This collection of Edward Gorey's work contains: The Galoshes of Remorse, Signs of Spring, Seasonal Confusion, Random Walk, Category, The Other StatueThis collection of Edward Gorey's work contains: The Galoshes of Remorse, Signs of Spring, Seasonal Confusion, Random Walk, Category, The Other Statue, 10 Imposible Objects, The Universal Solvent, Scenes de Ballet, Verse Advice, The Deadly Blotter, Creativity, The Retreived Locket, The Water Flowers, The Haunted Tea Cosy, Christmas Wrap-Up, The Headless Bust The Just Dessert, The Admonitory Hippopotamus, Neglected Murderesses, Tradgedies Topiaries, The Raging Tide, The Unknown Vegetable, Another Random Walk, Serious Life: A Cruise, Figbash: Acrobate, La Malle Saignante, The Izzard Book.
Edward Gorey has too fairly distinct styles in his work. One I call the "spooky" style, which is not necessarily realistic but more so than the "cartoony" style. While the different styles evoke widely different feelings (for me at least) the "spooky" style elicits many feelings of general spookiness, whereas the "cartoony" style is just weird. However, the actual artwork between the two styles similar in many regards. The best objective way I have for telling them apart is by looking at the eyes of the people. If they are round circles, with pupils drawn in, than it is the "cartoony" style. However, if the eyes are either hidden, or only dots or slits, then it is in the "spooky" style. I think that Gorey is best known for the "spooky" style, for example that is what the The Gashlycrumb Tinies is in. However, much of his work is also in the "cartoony" style. Most of the works in this book are in the "cartoony" style, and I was more in the mood for his "spooky" style. So that was a little disappointing, because I was looking for more of that "spooky" gorey flavor. But over all this book was thoroughly entertaining.
The book ends on a bitter sweet note by including the Izzard Book, a list of words and names beginning with Z, accompanied by portraits. Many are there, but the finished details of the portraits give way to sketches, and the sketches give way to blank frames. Apparently this is what Edward Gorey was working on when he died.
I read this book because I had just read Amphigoreys, and really dug it. Upon entering that into goodreads I saw that there were in fact, other Amphigorey books. Then, while walking down the street, I saw a hardcover edition of this book in a used book store window. It was a great deal, so going with my "spooky themed" books for October marathon, I decided to read it. ...more
This is a collection of previous Edward Gorey works. It contains fifteen previous "books":
The Unstrung Harp, The Listing Attic, The Doubtful Guest, ThThis is a collection of previous Edward Gorey works. It contains fifteen previous "books":
The Unstrung Harp, The Listing Attic, The Doubtful Guest, The Object Lesson, The Bug Book, The Fatal Lozenge, The Hapless Child, The Curious Sofa, The Willowdale Handcar, The Gashlycrumb Tinies, The Insect God, The West Wing, The Wuggly Ump, The Sinking Spell, The Remembered Visit.
Most people are familiar with Gorey because of "The Gashlycrumb Tinies" (this is that alphabet of children who are killed in bizarre ways, A is for Alice who fell down some stairs, etc...) or at the very least because he did the intro for "Mystery" on PBS. For people my age (and a little older) Gorey's art work is also recognizable from the John Bellairs book. I've come across a few people who don't know him by name, but when they see his work, say "Ohh, this guy, I've seen this guy's stuff before."
I think that Gorey actually pioneered "Twee Goth" (way ahead of his time.) For that matter, he was sort of Proto-goth. He was rocking the goth style before a angsty teenager powdered their face, put on eyeliner and pressed play on a Cure tape, just to commune with the darkness.
My whole childhood, I remember seeing Gorey's art in different places. It was fascinating. So dark, yet humorous, and cutesy. And it was so able to communicate a certain feeling, a bizarre combination of creepiness and nostalgia for Victorian/Edwardian UK and/or New England. That said, I can't adequately judge the quality of this art, it is perfect for what it is, and it is what it is. The writing isn't great or anything. A lot of the limericks left me thinking "Man, this is too awkward, he could have said something clearer here."
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. My girlfriend got it for me for my birthday, and I read it as part of my "spooky" book marathon for october '09.
