The first half of this month felt so slow.
The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1): I’ve been meaning to read this series for years. It was cute and quick, but I wasn’t convinced that I loved it.
The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2) (dnf): By the time a certain villain had shown up, I was already tired of how no one listened to the kids. I seem to be very easily frustrated by stories where people aren’t listened to and this series seems to hang a great deal of weight on the idea that no one will believe the kids until the very end. I decided that this series was not for me.
The Artist in the Office: After reading this book, I wrote a rather lengthy blog post about how, years ago, I quit art. I found this book to be insightful and encouraging. It also had a lot of useful exercises and creative ideas for ways to be creative in the office. Bonus points: it was a quick read.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: I found this a bit slow in the middle, but it quickly picked up and was really hard to put down in the last few chapters. I liked the ending. There was no one hero and, though things seemed to end well for the good guys and not so well for the bad guys, it wasn’t really a happily ever after story (which I find can be a bit overly romantic and sometimes unnecessary).
Lumberjanes (issues 19-24 & Beyond Bay Leaf #1): I’m still really enjoying these comics. They have strong and diverse heroines who each have their own strengths and don’t need to be saved by boys in the end. I would have loved comics like these as a kid.
Sketch!: Reading this spawned a whole blog post about my personal history of giving up art. I’ve read or been reading a couple of books like this recently and I’ve found them really helpful and inspirational. There seems to be a new kind of art book – the every-person’s guide to doing art without having to have fancy tools or learn fancy techniques. After years of flipping through and being disappointed with “this is how you draw/paint/etc.” books, this new approach and attitude is really refreshing, less intimidating, and exactly what I needed. This book, like other in the genre, focuses on the act of drawing and not on the final product. It encourages the reader to be realistic about time, skills and tools. For example, the author provides some pretty good reasons for using cheap sketch books. She also discusses the fact that we don’t need a special time or place for art because drawing can just be drawing and doesn’t have to be a “sacred” exercise.
Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King (The Guardians #1): My favourite part of this book was the imagination behind it: Santa before he was Santa, a magical tree, the source of nightmares, etc. Oddly, I found the narration a bit annoying (I listened to an audio version)- I found it a little overly dramatic. But, the story was good.
Lost Dogs – A sad and brutal story of a man who loses everything. It’s my least favourite Lemire, but considering that I absolutely love his work, that’s not half bad.
A Kiss Before You Go – Sad and lovely. I could relate to some of the things he felt and struggled with after the death of a loved one. I find that most books like this are a romanticized version of love, lose and moving on, but the author was pretty honest in this book. He showed some of the cracks and moments when he was at his lowest, and it was both sad and beautiful.
This One Summer – I did not think that this would be anything more then a bit amusing, but I could not put it down. It’s a really great story and I think that much-younger me would have felt like they found themselves in Rose. I highly recommend this graphic novel.
If you, like I, are interested in reading books about life with art and creativity, my friend Bridgeen has a great post with a few book recommendations, 5 books on the Business of being an Artist. I’ve only read one of them (Steal Like An Artist), but I’m going to track down the others because they all sound very interesting.