Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, by Chris Ware. I’m embarrassed to say this is the first graphic novel I’ve read. (Hangs head in shame.) I also picked up a copy of Ghost World, which was recommended to me in reference to the novel I’m revising. Jimmy Corrigan is a huge doorstop, while Ghost World is a thin book. I have to admit I’m confused about several things in Jimmy Corrigan…but I’m holding on, reserving judgment. It’s pretty damn funny.
Tracks, by Louise Erdrich. I’m deconstructing this book in terms of craft, for a presentation in one of my classes. I’ve found myself picking through old essays I’ve read from guys like Gardner, Booth, and Baxter. Excited yet?
The Golden Apples, by Eudora Welty. This might be my favorite collection of Welty’s that I’ve read so far. The names in these stories are great–I have a list of recurring names and phrases to Google…to try and find any juicy connections. “June Recital” captures the particular mood of adolescence well.
All of the above books are coursework. I’ve also started Stray, which is enthralling, but I’ve set it aside until I can curl up and be in that relaxed place where I don’t have any bizarre study-related thoughts like, this is what Gardner meant about ‘delay,’ or whatever.
On the coffee table: the latest issues of Marie Claire, The Atlantic, and Bookmarks.
Tangent: not a book but definitely a narrative, I started playing Indigo Prophecy, which is perhaps the most intriguing video game I’ve ever played. It’s a first person narrative where you’re running from the authorities while also trying to figure out what actually happened to bring you to that point; there’s a psychological element. Every single action or inaction you take has a mental toll–you have to keep an eye on your anxiety and depression, as well as physical health….if you go about things the wrong way you can lose the game by driving yourself to commit suicide. So, you have to be sure to play that iPod and eat some good food while you’re running from the law and investigating a conspiracy
Yay for graphic novels!
I still need to read Ghost World – the movie was great. Others you should add to your must-read list: Fun Home (Alison Bechdel) and Blankets (Craig Thompson). I’ve only gotten into them in the last year or so, but they’re really addictive. Right now I’m reading The Best American Comics 2006 (edited by the great Harvey Pekar). It’s got this great one by Justin Hall which makes me want to track down some of his True Travel Tales.
Have you been writing much lately? I’ve been doing a lot more this year than last.
In the tradition of the insidiously accurate Amazon.com recommendation emails and reminders:
If you liked “Jimmy Corrigan The Smartest Kid On Earth” by Chris Ware you may also enjoy: “Jar of Fools” by Jason Lutes (more agonizing human suffering and loneliness rendered in funny pictures); “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber (more fantasies getting in the way of reality, or is it vice-versa?); “The Devil in the White City” by Erik Larsen (more Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, this time with a dash of murder and mayhem); “Against the Day” by Thomas Pynchon (hey, this also works since you’ve read “V” recently!); and last, but not least, “Maus: Books I and II” by Art Spiegelman (more historical graphic fiction that’s as large as it is moving).