Pyongyang by Guy Delisle
I feel like Pyongyang was floating around the book blogger community about a year ago, although it earned much of its acclaim upon its English release in 2006. (It was first released in French in 2003.) I was so sure when I sat down to write this post that Ana had reviewed it, but it turns out I totally hallucinated that. This leaves me with nothing but my tremulous fascination with North Korea as motivation, which is forever tinged by its birth upon reading World War Z. The ideas of a totally (or near totally) isolated country and such strict control over the media are almost concepts that I just can’t wrap my head around. So I picked up Guy Delisle’s travelogue to get a better handle on it.
What It Is by Lynda Barry
Part of my evolution as a writer over the last year has been realizing that I am much more of an editor or a literary critic than a creative writer. I mean, I’m still a creative writer to some degree. I’m not Paul Collins, who thinks the idea of characters escaping their writers is preposterous, because I’ve had characters decimate entire plot outlines by being smarter than I am. But there is a reason I’m an English Literature major, not a Creative Writing major. So why would I pick up a book pretty clearly aimed at a more traditional creative writer? Well, I’m trying to get my mother to write her memoirs and she does not subscribe to her daughter’s blunt way of leaping blind into new hobbies, so I’m vetting writing resources for her. Plus, I’ve heard a lot about Lynda Barry, so I thought it was time to get acquainted.
Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton
Kate Beaton is awesome. If you have somehow managed to connect to the Internet and somehow find this review without knowing who La Beatonne is (gosh, I hope I have jurisdiction for that by virtue of being French), go. Leave. Check it out and then come back. She’s a Canadian cartoonist who merges her deep interest and knowledge about history with often clever and occasionally delightfully juvenile jokes and has become quite a bit of a sensation. Every fandom I stumble across has their very own “Oooh, Mr. Darcy” parody. While I knew her big-girl book (Beaton self-published a book before this through her website) was out, I didn’t dream for a second that my library would have it, but there it was, sitting on the shelf, telling me that I could now review her for the blog. Aw yis, to quote one of her most famous comics.