Silly. The illustrations from Roz Chast really make it (although credit to Merritt as well for conjuring some good images for her to illustrate.) I alSilly. The illustrations from Roz Chast really make it (although credit to Merritt as well for conjuring some good images for her to illustrate.) I already had all the two letter words memorized but I didn't know all of their meanings. This book really highlights how arbitrary the two letter word list is in Scrabble. Why allow ow but not ew? What determines if a foreign word is allowed? ...more
Inconsequential. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the world is so big, such a vast and interesting place. So why do 95% of graphic novels onInconsequential. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the world is so big, such a vast and interesting place. So why do 95% of graphic novels only focus on a tiny sliver of it? I don't care about disaffected 20 year olds living in ennui in NYC or SF. I don't care about virginal young white male art students or even virginal Asian male art students or even, when you get right down to it, art students at all. I wish a Mongolian yak herder would pen a graphic novel about their life. I want to see graphic novels about interesting people's lives. People who have done something, been somewhere, lived outside the range of ordinary experience. Mountain climber comics, hospital comics, marine salvage comics . Poets with a thousand lovers, rap stars, prisoners, Ai Wei Wei, Sammy Davis Jr., Ida Tarbell, Joan of Arc, competitive cup stackers ... just no more angsty 20 something bicoastal urban hipsters or sad sack virginal unloved cartoonists. PLEASE!!...more
ok if you want tons of "then i climbed this... then I climbed that..." I guess that sufficed for me. for anyone not obsessed with alpine climbing thouok if you want tons of "then i climbed this... then I climbed that..." I guess that sufficed for me. for anyone not obsessed with alpine climbing though, this will be a snooze...more
This book is quite silly. Juvenile, really. It reads like the violent robotic daydreams of a bored 10 year old boy stuck in math class. TheHo-kayyyyy
This book is quite silly. Juvenile, really. It reads like the violent robotic daydreams of a bored 10 year old boy stuck in math class. The book's overuse of corny "action onomatopoeia" (POOM BRAKA BRAKA ZAP KRAK! BLAM! ZAZZK etc.) quickly progresses from mildly irritating to full on water torture. I'd say 50% of the text in this book is a variant of CHUNG! SNAK! or WHRRT
I want to read this same comic written and illustrated by Adrian Tomine. Wait... no I don't. I do think we're due for a good comic about Roko's Basilisk and other philosophical AI Risk dilemmas that are in vogue of late. ...more
A quick, enjoyable read... Geoff Dyer embeds aboard an aircraft carrier and observes the goings-on from his characteristic Englishman-in-America perspA quick, enjoyable read... Geoff Dyer embeds aboard an aircraft carrier and observes the goings-on from his characteristic Englishman-in-America perspective. He grew up in the postmath of WWII, and spent his childhood building model airplanes and daydreaming about air combat and naval deployments. So when he gets the chance to ship out with an American carrier and experience things first hand, he doesn't hesitate. As usual, Dyer writes with his trademark blend of self-deprecating wit and absurdist observational humor, and this book cracked me up in many places (see below).
At times, Another Great Day at Sea reminded me of David Foster Wallace's essay about taking a luxury cruise, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. In both cases you have a comically self-aware/insecure/neurotic pseudo-intellectual "writer-type" reporting in great detail about the mechanics of a large sea vessel, the social hierarchy of its crew, the beauty of stars at sea, and also their (the writer's) phobia about pooing in a ship commode, saying stupid things to stern men of military bearing, etc. Not to overstate the similarity-- Dyer is his own man, with his own way of stating things, different confidences and weaknesses, different fascinations. I just really enjoyed both writers' takes on this topic.
I'll end with some of the bits from this book that made me laugh.
re taking off in "ungainly propeller plane" that gets him to the carrier:
We were not taxiing but a noisy increase in power had taken place and the noise was deafening. I'd thought the noise was deafening when we'd first boarded but back then I didn't know anything about noise or deafeningness.
re Commander Couch's bewildering explanation of aviation technology:
'Wow,' I said during a brief lull in Couch's litany. 'This is the most A-I-E I've ever been in." 'Excuse me?' 'Acronym Intensive Environment,' I said, feeling both smart and stupid at having risked a first joke in a new place. 'That's a good one,' said Couch in a tone suggesting that there are only bad ones.
re visiting the empty brig (jail):
Hungry for gossip, for anecdote, I asked Petty Office Young if she could give me examples of serious stuff that had happened. 'With all due respect I have no authority to describe or discuss particular cases.' I felt like I'd been told off, like I'd taken a tentative step towards trouble, towards the brig (in which I was already standing). I've always hated getting told off. If you're not going to tell me then what the bad word am I doing here? I thought to myself . Petty Officer Young, meanwhile, was telling me about another category of inmate: enemy prisoners of war. I'd like to have seen some of them, maybe even poked at them with a stick from behind the safety of the cell bars, but the brig, today, was devoid of all prisoners, friendly or hostile (pronounced American-style, as in 'youth hostel')... From my point of view it would have been much better if the jail had been occupied, by sailors in the process of being punished, or, ideally, an Al-Qaida suspect, one of those guys with a gleaming black beard and a gentle expression whose eyes burned darkly with some implacable faith and who—for all we knew—was a just a devout Muslim and a caring father.
