April 06, 2011

Maus by Art Spiegelman

I started taking an interest in the history of the graphic novel since reading Essex County as part of Canada Reads.  During my research I read that Maus was considered a classic of the genre.  Imagine my surprise when I saw it at my library’s “Hot Books” section the very next day.  That was a sign. I had to pick up despite already having too many books on the go.  After scanning a few pages it immediately took precedence on my pile of books. 
The author recounts his father’s experiences as a holocaust survivor during WWII.  They say memory is particularly acute when strong emotions are tied to events. Humans remember joyful occasions like reciting weddings vows more vividly than routine conversations like ordering a coffee at a café.  The same is true for sad or painful events.  Reading the words and viewing the images in Maus stirred up powerful emotions in me.  His father’s story is now permanently etched in my brain.  Regardless of the number of books I’ve read or films I’ve seen, when someone mentions holocaust, Maus will come to my frontal lobe.  It’s an honest, respectful, informative book on the holocaust.  An enormous accomplishment when you consider the genre.
Overall Rating (*****)

April 05, 2011

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

I’m not sure what led me to reserve this book at my local library but I’m glad I did.  Egan’s book “A Visit from the Goon Squad” is an entertaining read and I’ll be sure to pick up her previous books when I return this one.   Her writing style is unique for each chapter. It had me confused a bit at the beginning but I began to look forward to the changes as I progressed.   The words often had me chuckling out loud.  I also felt deep sadness and at times even a bit of envy.   You see, I never was a “cool” kid growing up.  Reading about the band members was my way of living rebellion.  Part of me wanted the characters to prosper and succeed. The other half wanted to see them fail to convince myself that I didn’t miss out on anything.  Silly isn’t it to feel this way because of a book? But it does move you and make you reflect.  Creative, contemporary and smart, A Visit from the Goon Squad is a pleasant one indeed.
Overall Rating (*****)