- Reading Level: Young Adult
- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: EgmontUSA; Reprint edition (June 28, 2011)
- Buy The Book: Amazon
|Original Watercolor Painting - "Lady of the Field||"|
|Bookmark - "The Grumpy Troll"|
|ACEO - "Hollyhock Princess"|
Clearly a past due update but still good news! I stole the post from my wife's (Anika Denise-author of many fine books for children) news section and may have added a comment or two.
No one can deny that Craig Thompson’s HABIBI is a gorgeous work of linework and cartooning on a supreme level of beauty, much of it inspired by Arabic calligraphy. But it’s equally true that HABIBI is also a work that takes the tropes of Orientalism and uses them for the backbone of its story. Thompson has acknowledged as much in recent interviews, but says he used it as a fairy tale background, the way one would use cowboys and Indians.
Orientalism is a set of stereotypes and attitudes cataloged by critic Edward Said, defining it as “a manner of regularized (or Orientalized) writing, vision, and study, dominated by imperatives, perspectives, and ideological biases ostensibly suited to the Orient.” Everything from The Arabian Nights to The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad to The English Patient is Orientalist in view — a fairy tale world of efreets and harems and passionate desert nights.
Over at The Hooded Utilitarian, Nadim Damluji posts a very smart and thorough examination of how HABIBI stands up to the charges of Orientalism — and the answer is, it doesn’t. Damluji looks at the good and the bad:
Thompson uses Habibi as a venue to argue that Islam and Christianity are not at odds with each other, but interconnected to one another. On this mark, Habibi is a well-done and original contribution to the canon of contemporary Western comics literature. I applaud Thompson for humanizing a religion that many have been quick to vilify, and for managing to do it in a non-preachy way. In fact, because he approaches Islam with a clear compassion and level-headedness, I suspect many readers let Thompson off the hook for the Orientalist elements of the text.
Which brings us to the bulk of the book: the love story between Dodola and Zam spanning multiple decades, set predominately in the land of Wanatolia. While this story is drawn with the same detail-attentive pen that Thompson uses at the service of calligraphy and geometric patterns, here it predominantly captures the vagueness of stereotypes. Thompson contributes to (instead of resisting) Orientalist discourse by overly sexualizing women, littering the text with an abundance of savage Arabs, and dually constructing the city of Wanatolia as modern and timeless.
Okay, I love this book! And yay! It was just announced that 2 more are coming.....
I will go out on a limp and say I even love it more than The Body Finder!
And I stayed up all night in 2 nights to finish that one.
When I saw the trailer for FX’s new TV show, American Horror Story, I knew I had to watch it, especially since they chose to premiere it in, duh, October, and I love ghost stories. The trailer was enough to make me uncomfortable; the pilot episode, well … To say “Parents Strongly Cautioned” would be an understatement. Beware: sex, drugs, imagery that would give Stephen King nightmares. There’s nudity, too, which Jake was pumped about until it turned out to be a man’s bare butt. DOH!
So, simple plotline: husband Ben (Dylan McDermott) had an affair after his wife Vivian (Connie Britton) had a miscarriage. Lovely. To escape his indiscretions, Ben decides to move his family from Boston to Los Angeles, including his daughter Violet (newcomer Taissa Farmiga)—who may be the only character in the show with any redeeming quality. They move into a cheap old mansion; it’s cheap because the previous owners suffered from, of course, a murder-suicide. And so begins the madness, including a maid who is apparently dead, a homicidal patient of Ben’s who has a crush on Ben’s daughter, and an apparition that wears a bondage suit.
To me, American Horror Story felt like it was trying to be The Amityville Horror but with a modern, soap opera twist. This feeling increased with the introduction of a mysterious man covered in scars who tells Ben that he burned his family to death because “the house told me to.” Ah-hem: copywrite infringement much?
The creators of this show, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, are best known for creating shows like Glee and Nip/Tuck, so I know they are capable of creating new and interesting television—and I’m not saying American Horror Story isn’t interesting. From the perspective of a Halloween hound, the show is horrifying. Within the first five minutes, two kids get brutally murdered by what I assume is an evil spirit in the house’s creepy basement. And Jessica Lange as the weird, aging actress neighbor with the Down syndrome daughter was so Evil (with a capital “E”), she made me cringe.
That said, Jake had a good point last night: he asked, how long can you continue a show like this? Sure, I’m interested to know why the house is haunted. Apparently everyone goes crazy there, but what started it all? I also want to see how many of the characters we met in the pilot are dead already (I suspect almost ALL of them). And yeah, it’s weird that the wife had sex with the bondage ghost—and now, she’s pregnant—so I guess I wanna see what kind of monster she gives birth to.
