I’m out of here for a week starting tomorrow, so it will be quiet around here as I head down south for some vacation time at a secluded cabin. As I was getting ready, I forgot that I haven’t mentioned any of the good summer reading I’ve been getting into.
First up, I read it in Jamaica, but Motherless Brooklyn is amazing. No, no, it is freaking amazing. Thanks to Ben for the glowing recommendation. It did not disappoint. The basic story is of a private eye/limo driver who is investigating the murder of his boss, a low level hood in Brooklyn. Nothing too interesting, except the private eye has Tourette’s Syndrome. Hilarity ensues. Jonathan Lethem is a master of metaphor, and I read this book cover to cover in the span of 24 hours.
I loved Motherless Brooklyn so much that I picked up another Lethem book. Men & Cartoons is a collection of short stories. I started to read the first chapter the other night, and one of the characters thinks that he is The Vision from The Avengers, going so far as to paint his face red. You really can’t go wrong with me as a captive reader when you do this to one of your characters: I’m all in. I’m bringing this one with me on vacation.
However, every time I’m on vacation, I have to bring a somewhat trashy book with me too. The last couple of years I brought a James Bond book, but since I just finished Moonraker in Jamaica, I was a little loathe to revisit Flemming’s world just yet. I thought briefly of getting a new copy of one of my all-time favorite books (which isn’t trashy at all), Lonesome Dove, since I can’t seem to find it anywhere in my house. Thankfully, my full-on low-brow trashiness came out again and I picked up a giant volume of Robert E. Howard’s The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian, which reprints Howard’s original Conan the Barbarian stories. I’ve heard from many respected writers and reviewers that Howard’s storytelling is amazing, and I’m all about storytelling.
What is a vacation without some comics though, you may ask? Well, well, well, I give you the newly reprinted Pussey! from the pages of Daniel Clowes Eightball. The story depicts Dan Pussey as the world’s greatest comic artist. I was reading through this last night, and wow, let me tell you that as a beginning cartoonist, this book cuts close to home in many ways. Not so much from comparing myself to the title character, but more from Clowes state of mind when he created it and how he felt when he was just starting on the scene.
Finally, I’ll be bringing Buddha by Osmau Tezuka. Tezuka was the grandfather of Japanese comics, and his eight volume re-telling of the story of Siddhartha’s journey to becoming Buddha is amazing. The fantastic Chip Kidd designed covers don’t hurt either. Volume 1 came out in paperback last month, and I just picked up Volume 2 in paperback this week. If you want to see masterful manga storytelling, look no further.
Take it easy everyone, because I know I will be. See you next weekend!
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