Lavie, et al. – The Divine

The Divine by Boaz Lavie; art by Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka
Date read: 22 May 2017; re-read 12 June 2017
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2017gnc

Cover image of The Divine by Boaz Lavie; art by Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka

Paperback, 149 pages
Published 2015 (First ed.) by First Second
Source: Interlibrary Loan, Summit [Univ. of Oregon PN6790.I73 L38 2015]

[5 June] Great! I don’t even remember most of this book. Just spent time flipping through it and not much is triggering anything.

[13 June] My body has been betraying me for a couple weeks and the day I read this was one of the worst. I was doing a lot of self-medicating then so it seems fair. I am sure I don’t remember much of anything I read that day. So I re-read it last night. As I actually re-read a good portion came back but a re-read definitely made a review possible. Thankfully it only took me about 40 minutes.

The contributors’ statement gives a good overview. The artists (Asaf and Tomer Hanuka) are also twin brothers:

“In January 2000, Associated Press photographer Apichart Weerawong took a photo of two twelve-year-old twins. It was taken immediately following the raid of a hospital by the Thai army, where those twins held 800 people as hostages. Weerawong’s photo was quickly distributed all over the world, becoming and unparalleled image of childhood without childhood: chain-smoking child-soldiers, their eyes as tired as if they were fifty years older. Like many others, we were captivated by this photo. For several years we would take a look at it from time to time, trying to decipher it, learn something about childhood, about life in extreme circumstances, and about ourselves.

The twins in the photo are Johnny and Luther Htoo. During the late 1990s they led a group of hundreds of Karen refuges from east Burma, called “God’s Army,” and fought the Burmese army for dispossessing them from their lands. The Htoo twins were surrounded by legends: it was said that they had magical powers, that they were invulnerable to bullets and mines, that they knew the Bible by heart without even reading it once. When we started working on the book, we drew our very first inspiration from these legends and from Weerawong’s photo, but we took it to a place which is completely our own: it has become fiction. Luther now lives in Sweden, and Johnny lives in a Thai refugee camp, waiting to reunite with his mother in New Zealand. For us, however, they will always be twelve-year-olds, in a photo we’ll never quite understand.”

Asaf, Boaz, and Tomer, 2014

The artist twins [1974] were ~26-years-old when the photo was published, for context.

As they said, it is a fictional riffing off of “God’s Army.”

For an even less rosy view, see Wikipedia: God’s Army (revolutionary group)

From the story itself:

About the twins:

“Everyone calls them “The Divine.”” … “They are brothers to dragons and companions to owls.” 78

Right before all hell breaks loose:

“I love Quanlom nights?”

“You know what they say about the nights here?”

“Tell me.”

“Night is a blessing, until you come across someone with better eyesight.” 102

Recently married explosives expert with a pregnant wife takes a hush hush government contract job in a remote country with which we have no diplomatic relations for a goodly sum of cash.

A dragon. Magic. Belief. Naming. Justice. War. Greed. The fallout.

I did quite enjoy this. Both times I read it. Recommended but not for the faint of heart. Features/contains cruelty, callousness, child-soldiers, wanton killing and some torture.

This is the 11th book read and 12th reviewed in my 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2017gnc]

Image for 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel & Manga Reading Challenge

Designed by Nicola Mansfield

 

Lewis, et al. – March, Book One to Three

March, Book One to Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell (art)
Date read: One 12 January 2017; Two and Three 13 January 2017
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2017gnc, 2017look, 2017nfc

Cover image of March, Book One by John Lewis, et al.Cover image of March, Book Two by John Lewis, et al.Cover image of March, Book Three by John Lewis, et al.

Paperback, 121, 179, 246 pages
Published 2013, 2015, 2016 by Top Shelf Productions
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [E840.8 .L43 A3 2013 v.1 / 2015 v.2 / 2016 v.3]

My timing for reading books is kind of uncanny lately. We started reading Berger’s book the night before he died and thanks to COCC getting these and putting them on the new book shelf I was able to read Rep. John Lewis’ autobiographical graphic novel series just before that jackass Donald Trump attacked this icon of the civil rights movement and American hero.

