Self Wright

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More graphic novels

I’ve decided to only check out graphic novels (for various reasons).

I enjoyed the last one I’d read (“The ring of the Nibelung”), and moved on to something random yet promising (essentially, browsed the stacks, picked one of three that I liked).

“The lunatic is all idée fixe, and whatever he comes across confirms his lunacy. You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense, by his flashes of inspiration, and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars.”

Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum

Elephant and Piggie

We’ve had this series for a while now.

It’s the one set of stories that works for children before they can read, when they can read only a few words, and for adults too!

Individual stores are collected in these “Biggie” editions

Highly recommend 🙂

On Mark Fisher

This person’s review of Ghosts of my life basically spoke my mind (and why, as someone who spent a few years being over-impressed with him, I should make him a bit more ordinary)

The book feels like an intellectualisation of an emotional, or psychological, state

At one point, Fisher acknowledges that an exaggerated sense of certainty is a common factor in the conversation and writings of depressives, a statement that he goes on to prove, to display, over and over again, without ever offering any kind of personal critique.

Some of Fisher’s ideas are compelling and are important, but the book keeps coming back to its central idea: that “now” is shit, the past was better and the future no longer exists.

The other problem I have with Fisher’s essays here is that he writes about things he likes as if they are inarguably great, which is suuuuch a Gen Xey thing to do.

And why this matters:

Maybe, as a fellow depressive, its pessimistic tone and conclusions just feel a little unhelpful. Life can be good, I tell myself: it has been, and one day – hopefully soon – it will be again. Fisher didn’t feel like that, and this opinion is coded as knowledge, and there is nothing in the world that pisses me off more than people expressing opinion as if it’s fact.

(for some context, here is an interview with the author)

The Ring (completed)

I had mentioned earlier about the graphic novel I was reading.

I finished reading it in a week (would’ve read it in less than a day, but these days I have to “chunk everything up”).

The story towards the end was a bit “huh? cmon!” for me, but the overall effect was powerful.

Two-page spread for the scene where Siegfried breaks Wotan’s spear.

The appendix mentions how the panels were sometimes segmented to correspond to motifs in the operatic score, which I thought was a neat concept, a sort of synesthetic effect.

This comic series won the Eisner award twenty years ago, but P. Craig Russell has other similar works, and I know I need to read more of them!

The Ring

I hadn’t been to the library “proper” for over two years.

It had been closed for over a year.

It opened earlier a few months ago, and we have been going once every six weeks or so, since then.

I go with my daughter and end up spending all our time in the kids’ section.

I finally ventured in the regular area, just before checking out and leaving, giving myself a few minutes to look and return.

The graphic novel section was one of the three or four possible places within a two-minute radius, and I headed there.

By one of those strange acts of serendipity, I was led to a single book there, “The Ring of Nibelung”.

Wait, I thought, that one?

I should mention I was only vaguely aware of this before picking it up. I knew of the opera, but no specifics.

My closest exposure, as I expect it to be for others too, was to have come across The ride of the Valkyries by way of Apocalypse Now.

I’ve read the first odd-dozen pages now, and … this is amazing.

More than the story itself, I see echoes, in terms of names, and scenes and themes, which remind me of that other epic saga, The Lord of the Rings.

I have no way of judging how closely this hews to the original, but such a chasm of time separates each of these works!

  • I am reading this today, in the year 2021.
  • The graphic novel was first published as a comic series about two decades ago, in 2000.

It’s good stuff 🙂

The World We Live In

Stumbled across this old-but-excellent glossy book (under a dusty pile somewhere)

Apparently, this giant book was assembled out of a special series that ran in Life magazine in the 50s.

Lots and lots of great pictures and diagrams.

If you like this sort of thing 🙂 it’s quite a treasure.

MLP and Star Trek

Yes, this is a serious title.

While reading with Tara, I have acquired a “taste” for My Little Pony, and this has largely been due to all the references found within it.

These are not for kids at all or even (come to think of it) for most adults, but rather for a vague yet specific nerdy subculture.

I came across an extremely specific one recently, where Cosmos (a … well, cosmic villain) utters something while being defeated.

“Beratis Kesla Redjac”

I’ll cut to the chase and tell you that this is something uttered in a specific Star Trek episode. The classic Star Trek (“Wolf in the fold”, 1967)

This is not a generic Star Trek reference (I can share an example of that later). No, if you had watched every episode of the classic Star Trek but this one, you wouldn’t get it.

I have, for better or worse, watched (along with my brother for most of them) and re-watched these episodes about twenty years ago, and it triggered a vague recollection.

The writers clearly enjoy themselves with these series, and I don’t think they’d find similar luck anywhere else. I don’t know, really, where else you’d find a mix of bizarre out-of-the-blue references in the middle of a completely unrelated for-kids-no-really storyline.

The Hobbit

Mid-way through a reading of the illustrated version1 of The Hobbit.

Opening words

I decided to take pictures of the beginnings of three books at home.

The first is from Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing.

The second is from Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief by Jordan Peterson.

The third is from The Humbling by Philip Roth.

Opening words aren’t always special, but sometimes they are.

Harry Potter: revisited & renewed

We recently watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone — and I realized the movie is already twenty years old!

I thought I’d read the book with my daughter, now that we’ve seen the movie, and I thought the plain book might come across as boring to her, and … then I stumbled across this marvelous illustrated version1.

We just finished reading it today![^Not sure if it’s time to move on to the next one yet; I gotta do some “age-appropriateness” research … but the first one is definitely okay for a 5-6 year old, IMO.][^Not sure if it’s time to move on to the next one yet; I gotta do some “age-appropriateness” research … but the first one is definitely okay for a 5-6 year old, IMO.]


  1. Yes, pricey, but I’m hoping it lasts a long time too ↩︎

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