Mediocre. Howard Zinn's 'A People's History Of American Empire' (2008) provides a much better "outsider" view of American history by placing the eventMediocre. Howard Zinn's 'A People's History Of American Empire' (2008) provides a much better "outsider" view of American history by placing the events in context, which is something Stavans' book fails to successfully accomplish. ...more
I have been a fan of the work of both Chris Hedges & Joe Sacco for some time--Hedges for his astute observations (decidedly from a relatively leftI have been a fan of the work of both Chris Hedges & Joe Sacco for some time--Hedges for his astute observations (decidedly from a relatively leftist perspective) of America's decline in the 21st century & Sacco for his even-handed (& pretty unique) graphic take on the art of journalism. Their seemingly disparate takes on Native Americans in South Dakota, (primarily) African-Americans in Camden, New Jersey, white coal miners in West Virginia, and Mexican & Haitian immigrants in Immokalee, Florida are all brilliantly tied together in the book's final chapter, which focuses on the recent Occupy Movement (by way of the Paris Commune, Karl Marx, and the fall of the Soviet Union). All demonstrate how we are all victims of the unregulated, unfettered quest for profits in the corporate age, which is in the process of making us all serfs with little hope of ending the downward spiral...unless we act. The political class most certainly will not.
And that is where I slightly diverge from Hedges' viewpoint: His assumption that both political parties are essentially the same is fairly accurate, but nonetheless, (perhaps I am brainwashed) I think we will be much better off with Obama for another four years, rather than Romney and his "corporations are people, my friend" philosophy. Despite this minor disagreement, I consider this vital book among the best I have read in 2012 & an amazing pairing of written and graphic journalism.
As an aside: I was reading the book, just starting the chapter on Immokalee in a medical waiting room in Naples, Florida (where I live)--a "one percent", Tea Party stronghold to be sure...and a mere 25 miles from Immokalee (with little compassion shown for their plight from most of the local residents). An old lady sitting next to me glanced over at Sacco's illustration of Mexican pickers sitting in a former school bus on their way to the fields. Curious, she asked, "What's that you are reading?" I responded, "It's a book on the negative effects of unfettered capitalism. This chapter is on the plight of the Immokalee farm workers." Taken somewhat aback, she said, "Oh." Slight awkward pause, then "The illustration is so expressive." Indeed. ...more
This is my first read from Clowes. I enjoyed the seemingly different "comic strips" containing a multitude of characters that come together to revealThis is my first read from Clowes. I enjoyed the seemingly different "comic strips" containing a multitude of characters that come together to reveal a single narrative about the town of Ice Haven. Fun, quick, and easy read....more
I have been a fan of Bechdel's work going back some 20 years or so. I thought 'Fun Home' was a graphic masterpiece. I am sure that 'Are You My Mother?I have been a fan of Bechdel's work going back some 20 years or so. I thought 'Fun Home' was a graphic masterpiece. I am sure that 'Are You My Mother?' was quite cathartic for the author...it was practically decades of therapy condensed into a 286-page graphic novel. But that kind of introspection does not necessarily translate into a compelling narrative for the reader. I just did not feel the intimacy & connections with the characters that I know Bechdel can do so well & that she did with 'Fun Home'. Nonetheless, she is far and away one of the best graphic novel artists/authors out there, expanding the boundaries of what a graphic novel is and can be. ...more
Thompson's follow-up to 'Blankets' is a graphic novel with the emphasis decidedly on "graphic". Although I had this one on my "to read" list for awhilThompson's follow-up to 'Blankets' is a graphic novel with the emphasis decidedly on "graphic". Although I had this one on my "to read" list for awhile, following a complaint from a patron regarding its "graphic" nature (I am a librarian), I fast-tracked it to my "currently reading" list. The novel is, indeed, quite "graphic" in parts. But, the harshness is warranted in the context of Thompson's story, which revolves around human rights abuses, including contemporary human trafficking for both physical labor & the sex trade as well as the irreversible damage we are doing to our planet due to over population. 'Habibi' is not a graphic novel for everyone, especially the squeamish or those offended by graphic sexual references. It is beautifully drawn down to the most minute of details, but is intended for a mature adult audience....more