Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Sic vita est

Time flies. With three children in the house and two courses on the go, my reading has lapsed. This isn't to say that I haven't read; in fact, considering everything, I've probably done pretty well. Mostly, I've picked up titles that I could read in a very short time and postponed longer titles for the not-too-distant future.

In spite of myself, I did read Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years. Sue Townsend could leave the series here and not feel guilty about it. He's grown; hell, he's old (40ish, like me) and we've seen him mature and/or resign to his lot in life. It is a rather bleak tale without as much of the humour as I've come to expect from the series. At any rate, I think he and I will part ways here. Really, it's over. I'm not going back. And, truthfully, I think it's him, not me.

Graphic novels are a great sanctuary for me -- especially those in the memoir or journalistic vein -- and I surprised myself this week by reading Nylon Road by Parsua Bashi. Why surprised? Because it -- the graphic novelization as much as the subject itself -- is not exactly a new idea: a journey from girlhood to womanhood during Iran's revolution. But it was fresh and original and, of course, inevitably linked in my mind to Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis series from frame to frame.

Three days ago, I read 9/11 Emergency Relief, a graphic novel anthology compiled in aid of the American Red Cross. I'd picked it up used for about five dollars at my favourite comic/graphic novel store last summer because I thought it would be an interesting read. It ended up being a surprising array of talent and an excellent opportunity to sample the graphic wares of dozens of artists/writers. (I've burrowed through quite a few graphic novels over the years and I'm always impressed by the originality of the inking, colouring, and lettering styles of each artist.)

The day before yesterday, it was Rutu Modan's Exit Wounds. I think I understand why it was received with such critical acclaim. The story -- both mystery and romance, set in Tel Aviv -- is very moving and it flows seamlessly. I loved the plot twists. This g-novel won the 2008 Eisner Award.  (I really enjoyed her graphic blogging, Mixed Emotions, on The New York Times website in 2007).  The next stop for me where this author is concerned is Jamilti -- I almost finished it, several times.  It's not that I'm not interested; I just keep putting it aside right next to Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli.

Last night, I sped through Clubbing (Andi Watson/Josh Howard) -- 176 pages -- a graphic novel for the Young Adult audience.  There isn't much to say about it: breezy, brief, and enjoyable.

And I have no idea where I'm headed next.

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