About five minutes in, I felt like I was reading a masterpiece even though I know very little about the graphic novel/comic genre. This is some mesmerizing inking (Burns won a lot of “Best Inker” awards for this work). The panels almost look like woodcuts. It’s about teenagers and adolescence and how we see our bodies during those important formative years, as simultaneously beautiful and grotesque. The world of Black Hole is bleak, boring, and pretty horrifying. And we’re talking moody teenagers so you get to witness a lot of terrible decisions, angst, ennui, despair, friendship, love, sex, camaraderie, depression, grief, humor, violence, acceptance, and hope in a very short span of pages. Lots of yonic imagery. The author published this over a ten-year period starting in 1995 and it looks like these are almost exclusively what he worked on during that timespan. Amazing.
Came recommended by HU. I had to borrow them from PG1. A limited, 7-part comic book series based on one of my favorite movies. Told from the perspective of John Doe and provides his backstory which is about as sad and disturbing as you can imagine it would be. About as gory as the movie itself. Most parts have a different style. Plenty of out-of-context Bible quotes. Just really well-executed.
These are hard to find and expensive: anywhere from $250 on eBay to $350 on Amazon. ↩︎
Opportunity and luck bestow their benisons upon a once-in-a-generation genius, mathematical mystic, and one of the greatest theoretical physicists to have walked the planet.
You never hear of Dirac much1. I read this article about him being in love and decided to read more about his life and work. This award-winning book came highly recommended. I enjoyed its breadth and depth thoroughly. I am a slow reader and was surprised by the speed at which I got through its heft: 625 pages2! Farmelo expertly weaves world history, politics, religion, and humor into Dirac’s story. The epilogue spends some time conjecturing that he may have been autistic in a bid to explain his many eccentricities and severe taciturnity3. Lots of painful family tragedy that was rather difficult to read. Intuition and Mathematical beauty were paramount to him:
If you are receptive and humble, mathematics will lead you by the hand. Again and again, when I have been at a loss how to proceed, I have just had to wait until [this happened]. It has led me along an unexpected path, a path where new vistas open up, a path leading to new territory, where one can set up a base of operations, from which one can survey the surroundings and plan future progress.
“Dirac showed none of the confidence that might be expected of a young man at the top of his game. Chandrasekhar wrote home to his father that he was disappointed that Dirac did not show a bit more swagger: ‘[Dirac is a] lean, meek shy young “Fellow” (FRS) who goes slyly along the streets. He walks quite close to the walls (like a thief!), and is not at all healthy. A contrast to Mr Fowler […] Dirac is pale, thin, and looks terribly overworked.”
Here’s a video of the author giving a presentation on Dirac and Mathematical Beauty
And according to the author, not even in his native Bristol… ↩︎
Well, a hundred or so are copious footnotes and references. ↩︎
And I do mean laughably, alarmingly severe. His colleagues came up with a unit called a “Dirac” which is one word per hour. ↩︎
A friend used to loan me this lovely book when I was 12 or 13. I loved reading and re-reading it to the point where I remember asking him if he could just gift it to me for my birthday (he declined). And then Life happened and I grew up and I forgot all about it until around 3 years ago, when I suddenly went “wait a second” as I was casually reading some translation of Journey to the West. This book is a childrens’ adaptation of that classic Chinese tale! I then started looking for it, off-and-on, with very little luck.
Last year, LD told me about this absolutely lovely website called “Stump the Bookseller” run by LoganBerry Books in Cleveland. For a nominal fee, I submitted everything I could remember about the book hoping that someone would know it… only to find it myself that evening. My Google-fu had somehow improved after submitting that request. I bought it from AbeBooks posthaste.
It’s just a fantastic adventure to get lost in. To understand the Myth of the Monkey a little deeper, I turned to this paper by Professor Whalen Lai1. There’s just too much to quote but here’s a highly condensed TL;DR of both the book and the story:
“Fear can be a funny thing; it doesn’t always shine a flattering light. It can make us forget that others are scared too.”
The author tells a short and lovely story about the pandemic, isolation, hope, the value of community, nature, and so many other things for such a short book. It is told through the experience of his grandpa (and his grandpa’s doggy). It made me think of my own grandmother and how (a) we are not meant to be alone and (b) how loneliness is especially devastating for older people.
Really loved his drawing/art style as well. Lovely stuff 💗
I remember complaining about having too many books to read at The Mill (RIP) in Iowa City, and getting a weary “We know” to my “Did you know the Japanese have a word for this?”
I remember telling them I’d resolved to have no more than, say, a hundred books on my shelves at any given time, and them telling me about an essay (or at least I think it’s an essay) in this book.
I’ve never come by anything by him before. Reading him is like watching a bee bob and weave and float around and just be and have fun. Words1 and ideas, lists and taxonomies: It’s a lot of serious whimsy.