Sunday, January 14, 2007

Holiday Reading

A few quick reads from over the holidays.

Girl Genius – Phil and Kaja Foglio

A nice breezy steampunk manga style comic. It's complete fantasy cheese without being stupid or cliched and has a very original story and setting. It's been a long time since I read a decent by-the-numbers epic fantasy so this was a nice discovery. A few teaser chapters are available online at their website if you're interested.

The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion – Will Eisner

Another graphic novel. In stark contrast to Girl Genius this book is about as dark and depressing as they come, diving into the nasty details of anti-semitism in the 20th century by chronicling the history of the forgery known as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. As you probably know The Protocols is a vile piece of hate literature that continues to be published worldwide today, despite being debunked as lies many times since it first appeared.

It's grim stuff, but as well as being interesting to know the book itself is stylistically an interesting implementation of a non-fiction comic. Just don't read it at the same time as Girl Genius. Too much cognitive whiplash.

Water From The Sun/ Discovering Japan – Bret Easton Ellis

A pair of short stories by the author of American Psycho published in one tiny book. These are really pretty superfluous; they merely retread the same territory as his infamous novel, only quicker and with less ickiness, and with the protagonist replaced by a soulless TV news presenter and a soulless has been rock star respectively. Not worth the half an hour it'd take to read them.

Holocaust Tips For Kids/ Smite The Heathens, Charlie Brown – Shalom Auslander

I have no idea who this guy is but these books were only $3 each so I grabbed this one at the same time as Easton Ellis' on account of its amusing titles. The first story, Holocaust Tips For Kids, delivers almost exactly what the title promises. A young Jewish boy learns about the holocaust in history class and details his intended courses of action in case the Nazi's should ever come for him and his family. I think it's meant to be comical and serious at the same time but coming on the heels of The Plot it was really just depressing.

Smite The Heathens, Charlie Brown
is a lot lighter. Using the time worn characters and scenarios from the Peanuts comic strip, the author recounts a tale of religious rivalry growing from innocuous mistrust to all out war. The message is serious but who can't laugh at the idea of jackbooted 'Snoopy Youth' marching the streets to flush out 'Great Pumpkinites'?

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