Sunday, February 11, 2007

phase three... the low-level anxiety and graphic novel phase. I haven't been able to concentrate on real books for the past week or so, so I've been reading graphic novels. The first was Blankets, by Craig Thompson, a really sweet and lovely book about his first romance. Usually I don't get so excited about straight-love stories (yawn) but this one was sweet and beautifully drawn and I liked it a lot.

Then I read another of his called Carnet de Voyage, a quickly drawn travelog documenting a trip he took through parts of Europe and into Morrocco. I know I mentioned all this in a previous post, sorry. But these books were both so sweet and pretty I wanted to mention them again. Craig Thompson lives here in Portland and, you know, Craig... if you're ever ego-surfing and you run accross my site, email me. Let's get a beer.

Anyhoo... the next graphic novel I read was Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. I read a story in the New York Times a couple weeks ago about how they're making a movie out of it, so I checked it out from the library. Such an interesting little book: simple, black and white drawings (no shades of gray) that almost look like woodcuts, telling the story of her childhood in Iran during and after the revolution in 1979 and then through the subsequent wars with Iraq. *Really* great book, which I highly recommend.

Then there was Persepolis Two, which I just finished last night while SK snoozed peacefully before me. This one details her life in Austria where her parents sent her to escape the war in Iran, and her subsequent return to Iran at 19. Very interesting to get a perspective on what it's like for all those otherwise modern, intellectual women in Iran, hidden under the veils they mostly detest.

After Persepolis, I'm moving on to Joe Sacco's Palestine, which he created after spending a few months in occupied Palestine in the early '90s. I read about Sacco in an interview online with Alison Bechdel and Craig Thompson, which can be found on the Powell's Bookstore website. Alison Bechdel, who does the Dykes to Watch Out For strip, wrote an incredible graphic memoir called Fun Home that came out last year about her family, specifically her dad, a closet queer who died a mysterious death when she was in college.

Anyway, I could write volumes about how awesome that book was and how awesome it was to see her talk about her work at Powell's last summer, but instead I'll just say that, when she was here, Powell's got her and Craig Thompson together and interviewed them and in the conversation they ended up having, they talked about different cartoonists whose work they both admire: Joe Sacco was one of their faves, so I've got a couple of his books right now and we'll see. I'm sure I'll keep you posted.

As far as the persistent, low-level anxiety... I'm still working on that...


Anonymous Joolie said...

Loved Palestine (although I did not particularly love Notes of a Defeatist; oh, check out Safe Area Gorazde too while you're on a Joe Sacco roll), loved the Persepolises (Persepoli?), and loved Fun Home, which I think I got on your recommendation.

That was my disjointed comment about graphic novels. The end.

8:10 PM  
Blogger reasonably prudent poet said...

interesting. i got notes on a defeatest too and found the very first cartoon to be really off-putting and to set the tone for the next few that i read. he draws himself to be kind of grotesque and pretty unlikeable. it didn't make me want to read more. i'm finding palestine interesting, b/c it's based on things he actually witnessed in a place i will probably never go. yet... he makes himself seem so unlikeable and he draws all his people in a semi-grotesque way... i still find it a little unappealing, though i'm going to keep reading.

and, just to add to my graphic novel list, i read chicken and plums last night, another of marjane satrapi's -- it was ok. at 80-something pages it was a super-quick read and, though it is sad and sort of sweet, the lasting image is of sophia loren's voluptuous busom rising out of a plate of chicken and plums. and that's all i will say about that...

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Joolie said...

It's been a while since I read either, but I seem to remember finding that unlikeability honest in Palestine, like, ok, this is his viewpoint and his reactions to the things he saw, even if they weren't the best or kindest ones. That same quality just seemed unpleasant and self-indulgent in Notes of a Defeatist.

6:44 PM  

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