This was the right book at the right time for me. Tags include: libraries, knowledge, dna, music, patterns, nyc, love, computerprogramming, flemishart...moreThis was the right book at the right time for me. Tags include: libraries, knowledge, dna, music, patterns, nyc, love, computerprogramming, flemishart, love... "It has not escaped our notice that the specific pairing we have postulated immediately suggests a possible copying mechanism for genetic material" Crick & Watson "Dr. Ressler came as close as anyone I've ever met to demonstrating that saving grace of homo sapiens: the ability to step out of the food chain and, however momentarily, refuse to compete." p. 165 "Each living thing defied taxonomy. Everything was its own, unique, irreducible classification." p. 586(less)
A wonderful book written and illustrated by Bechdel, it has the strength to ponder very personal issues in an open and deep way. She tells of her fath...moreA wonderful book written and illustrated by Bechdel, it has the strength to ponder very personal issues in an open and deep way. She tells of her father and of herself up until the time of her father's death when she's in college. She looks back with awareness, combining drawn versions of photos, letters, journals, and memories, realizing in hindsight a deeper understanding of what was going on, of events that were taking place. Towards the end of his life, the family becomes aware that he had been involved with other men, around the same time that she tells her family that she is a lesbian. She states that "(t)here is a certain emotional expedience to claiming him as a tragic victim of homophobia. But that's a problematic line of thought." (p. 196) In fact the whole book wonders about him as a person by looking at the "evidence".
She is also looking back at her own life and childhood, at the same time as looking at her father's. "Or maybe" Bechdel says, "I'm trying to render my sensless personal loss meaningful by linking it, however posthumously, to a more coherent narrative." (p. 196) And indeed she is, in a way that I found very personal and moving. The narrative is the voice of the the present looking back and analyzing, while the voices in the panels combine with the pictures to illustrate what was happening at the time. The drawings are wonderful and expressive, with stunning details. Even when the mouths are little more than a dot, they combine with the eyes, the face and the surroundings to wonderfully illustrate the words. With the drawings and words, Bechdel combines the events in her life, her fathers' and families', and occassionally reaching out to the larger world to form a convergence, or a well told story.
Besides the way she draws and describes herself as a person, I connected with the strong theme of books that connected her with her father, and traces of culture and events of growing up in the 1970s. While there were many words that she used that I didn't know (charybdis, consubstantial) I never had the feeling that I didn't know what she was talking about! I learned a lot from reading this book.
"About not gripping tight enough for fear my fingers would close on air." "Love, is we get it, is as close to music as most of us get..." - The Silence...more"About not gripping tight enough for fear my fingers would close on air." "Love, is we get it, is as close to music as most of us get..." - The Silence of Thelonious Monk p. 50(less)
A book about Maria Sibylla Merian, a woman who was early in the field of insect and plant study and painting, with a unique emphasis on metamorphasis....moreA book about Maria Sibylla Merian, a woman who was early in the field of insect and plant study and painting, with a unique emphasis on metamorphasis. The book starts off by disclosing that there is very little known about her except for a few archival materials, and her illustrations. But Kim Todd, the author, combines her story wonderfully and informatively with the history of the times (mostly late 1600s, early 1700s).
Todd was clearly enchanted by her subject and her illustrations, and makes it clear that for a woman to be doing this work at this time displayed a unique spirit and drive. The book flap says that Todd has a degree in "creative non-fiction," which I'd never heard of, but that's exactly what this book does, creatively tells a true story. She takes a subject that I would have thought was not especially interesting, to me, and just makes it soar. This is an area of study that I had no idea I was interested in! The book left me feeling smarter and optimistic about, well, life by tell the story with the emphasis on a woman overcoming large obstacles through her fascination with metamorphasis, but as Todd portrays it...transformation.
The only thing I wish was more information on what metamorphasis actually is. While it was explained towards the end, it was the only thing in the book that I didn't feel that I grasped. This book made me aware of what a unique scientific process metamorphasis is, as well as a wonderful metaphor. I was enough intrigued to want to learn more on my own. That says alot!(less)
Pieces of Jack Smith's writings and some little drawings, with occassional explanation or context from the editors. Smith's dazzling and unique creati...morePieces of Jack Smith's writings and some little drawings, with occassional explanation or context from the editors. Smith's dazzling and unique creativity shines through, and his film work is illuminated from a deeper glimpse into his thought/creativity process. In this book, in his movies, and it seems that in his life, he created his own world, including his own vocabulary, set/apartment designs, and characters. Jack Smith made the movie "Flaming Creatures" in the early 60s. An "art" movie that was banned in New York.
In his writing, and his movies he shows his exuberance for films that had been cast off as trash, and even (as in the quote below) for trash itself. His affinity to cast off items and people is part of what draws me to him. I saw an interesting new documentary about him at the Harvard Film Archive. It was exuberant and heart-breaking. I also saw J. Hoberman, one of the editors speak to a class at Harvard about the current series of books he's working on.
"..in the middle of the city should be a repository of the objects that people don't want anymore, which they would take to this giant junkyard. That would form an organization, a way that the city would be organized...the city organized around that." page 115(less)
A Boston area/Irish fella simply describes the complexities of a deep love and devastating loss and the music that strung it all together. "I believe w...moreA Boston area/Irish fella simply describes the complexities of a deep love and devastating loss and the music that strung it all together. "I believe when you're making a mix, you're making history. You ransack the vaults, you haul off all the junk you can carry, and you rewire all your ill-gotten loot into something new." p.23(less)