However, the characters aren’t very likeable, except the daughter. I think Ben is a weenie, and Vivian: do you really think your husband would wear a bondage suit and come to bed? I feel bad saying this, but the Down syndrome girl was just annoying, and I don’t know what’s going on with the maid who looks young sometimes and old other times. Plus, the show was just—so—weird. How many weird images do the creators have up their sleeves, and frankly, how long are audiences going to stick around without characters to root for?
I’ll give it this: American Horror Story is a horror story, and I do love haunted houses. I’ll watch it again, just to see if episode two gives these characters some engaging qualities. Plus, it’s October, and what better time to be haunted than the witching season?
2 Comments on Halloween Town: American Horror Story, last added: 10/7/2011
That didn’t quite sound right. Anyway, art blog DRAWBRIDGE is spotlighting everyone’s favorite Tamaranean, Starfire this week. Here’s Michel Fiffe’s post-swim take.Display Comments Add a Comment
As you decide whether you're going to dive into NaNoWriMo again this year and find yourself mulling over story and character ideas, keep the following in mind.
An opening line or scene or conflict or dilemma may catch your fancy but rather than linger there for very long, take the inspiration you're given and stretch the ideas all the way to the climax of the story.
In other words, constantly ask yourself what the climax scene may look like. In so doing, consider the traits the protagonist will need to have in order to prevail at the climax.
Such a search opens possibilities for the traits she will be missing at the beginning of the story, the flaw she'll have to overcome to be triumphant in the end and what traits she now has at the beginning that are going to interfere with her forward progress toward her goal.
This exercise will serve you well during the first week of November, which represents the beginning writing portion of the entire project and the time you'll want to incorporate the traits she embodies at the beginning to foreshadow the journey she'll have to undertake.
For step-by-step guidance into pre-plotting your novel, memoir, screenplay, refer to:
The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
Daniel Nayeri has a new book out this month from Candlewick -- a collection of four YA novellas, titled STRAW HOUSE, WOOD HOUSE, BRICK HOUSE, BLOW.
This bold collection of novellas by Another series author Daniel Nayeri features four riveting tales. These modern riffs on classic genres will introduce young adult readers to a broad range of writing styles that explore universally compelling themes such as identity and belonging, betrayal and friendship, love and mortality.
Straw House: A Western sizzling with suspense, set in a land where a rancher grows soulless humans and a farmer grows living toys.Check out these awesome videos:
Wood House: This science-fiction tale plunges the reader into a future where reality and technology blend imperceptibly, and a teenage girl must race to save the world from a nano-revolution that a corporation calls "ReCreation Day."
Brick House: This detective story set in modern NYC features a squad of "wish police" and a team of unlikely detectives.
Blow: A comedic love story told by none other than Death himself, portrayed here as a handsome and charismatic hero who may steal your heart in more ways than one. With humor, suspense, and relatable prose, this hip and cutting-edge collection dazzles.
Written entirely on an iPhone, this quartet of YA novellas by Another Pan and Another Faust author Daniel Nayeri showcases four different genres.
"Kephart’s prose is poetry in motion—creating beauty out of everyday moments. This disquieting yet emotionally satisfying novel (written for young adults but a linguistic pleasure for any reader) alternates the stories of Emmy, desperate to find her missing baby, and homeschooled 14-year-old Sophie. The surprise is not in how these two soulful voices are connected but in the way they weave together to the book’s finely spun ending." — Darcy Jacobs, Family Circle (November 2011)
"This has a very different style from classic child-abduction melodramas such as Mazer’s Taking Terri Mueller (BCCB 6/83) and Ehrlich’s Where It Stops, Nobody Knows (BCCB 1/89); Kephart’s writing is a thing of beauty in its own right, and Sophie’s story earns its frequent and apt allusions to Rapunzel with its own fai Display Comments Add a Comment
“I’ve never seen an October rain like this in all my years in LA,” says my friend David Starrett as we arrive for lunch yesterday at Gus’s Barbecue in South Pasadena. At the back door we drop our umbrella in a bucket full of other half-dead umbrellas.
David was one of my art teachers when I was a student out here. Later he was the model for Lee Crabb in Dinotopia. He’s the nicest 82-year-old gentlemen you’ll ever meet. His ear is the model for “subsurface scattering” on page 155 of the book “Color and Light.” He’s also a natural actor, and he obliges me by being a character actor while I sketch him.
He orders barbecued ribs and I order coffee. I unholster my colored pencils. Robert Johnson’s blues pour out the speakers. Rain gushes out of the gutters outside. David turns up his collar. I squeeze the handle of my black Niji brush pen. A drop of Higgins Eternal bleeds out of the tip.
