Overrated, overread, over-recommended, underwhelming. As an English major, the only book I've read more than this is Gatsby, and every reading has low...moreOverrated, overread, over-recommended, underwhelming. As an English major, the only book I've read more than this is Gatsby, and every reading has lowered my appreciation for it, which started rather low in 1991. Holden is not an engaging character, much less protagonist and narrator. I'm sure that folks will argue that this he is written as such to be a deconstructionist or postmodern take on first-person untrustworthy narration, but I think it's more in line with Salinger's inability to write a relatable character; perhaps too much of his person in his pen.
If I had the choice, I would never read this again. The possibility of this book being featured on a reading list for PhD candidacy is a (minor) reason why I am not pursuing a doctorate.
*in the space where it says "date i finished this book" is the date i was "finished" with this book. I have since read it twice during my undergrad and once while pursuing my master's degree.(less)
This book was the first introduction of Grant Morrison onto an American comics audience and serves as an excellent primer to the voice and creativity...moreThis book was the first introduction of Grant Morrison onto an American comics audience and serves as an excellent primer to the voice and creativity of the man. As comics story, AA aims high, using equal parts philosophy, psychology, and sociology to explore Batman's relationships with his rogue's gallery, the king of which is The Joker, and also the weighty subject of madness, with all of its contrived connotations and messy measurements. Morrison challenges the notions of madness in the world of Batman by taking on the concept of AA being what Bruce Wayne dreams every night; how the world would be if he failed as Batman, the underpinnings of his committment to his mission, and even how he sees himself. the latter is explored primarily in the ongoing monologue of The Joker, who reveals more about Batman's psychosis than previously explored. At the end of the tale, it's hard to differentiate the real from the dream, and the damage done to Batman because of his crusade against crime and chaos.
Dave McKean's art goes far in establishing the maddening environment of Arkham Asylum. His surrealism and harsh style create an atmosphere of unpredictability and unreality throughout the entire books, even through the coda. While it has been said that other artists were considered for AA:ASHOSE, it is obvious in hindsight that no other artist could have better represented Morrison's theme of madness as deeply and convincingly haunting as McKean. His lens on the building and his representation of the atmosphere within still define the space for thousands of fans and creators.
For some this is the first of the postmodern comics, and I respectfully disagree with them. In truth, this book is a carefully composed story of the true Batman and his real view of the world that he has chosen to inhabit and create.(less)
Wayne Coffey takes us into the locker room, onto the ice, and into the heads of the greatest hockey team assembled for the US Olympic Team. While I ha...moreWayne Coffey takes us into the locker room, onto the ice, and into the heads of the greatest hockey team assembled for the US Olympic Team. While I have read just about everything there is to read concerning "The Miracle on Ice," it wasn't until I read "Boys" that I felt I truly understood the players, the game, and the significance of their defeat of the Soviet team on February 21, 1980. Along with excellent interviews are recaps of the on-ice action from that fateful game, which brought me back to being five years old, excited and nervous as I watched the game unfold live with my dad. Coffey is not only a great interviewer, asking questions and crafting narratives from the players and coaches on both sides of the game, but he's also a storyteller, a writer who can create, or in my case recreate, the emotions and drama that hung over the players and the game. Coffey explores the lives of some of the 'role players,' and it is in the interviews and biographies of players like Neal Broten, Rob McClanahan, Dave Christian, and Mark Johnson. It is these players, who may have drifted from the spotlight in the wake of their victory, that provide timely goals and beautiful points and counterpoints to the myth that has developed around The Miracle. Coffey approaches coach Herb Brooks with as objective a lens that one will find when dealing with the legendary coach cum psychologist. How Brooks was able to take a team of college students and junior hockey players and create a Soviet-crushing and gold medal winning team is covered in great detail by Coffey, exposing the practice sessions and mind games played by Brooks to create a truly special team made up of young men "born to be hockey players."(less)