I truly enjoyed these books. They did a wonderful job bringing together some things I have heard about vaguely over the years of my life but should have known more about.

President Obama’s first inauguration provides the bookends to the series, along with being woven throughout it.

The sense of personal duty to others and to the cause of justice and humanity is in the forefront of these books. One would be hard pressed to not come away with a profound respect for John Lewis and the many others who put their lives on the line to make America a better place.

The march on Washington, the lunch counter sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, Martin Luther King, Julian Bond, Malcolm X, SNCC, the Voting Rights Act, and many other events and icons of the civil rights movement are all here.

U.S. Representative John Lewis represents Georgia’s 5th congressional district which covers much of urban Atlanta. He was elected to this position in November 1986 and has held it ever since. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 by President Obama.

I highly recommend this series. Being graphic novels they are a quick read but provide enough coverage of the people and events of the time that one could easily branch out to learn more about them as one wished.

If you are at all confused as to why people are upset Trump attacked this man then you need to read these books. Trump is the worst sort of jackass and learning about those he attacks will be one of the best ways to understand how truly damaged and damaging he is.

This is the 3rd – 5th books in my 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2017gnc]

Image for 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel & Manga Reading Challenge

Designed by Nicola Mansfield

This is the 3rd – 5th books in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2017 [2017nfc]
and 2nd – 4th reviews.

These books count for the categories: A book a friend recommended (Angel Rivera), Post-election understanding, and a microhistory, in my 2017 “the looking all around list” Self-Reading Challenge. With these categories I have now completed 16 of the goal of 30 out of 40 categories. Not bad for the first half of January.

2016 Reading Challenges followup

This post covers my 2016 Reading Challenges and goals, as best as my data and time allow.

Personally set goals and some counts

Total number of books finished in 2016:  120

  • Nonfiction:  54
  • Fiction:  64
  • Graphic novels: 60
  • Ebooks:  8
  • Beer & Brewing:  15
  • Biography:  2
  • Central Oregon:  3
  • Cookery:  6
  • Erotica/Sex & Gender: 3
  • History: 5
  • Librariana:  0; 1 in progress very slowly
  • Literature/Language:  2
  • Memoir:  2
  • Philosophy:  3
  • Photography:  2
  • Poetry:  2
  • Renewal:  5
  • Science:  6
  • Tech/Software:  2
  • Translations: 14
  • Wander: 3
  • YA & Kids:  13

I know one book counted as both fiction and nonfiction: Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables. No doubt some counts in some of the categories could be retroactively changed if I felt like reanalyzing many entries. For instance, science just went up by 2 [doubled] with just a quick look. Taking data as is though until I see a need to do otherwise. It has already received a fair bit of “fact checking” and cross-checking.

These were my generic goals for 2016:

  • More poetry; re-reading encouraged here,
  • More erotica, sex & gender.
  • Less graphic novels.
  • More literature.
  • Librariana? didn’t read any in 2015. “Who have I become?, one might ask.
  • Translations check.
  • Ebooks check.
  • Nonfiction check.
  • More essays and short stories.

How did I do on these?

Not so well. I read 1 less in poetry [3 vs 2 (2015 vs 2016)]; same number on erotica, sex & gender [3]; less than two-thirds as many graphic novels, so nailed this one [99 vs 60]; 7 less in lit [8 vs 1]; still 0 in librariana but I am working on one (very slowly); 7 less translations [21 vs 14]; 28 less ebooks [36 vs 8]; 14 less nonfiction [68 vs 54]; and as best I can tell no change in essays and short stories [0? vs 1?]. Not so well at all. The only one I actually accomplished was reading less graphic novels. ::sigh::

Books currently reading being read [2016current]

Finish all nine of the books I am supposedly currently reading.

  • Dunegan – Best Hikes Near Bend (A Falcon Guide)
  • Berlin – The Power of Ideas
  • Oliver – The Brewmaster’s Table
  • Bennett, ed. – Japanese love poems
  • Bishop – Living with Thunder
  • Gilbert – Collected poems [gave up]
  • Kabat-Zinn – Full Catastrophe Living
  • Farhi – The breathing book
  • Hornsey – Alcohol and its role in the evolution of human society

Finished 5 and gave up on one. Sara and I were reading that to each other and we both agreed to quit it. So calling this 5 for 9. Not great but acceptable.

