Monday, January 28, 2013

reading into graphic novels + around the world (+elsewhere)

this blog post is inspired by the blog series "It's Monday! What are you reading?" which is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. more about that, at the bottom of this post.

last week i read two books for the global reading challenge - and two graphic novels, one of them is "Habibi", which received several awards. the other is a new variation of "The Invisible Man":

  • "Habibi" by Craig Thompson - a work that is stunning, from theme, from artwork, from size. 600 pages of delicate drawings, with a multitude of oriental patterns, and stories inside stories inside stories, including biblical stories both of the Bible and of the Koran, and the parallels they hold - and all this wrapped in a narrative that merges the world of the 1001 nights and our present world i had to keep myself from reading it all in one day. it’s such a visual joy, yet from narrative tends to move too much towards black-white characters, and towards a tale-like happy-end. below is a video that offers some looks inside. for more, try the image collage at google which gives a good impression of the style and variety: Habibi at Google Images
  • "The Nobody" by Jeff Lemire - this is a modern-day version of H.G. Wells classic "The Invisible Man". Jeff Lemire turned the narrative into a smalltown graphic novel with a focus on prejudices and the lingering fear of the stranger that comes to town. for a look inside, try the video - following Habibi, i open the pages of "The Nobody". a side-effect of the book: it made me look for scenes from "The Invisible Man" film, and also download the original work, to get an idea of H.G. Wells own words. (PS: and now i saw that the new coursera lit lectures on SciFi and Fantasy will also feature H.G. Wells in several lectures, so that might be interesting - here's more about the (free) lectures
If you are interested in graphic novels, i blogged about previous graphic novel reads and the like (Hugo Award best graphic novel 2012 + short story winners, Batman Noel, Steampunk, etc..) here and here

And right below, the video - as january for me is about experimenting with video, and as graphic novels are all about showing instead of talking about it... 

World reads: Pakistan & former Yugoslavia
Pakistan is a country i now almost nothing about, even though it's one of the 7 countries that hosts the largest shares of the world population (here's the list: China, India, USA, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria..). I remember a street in London with Pakistani restaurants, though. I can't remember reading a book from there, or seeing a film. In contrast to that, i've been to former Yugoslavia on holidays, but mainly to beaches and some of the small islands. What I still remember is how time seemed to move backwards there - the further you drove, the slower things got, and at one point there was this road, with a wheelcart and a donkey on the other side. I also remember how I friend came back from there, and said: "If they continue like that, they will end up in a war." It seemed impossible, war in this place. But then it started. Reading the book brought those memories back, both of visting, and of the dark news from there.

But back to the books:
  • Granta: Pakistan: After reading + writing about the wonderful book "Leaving India - My Family’s Journey from Five Villages to Five Continents" (for more, visit this book talk), the next regional focus of my reading journey will move towards rather different places and formats: for the 7 continents reading challenge, is a Granta collection of Pakistan waiting, which also is my first Granta collection altogether. here's the link to the online version with some selected reads: Granta Archive "Pakistan".
  • "Frozen Time" by Anna Kim: inspired by the blog "a year of reading around the world", who picked an usual book for Austria: "Written by South Korean-born Anna Kim, who moved to Austria from Germany aged seven and regards German as her mother tongue, the narrative follows a young researcher in Vienna’s Red Cross Tracing Service as she attempts to help a Kosovan man discover what happened to his wife during the war in former Yugoslavia... Kim is one of those rare writers who manage to combine economy of language with rich significance." here's more: Austria (&Yugoslavia) - compacted meaning. and the story how the book arrived here by special library service - is an own story, included in the clip above.

February challenges:
and a quick update on the reading challenges i join this year, with a look at upcoming books (maybe it would make sense to start a book / challenges list page for those? i guess.. will do so in February):
  • for the 7 Continents challenge - a book from one of the 7 highest countries: the "Pakistan" collection above 
  • for the classic reading February: the The Tao Te Ching, Daodejing / d√†o"Path","Method” - also simply referred to as the Laozi a Chinese classic text. According to tradition, it was written around the 6th century BC by the sage Laozi (or Lao Tzu, "Old Master"), text dates back to the late 4th century BC: more/wiki. (which also fits with the 7 highest countries)
  • for the Around the World in 12 Books Challenge is country for February "Sudan": for " Tears Of The Desert: One Woman's True Story Of Surviving The Horrors Of Darfur"


ELSEWHERE - some related links from fellow book bloggers:
  • "One of my 5 Bookish Resolutions is to read more books set in places other than the US & UK, so the last Monday of every month is devoted to discussing my most recent international romps :-)", states Girlxoxo. This week she writes about: With Daughters Of Rome & Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow in her international edition of weekly reading
  • "I'm also going to blog about graphic novels today!" tweeted Jessie Carty in reply to this post. Now hers is online, too: Tatemae Vs Honne: To explain the title of this post, .. I will quote from Japanamerica, where the author writes, “But in Japan, there are two very specific words to define these selves:tatemae, or the presentation of the public self, and honne, how you really feel. The underlying truth.”

  • "A Reading Diary is a vanity project of sorts, but a worthwhile one. It consists of the jottings kept over the course of a year as Manguel (Argentine-born author, now living in Canada) rereads some of his most treasured books." - Leaves & Pages writes about reading a book about reading: A Reading Diary: A Year of Favourite Books 


It's Monday! What are you reading? This blog post is inspired by the blog series "It's Monday! What are you reading?" which is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. participating blogs are listed in this Linky Book List

Previous reading blog entries are collected here: bookshelf: currently  reading... there also is a visual bookshelf, just click it to get there:

And my own new book... is Worl(d)s Apart. True.


Quixotic Magpie said...

I am reading Habibi this week! It sounds like I am in for quite the great experience.

Leaving India sounds amazing as well.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Looks like you have some interesting reads! Enjoy!