Monday, June 30, 2008

Alison Bechdel's Compulsory Reading

Alison Bechdel is cool.

Due to popular demand, she posted the comic essay, Compulsory Reading that she she did for Entertainment Weekly a while back.

It's a funny piece, about the anxiety some of us have about the need to read the Classics, the Important Book - like Moby Dick (Nope. I'm going to my grave without slaying that White Whale.) C'mon, admit it - you feel that guilt some times, when you look at that copy of unread Ulysses on your bookshelf, right?

If you haven't read Fun Home, I would really recommend it. Or you might like to wait for The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, a selection of the best of the long running comic series. Coming out this November.

Actually, I would recommend Fun Home over Dykes to Watch Out For. Sorry if you're a fan - but I just don't get the series. Maybe it's just a cultural blindness on my part.

I don't get it.

6 comments:

Nymeth said...

Fun Home's in my wishlist. I found a link to that comic essay yesterday...she is indeed cool. I also plan on going to my grave without slaying my White Whale, though, and I'm very proud of the fact that I don't own a copy of Ulysses :P But I still relate to the general feeling.

Iliana said...

That is great - thank you for posting that link!
I agree, Fun Home is wonderful.

Doc Martian said...

i'm back to reading proust. the guermantes way, about 2/3s of the way through. proust is like a lazy afternoon where there are two or three good movies on the tube. while there may be greater endeavors, only a fool would sneer at him.

two more MAJOR works and i'm good literarily. i mean i wanna finish moby dick someday (got sidetracked by human rights work) and mebbe read the peavar/velikovsky(sp.) version of War and Peace, and i'm leisurely making my way through mort darthur and the kjv of the bible. but the last book and a half of churchills 2nd world war and the last 3.2 books of proust and i could walk away from literature without a qualm, well... maybe a lil' qualm... i'm halfway through 'the wake' but realized i needed some more perspective (maybe like some aquinas or jesuit mandatory lit) before i did, all the mythology is well covered, but some of the 19th century version classics would improve my understanding. i figure 5 years and i'll have all those wrapped up to my satisfaction. then? probably shakespeare. not the written shakespeare, the performed shakespeare. except for the sonnets... which you might wanna take on your excursion. they're good bedtime reading.

behind me? lots and lots of philosophy, lots and lots and lots of history, lots and lots of classical lit, lots and lots and lots of pulp genre sci/fi fantasy (and some hardboiled detective), plus some of the more inspired mass-market stuff. ever read wambaugh's 'the choirboys'? you'll breeze through it in 4 hours, its a vulgar riot like faust meets hill street blues, you'll be totally disgusted and fascinated at the same time. the 70s version of american psycho or ellroy's l.a. cycle. i highly recommend it. maybe even better than hunter thompson's las vegas.

Cheers!
Doc

Bybee said...

That comic essay was wonderful! Fun Home is great! Alison Bechdel rocks! I can't stop exclaiming...I love her so much!

Dark Orpheus said...

Nymeth I once naively thought I would make it through Ulysses. Guess I decided later life is too short. ;p

Iliana You're welcome. :)

Doc Martian That's some intense reading. But I associate the Sonnets too much with school - so probably not.

I've read Ellroy's LA Confidential and Black Dahlia. I actually liked them. American Psycho - I never finished. Not because it's gruesome, but because it feels so '80s and a little dated.

Bybee Yet another Fun Home fan! Yay!

Doc Martian said...

you'd probably like 'the choirboys' then. his other works don't quite have the same joie de vivre... not that i'm dismissing them... but 'the choirboys' is something special. orcs in uniform. you'll love it.