2016 Books To Read Challenge (personal) [2016poss]

Read 12 of 44 possible

Read 11 of 12. Of the 11 categories I read books from this list in 7 of them [and one is currently being read from another for 8]. I read books in all those other categories, just not from this list. So calling this one close enough.

2016 Goodreads Challenge

My goal is 100 this year, up from 75 last year. I have been alternating between demolishing my goals and being a bit over here for several years.

Made this a while ago. Not quite as early or numbers as high as last year but I also read a lot less graphic novels. Total read is 120.

Challenges hosted elsewhere

Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2016 [2016nfc]

Master level 16-20 books (top) Reached 20 on 05 June 2016 [well, finished reading; not posted yet],

25 reviews posted. 54 nonfiction books read in total.

Books in Translation Reading Challenge 2016 [2016trans]

Linguist 10-12 books (top)

12 books reviewed. 14 translations read.

2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2016gnc]

  • 12 for Modern Age [Reached 31 January 2-16]
  • So 24 for Bronze Age [Reached 8 May 2016]
  • 52 for Silver Age [Reached 15 December 2016]

52 reviews posted but 60 graphic novels or manga read.

More breakdowns [books by month; from libraries]

These are the books I finished in 2016 by month (6 were started in 2015 and 1 in 2014!):

Author Title

January

  • Bennett, ed. Japanese love poems
  • Oliver The Brewmaster’s Table
  • Modan The Property
  • Fetter-Vorm Trinity
  • Berlin The Power of Ideas
  • Harris Integrating Reality
  • Hester Vegan Slow Cooking: For Two or Just for You
  • MacLean ApocalyptiGirl: Aria for the End Times
  • Lee and Hart Messenger: The Legend of Joan of Arc
  • Brrémaud and Bertolucci Love: The Fox
  • McKendry Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables
  • Brontë, A The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
  • Modan exit wounds
  • Pond Over Easy
  • Tezuka Ode to Kirihoto
  • Way & Ba The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite [1]
  • Abouet & Oubrerie Aya
  • Modan Maya makes a Mess
  • Way & Ba The Umbrella Academy: Dallas [2]
  • Foster Porter (Classic Beer Styles 5)

February

  • Wang Koko Be Good
  • Brrémaud and Bertolucci Love: The Tiger
  • Foster Brewing Porters & Stouts
  • Williams A Pictorial History of the Bend Country
  • Backes Cannabis Pharmacy
  • Modan Jamilti and Other Stories
  • Hayden The Story of My Tits
  • Alanguilan Elmer
  • Simone, et al. Red Sonja: Queen of Plagues (1)
  • Simone, et al. Red Sonja: The Art of Blood and Fire
  • Black The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book
  • Morrison, et al. The Invisibles : say you want a revolution
  • Strong Brewing Better Beer
  • Waters Tipping the Velvet

March

  • Gunders Waste Free Kitchen Handbook
  • Thug Kitchen Thug Kitchen Party Grub
  • Dunlap-Shohl My degeneration: a journey through Parkinson’s
  • McQuaid Tasty
  • North & Henderson The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 (2015)
  • Delavier Delavier’s core training anatomy
  • Hennessy, Smith and McConnell The Comic Book Story of Beer
  • Vitrano The Nature and Value of Happiness
  • Hoffman Survival lessons

April

  • Tucholke Wink Poppy Midnight
  • Immonen & Immonen Moving Pictures

May

  • Miyazaki Princess Mononoke: The First Story
  • Rail Why Beer Matters
  • Tezuka Apollo’s Song
  • Lawson & Smith Sidewalk Flowers
  • Guojin The Only Child
  • Stuppy, et al. Wonders of the plant kingdom
  • Rail The meanings of craft beer
  • Miller Dave Miller’s Homebrewing Guide
  • Jackson The New World Guide to Beer
  • Kemp A bouquet of gardenias
  • Love Bayou, volume one
  • Dysart, et al. Neil Young’s Greendale