There were a few limericks in french in "The Listing Attic" which I had to get out the old french-english dictionary to understand. I actually rewrote them in english trying to keep the meaning faithful and put them back into limerick form....more
This is the autobiographical story of Frank Abagnale, a precocious Con Man, who had accomplished more by the time he was 21 than most criminals will iThis is the autobiographical story of Frank Abagnale, a precocious Con Man, who had accomplished more by the time he was 21 than most criminals will in their whole careers. This is the book that was made into the movie of the same name. Although, apparently there are some claims that this story is not completely truthful (which is ironic, given the fact that it is about deceit.)
Abagnale began his life of crime with check and credit card fraud. He moved into identity forgery, posing as a pilot (and deadheading flights), doctor, lawyer, and professor. He was eventually caught and subsequently escaped from custody several times. His description of incarceration in a French prison was nerve wracking.
To me, the most interesting stuff in the book was how Abagnale was able to subvert bureaucratic systems and protocols. For example, he was able to effectively pass bum checks by exploiting the check routing systems. He was also able to dead head flights by exploiting the system of forms they use for authorization. This is basically a comprehensive narrative version of Mitnick's book The Art of Deception. Whereas Mitnick writes in a nonfiction style, with semi-autobiographical yet fictional anecdotes. Indeed the social engineering techniques that both of them were used were extraordinarily similar.
The writing in this book is not great, but considering that it is ghost written, it could be worse. The tactical writing style and narrative structure is lacking that of a more accomplished/educated/experienced author.
I read the book because I saw the movie and liked it. Also, because I do computer security professionally, I am interested in learning how people breach security protocols (and not just computer security protocols.) Knowledge of computer security can be gleaned from studying breaches of security in other spaces....more
I purchased this book on the clearance table of the University of Iowa Bookstore, while visiting Ames to see if I wanted to apply there. I bought thisI purchased this book on the clearance table of the University of Iowa Bookstore, while visiting Ames to see if I wanted to apply there. I bought this and Hunter: The Strange and Savage Life of Hunter S Thompson together for a couple of bucks. Both turned out to be pretty good books, which is probably why I am totally addicted to purchasing books from bargain tables at University Bookstores now.
While this book appears to be totally lame on the outside. Any programmer is going to balk at the cyberpunk imagery used on the cover/jacket of this book (cyberpunk is so early 80s...) However, this book actually does an excellent job of connecting that science fiction imagery to the actual computer science. It also does a very good job of explaining actual hacker culture. ...more
This book is about a wilderness therapy program for troubled teens. This is a program that takes teenagers dealing with things like drug abuse or otheThis book is about a wilderness therapy program for troubled teens. This is a program that takes teenagers dealing with things like drug abuse or other emotional problems and takes them into the Utah desert with only the bare essentials. The kids have to build a fire by literally rubbing two sticks together, if they are unable to they can't sit by the fire or eat warm food. They have to erect their own shelter, or be exposed to the elements. And they have to get their gear out to the sites by taking it in hand carts (which take 4-5 people working together to move.)
I read this book because my cousin Pete (who recommended it to me) worked at such a program. In fact, I think it was exactly the same program that this book is about. I was really impressed by what he had chosen to do after college (I myself sold out to the highest bidder immediately.) He was doing something difficult that was helping people. However I only knew what he was doing was difficult in an intellectual way. Meaning, I know I couldn't handle doing what he was doing. However, I didn't have any idea about the depth of the emotional issues that the kids he was working with were facing. This book really helped me understand that, and how it must feel. I respected my cousin for what he was doing, but after reading this book my respect for him has grown immensely.
Gary Ferguson is a Nature writer, and involved with NPR. Which is why he decided (and was qualified) to write this book.
The book covers the author tagging along with two groups of kids one boys and one girls (kept separate for all the obvious reasons.) He describes their physical activities, their dialogue, and the group dynamics. He includes poems that the kids write, and these are some of the most moving things he includes in the book. He also discusses the history of wilderness therapy (it was started about a hundred years ago, by accident.) Some of the theory behind why this therapy works (the consequences of screwing off are real and immediate for these kids.) He also talks about the instructors (the younger people who assist the therapists) in the field, and how they live and relax betwen such intense outings.
