Aaaaand Craig Thompson has bowled me over once again. Habibi is the story of Dodola and Zam, two orphans who find each other in childhood and decide t...moreAaaaand Craig Thompson has bowled me over once again. Habibi is the story of Dodola and Zam, two orphans who find each other in childhood and decide to be each other's family, and whose lives are intertwined into adulthood in a fictional Islamic society. I don't want to give away major plot points, but suffice it to say that this is an absolutely beautifully written and drawn story. It's complex and moves fluidly between religious texts and the books main storyline. It addresses numerous women's issues (childhood marriage to middle-aged men, rape, prostitution, life in a harem, motherhood) as well as some interesting race issues (in this setting, the difference between black and olive skin rather than black and white). Both female and male sexuality are significant factors in the story, as is the interplay between the religious stories from Islam and from Christianity, how they are similar and where they differ. Writing and words and ink and the Arabic language are important motifs, and so is environmentalism and industrial waste. And ultimately, slavery and freedom, compulsion and free choice, are the primary themes of the book. It is a love story, and a story of family, and a story of finding your own path. I just finished it last night and have not remotely had enough time to process it all. I will be thinking about this book for a long, long time to come.(less)
This is sort of a comic book...really, it's a collection of small interconnected comic pieces: bound books, tiny little strips, giant newspaper format...moreThis is sort of a comic book...really, it's a collection of small interconnected comic pieces: bound books, tiny little strips, giant newspaper formats, and everything in between. You read them in any order you want to, so the story jumps around in time and location (and even point of view). The stories center around the people (and animals) who live in a three-apartment building in Chicago, but especially the woman who lives on the top floor. We see her life before she lived there, and after. We also get first-person (for lack of a better term) POV stories from the building itself to a bee buzzing around outside the building. It's an interesting format, and the story lines are also interesting...I guess what's holding me back from giving that 5th star is that I never really liked any of the characters, and I didn't feel that there was any resolution by the time I'd finished reading all of the pieces. The stories were interesting but felt kind of stagnant to me - no one grew, no one changed.
I respect the format, which was really innovative, and the art was pretty great. I liked this a lot, I just didn't love it.(less)
Nick Galifianakis writes a syndicated cartoon about men and women and relationships. He is the cousin of now-famous comedian and actor Zach Galifianak...moreNick Galifianakis writes a syndicated cartoon about men and women and relationships. He is the cousin of now-famous comedian and actor Zach Galifianakis, who wrote the foreword for the book. The book is a collection of his cartoons - I presume that some were printed in syndication and others may be original for this book. All of the cartoons are single panels with no continuity or story between them. They're all mildly amusing in that tired Mars-vs-Venus sort of way: men and women are different, and communication/relationships are sometimes hard between them because of that! Hyuk-hyuk! I got a couple of genuinely surprised chuckles out of the book, but no more than 3 or 4. Galifianakis also seems to have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with his dog, which may actually be the most amusing part of the book (in the introduction in particular). I felt kind of like this was a series of single-panel Cathy comics but written from the male perspective, and I found most of them about as amusing as you might imagine from that description. That said, it took me all of about an hour to read the book cover-to-cover, and it did give me a few chuckles, so the investment is fairly minimal for a little amusement.(less)
I was gratified to read the end of the series, and there were some great funny moments...but it wasn't my favorite book of the series, which a little...moreI was gratified to read the end of the series, and there were some great funny moments...but it wasn't my favorite book of the series, which a little sad. You always want the last one to be your favorite!(less)
An excellent story about the joys of being a book lover and the dangers of succumbing entirely to that passion. It simultaneously celebrates how aweso...moreAn excellent story about the joys of being a book lover and the dangers of succumbing entirely to that passion. It simultaneously celebrates how awesome books are, how much joy they bring into a book-lover's life, and warns about what happens when that love goes too far, when love of books comes before all else, including other people, your career, and even yourself. It takes all of 10 minutes to read, it's beautiful to look at, and I can definitely imagine reading this again and again. NOT FOR CHILDREN, though - I feel this needs to be said because it looks very much like a picture book, but the story has some very adult themes and plot points.(less)