June

  • Yana Toboso Black Butler I
  • Yana Toboso Black Butler II
  • Stevenson Nimona
  • Dunegan Best Hikes Near Bend (A Falcon Guide)
  • Chapman The 5 Love Languages
  • Love and Love Shadow Rock
  • Love and Morgan Bayou, volume two
  • Toboso Black Butler III
  • Ratey Spark
  • Toboso Black Butler IV
  • Tonatiuh Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras
  • Halloran The new bread basket
  • ACSM ACSM’s Health-Related Physical Fitness Assessment Manual

July

  • DeConnick, et al. Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine(Bitch Planet (Collected Editions))
  • Miller Water: A Global History (The Edible Series)
  • Kissell Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan

August

  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 1
  • Herz & Conley Beer Pairing
  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 2
  • Arcudi, et al. A god somewhere
  • McCool and Guevara Nevsky: a hero of the people
  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 3
  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 4
  • Ottaviani & Purvis The imitation game
  • Vaughan, et al. Paper Girls 1
  • Abel La Perdida
  • Carriger Prudence (The Custard Protocol; 1)
  • Carriger Imprudence (The Custard Protocol; 2)
  • Ottaviani & Wicks Primates: The fearless science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Gladikas
  • Owens How to Build a Small Brewery
  • Orchard Bera the one-Headed Troll

September

  • Rowling The Tales of Beedle the Bard
  • Cantwell & Bouckaert Wood & Beer
  • McCoola & Carroll Baba Yaga’s Assistant
  • Hales, ed. Beer & Philosophy

October

  • Samanci Dare to disappoint: growing up in Turkey
  • Ellis, et al. Trees, volume one: In shadow
  • Schuiten & Peeters The leaning girl
  • Tsutsumi, et al. Out of Picture Volume 1: Art from the Outside Looking In

November

  • Stockton South Sister: a Central Oregon volcano
  • ATK Healthy Slow Cooker Revolution
  • Protz The ale trail
  • Smith The Wander Society
  • Krucoff Healing Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Pain: Easy, Effective Practices for Releasing Tension and Relieving Pain
  • Hensperger & Kaufmann The ultimate rice cooker cookbook
  • Sumner Brewing Science, Technology and Print, 1700-1880
  • Duarte Monsters! and Other Stories

December

  • Maltz, ed. intimate kisses
  • Milne The Complete Tales & Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh
  • Out of Picture Volume 2: Art from the Outside Looking In
  • Brown Andre the giant: Life and legend
  • Hanh How to walk
  • Brubaker & Phillips Fatale, Book 1: Death Chases Me (Fatale #1)
  • Brubaker & Phillips Fatale, Book 2: The Devil’s Business (Fatale #2)
  • Ottaviani & Big Time Attic Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards: Edward Drinker Cope, Othniel Charles Marsh, and the Gilded Age of Paleontology
  • Smith, et al. Long Walk to Valhalla
  • Colfer, et al. The Supernaturalist
  • Montellier & Mairowitz The Trial
  • Culbard, Edginton; Doyle The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Bagieu Exquisite Corpse
  • Bishop Living with Thunder
  • Bryson Tasting whiskey
  • Dawson The Place WherE I Come From

Totals finished per month are:

  • Jan 20
  • Feb 14
  • Mar 9
  • Apr 2
  • May 12
  • Jun 13
  • Jul 3
  • Aug 15
  • Sep 4
  • Oct 4
  • Nov 8
  • Dec 16

Not entirely sure what happened in April, July September or October. Perhaps I simply was reading more longer books then and thus finished less. Or, I cut my right index finger to shreds along with minor finger and hand injuries in April so … who knows?

 From libraries:

  • Central Oregon Community College Barber Library: 12
  • Deschutes Public Library: 58
  • Summit (consortium): 7
  • OSU-Cascades: 3
  • Interlibrary Loan: 1 [suspect is a bit higher]

So, 81 of 120 books came from libraries. Not bad. Then again, several of these started out as books from the library that I/we went on to purchase.

