Monday, August 05, 2019

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 8/3/19

This week I have five books to tell you about, and they all came from the library.

(My current reading regime seems to be successful. I still don't want to jinx it, but I will admit that it was mostly driven by a heat wave that sent me away from my computer -- in a basement where the air-conditioning doesn't reach -- up to a cooler room without electronic devices. We'll see if I keep up with the same plan once it's not broiling here.)

Hephaistos is the eleventh in George O'Connor's series of young-adult graphic novels about the Greek gods: I've been reading, enjoying and recommending them for the past decade. This is the penultimate book, unless his publisher decides to throw more money at him to continue with books on the Titans and random other creatures. That would be awesome, but I don't expect it. Maybe he'll go to the Norse gods next?

Rock Steady is Ellen Forney's book-length comics follow-up to Marbles, which I liked a lot. However, there's a big asterisk there: Marbles was a memoir, the story of how Forney learned she was bipolar and got to a solid regime that keep her stable. Rock Steady is the opposite: a book of resources for bipolar people to help them get and stay stable. So it's a very worthy thing, but so far less engrossing for those of us who aren't actually bipolar.

Your Black Friend and Other Strangers is a collection of mostly agitprop comics by Ben Passmore. I've seen his stuff on the Nib, and watched at least part of the animation based on the well-known title story, so it was worth checking out more of his comics.

No Fair! No Fair! is a book of poetry for and about children, by minor versifier Calvin Trillin with illustrations by Roz Chast. Generally, I buy everything Trillin publishes, but the childrens book by an aged writer of other stuff is not a noble genre to begin with and Trillin's verse is doggy on top of that -- I seem to have entirely avoided his last book of political "deadline poetry," 2013's Dogfight, and I have no desire to now go back and correct that omission. So this one gets borrowed and returned.

I, Renee Tardi, Prisoner of War in Stalag IIB is a big biographical graphic novel about the French cartoonist Jacques Tardi's father, who was indeed a prisoner of war in Stalag IIB during WWII. There is a second volume already, which has also been translated and, happy for me, is also available through my local library system. So I hope to read both of them before the end of the year, Jah willing and the creek don't rise.

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