Recommended: Nine Recently Read Books

In No Particular Order…


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1. Another Glorious Day at the Nothing Factory

This Xeric award-winning book by Erroyn Franklin documents the dissolution of her marriage and the ensuing emotional vortex that results.  The illustrations on each page are white paper cut-outs and their intricately sliced shapes, all empty inside, look as if they are in danger of being swallowed up by the black page. The technique is brilliantly suited to the subject matter.

 

 

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2. Monsters

This is a semi-autobiographic tale of one cartoonist’s struggle with herpes. Jason Lutes’s blurb on the back of the book says it best, “ Ken Dahl’s is one of the great unsung talents in American comics.”

 

 

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3. The Vulgarians

I confess with not being too intimate with Robert Osborn’s work. Published in 1960, The Vulgarians is an angry love letter to his country. It’s a tirade to be sure but its a funny, insightful and dead on. The way the images and text work together (a paragraph of hand written text alongside an illustration) reminded me of Maira Kalman’s blog for The New York Times even the though the tone of these two artists couldn’t be more different.

 

 

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4. Untitled

This a great little zine by one of my Adventures in Cartooning collaborators Alexis Frederick-Frost. It reminds me a little of Virgina Lee Burton’s The Little House, but with a ship instead of a boat. Alexis is a great brush man and this book, with it’s stormy skies and churning waters, really allows him to showcase his talents. Can be ordered for five bucks from One Percent Press.

 

 

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5. The Sultan’s Procession

I can’t tear myself away from this large art/history book. In 1657, a Sweedish envoy visited Istanbul. Besides keeping a detailed diary of everyday life, Claes Rålamb also aquired 121 small water colors depicting the different “types” in characteristic outfits. Even more impressive are the 20 large paintings depicting an imperial procession.

 

 

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6 They Called Me Mayer July

Like The Sultan’s Procession, this book also acts as a time machine. The reader is transported to Mayer Kirshenblatt’s childhood in the small Polish town of Apt in the early 1900s. Kirshenblatt didn’t start painting until he was 73 and then the memories started pouring out. This is the type of history book I love— colorful and intimate details of day-to-day life accompanied by heartfelt artwork.

 

 

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7. George Sprott

Seth is one of the best cartoonists working today and he just keeps getting better and better. Seth possesses the literary gifts of our finest novelists along with unparreled cartooning chops. As a book designer he brings it all together. I was deeply affected by the life and death of George Sprott. Seth shows us that life (even one full of regrets, vanity, and insensitivity) is still a magic act that is over far too soon.

 

 

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8. The Toon Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics

This is a beautifully packaged and produced book chock full of delightful comics. My girls (ages 7 and 9) and I all loved it. I wrote a more comprehensive review of the book here.

 

 

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9. 3 Story, The Secret History of the Giant Man

From its elegiac coloring to the way interior panels are lined up to produce x-ray effects to its die-cut cover, Matt Kindt has produced a beauty. Ultimately however, it’s the book’s emotional authenticity that takes a b-movie conceit—that a man who grows to be the size of a three story building was used as a US spy during the cold war— and transforms it into something moving.

 

—James Sturm

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2 Responses to Recommended: Nine Recently Read Books

  1. Per Rålamb says:

    Fun to see the book about my ancestor Claes on your list. He was also a prolific bibliophile and had one of the largest private book collections in Sweden during his time. The collection continued growing during the generations that followed though much was eventually donated to the Royal Library in Stockholm. He was also responsible for having brought coffee to Sweden.

  2. James says:

    Thanks for the post. I would have loved to have browsed through your ancestor’s library with a hot cup of newly imported coffee!

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