The writing is in a simple journalistic style, and accordingly reading goes quickly. In fact, I read all but the last chapter and the epilogue on a flight from Seattle to Chicago. Despite the simple and quick reading style Ferguson is able to convey the powerful emotional moments of the kids in a moving and meaningful way. I think that as a writer Ferguson did a great job with the subject.
Ferguson discusses how rites of passage are used as part of the wilderness therapy. I found this very interesting, because he comments that there is a real lack of rites of passage in our culture. This made me think of Fight Club, because Palahniuk talks a lot about this, and how people in our society don't know how or when to feel grown up.
The physical copy of the book that I read had some emotional baggage for me. It had been read by my cousin's grandma (and had her name written in it) as well as my grandma (and still had her bookmark in it.) Both have died in the last year and a half. I obtained this book from my Grandmother's apartment after she died, and I had wanted to read it anyway. Finding the name and bookmark reminded me of these two great women and unexpectedly reminded me of them. ...more
A quote on the back of this book describes it as a cross between Fight Club and Network, which is an extraordinarily apt description. This book is abA quote on the back of this book describes it as a cross between Fight Club and Network, which is an extraordinarily apt description. This book is about a cult "The Brotherhood of the Voice" which is on an anti News media Jihad. This cult recruits by finding people who's lives the news media destroys and promises them an opportunity for revenge. They begin a series of attacks around New York, and this book is the story of the chaos and fall out that ensues in the wake of these attacks.
Despite the fact that there is a lot of violence towards the media in this book, it isn't really glorified. Rather, there are no heroes or villians in this book. Just a lot of victims. Its a pretty brutal story, but I would be lying if I said I did not find the media getting smashed at least slightly appealing. Also, the rhetoric employed by "The Voice" is pretty awesome, it is this combination of Soviet Era Communist propaganda/speeches, Aum Shinrikyo, Jihadist and other vaguely religious sounding stuff. I'm not buying into it mind you, but it sounds authentic (it is derived from real sources) and makes for believable reading.
Hickman is just sort of ranting against the media, without offering any real solutions. However, he makes some excellent points about how far standards in the news have slipped. While it is certainly too extreme to start armed rebellion, we really should examine how we as consumers take part in this. I think this is the point that he is making.
I personally really like the the art in this graphic novel. It is not like traditional comic book art, rather it has a stencil/graphic design inspired feel to it. Although, I think that a lot of why this book feels so brutal is because of this art work. So in that way I think it supports the story well. However, I wouldn't be surprised if someone claims that the unconventional art detracts from the reading. It is different enough from other comic books that it does take some getting used to.
In addition to the art, Hickman includes some really cool graphic charts displaying statistics about globalization and the news media in this book. This is all accurate, and it supplements the story nicely. Also, you can skip it if you aren't interested. However, he uses creative charts to great effect here. It is informational AND entertaining.
In addition to this story, the authors notes at the end of the book are great. He explains, in great detail, what he was thinking when he was doing many of the panels. I really liked this glimpse into the creative process. I also really liked how he described his own path to success in comics. He talks a lot about triumphing over his own tendency to procrastinate (and I will be trying his techniques!!!) Also many of the rants he goes on really succinctly and elegantly state how I feel. Especially his explanation of what he has against the baby boomer/protest generation.
I read this book because I saw it at Border's and it looked pretty good. It was a good choice, and I will definitely pick up some other stuff by John Hickman.
This is an epistolary novel, written as the diary entries and cartoons of a fourteen y/o boy, Arnold Spirit Junior, living on the Spokane Indian reserThis is an epistolary novel, written as the diary entries and cartoons of a fourteen y/o boy, Arnold Spirit Junior, living on the Spokane Indian reservation. He has aspirations, and leaves the rez for his freshman year of high school. On the one hand this book deals with the usual trials and tribulations of a fourteen y/o boy. However, Arnold's life is quite complicated and he suffers many tragedies due to the impoverished conditions on the rez.
