10 great books I read, in descending order:
Soccer In Sun and Shadow
by Eduardo Galeano
The ultimate bathroom reading. Short, smart, prose-poem chapters about soccer. Picked it up because Barry Yourgrau (another good bathroom read) recommended it. Became an instant fan.
by Scott McCloud
Not as good as Understanding Comics, but way better than Reinventing Comics. Any McCloud release is an event. Thrilled to see a chapter on world-building in there. Will make a good textbook someday.
Six Memos For The Next Millennium
by Italo Calvino
Intended as lectures, Calvino died before he could give them. The first five, Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility, and Multiplicity, were written. The sixth, Consistency, was not. A hell of a collection of last words from a hell of a writer.
by Edward Tufte
The fourth of Tufte’s books, contains his devastating pamphlet on Powerpoint, which should be required reading for everyone. Come to think of it, all of his books should be required reading — in the age of pictures and words, they could take the place of freshmam composition…
The Rabbi’s Cat
by Joann Sfar
The Rabbi’s cat swallows a parrot and announces his ambition to learn the Torah. Loose, wonderful drawings, a no-nonsense structure, and a great story. Didn’t get to read Sfar’s Vampire Loves, but that looks excellent too.
by Kurt Vonnegut
Gallows humor, anyone? Picked this up because I read that it was Etgar Keret’s favorite Vonnegut. Devoured it in one sitting during a sunny afternoon on our balcony.
by Kevin Huizenga
I haven’t actually put my hands on the Curses collection (it’s on the xmas list), but when I was at Quimby’s in Chicago, I bought every Huizenga comic they had, and after that, ordered everything available through USS Catastrophe (including his great booklet for the Center for Cartoon Studies). Along with the stuff available online, I’ve read a good bit of what’s gonna be in the book. His blog is great, too.
Consider The Lobster
by David Foster Wallace
“I don’t know a whole lot about non-fiction journalism, but the way i think about [it] in terms of what I can do is: I think of it as a service industry. Essays like this are occasions to watch somebody reasonably bright but also reasonably average pay far closer attention and think at far more length about all sorts of different stuff than most of us have a chance to in our daily lifes…”
Brilliant dude, brilliant essays. Still haven’t read a bit of his fiction.
by Alison Bechdel
A story that couldn’t be told in any other form than a comic book. I loved meeting Alison, and her Powerpoint presentation about the “making of” made the book seem even more brilliant. Best book published this year, hands down.
by Lynda Barry
Next to getting married, meeting Lynda Barry and hearing her read from Cruddy was probably the event of my year. To me, Lynda is the perfect model of a writer and an artist. This book is just too cool for words.