BLACK HAMMER VOL. 1: SECRET ORIGINS
What I want out of superhero comix is for them to be FUN and MYSTERIOUS, and this one mostly gave me what I wanted. I also love origin stories and identity confusion and complicated group dynamics and that was all in here. Art was good too, except that the way Ormston draws human faces is sketchy and scratchy and usually sort of gross. So I guess what I mean is that I like the colors and the character design and there's some nice page layouts. Gonna keep reading BLACK HAMMER as new issues come out.
THE MONKS OF TIBHIRINE
This is about a group of Trappist monks living in a monastery in Algeria who chose not to leave the country when civil war broke out in the mid 1990s, and most of them were eventually kidnapped and killed. Lots of recent Algerian political history in here, which sometimes felt tedious, but it pointed me to THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS which I loved (thanks Phil) and the story of Emir Abdelkader. By far my favorite parts of the book were the quotes from the letters and journals of the monks themselves. As a Christian who has deeply enjoyed and benefitted enormously from friendships with Muslims, there aren't many things that I care about more than Christians and Muslims meeting and knowing and liking each other, and in a world that seems to constantly do everything it can to fuck up any possibility for that, it was moving and encouraging to read these monks' words and thoughts. I think several of their journals have been published in full, and I'd like to read them soon.
other books I read this month: