Saturday, August 22, 2009

Oh Canada

Another day another bit of praise for the Canadian graphic novelists among us.

Guy Delisle's travelogues are among my most favorite books and Pyongyang was the first I ever bought.

Not only is it a fascinating story that the artist has beautifully illustrated, the cover features accordions.


My dear now departed friend The Cabaret Singer always said that, when she married, she longed not for a very proper string quartet but a blind accordion player.

That, my friends, is a wedding I wish we had all gotten to dance at.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Not a comment.

This is one of those occassions when I'm not using a book cover as a punchline or to emphasize a point.

I'm not trying to be witty or funny.

I'm just kind of in love with this one.

Pascal Blanchet wrote the beautiful and poetic book White Rapids. A graphic novel that I actually, literally, carried back and forth across the Atlantic with me.

In the back of the book Blanchet included a list of songs that should be played when reading each section of White Rapids.


Scanning through the Drawn & Quarterly Web site I found another book by Blanchet: Baloney.

According to the site: "Russian fatalism sets the tone as Blanchet orchestrates the tale of a village butcher, his disabled daughter, and her tutor, in their doomed uprising against the swaggering Duke Shostakov, local governor and owner of the only heating company in town."

I don't know what it is about Canadians and graphic novels but, dang, they sure know how to put it all together.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Well I'll be snookered.

Maybe I'm way behind the curve but did you know this?

Thumbing through an issue of Newsweek that is now many news' weeks old I found an article by Chip Kidd of book covers he particularly fancies.

One of them was Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking.

Which, at first blush, made me say, "Yawn."

Until he explained why.

Notice anything about the cover?

Those letters on the cover that are a different color?

The spell John.

As in Didion's late husband John Gregory Dunne, whose sudden death by heart attack is the cornerstone of this memoir.

Kind of gives you a whole new respect for Nancy Drew doesn't it?

Or at least the Scooby gang.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Look smart.

I've been thinking lately about Web sites and all the collateral that you can take for granted when your professional identity, to put it in the most dramatic of fashions, belongs to someone else.

Business cards. Web site. Branding.

This is all stuff that I used to think about a great deal...but for other people. And that was in the dark ages of hand drawn letterforms and cut and paste that involved art blades and glue sticks.

But this is a different day and when I told a friend about my leap of faith the first thing he asked is if I owned my domain name.

"No," I replied.

"You have a gmail account, right?" he asked.

"Uh...I have a hotmail account."

"Oh Artboy." *sigh* "At least you finally own a Crackberry."

So, into this great swirl of what might come next, I'm adding another set of tasks. I don't just have to decide what I want to be...I have to decide how I want what I want to be to look.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The sweet smell of success.

Today I met with someone who reminded me why it is that I love books and writing and literature.

I'm still not entirely sure how we got on the subject but he began to describe the plot of Perfume to me. The more he talked, the more clearly excited he was to have the opportunity to talk about the book.

And that's really the thing that makes an amazing book amazing.

It's not just about being brilliant or beautiful or insightful on the's inspiring people so much that they have to tell others what it is that they've read.

Perfume is now on my ever growing book list.

And the feeling of excitement that I've been missing when I get out of bed in the morning, feels like it just might be coming back.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Julia, or the tiger?

Yesterday Leopold and I went to see Julie & Julia.

Not surprisingly, if you've read any of the reviews, we both really liked it.

Surprisingly, if you've read the reviews, we both actually liked the "Julie" side of things. Most of the critics have given the majority of their praise to Meryl Streep as America's first lady of French cuisine, Julia Child. Julie, played by Amy Adams, has been called distractingly whiny and completely expendable.

Now, here's what I didn't realize before reading all these reviews.

When I heard that they would be making a movie of Julie & Julia I had assumed it would be an adaptation Julie Powell's book. Not, as it is, a kind of conjoined-twins adaptation of Powell's blog-turned-book and Child's memoir My Life in France.

I loved Powell's book and, not surprisingly, have it in hardcover. Julie & Julia came out while I was in one of my recurring food lit phases and I read it immediately.

Maybe it's because I'm going through this whole transition thing that the Julie portions of the movie had such an effect on me. And maybe it's because the portions of Julie & Julia based on the book Julie & Julia were so well done in terms of making the leap from book to big screen. It was one of those rare moments when liking the book meant liking the movie.

This wouldn't really have occurred to me except for the fact that Leopold had some problems with some of the Julia items in the movie because, you guessed it, he's currently reading My Life in France. Seeing the movie and hearing him talk about it has made me want to add it to the book stack as well.

But here's the problem.

The edition that he's reading? It is one of those "now-a-major-motion-picture-here-are-scenes-from-the-movie" covered paperbacks. As the three people who read this blog know, I make a point of avoiding "now-a-major-motion-picture-here-are-scenes-from-the-movie" paperbacks.

I'm thinking that buying a new edition without the offending cover will officially put me one step closer to some kind of literary twelve-step program.

Maybe it's time to see if those elementary school book covering skills are still solid.