Sowa – Marzi

Marzi: a memoir by Marzena Sowa, with art by Sylvain Savoia; translated by Anjali Singh
Date read: 23 February – 12 March 2017
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2017gnc, 2017nfc, 2017trans

Marzi: a memoir by Marzena Sowa, with art by Sylvain Savoia

Oversize paperback, 230 pages
First American edition published 2011 by DC Comics. Published by arrangement with Mediatoon Licensing, France. Original title: Marzi – L’Integrale 1  – La Pologne vue par les yeux d’une enfant
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Graphic Novel SOWA MARZENA]

I quite appreciated and enjoyed this memoir of young girl growing up in 1980s Poland. While Sowa may have experienced them quite differently, many of the topics and events that she covers are also touchstones for me as I spent much of my time in Europe in the 1980s and both of my children were born there (1980 and 1983).

These are some of the big events/topics she covers and dates from Wikipedia:

  • The Polish Pope, John Paul II       16 October 1978 – 2 April 2005
  • Solidarity / Solidarność                  founded on 17 September 1980
  • Martial law Poland                          December 13, 1981 to July 22, 1983
  • Chernobyl                                       26 April 1986
  • Tiananmen Square                         04 June 1989
  • fall of the Berlin Wall                       began the evening of 9 November 1989

I was in Germany the first time when Pope John Paul II was elected and for the rise of Solidarity. I quite well remember the declaration of martial law in Poland. I was stationed on a nuclear missile site in then West Germany and the entirety of the US military in Europe went on high alert.

When Chernobyl happened I was stationed in Belgium and well remember not being able to eat certain food products for months.

I found her young, but lived, experience of and reactions to TV, religion, visiting rural relatives for farming and vacation, living in a high-rise and stairwell culture, American toothpaste, food lines, and so on to be interesting and empathy building. I, too, have experienced sides of many of these but certainly not all and often not to the extent she did.

Highly recommended!

This is the 21st book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2017 [2017nfc] and the 9th reviewed.

This is the 2nd book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge [2017trans]. Whoa! I am way behind on this!

This is the 9th book in my 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2017gnc]

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

Designed by Nicola Mansfield

 

Kleist – Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness by Reinhard Kleist; Michael Waaler, translation
Date read: 02 January 2017
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2017gnc, 2017look, 2017nfc, 2017transl

Cover image of Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness by Reihard Kleist

Paperback, 221 pages
Published 2009 by Abrams ComicArts [Originally published in German in 2006 by Carlsen Verlag GmbH]
Source: Summit via OSU-Cascades

I quite enjoyed this graphic novel biography complete with several songs, such as “A Boy Named Sue” and “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town,” as a sort of illustrated musical interlude at points.

It covers most of Johnny’s history from when he was just a kid up until his death in 2003 and also includes a short bibliography in the back.

Recommended.

This book met 2 of the unfulfilled categories from my 2017 “the looking all around list” Self-Reading Challenge [2017look] : A biography or memoir and A translation. It also meets several already fulfilled categories but they’re already met.

This is the 2nd book 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 1st book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge 2017 [2017trans]. It is also the 1st book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2017 [2017nfc].

It is looking like neither of these is happening this year so I will do them my own way and update my challenges post to represent how I intend to handle them.

2017 Reading Challenges & Goals

This post will cover my 2017 Reading Challenges and goals, as I know of them going into the year.

Generic goals: [xx = # finished in 2016]

  • More poetry; re-reading encouraged here [2]
  • More erotica, sex & gender [3]
  • More literature [1]
  • More librariana [1 in progress; slowly]
  • Translations same-ish [14]
  • More ebooks [8]
  • Nonfiction same-ish [54]
  • More essays and short stories [1?, unknown for sure]

Books currently reading being read [2017curr]

Finish all 4 of the books I am supposedly currently reading.

  • Hornsey – Alcohol and its role in the evolution of human society
  • Glushko, et al. – The Discipline of Organizing
  • Wellings – Why Can’t I Meditate?
  • Calvino – Six Memos for the Next Millennium

2017 Books To Read Challenge (personal) [2017poss]

2017 Books To Read Challenge (personal) post

“… total of 85 books (which includes some 8 on pause) I challenge myself to complete 2 from each of the 16 categories and a total of 35”

2017 “the looking all around list” Self-Reading Challenge [2017look]

2017 “the looking all around list” Self-Reading Challenge

At least 30 of 40 categories read in.

2017 A Novel Idea selection (Deschutes Public Library, Bend, OR)

Homecoming by Yaa Gyasi [A Novel Idea] I finished this on 01 January 2017 and it was excellent.

Sara and me entering Deschutes Public Library for the 2017 A Novel Idea unveiling (Dec 2016). Photo courtesy DPL.

Sara and me entering Deschutes Public Library for the 2017 A Novel Idea unveiling (Dec 2016). Photo courtesy DPL.

2016-2017 Author! Author! Literary Series

Author! Author! or here

  • Dave Eggers : 19 January 2017 [not reading anything for this]
  • Anthony Doerr : 4 February 2017 : All the Light We Cannot See
  • Siddhartha Mukherjee : 10 April 2017 : The Emperor of All Maladies

Categories I am tracking in 2017:

  • fiction
  • nonfiction
  • ebooks
  • translations
  • beer
  • biography / memoir
  • Central Oregon
  • cookery
  • erotica
  • essays 
  • graphic novels
  • history
  • language 
  • librariana 
  • literature 
  • on pause 
  • philosophy 
  • photography
  • poetry 
  • post 2016 election
  • renewal 
  • re-reads 
  • science
  • sex & gender
  • short stories
  • tech & software [2016poss only]
  • together
  • wander 
  • YA & children

Challenges hosted elsewhere

2017 Goodreads Challenge

My goal is 100 this year, same as last year.

2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2017gnc]

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

Designed by Nicola Mansfield

24 for Bronze Age

The next two I also did last year and hope to do again but I have yet to see if they are being hosted so these are placeholders for now. The reason I am putting these here considering they are already included in my goals is that they require me to write reviews to get credit. I do not review every book I read but I do want to try to get many written so these goals/challenges help with that.

Update 03 January 2017: It does not appear these challenges are happening this year. The host has not posted anything at their blog since October and has not answered any comments regarding this year’s challenges. [I certainly hope things are OK in their lives.]

So I will redo these on my own terms.

Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2017 [2017nfc]

Master level 16-20 books (top)

Read a minimum of 50 nonfiction books and review a minimum of 25 of these.

Books in Translation Reading Challenge 2017 [2017trans]

Linguist 10-12 books (top)

Read a minimum of 16 translations and review a minimum of 12 of these.

Wrap-up

So … lots of diversity in my 2017 reading goals. I am looking forward to this year of reading.