I hate to admit it, but I found this book moving. I really felt for the main character. He made me laugh, and I caught myself getting verklempt when I read about his personal tragedy. The fact that this book made me feel for the main character was very refreshing. The last book I read was a Chuck Palahniuk book, and I never feel for his characters.
Sherman Alexie is a really great author. What I really like about him is that he doesn't tell stories through metaphor. He just comes right out and says his message. That's not to say that there is anything wrong with using metaphor in literature. It is just sort of elegant and cool how Alexie can do away with this and just come right out and say his message and yet still be considered quality literature. Also, he convincingly writes in the voice of a fourteen year old boy. Which is an extremely hard thing to pull off and retain high quality writing.
Also, the language that Arnold (Alexie) uses is quite accurate. The way that he finishes many sentences with '..., you know?' is a verbal habit that I've noticed the Native Americans from the Northwest using. I don't claim to be an expert on this in any sense. However, since I moved to the Pacific Northwest I have come in contact with Native Americans a lot more. I don't think there are many left in the Midwest, and if there are any, they seem to be quite segregated. Arnold writes like they talk, and even describes the "reservation accent" that "makes everything sound like a poem" and after that I heard that sort of voice in my head as I was reading.
I read this book because Rachel recommended it to me and put it on my book shelf. I'm in the process of trying to clear the sizable backlog of books to read that accrued since I moved to Seattle. I was skeptical that I would like it, and was presently surprised. However, I knew that sherman alexie had a very enjoyable and readable style because I read Reservation Blues for a literature class in college. ...more
If my life was a Chuck Palahniuk story, the most disgusting action I'm engaged in would be compulsively reading Chuck Palahniuk books and talking abouIf my life was a Chuck Palahniuk story, the most disgusting action I'm engaged in would be compulsively reading Chuck Palahniuk books and talking about how much I hate them and how awful and disgusting they are. Then I would conceive of some disgusting plot to seek vengeance upon CP in some disgusting way, like releasing rutting pigs in his house. But at the end it would turn out that I secretly liked his books all along.
This is the story of a model who was in a car accident that left her missing half of her lower jaw. She rides around the western US with Brandy Alexander, a drag queen who is just one operation away from being a woman. They support themselves by robbing rich people's houses of drugs and cosmetics while posing as interested home buyers.
Invisible Monsters is so thoroughly Chuck Palahniuk that I can't help but speak in broad tones about all of his fiction work that I've read up to this point (Fight Club, Choke, Diary).
While reading Chuck Palahniuk fiction books I always find myself thinking "Why the hell am I reading this?" They are sort of over the top shocking and disgusting. As the story progresses, the shocking and awful things just pile up, each one trying to outdo the last.
In addition, all of the CP books that I've read so far have the same structure. First person perspective narrative. The stories are told out of order, all jumbled and jumping around in time. He makes prodigious use of flashbacks. His characters are like Onions with layers of neurosis, character flaws, and screwed-up backgrounds. And through out the story each of these layers becomes exposed allowing another level of screwed-up crap to be exposed. Furthermore, each of the main characters in all of the books has a voice that is almost identical to the others.
The main thing that rubs me the wrong way about CP's style is that I feel nothing for his characters. I only feel grossed out and nervous that I may run across some similarly sick bastard in my own life. Even though these people go through major personal tragedy, I hardly feel for them at all. Its like, the way the books are written makes me feel not sorry for people in situations that I would otherwise have some empathy with.
Invisible Monsters fits into all of these rules so thoroughly that they completely and totally apply. In fact, CP is so formulaic that I feel like at this point I could write a program that could spit out one of his plots.
Chuck Palahniuk includes such gruesome details in his books. I went to one of his readings one time, and he said that he feels like the writing process is an act of filing facts that he has found and knows. In this book, the description of sex change operations (and how they can vary with the amount of money spent on them) is so disturbing that I feel grossed out just remembering remembering reading it. However, I respect and appreciate his commitment to factual story telling.
Also, I must say that as a tactical writer, CP is amazing. His minimalist writing style is quite excellent. While reading his books I sometimes stop and just reread a page and marvel at how well he has described something which such simple sentences. This leads to the books being very quick reads.
