January 17, 2014 § Leave a comment
I only have a few words to describe this graphic novel: Amazing. Poignant and scary. Lovely work.
I can’t recommend this book strongly enough. It’s available in the library at PN6727 .M313 T46 2010 (3rd floor).
From the description of the book itself, comes this:
Do ideas of war and enemies hold a people together? Is a culture of conflict too seductive not to be irresistible? These are the questions Cathy Malkasian explores in her second graphic novel, Temperance.
Malkasian creates, as she did in the critically acclaimed Percy Gloom, a fully realized, multi-layered world, inhabited by vividly realized characters. After a brutal injury in battle, Lester has no memory of his prior life. For the next thirty years his wife does everything to keep him from remembering—and re-constructing—a society, Blessedbowl, that elevates him as a hero. Blessedbowl is a cultural convergence of lies, memories, stories, and beliefs. Its people thrive on ideas of persecution, exceptionality, and enemies, convinced that war lurks just outside their walls. They have come to depend on Lester, their greatest war hero, to lead the charge once the Final Battle begins.
What kind of enemy could topple such a people and its walls? Mere memory, it seems, as Lester gradually emerges from his amnesia. Temperance is an eyewitness’s account of recovery and awakening. The graphic novel works on two levels. It considers the concepts of violence, stories, and belief, and their place in holding a culture together, slyly echoing contemporary political issues in a nation at a stressful time currently at war with a ubiquitous enemy. Secondly, the fissures in Lester and Minerva’s marriage is echoed in the greater political upheaval around them.
December 16, 2013 § Leave a comment
This graphic novel is definitely graphic, at least in this humble reviewer’s opinion although it is a fantastic and worthwhile read. The story is of a soldier named Mallory who was at Abu Gharib and was one of the women who posed in the dehumanizing photos of the captives. She returns home to work at a bar and is tracked down by a translator from her unit who suffers from extreme PTSD. The translator is going around killing ex-unit members. Based off the graphic image on the cover, you can guess what he’s after. The story is good and realistic, it handles PTSD believably to a layperson, and it made me think about what people suffer from and how they deal or cope with their issues (or fail to, whether because of the lack of government funding or support or because it’s seen as weak to get help). The story will shock you, but personally, this was pretty gruesome to read, but I’m glad I did.
“When Private Mallory Grennan is dishonorably discharged from the US Army, she hopes to start a new life back home, far away from the things she’d seen and done in Abu Ghraib prison. Mal’s crimes, committed beneath a harsh Arabian sun, throw a shadow long enough to reach all the way to the United States. What started there, will end here – in blood.”
October 9, 2013 § Leave a comment
I readily admit that I have enjoyed Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series. I don’t care how unrealistic the books are–if they have literary or art , mystery (or conspiracy), or religious references thrown in then I’m often happy. And Robert Langdon is a well-written character. I know things are unbelievable, but I enjoy Dan Brown’s writing and am able to suspend my disbelief.
However, Inferno just wasn’t as good as Angels and Demons or even the Da Vinci Code. This book centers around clues that are found in Dante’s Inferno. I have only read the Inferno and not the entire Divine Comedy, so I was familiar with the information being divulged, and even if you’re not an Italian literature scholar, enough information is provided for you that you will be able to understand what’s being said.
Overall, I would say–give it a read if you’ve liked his past books, it’s not bad, but it’s not his best.
We don’t have a copy at the library, but you can request items through Interlibrary Loan: http://library.shsu.edu/services/ill.html
For those of you who would like to read up on Dante, we have multiple options at the library for you: a copy of Dante’s Inferno at PQ4315.2 .B36 2012 (3rd floor); Dante’s Divine Comedy adapted by Seymour Chwast in a graphic novel at PN6727 .C499 D36 2010 (3rd floor); and you can try a film on the topic through our Films on Demand Database, including this film Dante: Visions of the Inferno in which you will be guided through Hell.
August 31, 2013 § Leave a comment
“Ever since Darwin and The Descent of Man, the existence of humans has been attributed to our intelligence and adaptability. But in Catching Fire, renowned primatologist Richard Wrangham presents a startling alternative: our evolutionary success is the result of cooking. In a groundbreaking theory of our origins, Wrangham shows that the shift from raw to cooked foods was the key factor in human evolution. when our ancestors adapted to using fire, humanity began.” (from the book)
This book is fascinating. I’ve not read much in the way of cooking history before, so I thought I’d start with our first ancestors at the beginning of it all. Catching Fire is easy to read, clear in its complex ideas, and fascinating.
We have 2 copies of this book. One in print on the 4th floor at GN799 .F6 W73 2009 and the other copy online.
June 20, 2013 § Leave a comment
New York Changing: Revisiting Berenice Abbott’s New York is a collection of black and white photographs from Douglas Levere who, a fan of photographer Berenice Abbott, goes through New York and, in homage, re-photographs many of the same places. Abbott’s photography is from the 1930s: she first started documenting the changes she saw in New York after living abroad for some time. Levere’s photography captures that New York, in many ways, has continued to change. He found many of the exact spots where Abbott stood, on the same day and time, and took the photos once more, with the same photographic equipment. In fact, Levere used a camera that had been originally created for Abbott, but she had never picked up from the store where she bought it. How serendipitous!
The black and white photographs from the 1930s New York, and even present-day (really, 90s and early 2000s), are fantastic to look at in their own right, but seeing them side by side in this book is a much more interesting artistic story to watch unfold about New York, that never-sleeping city. The photographs are all located within the five boroughs.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes city or historical photography, or for the person who just loves New York. While most people don’t like reading forewards or introductions, I must insist you read Levere’s introduction to his project if nothing else written in the book.
June 4, 2013 § Leave a comment
Alexandre Dumas is one of my favourite authors (Count of Monte Cristo, Three Musketeers, among others). In The Black Count by Tom Reiss, we are introduced to the inspiration behind The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s no spoiler to tell you that the man who was the real count was Dumas’s father, General Alexandre Dumas (a name he took when he gave up the wealth and lineage of his own family to join the French army).
Reiss writes a swashbuckling nonfiction tale of the truth behind the General–a man who had grand adventures, became Napoleon’s enemy, was the talk of the town wherever he went, and was, also, black at a time when black men were generally slaves or, when freedmen, never rose above certain ranks. Truly, this is a grand tale and worth reading if you enjoyed Dumas’s work or if you simply enjoy nonfiction adventure tales.
The Black Count : glory, revolution, betrayal, and the real Count of Monte Cristo at DC146 .D83 R46 2012 (4th floor).