I have successfully renewed my library card; Neil Gaimen, graphic novels, and book restoration.

June 24, 2010 - 4:47 am 5 Comments

And, after paying off $16 in fines that I didn’t actually have but didn’t feel bad about because a) it was my fault that I didn’t know when my card expired and b) the library really needs that money right now anyway, I went and checked out some new books. I got most of the things which were recommended to me, but some where out (Ubik by Phillip K Dick for one) and some didn’t seem to exist (Carmichael’s Dog by R.M. Koster, which could be find neither in the Carnegie Library nor the inter-library loan system, so I did suggest they purchase it), but in the end I ended up with far too more books than I will have time to read and that is never a bad thing. This may have been due to the newly-proffered baskets a la very small shopping carts the library now supplies so that you don’t have to balance your books under your chin, which truly was the only think that kept me from taking out twenty books in the past, as I have a very small chin-to-crook-of-my-arm ratio, which only allows for about 6 hardbacks or 10 paperbacks.

Anansi Boys
Already I’ve delved into Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, one of the very few novels by him which I have not read (due to the fact that I previously thought it was permanently checked out, then found out that no, it just lived in the teen fiction section), and I am finding it very silly. I completely empathise with Fat Charlie, though perhaps not in such a severe way: my dad is that dad who is and will always be cooler than you and when you you throw a party all of your friends from high school show up begrudgingly so when they find out, no, he has a real job now and can’t come drinking on Thursday nights. So there’s that.

History of Violence
I also have started the graphic novel A History of Violence, written by John Wagner and illustrated by Vince Locke and though I’m only about 70 pages in, I expected to me much more grabbed by it than I am being (no I have not seen the movie but I do want to, mostly because I would let Viggo Mortenson do horrible things to me). Nothing really against it so far, I’m just the type who has to get into things early on or else I shove them in a corner and let them starve (this is why I can’t have children). For something that’s reputedly a psychological thriller and also, um, a graphic novel, I thought I would be a lot more into it by now. But we’ll see.

People of the Book

And finally, I’m still reading People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks who won the Pulitzer for her work, March.  It is truly amazing.  It’s a fictional story about the Sarajevo Haggadah, an early Jewish seder book, rare and priceless in that it was very finely made and included illustrations (haggadahs are usually boring and utilitarian, my Gentile friends, and nearly no Jewish books were illustrated because for a very long time that was taboo, much as most Muslims consider images of  the prophet Mohammad, PBUH, to be false idolatry).  It tells how the book was created, where various stains and markings on the book come from, and how the book came to be bound in it’s current form, not to mention how it survived the Bosnian War, rescued many times over by people of all faiths, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes not so much (one story line involves a very alcoholic Vatican priest and a Rabbi with a severe gambling problem).  The main plot, if you will, is about the woman restoring the book in the present day, who reminds me very much of Temperance Brennan, played by Emily Deschanel of Bones fame.  But, for as into this book as I may be, it does get very heavy and dark at times, and I had to put it away for a while because I was absolutely overcome by one of the stories of persecution of the Jews during the Inquisition.  There’s a particularly graphic depiction of a form of torture which involves making a person swallow a very long piece of linen inch by inch and then pulling it back out of them, and I had to take a breather.  That surprised me.  I’m usually very okay with violence and horror and just god-awful gore and nonsense, but that was a bit much.  When I am through, however, this book will probably have a whole blog dedicated to it (as it’s shaping up to already) because it is just so wonderfully crafted.

That’s it for me for now; I’ve gotten about six hours of sleep in the past two days so I’m going to try to catch some shut-eye.  See you all on the morrow.

5 Responses to “I have successfully renewed my library card; Neil Gaimen, graphic novels, and book restoration.”

  1. Kristen Says:

    Katharine Neville’s The Eight. I can’t remember if I suggested it or not. There’s a sequel out, too. Chess, metaphysics, Charlemagne, the French Revolution, OPEC and… yeah. It’s not the best writing ever, but it’s damn good storytelling. (It’s the kind of book where I see the flaws, and they don’t matter, because I’m fascinated.) People of The Book sounds very interesting, but I’ve heard of that form of torture before and eeeeeuuuuurrrrggghhh. (Then again, I’ve watched The Cell a kajillion times, and been fine. Tarsem Singh, king of compelling visuals.)

  2. williamthebloody Says:

    if i’d'a known you hadnt read Anansi Boys i’d have recommended it straight away! it flows pretty much just like American Gods, except on a personal level rather than fate-of-the-world level. it is pretty silly, but that’s what makes it fun :)
    no Cramichael’s Dog??? what kind of sham library is this?? eh, it probably got cleared out to make way for more Twilight books.

  3. Paperclippe Says:

    Yep, I loved American Gods to bits and am really glad there’s ‘more.’ I have a feeling this one will be finished by the weekend.

    And that’s the strange thing, the Carnegie Library system is like the third-largest in the United States. They had other Koster books, but not that one.

  4. Paperclippe Says:

    You hadn’t, but you can bet the next time I’m at the library I will be all over it.

    And I love The Cell (and am also not bothered by it). But then again, I’ll pretty much love anything with Vincent D’Onofrio in it.

  5. Story of Paperclippe: » Blog Archive » People of the Book and The Black Death Says:

    [...] Geraldine Brooks’ People of the Book, and let me tell you, it’s just as amazing as my previous post, written at about the 2/3 read mark, would lead you to believe.  In an effort not to repeat [...]

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