Thursday, January 28, 2010

Most tryharderlanders know that Lynda Barry is my favorite cartoonist. I love to read interviews with her because, unlike a lot of conversation with artists, her answers reinforce the positive, brave impression I get from her work.

Finally, you can read The Comic Journal's interview with Lynda Barry from #296 without the hefty cost of subscription. Not that a subscription to TCJ would be turned down, or anything...


Are you disgusted/envious/agog at the plethora of awful blog books? So are these folks, so they are throwing as much shit as possible until some sticks, which is sometimes the only plan that works.


I haven't been able to give my local branch the attention it deserves recently, which has resulted not only in fewer awkward interactions with a librarian there whom I interviewed last semester, but also in many of the books I've ordered to languish on the hold shelf, only to be sent back to their respective branches.

Any good fiction I should put on the list for the next round of holds?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Check out my review of J.T. Yost's Old Man Winter and Other Sordid Tales over at inkstuds.

Monday, January 25, 2010

While some may laugh at the time stamp on this post, I must confess to a very good reason for being awake and writing this early.

Oh, you want me to tell you what it is?

Why, the first day of my new internship that's what!

EDITED TO ADD: It was great. In a basement, but great.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

3 Things Not to Do When You Can't Write

1) Sit and stare at a blank Word document for longer than 10 minutes
2) Tell people you have writer's block. They don't care.
3) Eat two lbs. of pasta

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Today was the first day of classes and I am already reeling from the amount of information I am intended to absorb in the next few months. So far the classes seem interesting and tougher than last semester. The amount of administrative eff ups was strangely comforting, like I am really in school and know the drill now. Sad, huh?


Oppression. Depression. Repression. The blacktress knows them all. Can you handle her? She should move to Philly where people speak the truth!


Guess who's back? Not The Ruler, but 50 Books herself! I missed her with in a way that no amount of boy baby pictures could fill.


"... they were hilarious, powerful, tough, loud, et cetera et cetera all good comic making material! But then sometimes, man, the main thing about them is that they just got screwed, big time."
Kate Beaton uses a little color to comic about the perils of learning more about the women of history.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ghost Comics: A Benefit Anthology for RS Eden, edited by Ed Choy Moorman

Ghost Comics grabbed me for three reasons: it is full of artists I love like Corinne Mucha, Lucy Knisley and Maris Wicks, its topic is close to my heart and it was only ten bucks. The B&W collection, put together by contributor Ed Choy Moorman, covers ghostly ground in a myriad of ways, and with the exception of uninspiring one-pagers, none of the contributors took the easy way out. I appreciated the variance of tone in the stories; it kept the book readable for one sitting. In fact, there were so many standouts that, before this review, my copy looked like it grew little, yellow post-it feathers.

“Dear Dave,” Ed Choy Moorman’s tale of growing up probes both the anger and sadness of losing a formerly idolized family member to drugs. Toby Jones’ auto-bio take on becoming invisible in a relationship in a time of grief, “I Can’t Deal,” strikes the balance between funny and thought provoking. In “The Point” Alison Cole’s signature yeti-looking character finds a way to deal with the ghosts that plague her day—a nice meditation piece for the haunted! Jenny Tondera’s piece uses a single hazy image that gets progressively whiter over the single-sentence story to look at anger associated with certain memories. Monica Anderson’s gut-wrenching tale of abuse and neglect shows the legacy that that kind of treatment leaves behind, using only drawn lettering to tell the story, which makes the piece feel immediate, like she is speaking right into your ear. “This is a Ghost,” by Warren Craighead III is a fun, good lookin’ pencil exploration of the titluar subject in diagram form.

I really enjoyed this book. Since, as the subtitle says, part of the price of the book goes to support, RS Eden, a drug rehabilitation program in Minnesota, your purchase will be doing double duty.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Today was Y-U-C-K yuck, so in order to feel like less of a shell I cooked some soup. Beet soup!

(CSA beets--gone!)

Yesterday I made the bread with special closer help from B and J.

(Two loaves. Hot damn!)

Both recipes are from my 1964 version of Joy of Cooking, which includes recipes for squirrel, includes directions on how to season lard, and reminds us that "even eminent and distinguished persons are only human." Good to know!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Debbie Drechsler draws nature between freelance illustration assignments. If you like mushrooms and other fungi, Just Around the Corner is where it's at. And though I can't find mention of it anywhere on her sites, she is also the author of the comic books Summer of Love and Daddy's Girl. I first saw her work in Twisted Sisters 2: Drawing the Line when I was a young gal, and again and again now when I page through my copy.


The most beautiful thing I've seen in a long time:

From Twig & Thistle, via Letter Writers Alliance


The NYPL is on twitter. Their offerings so far have been a mix of news, quotes from books in the catalog and links to images, which is ok, I guess, but something is missing. A voice perhaps?

Friday, January 08, 2010

Exclusive: blogger dies from lack of comments!

Bug girl, always a fount of information, has alerted me to the fact that many issues of the World Weekly News are now online through Google Books. Paging through the issues sends me to a few places in my past: collaging, zines, and the simple delight my brother found in buying those things at the supermarket. I am not sure exactly what he loved about them, but for me the benign absurdity was always a welcome distraction from more menacing ridiculousness.


Friend of Try Harder, the amazing SEC is signing the new Mome at Bergen Street Comics on Sunday. See you there.


Hooray! Robin talks with Corrine Mucha over at inkstuds. I love her work, and will review My Alaskan Summer soon soon soon.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Capacity by Theo Ellsworth

This handsome volume from Secret Acres houses the first seven issues of Theo Ellsworth’s brain-liquifyingly-detailed Capacity, as well as a few new things, including an amazing introduction written and drawn by the author. I enjoyed the few issues of the mini I picked up in the past, but the book treatment serves Ellsworth’s work well and it is interesting to see his artistic development while reading his take on it.

Ellsworth’s work calls out to me on a visual level. It is surreal without abandoning the depiction of direct, simple ideas like the difficulty of portraying emotions outwardly, the joys and perils of relating to others and finding the strength to continue doing what you love. His figures appeal to me on a visceral level; monsters, clowns, queens and in-betweens rivet my eyes to the page. I especially love the monsters, with their big eyes and dumb, happy demeanor—the kind of monsters you’d want to go on an adventure with. Everything object has its own pattern and the book is full of leaves, tress, eyes and misplaced mechanical elements, all of which are elements that I love to look at.

His work always warrants a few reads to take in all the intricacies of his black-n-white scapes. Unlike many comics, I actually enjoy going back to Capacity over and over.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Lucinella by Lore Segal

I picked up this Melville House edition at the Strand during a long search for a book for my mother for Christmas. I wanted a gift for myself for the three-day trip to Philly and I knew that the one novel I had already picked out wasn’t going to last long once the train ride(s) started.

Despite my love of the publisher’s curated collection of old-timey novellas and intriguing looking new ones, I was a bit worried about my choice. Lucinella is about a writer writing, a topic that seems to produce cold, nasty little books that have may superficial delights (especially is you hang with a lot of artists), but that often lack the heart that tends to endear me to books. Luckily, this book is fun, funny and engagingly loose in its plotting. The characterizations are dead-on and I loved the main character in all her iterations—though the story becomes increasingly fantastic, Lucinella is always a strong anchor.

I am looking forward to reading more of Segal’s adult work, especially if it is as smart and upbeat as this.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

2009 is over?

This was a good year for reading. I read 48 books, not including stuff I read for reviews and stuff I forgot to put on this list.

My favorites, in no order, were:
* Lucinella by Lore Segal
* How Far is the Ocean From Here by Amy Shearn
* Ghost Comics edited by Ed Choy Moorman
* Daughters of the North by Sarah Hall
* The Vet's Daughter by Barbara Comyns
* The Withdrawal Method by Pasha Malla
* St. Lucy's School for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell
* The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas
* The Thin Place by Kathryn Davis
* Capacity by Theo Ellsworth
* Pinnocchio by Carlo Collodi
* Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
* Labrador by Kathryn Davis

I guess I'd better hurry up and review them.