"A few weeks ago, I texted my writing group, 'All I really want is to be just famous enough to have my own celebrity book club.' I was kind of kidding. But I kind of wasn’t. Because, like portion-packaged organic snacks delivered to your door, isn’t book club ownership one step closer to having it all?" Laura Briskman on the faux intimacy of celebrity book clubs, as more and more celebrities start their own post Oprah.
"A trip to the 21st century. Prague, maybe, or London, some big city where he can wander around being a bored tourist, snapping his gum, picking his nose in cathedrals, snapback on crooked and hopping from foot to foot, looking for a basketball court." Thats what it would look like if Achilles (and other sad literary characters) got the holidays they deserved.
I have read only a very few graphic novels, but the ones I have read all seem to tread the same emotional ground. Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan, Daniel Clowes' Ghost World and now I Never Liked You by Chester Brown. Their stories center on a sort of teenage emptiness that inspires a combination of pity and fascination in me. Visually, however, the three are quite distinct with Brown's artwork being far more spare than the other two. Brown's jagged panels placed asymmetrically on the page are surrounded by black, drawing the eye to his simple lines. (Unfortunately, later editions of the book have replaced the black pages with white.) His panels are devoid of details and instead focusing of the setting, the reader dwells on the characters, primarily young Chester himself. Brown's picture of himself is both funny and sad, and while the book touches on his mother's death, the focus is on his interaction with girls. He tells his friend Sky that he loves her but doesn't know what to do next. His neighbor Carrie has a crush on him and they engage in this strange wrestling ritual as a stand in for actual communication. Girls are drawn to the odd, artistic boy but they are also repulsed by him. In the end, the book is about Brown's inability to engage emotionally - with these girls, with his mother, with the rest of his family. It's a poignant and quick read (it took me about an hour), but Brown's dreamy artwork will stay with you.
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We spend plenty of time here on The Millions telling all of you what we’ve been reading, but we are also quite interested in hearing about what you’ve been reading. By looking at our Amazon stats, we can see what books Millions readers have been buying, and we decided it would be fun to use those stats to find out what books have been most popular with our readers in recent months. Below you’ll find our Millions Top Ten list for July. This Month Last Month Title On List 1. 1. Reality Hunger 6 months 2. 5. (tie) The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet 2 months 3. 3. Tinkers 3 months 4. 5. (tie) The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest 2 months 5. - Faithful Place 1 month 6. 4. The Big Short 5 months 7. 10. Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling With D.H. Lawrence 2 months 8. 9. The Girl Who Played With Fire 2 months 9. 8. War and Peace 4 months 10. - The Passage 1 month Summer reading propelled a pair of newcomers onto the list in July. Tana French's Faithful Place lands on the list after being written up by Emily Mandel in our big second half preview. Emily also made Justin Cronin's cerebral vampire thriller The Passage the centerpiece of her post-apocalyptic reading list later in the month. Those two titles replace out two newest Hall of Fame inductees: John Williams' Stoner, which was highlighted by Millions regulars Patrick and Edan, as well as by Conversational Reading proprietor Scott Esposito, in our Year in Reading last year, and Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, last year's Booker and Rooster winner. Near Misses: Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace, The Imperfectionists, A Visit from the Goon Squad, Super Sad True Love Story, Twilight of the Superheroes. See Also: Last month's list
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