re getting quizzed by Lieutenant Commander Ron Rancourt about the meaning of different colored nuts and bolts placed on top of minature airplanes on the Flight Deck control table:
'You see some planes have washers on them,' said Ron. 'Which means...?' My hand shot up—Me sir! Me sir!—and I called out the answer before the snapper [photographer] had a chance to even open his mouth. 'It means the plane needs a wash!' 'That's right.' Oh, the bliss of getting answers right, of doing so publicly and being seen to be the cleverest boy in class... 'Now, what about these planes with a wing nut on them?' 'Something to do with the wing?' snapped the snapper. 'Fold up the wings maybe?' 'You got it,' said Ron. The snapper had equalized, but here's the thing that marks me out as a leader, as SEAL material. I didn't sit there glowering, sulking or licking my wounds. Before Ron asked his next question, before I even knew there was going to be another question, I was looking round the board to see what other symbolic cargo the planes were carrying. So by the time Ron asked the question, about the planes with a little jack on them, I had already—repeat: Alpha, Lima, Romeo, Echo, Alpha, Delta, Yankee, already—worked out the answer by reference to intel gained just hours before, and was able to sing it out before he'd even finished his sentence. 'The aircraft's been jarred on landing and needs to be put on jacks, sir!' I didn't wait for Ron to say, 'Affirmative' or 'Correct', I just held my arms aloft, fists clenched, basking in it. In what? In that raising-the-flag-on-Iwo-Jima, watching-the-Zulus-slink-away-from-Rorke's-Drift glow otherwise known as V for victory in a Q for quiz.
Typical Tao, it mostly feels like tossed-off gimmicky nonsense, but there are occasional worthwhile moments. This barely seems like poetry though; it'Typical Tao, it mostly feels like tossed-off gimmicky nonsense, but there are occasional worthwhile moments. This barely seems like poetry though; it's just sentences with weird line breaks and no capitalization.
if that's all that's needed for something to be a poem then i'll just reformat this review voila i am a poet
Here's one poem from this collection I did like, entitled "pessimism? or robotics?"
pessimism? or robotics? __________
i am able to sit through an extremely funny movie without making a noise or changing my facial expression
i am incapable of laughing without trying to laugh
i am never interested in anyone unless they first show interest in me
i try not to think of myself as a person but a metal object, build suddenly by machines in complete darkness something impossible to hurt with a shovel...more
The word I thought of when reading this was "mannered." This is mannered fiction. Tastefully boring. It reads like something written in an MFA programThe word I thought of when reading this was "mannered." This is mannered fiction. Tastefully boring. It reads like something written in an MFA program. (I thought this before reading the author blurb, which indeed confirms that Ng has an MFA.) All the characterizations seemed rather pat to me. The Chinese son of immigrants who struggles w/ racism and marries a white woman, the repressed house wife whose desire for a scientific career was crushed by sexism, the child upon whom all parental hopes are placed, the sexy graduate student with whom the professor has an affair-- I feel like I could have generated this story from a MS Word template. It doesn't mean these characters aren't "real," just that they're boring and uninspired.
Also, this book is mostly written in the past tense, but then for some chapters Ng uses historical present tense instead. For some reason this really started to get on my nerves. IMO historical present tense should only be used if you're calling a ballgame. In any other context it's pretentious and annoying.
I guess one good thing about this book is, it made me think about how good I've had it in life. Despite being an Indian kid in overwhelmingly white Wyoming, growing up I never experienced significant racism. Nor did my parents burden me with excessive expectations-- they pretty much let me be who I wanted to be. And then when I got married to a white (Jewish) girl, it was in San Francisco, 2007, at which point interracial relationships had become completely unremarkable-- the norm, even.
Beautiful story, beautifully told. I was taken aback by the end when he points out that the towers aren't there anymore... I told my kids, that's a stBeautiful story, beautifully told. I was taken aback by the end when he points out that the towers aren't there anymore... I told my kids, that's a story for another time! If you liked Man on Wire (and who didn't?) you'll like this....more
I've been going through Caldecott Medal winners looking for diamonds in the rough. This is a good one from 1941. The story is verbose in that way tha I've been going through Caldecott Medal winners looking for diamonds in the rough. This is a good one from 1941. The story is verbose in that way that children's stories were back in the day, but what makes the book great is the beautiful, delicate pencil illustrations. Recommended. (That's such a lame way to end a review, I know, but what do you want, a 5000 word essay on Make Way For Ducklings ?)...more