Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ethan Frome
by Edith Wharton

by Jim Woodring

by various
-I really hated this, but forced myself to finish it.  (The week this came out, I had been thinking about Godel and Russell and Wittgenstein and about how much I'd like to draw comics about them, I shit you not.  When I saw the book on the shelf I couldn't believe it!)  Here's all you need to know:  this book refers to these philosophers and mathematicians as "true superheroes."  In the actual story, the writer of the story says that.  It's often super corny and artless in this way.  Also, the "lecture with slideshow" genre of nonfiction comics is on display, literally, as a framing device. (I'm guilty of this too, but I swear I try to avoid it, or at least do it right...)  It's a great story, 20th C. and wars and Russell and Ludwig and all that, in theory, but this was cheeseball.  It's a shame they ruined the material.  Here "comix" means cheese and melodrama and writing for "young adults," not just the formal sense of mixing words and pictures.  NYT Bestseller.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Kat Who Walked In Beauty
by Geo. Herriman
-Read 2 pages a day, every so often, for 6+ months to get through this.  I was very inspired by it...the world of it, the forms.  The world has changed a lot since Mr. Herriman drew these strips.  Some real groaners in here, but some good jokes too.

Market Day
by James Sturm
-I loved this.  It's very dark.  Beautiful sequences.

books from class

Exemplary Tales of Love (Novelas ejemplares y amorosas) by María de Zayas y Sotomayor
Lazarillo de Tormes (anonymous)
Novelas ejemplares por Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Half of Snow Leopard and Shadow Country by Peter Mathiessen

Kiss of the Spider Woman (Beso de la mujer araña) by Manuel Puig, thought I'd hate it and I loved it
The Bad Girl (Las Travesuras de la niña mala) by Mario Vargas Llosa, thought I'd love it and I hated it
100 Years of Solitude (Cien Años de Soledad) by Gabriel García Márquez (Gabo)
Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo, remembered from 10 years ago as a "dry classic" but was wrong, it's awesome
The Death of Artemio Cruz (La muerte de Artemio Cruz) by Carlos Fuentes, maybe a bit over-dramatic in parts
The Invention of Everything Else
by Samantha Hunt
- After the first 50 pages it seemed pretty good, but I decided to stop.  Complicated feelings about the project.  But it seems smart and readable.
The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things
by Barry Glassner
-A run-through of the big media panics of the past few decades, and what's the deal.  Turns out people don't check the facts, believe what they want to hear, love a scary story, and distract themselves from looking directly at the real problems because it's too uncomfortable.  Pro-gun conservatives come out looking particularly bad.  Actually, conservatives in general come out looking pretty bad in this book, though I wouldn't say the book as a political agenda.  I suppose it makes sense; the conservative attitude tends to be fearful.  (I speak from past experience.  And certainly not every fear is misplaced)  The second group that comes out looking foolish and dangerous are, of course, journalists.  Their environment selects for stories of outrage and danger...  The hero is the skeptic--patient, thorough, sensible.