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    Book Club in a Bag

    Words In Beige

    by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

    Though there are many graphic novels and books in our collection that bear beige covers I thought I would highlight a few of our gems. Why beige? Isn’t beige boring, un-flavourful and well, um … boring? Well, for the sake of neutrality I will write, you can read; and draw your own conclusions.

    Unspent Love, or Things I wish I told You by Shannon Gerard. Poignant moments of longing, regret, reflection and joy in regards to love illustrated with sparse prose. The images don’t necessarily match the text which gives space for untold ambiguities and contradictions to exist, like they do in life. This technique lends a richness and depth to what in essence are very short clips of lives.

    Let That Bad Air Out - Buddy Bolden’s Last Parade: a Novel In Linocut by Stefan Berg. Would you explain Jazz with words or without?? Well Berg has chosen the silent but strong approach in his Porcupine Quill Publication. PQ press has also publish several beige covered graphic novels done in linocut including George A. Walker’s The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson and Book of Hours : a Wordless Novel Told in 99 Wood Engravings, which was reviewed in a previous post. They come equipped with short introductions which you can read to enhance your viewing experience, though I find it fun to see what I can glean from just reading the pictures first and then going back and “seeing if I’m right” by reading the introduction last…

    An Invisible Flower by Yoko Ono is a poetry book also covered in beige with very sparse words accompanied by rich, scrawly drawings done in charcoal and chalk pastel. Like a homemade art picture book for adults. Made 10 years before she met John Lennon and discovered and published by their son Sean as his first Chimera Press publication it eerily foreshadows Ono’s and Lennon’s relationship as well as references Yoko’s experiences in a refugee camp in WW2.

    Body of Text by David Ellignsen & Micheal V. Smith is another poetry book that blurs and marries the categories between images and text. And, okay, the cover isn’t beige but it is black and white, hence carrying some level of neutrality so I thought I could sneak it into this post. Smith is a writer, performance artist and occasional clown. In this book he is photographed by the award winning Ellignsen in various poses, distortions and yoga positions to make his body resemble letters. These are placed throughout the pages in numbers one to three making you “read” the characters created by his body as if it was a poem. The effect is mesmerizing and lyrical, enticing much flipping backwards and forwards – of pages that is ;).

    Hall of Best Knowledge: [all ideas, seminal & harmonious, complete & boundless] by Ray Fenwick. Flipping through this book, it can be hard to tell what it is about as Fenwick has geniously invented his own form of storytelling perhaps best quipped as 'typographical comics'. This consists of short one-page frames, each with a different topic humorously detailing what he thinks is best for you to know about each subject and slowly but surely building a narrative that comes together piece by piece. My favourite is the one about libraries which says, "... times have changed... When a guest views your library, the effect should be akin to the speechless awe inspired by the primitive hunter tearing off his animal skin to display glistening, sustenance-providing muscles. If the viewer is not left trembling before your impressive selection of books, then there is work to be done! ". Enjoy!

    Picture Books… for Adults

    by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

    Last week I shared five Graphic Novels about unexpected subjects with you in Great Graphix: NOT Your Run of the Mill Comics. Here now are five complex, mature, and unexpected… picture books. There's something for everyone.

    Ever heard of book spine poetry? Well, pile up some books, look at the titles on the spine and make a poem.

    Sorted books by Nina Katchadourian has some great book spine poems including highlights such as: "A Short Guide to Writing about Art / Criticizing Photographs / This is Not a Photograph" and "Primitive Art / Just Imagine / Picasso / Raised by Wolves."

     

     

    The Da Vinci Cod : and Other Illustrations for Unwritten Books by Christopher Riddell (a Sunday times cartoon columnist and children’s book illustrator) is wittier than an earful of mice. Each one-pane comic reframes titles from famous literary classics such as “Jane Ear” with hilarious, detailed, one-frame illustrations. Some examples are: "Anglicanism and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" (featuring a priest riding a motorcycle), "Apes of Wrath" (featuring Apes…), "The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe Assistant" (featuring a Queer fashion designer). For further fun check out his website which has three additional sets of illustrations to unwritten books.

     

    The Adventuress by Audrey Niffenegger (enjoy The Time Traveler’s Wife??) is her first (self) published book. Before becoming an author Niffenegger went to art school (the Art Institute of Chicago), and made her first book out of a series of dry-prints (etchings); before deciding to turn them into a story. The resulting book brings together a series of prints she did for her graduating thesis. It’s a Frankenstenian love story involving a captured woman morphing into a moth, having Napoleon as a lover, complete with a creepy yet comforting conclusion to love lost, amongst other things. This is classic Niffenegger and echoes themes explored in The Time Traveller’s Wife. You might also want to check out The Three Incestuous Sisters.