Wrap-up:

There is always more can be said–genders of authors; but that is pretty much a mug’s game–and perhaps I have forgotten something I wanted to count or add but oh well. I have straightened out some categories to track for 2017–things to make life easier, or at least I hope. I already have two posts re books in 2017 up but at least one more will be coming.

Ottaviani & Wicks – Primates

Primates: The fearless science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviano and Maris Wicks

Date read: 26 August 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc 2016nfc

Cover image from Primates: The fearless science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Gladikas by Jim Ottaviano and Maris Wicks

Hardback, 140 pages
Published 2013 by First Second
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Teen Graphic Novel OTTAVIANI JIM]

I really enjoyed this book, as I have the previous two Ottaviano books I have read: Feynman and The Imitation Game [Sorry, no actual review of Feynman.]  I have pretty much all other of his books on my to read list now.

This book tells the story of three fearless women: Jane Goodall and her chimpanzee research, Dian Fossey and her research into mountain gorillas, and of Biruté Galdikas and her research on orangutans. The book has four sections, in that order, with the fourth being on the three of them together. [All links in this paragraph to Wikipedia.]

All three women were protégés of Louis Leakey and they all became preeminent ethologists although they all started with little in the way of formal academic “qualifications.” In fact, all three made discoveries—repeated, recorded observations really [which is what much “discovery” consists of]—that radically changed how we think of ourselves and some of our closest relatives, much less the behavior and intelligence—tool use, anyone?—of animals in general.

The book is considered a young adult book but I fail to see why that is the case. Anyone older can certainly learn a great deal from this book and also appreciate it at the same time. But I guess it alerts us to the fact that it is appropriate for that age group and that is cool.

An afterword from the author discusses the fact versus fictionalized narrative issues, while the book ends with a picture of all three renowned scientists together, a bibliography and a colophon.

The artwork is in one sense fairly simplified but it is also extremely effective at relating the story. What I mean is that facial and body expression is used more prominently than over-detailed extraneous visual details. Thus, much of the rest is as minimal as needed to effectively help move the narrative along. I think the artwork is exceptionally done overall!

Highly recommended! For every one.

This is the 43rd book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 21st book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

 

Ottaviani & Purvis – The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded by Jim Ottaviani & Leland Purvis (illustrator)

Date read: 15-16 August 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc, 2016nfc

Cover image of The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded by Jim Ottaviani & Leland Purvis

Hardback, 234 pages
Published 2016 by Abrams ComicArts
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [QA 29 .T8 O772 2016]

 

I enjoyed this, just as I enjoyed Ottaviani’s Feynman, which I read in 2012. I also just marked most of his books as To Read in Goodreads.

“I still work as a librarian by day, but stay up late writing comics about scientists.”

I didn’t know he was a librarian too!

Aha! That’s right. “He now works at the University of Michigan Library as coordinator of Deep Blue, the university’s institutional repository.[1][2]” [per Wikipedia].

The book consists of some prefatory material, 222 pages of graphic novel, an author’s note a bit over a page long, an annotated 3-page bibliography and recommended reading, and 6-pages of notes and references.

The graphic novel proper consists of the following sections: “Universal Computing” (pp. 1-66), “Top Secret Ultra” [think Bletchley Park] (pp. 67-152), and “The Imitation Game” (pp. 153-222) [links are to Wikipedia].

Highly recommended! If you know about Turing, and have, like me, perhaps read his papers on universal computing and the imitation game (philosophy and applied computer science undergrad), then this is still a great resource with all of the notes and references to specific works that might be of particular interest to you.

If you know little to nothing about Turing then this is a great introduction. Far better even than the recent (2014) movie, The Imitation Game, with Cumberbatch and Knightley. The presence of actual citations and sources are the basis for this claim.

This is the 41st book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 20th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

This is actually way past 20 nonfiction books for me this year; I simply have failed at reviewing quite a few, or finishing reviews, which is essentially the same thing. Many were started.

Dysart, et al. – Neil Young’s Greendale

Neil Young’s Greendale by Joshua Dysart (writer), Cliff Chiang (artist), Dave Stewart (colorist), Todd Klein (letterer)

Date read: 30 May 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc

Cover image of Neil Young's Greendale by Joshua Dysar

Hardback, unnumbered
Published 2010 by Young Family Trust and DC Comics
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Teen Graphic novel DYSART JOSH]

I greatly enjoyed this. It went places I hadn’t imagined and it’s far more complex than it needs to be as if there are more Green family stories out there still to be told. Almost makes me tingle.

