Books: Some graphic novels I’ve been/’m reading

So yeah I’ve been loving the city (and state) library since I got here. Admittedly, I haven’t made full use of its potential but I had just moved to a new country and I was a bit busy with other things. Pretty basic and administrative tasks, like getting my shiny new Boost Juice card. Mhmm perfect for the hot sunny days. I like to plan ahead. Oh and I got some tax-related stuff. Boring but very useful for contract jobs, which I’ve been getting a lot of (ok just a couple) from Facebook, no joke. Whoever says that it is a waste of time has clearly been playing too much Farmville.

So I’ve been on and off a graphic novel binge the past several months. I saw Persepolis on DVD earlier this year and I had the bright idea of borrowing the book from the library. Looking back now, I kinda wish I had gone and seen more animated films during the film festival. But that was during a crazy time of working and studying and working and volunteering. I barely even had time to breathe then. I have way too much free time now. Hmm. Well not necessarily free time, I’ll call it fun time. Books, museums, light installation shows, special exhibitions (saw one about Pompeii and I LOVED it!). Oh yeah I’m loving it.

And so I went to the library and while there, I had another bright idea of borrowing more. Then I discovered the online reservation system. And the self-checkout machine at the library. Currently, I have 8 books on loan and 20 on reserve. I would have kept going but it seems that I’ve maxed it out. Most of the books are of the visual variety: graphic novels (they’re more than just comics, mind you) and design books and then throw in a D.H. Lawrence here and a William Faulkner there. The only book I’ll be buying this year is the recent one from Lars Brownworth, my idol Byzantine lecturer. I’m already feeling depressed in anticipation of having finished reading it. But let’s not dwell on that.

Here are some good recommended reads, if you’re into a lot of human interest stuff and reading about history’s “losers” and survivors. It’s very good stuff, I tell you.

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood and Persepolis: The Story of a Return are both by Marjane Satrapi. She grew up in Tehran and saw and lived through part of the revolution. Her parents sent her to Vienna when she was 13 or something then she returned to Iran in her 20s, forever changed. She moved back to Europe and I think she’s based in France now. I heard about her because I was reading up on French illustrators. She’s pretty awesome. I think I instantly like people who speak languages well. They’re better at deciphering human nature.

Next up, I discovered Maus II by Art Spiegelman by accident when I was on my way out of the library and the swastika image on the front cover caught my eye. I’ve been morbidly interested in the Holocaust ever since I can remember. I once sat through Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah, glued to the screen for 9 hours. I think watching that once was enough, really. I’m in the queue for Maus I. The second one was pretty good, I wasn’t as drawn into it as I was into Marjane’s world (yes I feel very close to her) but I’m hoping the first one is better. I’m guessing my brain’s just completely saturated with years of reading up on this topic.

The Alcoholic by Jonathan Ames and Dean Haspiel is something I came across while searching for graphic novels on the library website. Everything I felt I wanted enough to go the distance of a few more double clicks was checked out and I didn’t feel like queueing for any of them. Besides the title got me all curious. While I don’t think I’m an alcoholic, I may have had a problem of excess at some point in my past. I certainly still enjoy indulging a drink or two or three a few times a month, maybe even sometimes a whole bottle of a really good pinot noir. Living in Australia encourages drinking. I just try to fit in.

Jonathan Ames’ story confirmed a lot of my thoughts on alcoholism and the people afflicted by it and provided some really good and new insight. The romantic in me wanted a more upbeat ending, but what he had put there was probably more apt. Haspiel’s illustrations are awesome.

Joe Sacco’s Palestine is what I’m reading at the moment. Very heavy stuff to go through. I’ve had to take breaks from reading it. It’s originally a nine-part comic series but I borrowed the single volume edition. Another chance discovery from browsing the returns cart, hehe. Edward Said’s introduction is superbly written.

That’s what I’m partly busy with these days. That and concluding contract work I’ve done in the past 5 weeks. And looking after the baby sometimes. LOVE.

Not a bad show at all. But now that I’m on holiday, I’ve got heaps of free time and am allowed more hours to work. I’ve got to find steady work again though. I want to go to a beach outside Victoria this summer.

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