Amir & Khalil
I forgot to take a picture before I took this back to the library so I took a picture of an online excerpt. The whole thing used to be online because it was originally a webcomic made during the 2009 protests in Iran. I sort of remember hearing about it back then but never reading it for some reason. Reading it now I relearned everything I forgot about life in Iran and the protests and some other stuff too. The story's a combination of several different people's stories. Maybe that's why it wasn't as affecting as it seemed like it ought to be. I'm very capable of getting angry and emotional about revolutions and injustice, but didn't feel much of anything until the endless list of tiny names at the end. That part did make me cry. The rest of the time I was just wishing Joe Sacco had made this book so that the art and the story would both be better.
I GO TO SOME HOLLOW
This book has a weird and slightly annoying shape. The stories are about people who don't know if they know each other and can't remember whether they've met themselves. I liked feeling like I was 19, 20, 21. Good sentences and paragraphs and feelings that reminded me of myself, livejournal, maybe Richard Brautigan. This book was published in 2009. This is what books are like now. I like it.
REFLECTIONS ON THE PSALMS
I read Psalms and Proverbs and Isaiah a lot because they're strange and good. So when Garon read some paragraphs from this in his sermon a few weeks ago I found this book and read it. The parts Garon read were the best parts. Also the bizarre final sentences: We are so little reconciled to time that we are even astonished at it. "How he's grown!" we exclaim, "How time flies!" as though the universal form of our experience were again and again a novelty. It is as strange as if a fish were repeatedly surprised at the the wetness of water. And that would be strange indeed; unless of course the fish were destined to become, one day, a land animal. Woah. The rest of the book is just okay and occasionally made me mad. As usual Lewis has some condescending things to say about everyone who isn't a mid-twentieth century Anglican. He claims that the ancient Israelites "had never heard of music, or festivity, or agriculture as things separate from religion" and at one point when talking very broadly about ancient poetry he makes it clear he's never read or maybe even heard of any Asian poets. If you already like Lewis you've probably already forgiven him for stuff like this. But there's a lot of it in here, and most of what he has to say about the Psalms didn't seem that interesting to me. If I ever read this again hopefully I'll remember to just read his introduction, then jump to chapter eight and read to the end.
SERMONS AND HOMILIES OF THE CHRIST OF ELQUI
Nicanor Parra is a guy from Chile who calls his poems antipoems. Roberto Bolano liked him a lot. The poems in here are presented as the sayings of an apparently real 1930s prophet/insane person. I like books like this where there's multiple people rolled up inside each other, like here you've got to imagine Nicanor, the Elqui guy, and Jesus of Nazareth are all reciting each of these poems together. Here's one of my favorites:
Now that I've told my secret
I'd like to take my leave of all of you
with a hearty hug and handshake all around
being in total harmony with myself
now that I've successfully brought to a close
the mission the Lord commended unto me
when he appeared to me in dreams
22 miserable years ago
I swear I bear no malice to anyone
not even those who cast doubts on my manhood
let it be known to those reverent gentlemen
that I'm every inch a man completely normal
begging pardon for speaking in vulgar terms
because this is the language of the people.
TEN BILLION DAYS AND ONE HUNDRED BILLION NIGHTS
I knew this was about interplanetary Jesus and Buddha, and the tiny excerpt on the back (Then the bluish white light flared in the darkness, forming a ring in the air. Within that ring, Judas saw the giant figure carrying Jesus in his hands.) made me think it was going to be really bad-ass. But it's not, it feels like watching someone play a video game. Lots of fight scenes involving like lasers and psychic energy, and barely-explained "cosmic" stuff that doesn't seem to mean anything. Bulgakov and Kazantzakis and Pasolini and probably plenty of other people have all done weirder, better Jesuses; I mostly only know Siddhartha from Tezuka's comics, and he's much more interesting in there; Plato was kind of cool, but that's probably because I don't know anything about Plato. The slow, eternal collapse of the universe should be sad and scary, and the helplessness of Jesus and Buddha to prevent it should be even sadder and scarier but I've just been bored and annoyed the whole time. There's like eighty pages left and I'm not gonna read them.
other stuff I read:|
DISTRUST THAT PARTICULAR FLAVOR - William Gibson
21 - Wilfred Santiago
ATHOS IN AMERICA - Jason
GREAT PLAINS - Ian Frazier
THE FREDDIE STORIES - Lynda Barry
VARAMO - César Aira
THE SIGH - Marjane Satrapi
THE MONKEY'S RAINCOAT - Basho
FANTASTIC FOUR: 1 2 3 4 - Grant Morrison, Jae Lee