     

    About Love – 3 Stories by Anton Chekhov. Three classic short stories by the Russian author translated by David Helwig. A former poet laureate of Prince Edward Island and an Officer of the Order of Canada, he has written twenty volumes of fiction and fourteen volumes of poetry. Comfily illustrated by Seth the book invites curling up with a loved one and reading it together over a cup of cocoa.

     

    The Dot and the Line - a Romance in Lower Mathematics by Norton Juster is a great illustrated story that is allegorical and philosophical while remaining quite simple and downright funny.

    There are many other gems embedded in our Art, Graphix and Children’s book collections. Stay tuned for future recommendations!

     

      

    Great Graphix: NOT Your Run of the Mill Comics

    by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

    Think that comic books are only for teenagers and picture books are only for kids? It might surprise you to see what actually ends up being published as Graphic Novels these days and the complex and mature content that ends up being published as… basically, picture books. Everything from the biology of our DNA to the Bible; from Math Romances to Book Spine Poetry can make it between these pages.

    Here are five subjects you might have never thought would be published as a comic book:

    The Stuff of Life : a Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA by Schultz, Mark

    Think you’ll never grasp the science behind DNA? Even the basics of genetics can sound utterly alien. So who better than an alien to explain it all? Enter Bloort 183, a scientist from an asexual alien race threatened by disease, who's been charged with researching the fundamentals of human DNA and evolution and laying it all out in clear, simple language so that even his slow-to-grasp-the-point leader can get it.

    Manga Shakespeare by Paul Duffield

    I have found these the fastest way to understand Shakespeare’s plays in a 20-40 minute sitting. Get the context complete with actual quotes from the plays – THEN read the texts and you're sailing. Plus they are illustrated in Manga--did I mention that? Start with Romeo and Juliet and then try The Tempest on for size. (It’s set in a sci-fi future!)

    Cancer Vixen by Marisa Acocella Marchetto

    Another great graphic novel form that has evolved is the Graphic Memoir, and this is a prime example. Heartbreaking and funny, it details how Marchetto set out and succeeded in “kicking cancer in the butt – in 4 inch killer heels, no less,” managing to keep her optimism, her high end restauranteur fiancé, fashion, humour, support from family and friends, wits AND get married on time in high style to boot.

    Book of Hours : a Wordless Novel Told in 99 Wood Engravings by George A. Walker

    Some events are best described wordlessly. George A. Walker certainly felt this when he chose to chronicle a day in the life of the events of 9/11 in Book of Hours. It’s hard to describe what these black and white illustrations impart but should take you approximately 9-11 minutes to flip through the book and get it.

    The Bible: a Japanese Manga Rendition, Translated by Glenn Anderson, edited by Marie Iida

    Whoever thought you could enjoy the bible Manga style? Well, you can.

     

    There are many other gems embedded in the Library's Art, Graphix and Children’s book collections.

    Stay tuned next week for five unexpected… picture books!

    Better in Pairs!

    by Laura C - 3 Comment(s)

    I always find it fun to read stories that are somehow related. Making connections between what I've read can give a new perspective on an old story, or an old perspective on a new story.

    So, let me help you make your some old-new connections with two genres that don't often get read together! I've taken 5 works of "classic" fiction and paired them with 5 graphic novels and comic books that share similar themes and characters.

    Read one or the other, or better yet read them both and see if I got it right!

    Click on the covers to find them in the library catalogue.


    5 Comic Books and Classic Novels to Read in Pairs:

    1. The mystery-solving duo of an eccentric millionaire and his observant sidekick:

    Cover Image: Batman Sundayics Cover Image: Sherlock Holmes selected stories

    2. The war against government-sanctioned media censorship in a distopian world:

    Cover Image: Library Wars v. 1 Cover Image: Fahrenheit 451

    3. The exploits of a mild-mannered doctor with anger-management issues:

    Cover Image: Marvel Knight Hulk Cover Image: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

    4. The slice-of-life tales of a trouble-causing small town boy:

    Cover Image: Best of Archie Comics Cover Image: Adventures of Tom Sawyer

    5. The unusually-clad galactic traveler who can't go home:

    Cover Image: Silver Surfer Rebirth of Thanos Cover Image: Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy