10 April, 2011

2011 Books, part two

Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman

I didn't realize this until after I bought a copy of each volume, but there are only two volumes in this series and they are more often sold condensed into one book. Art Spiegelman was apparently approached by people who wanted to make his books into movies, after-school specials, etc. I'm glad he didn't.

One of the best things about this series (and about a lot of autobiographical graphic novels, more so than other biographical works, in my opinion) is its unflinching honesty. Spiegelman is very blunt about his flaws and his father's flaws, and it makes the entire work much more humanizing. Whereas sometimes we continue to dehumanize those that survived the Holocaust by refusing to acknowledge their human flaws, this does the opposite. These books are incredible.

Unclutter Your Life in One Week by Erin Dooland

I don't read a lot of this type of non-fiction, but I've been following Dooland's Unclutterer blog for a long time now and I really appreciate what she has to say. I think she does a great job of having a proven system without insisting that it's the perfect fit for everyone. I really like her work.

This book was really fun and a quick read. Not all of it was applicable to me right now because I don't work in an office, but I still liked it. I think her suggested system would be practical to accomplish in one week. You know, if one didn't live with a compulsive hoarder.

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord

This might sound weird--actually, I know for a fact this is gonna sound weird, but I have lots and lots of memories of browsing through my teacher's library in fifth grade, and this is one of her books that I always noticed but never picked up, probably because I wasn't much of a baseball fan and assumed that's all it was about.

Apparently, my family has a copy as well. Probably because my younger brother loved baseball? I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I kept putting it down for a few days, but I always came back to it. This book tells the story of Shirley Temple Wong, who immigrates with her family to Brooklyn from China in the 1940s. It describes her assimilation into her school, into the apartment house she lives in, into her neighborhood and community in general. Baseball is a big part of that for her. It's a very sweet story, and it stayed interesting even for someone like me who doesn't love baseball.

A History of Violence by John Wagner

There are some graphic novels where I know that a movie exists but I am not positive I want to see it. Even though graphic novels can be disturbing, violence or cruelty in a inked-out panel is just not as harrowing as violence on a screen. I wish I had gotten to Ashley and told her to read Watchmen BEFORE seeing the movie, but sometimes these things just happen. Sorry about that, Ash.

Anyway, I liked this book, but there is NO WAY I am going to see the movie. I do not care how many awards it got or how handsome Viggo looks. Do I even need to explain why I don't want to see this? The story is violent. I don't like seeing movies about mafia dudes torturing people. No thanks. But the book was fairly interesting. I didn't hate it.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Part of my banned books project. I think this book was even in the top ten. It only took me a few pages to figure out why.


Anyway, this book was really great. A little slow at times, but the characters were amazing. Some decent redemption at the end, along with a lot of tragedy. Reminded me a lot of Precious, with a slightly happier ending. I think people should read this book.

Wire Mothers: Harry Harlow and the Science of Love by Jim Ottaviani

So the funny thing is, I found this via library browsing and had no idea what it was really about. Turns out, it's about a famous study I've read about a number of times that demonstrated the importance of parent-child emotional bonding. Really short, but cool book. SCIENCE!!!!!!

1 comment:

theFinn said...

I remember babysitting at the age of 16 and having the 10-year-old cousin of the girl I was babysitting ask me what the first few pages of The Color Purple meant. I was traumatized, and I'm not sure I can bring myself to read it, even though it's been a long time.

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