Somehow he starts to look like a hard-boiled film noir detective, the kind of guy who works best after hours on rainy nights when the rest of the guys have gone home. “That’s when they dump the evidence,” he mutters, as he saws loose a rib.
Previously: Clothespins and Crabb
I worked on this cute little paperback joke book for HarperCollins before I worked on Road Work Ahead. It was where I got the idea to start making dummies of the sketches. There were alot of lift-a-flaps inside to work out, and the art director had sent me this dummy that they did after I submitted the sketches to them. I thought it was really useful.
|Knock knock! Who's there? Ghouls! Ghouls who?|
|Ghouls and boys both love Halloween!|
Know Me Better 10/6 Questions
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Night owl, or early bird?
One food you would never eat?
Skittles or M&Ms?
One of the things I always find fascinating about many of the books I read regarding the various home fronts created by World War II is that they are so often based on actual events. But not necessarily the big events – most have their foundations in smaller, more local incidents. And that is what makes they so fascinating – at least to me, since my interest is always the impact of the war on the lives of people on the home front. This is also why I like to read and write about books that were written during the war – no one knew the outcome so they have a whole different perspective.
|Left cover by Brad Sneed|
Right cover by Alex, age 9
You may have noticed the link in the sidebar to the Hannah Rogers Literary Agency.
Apparently Ms. Rogers is now replying to submissions only on Twitter. Whether this will become the new modus operandi for literary agents remains to be seen.
Submit on her "submissions" page, and expect a rejection or acceptance tweet within one day.
The Headless Horseman Rides Tonight
Jack Prelutsky ~ Arnold Lobel ~ Greenwillow Books, 1980
Sitting on my MacBook this mourning, thinking about all that was and will ever be. Halloween is swirling around us. Already the neighborhood homes are bedazzled in fake spider webs and the guy down the street has his creepy animatronic zombie up that drags its disemboweled self across his front lawn.
The moment I saw this book on the library shelf yesterday, I knew the boy would be in love. One read down, a dozen to go, I'm sure, before the due date calls. (Though I logged on and bought one this morning. It's THAT good. Still in print in paperback, by the way.) This book has propelled Arnold Lobel into an entirely new realm of awesome for me. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
And Mr. Prelutsky is pretty rad, too, conjuring up all sorts of rhyming wretches to freeze the soul. Poems entitled The Poltergeist, The Darkling Elves, The Spectre on the Moor, The Mummy....
Now it must unleash its fury,
spew the venom of its wrath,
and woe to those poor souls who cross
the mummy's mindless path,
for the mummy will destroy them,
they will perish, wracked with pain.
There is terror in the desert
for the mummy walks again.
All kinds of awesome. My son loves a particular Prelutsky book called Scranimals, and he's read it so many times and Mr. P's writing voice is so distinct, that now the boy can spot his lyrics a m
A new international trailer for THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN has just been released, and it’s a lot more rock ‘em, sock ‘em than previous trailers, with punching, jumping, leaping, crouching, and other bursts of action that seem more typical of a Steven Spielberg film.
Watching this, I got a new idea about this movie, which does seem a bit problematic with its mocap CGI. However, TINTIN has been filmed many times before, in both live action and animation. Here’s one of the early Tintin cartoons:
It does look like Herge…but it also looks like poor animation. (A later series from the ’90s is considered to have been superior.) When I watch this trailer, I imagine Spielberg and Peter Jackson hashing over, late night after late night, how to do the movie that both have been obsessed with all their lives. And then, finally, Spielberg saying, aw, fuck it, let’s do it CGI. The kids like it, and no one’s ever done it before. This is a lively snippet, and it’s certainly not like anything we’ve seen before. That could very well be a bad thing but…well, at least they are trying something.
TINTIN opens this December.Display Comments Add a Comment
Much has changed since autumn, when Kelley Winslow learned she was a Faerie princess, fell in love with changeling guard Sonny Flannery, and saved the mortal realm from the ravages of the Wild Hunt.
Now Kelley is stuck in New York City, rehearsing Romeo and Juliet and missing Sonny more with every stage kiss, while Sonny has been forced back to the Otherworld and into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the remaining Hunters and Queen Mabh herself.
When a terrifying encounter sends Kelley tumbling into the Otherworld, her reunion with Sonny is joyful but destined to be cut short. An ancient, hidden magick is stirring, and a dangerous new enemy is willing to risk everything to claim that power.
Caught in a web of Faerie deception and shifting allegiances, Kelley and Sonny must tread carefully, for each next step could topple a kingdom . . . or tear them apart.
With breathtakingly high stakes, the talented Lesley Livingston delivers soaring romance and vividly magical characters in Darklight, the second novel in the trilogy that began with Wondrous Strange.