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« April, 2018 »

Lost in the Jungle   book icon  
by Yossi Ghinsberg (2009)

read: 16 April 2018
rating: [+]
category: non-fiction

I read this book because someone suggested it for something but I couldn’t remember what. And so I was a little surprised that for a book called Lost in the Jungle it basically took nearly 30% of the book for them to actually GET LOST. I found this book a weird read because it’s essentially the story of people who went into the wilderness totally unprepared and... nearly died. Which I did not find that surprising. Ghinsberg is a good writer and I enjoyed his evocative descriptions of a lot of this story, but it’s a little odd to read it as a tale of personal obstacles overcome when one of the other members of his party actually DID die (or probably died) and that gets sort of downplayed. So, mixed feelings, overall a lively read.

Breakers   book icon  
by Lara Antal (2013)

read: 12 April 2018
rating: [+]
category: graphic novel

Picked this up in a cheapie bin at Drawn and Quarterly. This collection comes out of a comics artist residency down in Florida with some people you may have heard of and many you haven’t. They have to, among other things, draw every day and this is a collection of some of the stuff they drew. A lot of it is personal in nature and it’s interesting to see some of the same experiences (i.e. "that weird guy at the nude beach") show up as motifs over and over. I’m not sure this work would stand alone as a graphic novel to read for fun, but to get an idea of what was going on during this residency and see the various talents of the people residing there was well worth it.

The Postal Age The Emergence of Modern Communications in Nineteenth-Century America   book icon  
by David Henkin (2007)

read: 6 April 2018
rating: [+]
categories: best in show, non-fiction

Why is this book so good? Hankin looks at the history of how we send and receive mail with an eye towards looking at whether certain postal regulations seem to have had effects on how we communicated and even how society works. He makes a case that lowering postal rates in the 1840s dramatically changed the way we interacted and the varying way newspapers were priced affected how we got our news. He has done a ton of research and you can look into the epistolary lives of people who lived over 150 years ago. Along the way he has illustrations and a lot of amusing reports of the way society worked or failed to work and how that was interwoven with the history of the postal system in the US.

Ghosts   book icon  
by Raina Telgemeier (2016)

read: 3 April 2018
rating: [+]
category: graphic novel

I’ve loved Telgemeier’s other graphic novels and was happy to find one in my library I hadn’t read. This book is more of a stretch than some of her other ones--she writes about people of color and she writes about a cultural tradition which is (I think?) not entirely her own. So I both read this book and read what people were saying about the book and the way it represents Latinx culture. Next up to read what disability advocates have to say about the way it represents people with cystic fibrosis. I always learn something from reading Telemeier’s books, just not always entirely from Telgemeier herself.

Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War   book icon  
by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm (2015)

read: 3 April 2018
rating: [+]
category: graphic novel

This is a great series of very poignant vignettes that bring home the idea of what was really going on in the civil war--the brutality, the spectating, the cruelty, the varied vested interests--in a way that makes it visceral. Even if you feel like you already know abotu the Civil War in the US, maybe especially if you feel this, this is a good book to pick up.

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