Let me back up. I heard and acquired this album when it came out in mid-2003 and listened to it many, many times. I was fully immersed in Greendale lore as either directly elucidated or as hinted at on the album. I truly wanted to have a serious “book discussion group” about this album as a text, as a narrative. I was at university at the time and was well-integrated into a couple of those sorts of discussion groups then so it made some sense. Sadly, it never happened. The album truly is that complex. There is one other album from around the same time that I believe merits the same treatment, Poe’s Haunted.

Greendale (the album is Young’s twenty-sixth studio album and his ninth with Crazy Horse. My copy was one of those which “… was originally released with a DVD of live “Neil-only” acoustic performance of the Greendale material from Vicar Street, Dublin, Ireland.” So this was another interpretation.

At some point I also got the movie, which gave another spin on the story. Clearly, Greendale was a rich mental ecosystem for Young.

This graphic novel adaptation by Joshua Dysart and others, with a short intro by Neil (and supposedly some direct involvement) really expands the world while keeping the story the same. It really is pretty brilliant. I honestly think I want to own a copy of this. As I said above, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Greendale on a fairly serious level.

Highly recommended whether or not you know the album or even if you can’t stand Neil Young (I know those people exist; I don’t hold it against them.).

I really wish there was more of this world, perhaps exploring more of those members of the family who barely made a complicating appearance.

Description from Vertigo website:

“Legendary singer-songwriter, musician and activist Neil Young brings one of his most personal albums, GREENDALE, to comics. Overseeing the work of acclaimed writer Joshua Dysart (UNKNOWN SOLDIER) and fan-favorite artist Cliff Chiang (HUMAN TARGET), they compose a graphic novel that explores a whole new dimension to the album that Rolling Stone voted as one of the best of its year.In the Fall of 2003, as the nation gallops into war, a politically active teenage girl named Sun lives, loves and dreams in a small California town named Greendale.Sun’s always been different. There’s been talk that the women in her family have all had a preternatural communion with nature. And when a Stranger comes to town – a character whose presence causes Greendale to, well, go to hell – she’ll find herself on a journey both mystical and mythical. To face the Stranger, she’ll unearth the secrets of her family in a political coming-of-age story infused with its own special magic.”

This is the 26th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

Immonen & Immonen – Moving Pictures

Moving Pictures by Kathryn Immonen & Stuart Immonen

Date read: 10 April 2016
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc

Cover image of Moving Pictures by Kathryn Immonen & Stuart Immonen

Paperback, 136 pages
Published 2010 by Top Shelf Productions
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [PN6727 .I466 M68 2010]

From inside front cover flap:

“During the Second World War, French efforts to inventory, categorize and hide the collections of the major galleries collided with the German Military Art Commission’s attempt to do the same.

This is (not) that story.”

But it is. Or a part of a small one based on that historical storyline.

The flap goes on but I am omitting it because I think it seriously oversells the work. I just wasn’t that impressed after that (admittedly short) sales job. I guess the story can be described as it is but whatever. It was OK but not amazing.

Lots of artists names, and some titles and images of artworks, are thrown around and it is historically-based fiction.

But. Meh.

This is the 23rd book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

Gunders – Waste Free Kitchen Handbook

Waste Free Kitchen Handbook: A guide to eating well and saving money by wasting less food by Dana Gunders

Date read: 17 February – 01 March 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016nfc

Cover image of Gunder's Waste Free Kitchen Handbook

Paperback, 200 pages
Published 2015 by Chronicle Books
Source: Own

Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Making a Difference
  • Part One: Strategies for Everyday Life
  • Part Two: Recipes
  • Part Three: Directory
  • Foodborne Illness
  • Notes
  • Index

“The author is a staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and leads NRDC’s work on reducing the amount of food wasted across the country” (back cover).

