.)
  • Jason Lutes-Berlin collected volumes (I HAVE TO HAVE THESE. I must have a benevolent and wealthy admirer out there. Where are you? Buy me these PLEASE. These are so good and important and relevant. I must own them.)
  • etc
  • etc
  • etc

Spring break.

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

I don’t get a spring break, because I am a working class schlepp, so that title is a big ol’ joke. I get the week off of classes, which is good and fine, but otherwise–HAH. 9-5. I am taking an untraditional mini-vacay tomorrow and going north, the way the birdies don’t go (so not Cancun). OMC are taking a brother-trip to Toronto for a long weekend (we both have brothers there. We are so friggin’ cute. We planned it that way.)

I had to put off Louise Erdrich readings because I think I burnt myself out. I finished the Beet Queen and ultimately have high praise for it, but when I started to read the next in line, Tracks, I just couldn’t do it. I feel bad about this, but I’ll pick it up again later (I accidentally have two copies of it checked out of two different libraries. This signifies I have two problems. One: forgetfulness, the other: obsessiveness). Over the weekend I instead started the Sportswriter, by Richard Ford, which I kind of think is hilarious but am not sure if I’m supposed to. I will get back to this, too.

Other readings:

  • Jar of Fools: a picture story - Jason Lutes (Sherman Alexie wrote the intro and I was like, “Argh hero.” Pretty dec.)
  • Sweater Weather - Sara Varon (this book is fucking adorable and you will hug it close to your chest and want it to be your friend and drink hot chocolate with you, if you are anything like me. It reminded me infinitely of Salamander Dream, by Hope Larson, which is equally adorable and friendable.)
  • Walking Dead v.2-3 – Robert Kirkman & Tony Moore (I don’t want to think these are good, but there it is, they kinda are. Oops? I read v. 1 over a year ago and then kinda forgot about the series because I was so obsessed with Lucifer.)
  • Preacher v. 1 - Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon (This, so far, is AWESOME. I love the story. I loooove it. It’s seriously so exciting.)

Also, I finally got season 3 of Always Sunny (thanks OMC!!!). This show is probably for people who don’t have morals. What can I say. I think it’s incredible.

In Toronto, I will get to visit my favorite bookstore of all time, which means I will return with piles of loot that I don’t and won’t have time to read for months. This is part of being me, though, and I have accepted it. Stoked!

Epic fail

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

I went to visit my grandparents on Sunday. They filled me with deep-fried goodness. French fries, onion rings, fried zucchini, fried mushrooms. On top of that, sadly un-fried pumpkin pie. I wanted to die. My body is not meant for such consumption. I am the kind of girl who would be extremely content eating sprouts and Pink Lady apples for the rest of her life. I should have been rolled home down the Pennsylvania turnpike. I was exceptionally full, and in fact still couldn’t eat yesterday. Therefore, there was no cooking in my house. Not a thing. Therefore I have no recipes, except for the recipe of self-destruction, which I am newly well-acquainted with and reads something like:

veggie burger + cheese + onions + mayo + ketchup + french fries + onion rings + fried zucchini + fried mushrooms + hot peppers + chunk of garlic + can of Coke (they don’t believe in drinking water, I don’t think) + pumpkin pie = stomach-clutching burping disgusting illness.

In book news, I finished Love Medicine (need I tell you it was great?) and started the Beet Queen (which, by the way, should probably be my middle name). I woke up at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning and tore through Adrian Tomine’s Scrapbooks, which I keep reminding myself to buy because it’s one of those “need to own” books.

I hardly ever ever ever talk about movies, but last night big brother and I went to see Wendy & Lucy and I felt like someone punched me in the stomach with a sadness punch. I can’t watch movies that make me this anxious. Yes, it was pretty, and yes, Michelle Williams is pretty much a babe and I think I’m going to have that hairstyle accidentally in about two days and yes movies about dogfriends break my heart, but oh my god, did I ever need a hug after it. Old Joy didn’t do this to me. I resent this lingering sadness feeling. Needin’ a hug. Needin’ a hug.