That said, despite all my complaints. I may not like CP's books, but for some reason that is beyond me, I like reading them, and I have every reason to believe that I will continue doing so. ...more
I referenced some stuff in the division polynomial section for my Masters thesis. This book has some good reference stuff, the explicit formulas are nI referenced some stuff in the division polynomial section for my Masters thesis. This book has some good reference stuff, the explicit formulas are nice. I found the proofs to be EXTREMELY light on details. ...more
I don't have much to say about this book, it is after all a picture book of R. Crumb's work. There are a few comics in it, but mainly it is collectionI don't have much to say about this book, it is after all a picture book of R. Crumb's work. There are a few comics in it, but mainly it is collection of R. Crumb's portraits and other sketches. As the name implies, this book is mainly focused on R. Crumb's "sweeter" more sentimental work. Which is some ways is kind of frightening because some of it is still pretty out there and slightly disturbing.
Nonetheless, This book shows how truly talented R. Crumb is. His artistic talent goes far beyond his counter culture comics.
The copy of the book that I have is very high quality and I got a great deal on it at the UW(ashington) book store. ...more
This comic is a cyberpunk homage to the late (great) HST. Set in a postapocalyptic radioactive craphole where everyone's hair is purple, the main charThis comic is a cyberpunk homage to the late (great) HST. Set in a postapocalyptic radioactive craphole where everyone's hair is purple, the main character is the gonzo journalist Spider Jerusalem. Spider is a hairless, tattooed badass who is so clearly an homage to HST in how he talks, writes, looks, not to mention is vocation. The first issue starts with him holed up in his compound in the mountains like Trudeau's depiction of Uncle Duke. Except that he has a wild mane of hair. Due to a failure to write books for which he was given an advance, he is called back to the city. He makes his comeback be writing about a riot involving alien-human hybrids. In the other issues he gets in adventures such as prolapsing the president of the united state's rectum (I am NOT joking that this was one of the plot lines), watching cable TV, and going all Jesus-on-the-money-changers at a conference for new churches (the depiction of the cult conference looks quite a bit like a comic book convention.)
I remembered seeing this comic around when I was in high school, but not paying it much mind. I first noticed it in depth last year while riding the Microsoft connector to work. I noticed the guy in front of me reading some sort of cyberpunk comic with a clearly Hunter S Thompson character. The comic annoyed me, for some reason, probably because I was riding to work before 9am which is an unpleasant hour for me. But the comic made enough of an impression that I thought of it later and found it by googling "cyberpunk comic Hunter S Thompson."
Reading about the comic on wikipedia made me more annoyed with it than I had been prior to learning more about the comic. However, I had a 33% off coupon from B&N, and so perusing their graphic novel section I came across the first graphic novel collection. I looked through, and despite myself, I found it worthwhile enough to pick up and read.
The writing is decent for the edgy DC Vertigo label. The art is good, while the violence/blood/gore is over the top, it is still beautiful to look at and enjoyable to read. However, it is clear that the author and artist are big fans of Alan Moore and that is what they aspire to. They write more enjoyable stuff, but they do not have the literary acumen that Moore does.
Ultimately this is vicious and vulgar pop art. Where SCUD The Disposable Assassin is violent and filled with pop culture references and Futurama is zany but chock full of kindergarten positivity, Transmetropolitan is filled with righteous and self important political outrage, violence, and vulgarity. Ultimately, it is just a mature reader version of the off the wall zany sci-fi animation genre.
This comic is just what I was looking for, a brainless/vulgar/violent read. Despite myself, I found it very enjoyable, and I plan to read more in the series.
This graphic novel is a retelling of several classic H.P. Lovecraft short stories and poems in the sequential format.
Specifically the stories/poems toThis graphic novel is a retelling of several classic H.P. Lovecraft short stories and poems in the sequential format.
Specifically the stories/poems told here were:
Dagon, Recognition, A Memory, The Music of Erich Zann, The Canal, The Lamp, Arthur Jermyn, The Well, The Window.
H.P. Lovecraft was an influential horror and science fiction writer from the early 20th century. His work has influenced almost all the major current horror writers. I would actually compare Lovecraft to Borges, although that may be scoffed at my the more literary minded.
