Monday, March 20, 2017

NSA Today

     For their honors project, four students at LREI produced two interlocking webcomics.  One puts into comic form excerpts from actual National Security Agency documents, the other tells a story based on those excerpts.  Both feature sharp scripts and striking art, all supported by a polished and professional looking website (completely coded by one of the students).  Hopefully, the project will continue as an independent endeavor, but you can see the beginning of it at  Congratulations to Erika, Harry, Luke and Nicole on a superlative job. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017


     A slightly belated congratulations to March: Book Three, the final book in Senator John Lewis's autobiographical March trilogy.  In addition to the Coretta Scott King Award, March: Book Three also won the Printz Award, continuing the graphic novel format's strong history with this award (last year, This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki took a Printz Honor and American Born Chinese by Gene Yang won the award in 2007).
     This is on the heels of being the first graphic novel to win the National Book Award.  It maybe worth thinking about why a book with this particular political outlook should be accruing so much acclaim during this period of the country's political life.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Why and How

     Along the road that led to this Inauguration Day, 2017, I recently reread two books that feel so impossibly relevant to current politics, it's difficult to believe they were both written more than a half a century ago: William Golding's Lord of the Flies and George Orwell's other fictional dystopian rumination, Animal Farm.
     Whether today feels like a celebration to you or a tragedy, I recommend both of these books as a way to understand more deeply why and how this country has arrived where it is.    

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanks 2016

     As with all Thanksgivings (and all other days in the history of days), there is plenty to be grateful for and plenty not to.  Recently, a little less than half of voting Americans decided it was time for this country to, shall we say, reinvent itself.  Whether this fills you with unease or relief, you're probably grateful that the divisiveness of the campaign is behind us and eager to get to work building a future, however you might individually envision it.  As in Thanksgivings past,  here are few things to make some of your downtime from the building more enjoyable and even, perhaps, more insightful.

The Songs of Johnny Cash - I happen to have heard part of Hurt running under the trailer for the movie Logan.  The sense of longing and melancholy that rode so powerfully in the lyrics and Mr. Cash's voice made me curious to investigate his entire oeuvre.  It has, so far, proved most rewarding, both in its dark, searching depths and its funny, twangy highs.

Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye by Gerard Way, Jon Rivera and Michael Avon Oeming - One of the titles in DC's new Young Animals imprint, a line of comics founded on the tone and outlook of Grant Morrison's seminal Doom Patrol run.  Cave Carson is well and truly bonkers in the most delightful way, as the retired underground explorer (and obscure DC Comics Silver Age character) Carson is pulled back towards his former life in a particularly gruesome way.  Filled with wonder and darkness with a lovely and complicated father-daughter relationship at its heart.

Haunted by Leo Braudy - A cultural study of what we're scared of and why, tracing the lineage of our monstrous archetypes back through the centuries, searching for the historical events and currents that made certain horrors resonate so deeply in our collective unconscious.  Dense and extremely well-researched, this is not a light read, but it is loaded with fascinating insights into the things that truly make us tick.

     Happy Thanksgiving.  Be sure enjoy a good Turkey joke with your meal.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Action: Captured Again

     The BookFest continues to provide interesting material.  Here is an article from Publisher's Weekly that covers the entire day in depth.