My burgeoning love of Louise Erdrich <3

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

I don’t think it should come as a surprise to anyone that I can get mildly (or, uh, incredibly) obsessed with things/authors/directors/celebrities/series/people etc. I have a tremendous capacity for things like this. Say I discover an author. Let’s say, Ian Frazier. I read one book. I love it. I read another book of his. I love it. I think, “I have to read them all. OMG. Immediately.” So I start at the beginning. I read his first book. Then the next, the next, the next, and so on. I think about them, and conceptualize them, and talk incessantly to people who don’t care about how much his writing style has changed/hasn’t changed, how he loves Ojibwe Indians more/less than in the beginning, etc. I get so fucking consumed by the things that I love! I think this might be an endearing trait, but I’m not sure yet.

Basically, my new obsession is Louise Erdrich. Again, probably not surprising. Upon finishing Plague of Doves, I decided I had to read them all. So, in true “me” style, I’m starting at the beginning, with Love Medicine. 132 pages in, I’m so thankful there’s a family tree laid out at the start of the book. I really love this woman. This new love, it’s going to be bad. I can tell.

Also, weekend comic/graphic novel readings:

  • Julie Doucet-Long time relationship
  • Leanne Shapton-Was she pretty (neither of these was as remotely romantic as they sound)
  • Seth-It’s a good life, if you don’t weaken (adored this!)

Weekend non-comic reading that I am embarrassed to admit:

Coffee at Luke’s: an unauthorized Gilmore Girls gabfest (this isn’t even remotely good. Not at all. It’s fucking stupid, and annoying, and I hate 80% of the authors. I could barely get through this book.)

Weekend readings!

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Sometimes I finish a book and am totally relieved. Done! Done! No more of whatever nonsense irritated me about the book. Sometimes, like on Saturday, I finish a book and am immensely depressed. I woke up ultra-early on Saturday and finished Plague of Doves. Upon finishing it, I immediately thought, “I will never read a book this good. Ever again.” This is a sad notion, because I obviously love to read, and have like 176 books in my mental queue of things to read. It took me awhile to piece the book together, and honestly, at first I wasn’t into it at all, but was giving it a chance based on the praise from several people. HOWEVER. I am so glad I finished it. Louise Erdrich is, and I don’t really need to tell you this, a master wordsmith. The level of detail in this book is phenomenal. It kind of blew me away. My only complaint is: what the hell do I follow this up with? Nothing will be as good, as delicate, as arresting. I tried to start Lady Oracle (by her majesty, Margaret Atwood [I realized last week that I hadn't read this book, which was surprising, because I've read everything else by Atwood in a quasi-serious attempt to understand the genius that is her brain]), but I just couldn’t get into it. I keep thinking about Pluto, North Dakota. You should too.

Because I can read comics/graphic novels when nothing else stays in my brains, this weekend I resorted to an old friend: Paul Hornschemeier*. I adore Hornschemeier, and while we’re not actually friends (I tend to call my idols/celebrities “friends” or “lovers” or “boyfriends”, which they obviously aren’t, although, hey, wishful thinking), he’s wise and funny in the most droll (and pretty) way. Mother, come home will make you cry if you have a heart, and probably even if you don’t. Yesterday I re-read Let us be perfectly clear, which can simultaneously make me giggle and want to bawl. I can’t claim to be an art critic, but the breadth of his drawing styles is almost unbelievable. Next up: I must re-read the three paradoxes.

I must also beg my brain to let me read fiction again. Where to start, though.

*BTW: I quickly googled Hornschemeier to double-check a book title, and found his blog, which had a side-link to his myspace, which I looked at it because a small part of me is a creeper, and there is a picture of him on Penn Ave out front of the Brillobox. My entire being just shriveled up and died. I’m not sure why. SMALL WORLD.