The Introduction covers where food is wasted, what contributes to food waste in homes, what it takes to produce food, how wasting food saves money and resources, and how this is about “small, easy changes you can make in your daily food rhythm that will streamline your consumption” (21).

“My journey into becoming a food-waste warrior started at work, where I was researching how to improve farming. My aim was to help farmers use less water, fertilizers, and pesticides. But what I found startled me. After all the effort and resources that were being invested to get food to our plates, a huge amount of it was going uneaten! It occurred to me that no matter how organically or sustainably we grow our food, if it doesn’t get eaten, it doesn’t do anyone any good.

About 40 percent of all food in the United States does not get eaten.1 That’s crazy! It’s like buying five bags of groceries and then dropping two of the bags in the grocery store parking lot and not bothering to pick them up.

Collectively, consumers are responsible for more wasted food than farmers, grocery stores, or any other part of the food supply chain” (Introduction, 9).

You may have noticed the footnote in the above quote. The book contains a fair few (61 total) endnotes, many of which are to free and open sources. I have added the two citations used in quotes I am using near the bottom of this post.

Growing portion sizes come in for a bit of analysis in the Intro. “Portion sizes are now sometimes 2 to 8 tines larger than the standard serving sizes defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration7” (11). There is a chart on p. 12 showing the growth in portion sizes from 1982 to 2002 for nine food items. The smallest increase of 70% was for pepperoni pizza to 205% for soda and 400% for a chocolate chip cookie!

Part One covers Sage Shopping (tricks of the grocery trade, meal planning, shopping guidelines, and waste diagnostics), Smarter Storage (refrigerators, freezers, blanching, canning, pickling, drying, and root cellars; although these last four are simply overviews), The Crafty Kitchen (setting up your kitchen, tenets of mindful cooking, making the right amount, salvaging kitchen crises, leftovers, keeping food safe, and food waste management for parties), Can I Eat It? (what happens to food as it ages, expiration dates, and who should be particularly careful), Getting Scrappy (food scraps for and not for pets, things that can be (re)planted, household uses for scraps, and composting), and Go Forth and Go For It, which provides a short recap so far.

Part Two consists of 20 recipes ranging from infused vodkas through desserts and main dishes to side dishes by using food items that are nearing or just past prime.

Part Three covers Fruits; Vegetables; Meat, Poultry, and Seafood; Pantry Staples; Dairy and Eggs; Beans, Nuts, and Vegetarian Proteins; Oils, Condiments, and Spices. The Directory “… offers advice on how to store foods, how to freeze them, and how long they stay at their best quality. It also has helpful tidbits on ways to use parts that you might have thought were inedible, tips for reviving foods, and answers to questions like, “What are those brown spots?” (146)

It clearly cannot cover everything but it does have many, if not most, of the more normal fruits, vegetables, meats, etc.

Foodborne Illness addessses pathogens, toxins, Listeria, and pasteurization.

Recommended. A fairly quick read with lots of ideas, some more practical than others depending on your situation, which she does acknowledge. Early on the author comes across as a bit of a zealot but then this is a huge problem worldwide. See, for instance, Food Waste: The Facts by the United Nations Environment Programme, Regional Office of North Africa.

The scale of food waste is truly terrifying and criminally unjust.

1 K. D. Hall, J. Guo, M. Dore, and C. C. Chow, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, “The Progressive Increase of Food Waste in American and its Environmental Impact,” PloS One 4 no. 11 (2009), e7940.

7 L. Young and M. Nestle, “Expanding Portion Sizes in the U.S. Marketplace: Implications for U.S. Counsleing,” Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 103, no. 2 (February 2003): portionteller.com/pdf/portsize.pdf [link verified 05 March 2016]

Actually the 12th nonfiction book for me this year but the review for number 11 is taking a while.

This is the 11th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Alanguilan – Elmer

Elmer by Gerry Alanguilan

Date read: 09 February 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc

Cover image of Alanguilan's Elmer

Paperback, 1 vol. unpaged
Published 2010 by SLG Publishing [originally self-published by the author in the Philippines]
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [PN 6727 .A383 E46 2010]

This book kicked my ass! I am declaring it my favorite book of 2016. Calling it now.

