January 06, 2004
One Down, Fifty-One To Go

I finished my first book of the year (and inaugural tome in my 52 book project) today, From Beirut To Jerusalem, by Thomas Friedman. By far, it is the best book I've read on the dilemma in the Middle East, able to deftly shift perspective from local streets to the global repercussions of the conflict.

Next up is The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami. This summer, my brother lent me two Murakami novels, The Wild Sheep Chase and Dance, Dance, Dance, after we discovered a mutual admiration for fellow Japanese novelist Banana Yoshimoto, and these offbeat novels made me a fan.

Thanks for the recommendations so far, I'll be updating my reading schedule as I finish each book. I noticed a recommendation for Maus and Maus II. Does any other favorite graphic novels? That is a genre I have sadly neglected,and this is an excellent opportunity to get my proverbial feet wet.

Posted by david on January 06, 2004
Comments

Well "Watchmen" is considered to be one of the greatest, and I agree that it is very good. Dan Clowes' "Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron" is also a really good read, though kind of short.

Posted by: Justin E. on January 6, 2004 08:15 AM

There is a website that does a great job reviewing graphic novels, making recommendations, etc etc etc: http://www.artbomb.net

Posted by: Robert Duffy on January 6, 2004 08:24 AM

hey david, this post just made a great site even better. love the mini-reviews & recommendations. music news, mp3's and literature, i'm in heaven.

Posted by: rob on January 6, 2004 09:55 AM

I attended a lecture on the middle east conflict many years ago. I can't even remember who gave it, but it was presented as a nearly insolvable problem.

Posted by: Terry on January 6, 2004 10:32 AM

I definetely agree with Maus. Here are a few others.
Anything by Joe Sacco (Palestine, Safe Area Gorazde)- he's a journalist who tells his stories in comic form
Also, Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse, Our Cancer Year by Harvey Pekar, & Blankets by Craig Thompson.
Box Office Poison by Alex Robinson, Summer Blonde by Adrian Tomine & Minimum Wage by Bob Fingerman are also great but are actually collected comics grouped together as a graphic novel (if you even care about that)
Let me know if you want more. I read waaay too many comics.
Love the site by the way- it's the first I check everyday!

Posted by: Valerie on January 6, 2004 11:48 AM

Thanks for all the graphic novel recommendations. I'll make a list, check it twice and probably read two or three of these.

Terry: that's the impression this author gives, but he offers a complicated possible solution in his prologue. One of the best things about the book is the descriptions he gives of the roadblocks to peace that exist and why they exist.

Posted by: david on January 6, 2004 01:47 PM

V for Vendetta is another great one by Alan Moore. And Ghostworld by Daniel Clowes.

Posted by: Grant on January 6, 2004 03:15 PM

On the Middle East, I really enjoyed the novel Damascus Gate by Robert Stone.

For non-fiction, I loved Zero. And Rubbish, which is about trash and landfills. Sounds odd, but it's a fascinating book. Should be read by anyone who cares about environmental issues. There's one surprise after another.

Posted by: Coolfer on January 6, 2004 08:01 PM

Just remember that in order to meet your reading goal you have to read TWO graphic novels per week, since they're full of pictures.

Posted by: highronimus on January 7, 2004 12:07 AM

Agree with most of these recommendations. Some others you might like are:

The Invisibles by Grant Morrison (series of several books)

Strangers In Paradise by Terry Moore

The Joe Sacco stuff is very good too, as is Garth Ennis' Preacher series and of course the highly acclaimed Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth....

Paul B

Posted by: Paul Bridgewater on January 7, 2004 06:41 AM

I can't highly enough recommend Jeff Brown's books, from Top Shelf Comics. The drawing style is minimal and almost crappy, but he compares life so wonderfully. "Unlikely" and.... I forget the other title.

Posted by: derik on January 7, 2004 08:52 AM

"Sandman" by Neil Gaiman is also rightfully considered one of the best. Wow.

Posted by: Rach on January 7, 2004 03:51 PM
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