The art style really suited the stories that were being told. The writing and adaptation to sequential form wasn't as good as I expected, but the author and artists still made it work.
When I finished this book I found myself wishing that there were more stories. I'll definitely check out more titles from this series. ...more
This is a graphic novel compilation of Vasquez's comic Squee. Squee was an offshoot of the comic Johnny the Homicidal Maniac (JtHM.) JtHM is about a mThis is a graphic novel compilation of Vasquez's comic Squee. Squee was an offshoot of the comic Johnny the Homicidal Maniac (JtHM.) JtHM is about a maladjusted young man in his late teens / early 20s who goes around killing people. Squee is about Johnny's young neighbor, a little boy who is perpetually terrified of everything around him. While reading these comics, one gets the impression that both Johnny (or Nny for short) and Squee represent different aspects of Jhonen's self image. Nny is the frustrated angsty teen who is sick of having to deal with and put up with everyone harshing his mellow. Squee is a hopeful creative little boy who is confronted with the horrors of life at every turn. His teacher turns his classmate into zombies, there are huge dust mites under his pillows, his family is abducted by space aliens, and the son of Satan is his only friend at school.
This graphic novel, not only compiles the entire run of Squee, it also compiles many of Jhonen's "Meanwhiles" short (1-5 page) comic interludes that were originally interspersed with his overarching storylines. These silly little one offs are quite amusing and it was fun to read them. Although, in this book they are compiled all together in the back of the book, and it was more fun when they were interspersed through the comic. These meanwhiles include Filler Bunny, Wobbly Headed Bob, and Happy Noodle Boy.
Reading through this book made me acutely aware of something, these comic books were written before the Columbine shooting (and also in turn before 9/11.) These comic books are extremely violent and graphic in their depiction of violence. JtHM is a goth kid who goes around killing everybody who makes fun of him. While rereading this comic, I was surprised at how violent it was. I actually found myself disturbed by some of the pictures in this. At first I thought to myself "dang, your getting old." But the more I reflected on it, the more I thought that this sort of depiction of violence is less common after Columbine and 9/11.
That said, I think that Vasquez's comics hold an important historical context. Remember that Columbine was not the only school shooting where bullied goth kids lashed out at their community. There was a whole rash of such shootings in the late 90s. While certainly much of this can be explained as copy cat crimes, I think that there was a certain sort of alienation for different teenagers at that time. This was when I was going to high school, and I have often tried to think about what it was that caused this rash of violence. Many people blame media like Squee and JtHM, as well as Marilyn Manson, NIN, KMFDM and violent video games. I prefer to think that the popularity of that type of media reflects more on the times. However, I can not really say what the underlying cause was. However, I do think that there was a sort of insidious thing going on at the time. I think that teenage rebellion had been coopted and made mainstream, clearly it is a good way to market things to teenagers. Tie a product to an identity and kids will buy it to prove their cred. And along with that, I think that the system saw kids who chose to be "different" such as goth were doing this for attention. It was like the system said, "hey these kids like to be persecuted" it is their image. So the system allowed other kids to pick on and bully them. This doesn't explain everything, but it definitely was an something I noticed in high school.
The writing is very good, and Vasquez deserves the credit he gets for these comics. The stories and dialog are clever. And while these comics are heavily goth, Vasquez does an excellent job at poking fun of himself and goth kids in general. Ultimately, this book just bitches about and pokes fun at everybody, but even so, it makes fun of itself for doing that (see the Wobbly Headed Bob Meanwhiles.)
The art style in this comic is very stylized, a sort of "cutesy goth." This style has since become known as "twee goth" and has made its way to mainstream acceptance. I think it is safe to say that if Jhonen did pioneer the "twee goth" look, he definitely was instrumental in popularizing it. And while the art in this book isn't the best comic book art I've ever seen, Vasquez is a talented artist. He experiments with different styles and this showcases his skill nicely.
I read this book because I am reading graphic novels a few pages at a time to keep myself sane while I bust my butt in grad school. Also, I recently read the Scud anthology and was interested in other comic books I loved back in high school. ...more