I was tweeting about it all evening while I was reading it. I almost never tweet about books while I am reading them. Seven tweets in total. Simply unprecedented for me.

Utterly recommended! For everyone and anyone who may be considered “mature readers,” as labeled on the back cover.

This edition collects together all four of the originally issued comics into a single, coherent whole.

From the back cover:

Elmer is a window into an alternate Earth where chickens have suddenly acquired the intelligence and consciousness of humans, where they consider themselves a race no different from whites, browns, or blacks. Recognizing themselves to be sentient, the inexplicably evolved chickens push to attain rights for themselves as the newest members of the human race.

Elmer tells the story of a family of chickens who lives and struggles to survive in a suddenly complicated, dangerous and yet beautiful world.”

It could serve as commentary on our eating of chickens and other animals, and it does some, but its main focus is a commentary on race, hatred, the irrationality of humans, love, fathers and sons, compartmentalization of roles in society, and humanity at its best in the individual where it ultimately resides.

It is quite graphic in spots, which I will not downplay, but it is in black & white so is not as bad as if red had been splashed everywhere.

Single panel from Elmer

There are many ways to tell the story of bigotry, racism, and hatred and this may be one of the seemingly more absurd but it works very well. Of course, a “mature reader” will also explore other perspectives on these topics as one should, be it the lived experience of individual persons of color (or other targets of bigotry) to the collective movements, such as Black Lives Matter, to the things disciplines such as psychology, sociology and anthropology can teach us, to explorations of the structures of racism (and other -isms) built into our laws and societies.

Single panel from Elmer

This book can be difficult. But my heart is ripped apart every single day when I see where American society is still on these topics at this point in history. And, no, this book does not solve any of that. It is not supposed to. Its purpose is to illuminate, perhaps educate, to make one think, to make one question. Maybe even to help one love.

There were a few spots where the transition from one time frame to another was abrupt and not as clear as most, but in the end the story was so powerful that this did not detract from it for me.

I give this the highest recommendation I possibly can. Beautiful. Haunting. Hits so close to the bone that it drills in and starts sucking the marrow out.

Two panels from Elmer

This is the 16th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

Modan – Jamilti & Other Stories

Jamilti & Other Stories by Rutu Modan

Date read: 06-07 February 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc 2016transl

Cover image of Rutu Modan's Jamilti & Other Stories

Hardback, 174 pages
Published 2008 First hardcover edition by drawn & quarterly
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Graphic Novel MODAN RUTU]

This is my fourth Modan book this year. I also read The Property, exit wounds, and the children’s book Maya Makes a Mess. In general I quite liked them. The children’s one not as much but the others all got 4 or 5 stars out of 5.

This is a collection of seven short graphic stories:

  • Jamilti 2
  • Energy Blockage 1
  • Bygone 2
  • The Panty Killer 1
  • Homecoming 2
  • The King of Lillies 1
  • Your Number One Fan

Translation credit: 1 Noah Stollman, 2 Jesse Mishori

Most of these are a slight bit twisted, to say the least, but they provide some interesting commentary on assorted aspects of modern Western culture, and on Israeli culture in particular.

Jamilti describes a day in the life of a couple trying to plan their wedding. Based on the course of the day I’d say things aren’t looking up for the prospective groom. Very powerful.

Energy Blockage has to do with our search for solutions to well-being, charlatans, and the damage families do to themselves for some sort of closure.

Bygone is about mothers and daughters, or sisters, and the secrets families keep.

The Panty Killer is about the differences between an adult’s and a child’s version of memories and how they impact us in the longterm.

Homecoming. Well. I’ll let you read it and decide. There are some things I would like to say about this and some aspects of several of the stories but the topic is beyond fraught. Whether justified or not, there is a lot of Israeli aggression in this book, as one might expect.

The King of Lillies reflects on plastic surgery and the ideal of beauty, especially as embodied in an unrequited love.

Your Number One Fan visits the topic of fandom and the relations between Israeli Jews and the Diaspora.

All in all, I really enjoyed this and highly recommend it, particularly if you are interested in translations and/our perspectives from other cultures.

This is the 14th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 7th book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader