Tuesday, October 1, 2019

September Reading Round-Up


Here are some of my favourite books out of the 32 that I read in September:

The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays by Esme Weijun Wang

My favourite read in September. Wang writes eloquently about her experiences as a person living with schizoaffective disorder. One of the best books about mental health that I've ever read; it is so good that I bought a copy to give as a gift.

As I grew older and my symptoms worsened, my mother at times expressed deep remorse and guilt at the fact that she had passed this “suffering” on to me, and presently tells me that I would be better off not having children. There are two issues here: one being the act of passing on a genetic burden, and the other being my ability, as a woman living with severe mental illness, to be a good mother.

As Nellie Bly‘s anecdotes, and my own, indicate, a primary feature of the experience of staying in a psychiatric hospital is that you will not be believed about anything. A corollary to this feature: things will be believed about you that are not at all true.

“I went to Yale” is shorthand for “I have schizoaffective disorder, but I‘m not worthless.”

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Heartbreaking autobiographical fiction in the form of a letter from a gay son to his illiterate Vietnamese American mother: “the very impossibility of your reading this at all makes my telling it possible.” It‘s told in tender fragments: “I‘m not telling you a story so much as a shipwreck—the pieces floating, finally legible.” It‘s a yearning for belonging, and a coming to terms with mental illness, queerness and loss. It‘s gorgeous. I applaud the news that Vuong has recently received a MacArthur Genius grant.

Yes, there was a war. Yes, we came from its epicentre. In that war, a woman gifted herself a new name—Lan—in that naming claimed herself beautiful, then made that beauty into something worth keeping. From that, a daughter was born, and from that daughter, a son.
All this time I told myself we were born from war—but I was wrong, Ma. We were born from beauty.


You and I, we were Americans until we opened our eyes. 
They will want you to succeed, but never more than them. They will write their names on your leash and call you ‘necessary,‘ call you ‘urgent.‘


“I‘m not what your mamma says I am.” His gaze is lowered as he tells it, his rhythm cut with odd pauses, at times slipping into near-whisper, like a man cleaning his rifle at daybreak and talking to himself. And I let him run his mind. I let him empty. I didn‘t stop him because you don‘t stop nothing when you‘re nine.

Weep Not, Child by Ngugi wa Thiong'o

This short, tragic story—told with a light touch—brings to life universal experiences of colonialism: dispossession from ancestral lands, cruel injustices and the crushing of hope for a better future. Why read a depressing story set during the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya? Because it‘s one you may never forget. And because novels like this help us understand exactly how the aftereffects of colonialism are still being felt, all over the world.
Reading this classic reminded me strongly of another novel set in about the same time and place: Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (I reviewed it here).

Weep not, child
Weep not, my darling
With these kisses let me 
     remove your tears
The ravening clouds shall not
     be long victorious
They shall not long possess
     the sky...
          -Walt Whitman, from the epigraph

Inland by Tea Obreht

She learned letters and manners from the pale, dismayed wives of her father's subordinates, who raised her to defend the hearth and revile a lie--nominally at least, for the older she grew the more she came to recognize falsehood as the preservative that allowed the world to maintain its shape.

I was on page 62 of this novel, thinking maybe I‘m not in the mood right now for a story set in 19th century America. Having just finished the exquisite Weep Not, Child by Ngugi Wa Thiong‘o about the injustices of colonialism, I was not exactly willing to open my heart to the hardships of settlers in the Wild West. And then I came upon the above sentence. Téa Obreht seduced me with her words. I continued. I was richly rewarded.

Alternating storylines are told from the close perspective of two main characters in 19th century America: Lurie, orphaned as a child shortly after emigrating from the Ottoman Empire, and Nora, a settler struggling with her regrets in Arizona Territory. The third main character is Burke, a camel. It was well worth getting to know them in a tale that gradually gains momentum. I could feel the want, “That vast and immutable want everybody, dead or alive, carried with them all the time.”

“He‘d forgive you soon enough. Boys always do.”
Desma espoused the kind of easy faith in children only held by people who‘d never raised any themselves. And thank God for that, for it was good to be reminded of the merits by someone who lacked the constitution to withstand many of parenthood‘s most profound rewards: the shying and the sulking and the constant ingratitude, and eruptions like the one last night, […]


Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
Audiobook read by Allyson Ryan

While it took a while for me to sort out who exactly was voicing this novel and I was also slow catching on to the point of view switches, I immediately engaged with the characters. I was reminded at first of Tom Perotta‘s Mrs. Fletcher, then even more strongly of Lauren Groff‘s Fates and Furies. Society‘s constraints against being our true selves is made poignant in this novel about marriage and other relationships in middle age life. 

I'd grown up not allowed to read the same young-adult novels about babysitters and pretty blond twins that my friends read. My mother thought young-adult books were trash for degenerates and were certainly a red carpet to teen pregnancy and drug use.

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribas
Audiobook read by Ramon de Ocampo

Equity, grief, guilt and search for identity, as seen through 18-year-old Jay Reguero, whose father is Filipino and mother is white American. When his cousin is murdered in the Philippines, Jay travels there to find out what happened. Duterte's war on drugs is an important backdrop, while the tensions within Jay's extended family are explored and characters are believably developed. One of many strengths: inclusion of queer family members. Also, it was great to hear Tagalog and Bikol words aloud in the audiobook. 

All the stories follow a similar pattern. Someone is accused without evidence. They are killed without mercy. Then the police cover it up without regret. Of course, the official report reads that the suspect resisted arrest, but this is contradicted by videos, anonymous eye witness accounts, or forensic evidence.

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy 
by Jenny Odell
Audiobook read by Rebecca Gibel

I started this in print format and found it hard to follow Odell's long, philosophical sentences. When I switched to audio format, I adored her style. Her work is a call to activism that stresses the importance of taking time to listen, to pay attention, and to contemplate. Also, it's an invitation to reconsider the idea of what it is to be productive.

As someone who is both Asian and white, I am an anomaly or a nonentity from an essentialist point of view. It's not possible for me to be native to anywhere in any obvious sense, […] but the sight of western tanagers, a favourite bird, migrating through Oakland in the spring, gives me an image of how to be from two places at once. 

My most-liked Facebook post of all time was an anti-Trump screed. […] It‘s not a form of communication driven by reflection and reason but rather a reaction driven by fear and anger. Obviously these feelings are warranted but their expression on social media feels like firecrackers setting off other firecrackers in a very small room that soon gets filled with smoke.

In a public space, ideally, you are a citizen with agency; in a faux public space, you are either a consumer or a threat to the design of the place.


The Electric State by Simon Stalehag

An unsettling alternate history set in 1997, with America‘s citizens enthralled to virtual reality and suffering the aftermath of neurological warfare. 18-year-old Michelle is on a road trip mission with her sentient robot, surrounded by eerie additions to the Mojave dessert and mountain landscapes on their way to the Pacific. This oversized illustrated novel has amazing artwork across double pages. Surreal, creepy and beautiful.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
Audiobook read by Ann Dowd, Bryce Dallas Howard, Mae Whitman, Derek Jacobi, Tantoo Cardinal and Margaret Atwood

I loved The Handmaid‘s Tale, which I read shortly after it was published. The tv adaptation (even though I haven't seen it) and Atwood's previous avowal that there wouldn‘t be a book sequel had me skeptical that The Testaments would be any good. I was wrong. I galloped through the audiobook, relishing the format: multiple points of view, performed by six audio narrators including Atwood herself. Very satisfying.

To See the Stars by Jan Andrews

Edie is 15 when she leaves Newfoundland to work and help support her younger siblings at home. The hard life and limited options for the working poor in the early 20th century is portrayed in a quiet, poignant way. It took a while to adjust to the rhythm of short sentences and Newfie words (brewis, sheeny, mauzy) but soon I felt I understood Edie‘s heart. Garment worker unionizing in NYC, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire—it‘s all made real.

The sky was clear, clear, clear. The night was so beautiful. Everything where I was—on earth—all wind and whirling, everything up above as still as it could be. Stars by the million, all so gleaming. The blackness in between them, dark as dark. A sight worth seeing. I held the baby up to look.










Wednesday, July 31, 2019

July 2019 Reading Round-Up

Audiobooks were my steady companions in July. I even liked one so much that I listened to it twice. See my reading round up highlights below to find out which one that was. As it happens, only one other of my 5-star favourites this month was one that I experienced in audio format.



Bina by Ankana Schofield [audiobook narrated by the author; 5 h]

If you like the voices of feisty old women in your fiction, Bina is for you. She warns her readers: “Know this much—know it firm, know it tall, know it wide: I will not shut up.” Her trials include being unable to rid herself of a younger man who started living in her west Ireland home after he crashed into her stone fence, having a crowd of activists camped in her yard, and facing criminal charges for things she didn‘t do. It is seriously funny and I loved it so much I listened to the audiobook twice in a row. Similar books include Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk and Baba Dunja's Last Love by Alina Bronsky.

Eddie was an eruption, a natural disaster. The first human one. Won‘t be the last. Plus, he‘s still going, erupting and disrupting. Like today. He might be gone, but look at what he left in his wake. A wake is an absolutely cheery goodbye. There will be no wake with Eddie except an earthquake. It‘d take an earthquake, maybe, to really be shut of him. Pity you can‘t order them over the phone, underneath specific people.

I started thinking about Canada and what kind of people might be there. I didn‘t like their prime minister. He was flighty. He looked like he‘d take off if he went rolling up an escalator too fast.

Why was it we weren‘t rewarded with children? And did I think it was timing, or was it God‘s decision? And, were some chosen and some not? I said no. I said it was nothing to do with timing, but rather some of us had more sense, and could avoid a bucket of trouble being sloshed into our laps.  

Matronalia by A B Dillon

Alberta author Angela Dillon‘s heartbreaking and healing words are addressed to her daughter, expressing regrets, love and hope. Some things passed on from our mothers are best not passed along to the next generation, but it‘s not easy to break the cycle. Honesty, generosity, and clear-eyed examination are some of Dillon‘s tools of precision and understanding.

Go to art when you are lost, my darling. 
Stand before something that breaks you.


You were bold, and this angered him, so instead of giving you the flowers he had bought for you, he threw them in the garbage. Mark me, buy flowers for yourself at least once a month. Your heart is a rose that belongs to no one but you. Besides, who wants Safeway carnations when behind your ribs peonies flourish and the linnets sing fresh and freely?

I release you from ever having to search my face before you leap. 
Does the cherry blossom seek permission?


A man or a boy will want the right to your body. He will whittle you down, girl, whittle you down. Remember this — no one, no church, no man, no boy, nobody, not even me, has a right to your body. You alone navigate the terrain of your wonderful estate. 
Wander and get lost, wander and get lost. 
Get wonderfully lost.


Dunk Tank by Kayla Czaga

Fresh similes (“the wind sighs like it‘s locked its keys in the car”) and encapsulations of teenage girlhood (“synchronized eye-rolling”) and social media (“Can you feel me tap / on your faces, liking your life? / Do you like your life? I like it / so much I make all the small / hearts underneath you light up.”) make this a delightful, sometimes dark, sometimes funny queer Canadian poetry collection.

I‘m very avant-garde in what 
I use for bookmarks. That 
look on your face would do. 
-Bibliophilia


Figuring by Maria Popova 
[audiobook narrated by Natascha McElhone; 21 h]

A long and mesmerizing audiobook that begins with Kepler in the 17th c and ends with Rachel Carson. In between is an interwoven tapestry of the lives of scientists and artists—with a focus on queer women—showing the cross pollination between art and science, the way poetry and music have inspired discoveries and invention. If you love Popova‘s Brain Pickings blog, you will love this too.

The very term ‘pesticide‘ seemed no longer appropriate to Rachel Carson, for designating any organism as a pest to be decimated for the benefit of another organism, the human animal, was an affront to the elemental interconnectedness of nature. She thought ‘biocide‘ better captured the impossibility of violating earth with such poisons without making it unfit for all life.


Having received more congratulatory calls from friends after the Peanuts nod than after her National Book Award, Carson joked, “I found that true immortality seems to rest in being included in a comic strip.”

Urania had taken on a different meaning. As sociology and medicine sought to classify identities that diverged from heteronormative sexuality, uranian, coined before homosexual, came to signify a person of a third sex. First, a female psyche in a male body, then more generally those whose attractions differed from the normative standards of their anatomy, or what we today might call queer people.

Algebra of Infinite Justice by Arundhati Roy

I was waiting for my library hold on Roy‘s new collection of essays, so I decided to reread this one that I own. In her dust jacket photo, Roy (born in 1961) looked young when this collection was published in 2001. The content concerns socio-political issues of two decades ago, but her insights and witty style remain engaging. In the title essay: “President George Bush can no more ‘rid the world of evil-doers‘ than he can stock it with saints.” 

I've looked at the table of contents for Roy's new collection, My Seditious Heart, and I see that all six of the essays in The Algebra of Infinite Justice are included, along with another 37 pieces.

Nowadays I‘m introduced as something of a freak myself. I am, apparently, what is known in twenty-first century vernacular as a ‘writer-activist.‘ (Like a sofa-bed.)

The only dream worth having is to dream that you will live while you are alive and die only when you are dead.

Let‘s just say we‘re an ancient people learning to live in a recent nation. The majority of India‘s citizens will not be able to identify its boundaries on a map, or say which language is spoken where or which god is worshipped in what region. To them the idea of India is, at best, a noisy slogan that comes around during wars and elections.

They were on the streets, celebrating India‘s nuclear bomb and simultaneously “condemning Western Culture” by emptying crates of Coke and Pepsi into public drains. I‘m a little baffled by their logic: Coke is Western Culture but the nuclear bomb is an old Indian tradition? Yes, I've heard--the bomb in in the Vedas. It might be, but if you look hard enough, you'll find Coke in the Vedas too. That's the great thing about all religious texts. You can find anything you want in them.

The New York Pigeon: Behind the Feathers by Andrew Garn

Striking pigeon portraits, taken by photographer Andrew Garn at the Wild Bird Fund rescue centre in NYC, are the stars of this gorgeous, oversized book. There are also chapters on the history and biology of these birds, as well as stories about people who love them. 

Because of their loyalty and excellent homing abilities (employing a combination of visual and magnetic cues) pigeons were recruited as messengers early on. In 2500 BC rulers of Sumeria used pigeons to carry news. Gengis Khan established a pigeon post system covering almost one sixth of the world. In the 20th century almost one million pigeons served in the great world wars, saving the lives of thousands of soldiers.

If sightings of pigeons were to become as scarce as hen‘s teeth, bird watchers would travel great distances to seek them out. They would be astonished and covetous when witnessing their great splendour.


Pigeon eyes. Photography by Andrew Garn
Gumballs by Erin Nations


While transgender cartoonist Erin Nations‘ square-head drawing style didn‘t appeal at first glance, I quickly warmed to his sincerity and humour in this autobiographical collection. Included here are short slice-of-life strips and single page comics about his childhood as a triplet, his gender dysphoria and transitioning, his interactions with colleagues and weird customers in his work as a grocery produce manager, and amusing fictional personal ads.  

Yoga for Everyone: 50 Poses for Every Type of Body by Dianne Bondy

An encouraging body-positive yoga guidebook. 50 poses are illustrated step-by-step with eight diversely-abled models, including a man with no legs, and a very pregnant woman. Support and stability props like blocks, straps, chairs and walls are clearly demonstrated in the variations for each pose. At the end there are a number of sample sequences to help devise a customized practice.

The philosophies behind yoga can foster body positivity by helping you realize that you‘re enough. The central tenets of yoga include nonviolence, contentment, gratitude and self-study.





Sunday, June 30, 2019

June 2019 Reading Round-Up


My reading highlights in June:

Dr Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall by Suzette Mayr

Rereading isn't common for me, but I read four books for a second time in June. Three of them will be mentioned in a future post, and the fourth is this dark and funny novel, which one of my bookclubs discussed recently. It's a lesbian Alice in Wonderland-ish spoof on the politics of academia, set in a fictional university that could very well be the University of Calgary... if the U of C had malevolent buildings infested with jackrabbits.

Books litter part of the hallway, a pile collected against the wall opposite an open office door. A plant flies out of the door, spatters dirt against the wall, peppering the books.
—Fuuuuuuuck, she hears.
Then, —Fuckety fuck McFuckintosh O‘Fuckinstein vanFucklington!
The office belonged to Jack Froese. One of the creative writers.


Edith tried to get a better chair from the faculty lounge and its collection of unused chairs, but the office administrator, Alice Z, caught Edith pushing the chair in transit between the lounge and her office and chided Edith—Edith needed to fill out the appropriate form, and the new chair should be in her office in six to eight months. Thirteen months ago.

Fen: Stories by Daisy Johnson

“He‘d come to her with a story burning so hot in his mouth he couldn‘t help but tell it: the house that fell in love with a girl, the girl that starved into a fish.” In this collection of sly stories all set in same village in the English fenland, words can scald, coming of age can be brutal, and a fox is not necessarily just a fox.

I like cocks, she said, but I‘m trying to be bisexual, even if it doesn‘t take. I think, in this day and age, it‘s wrong to be straight. 

You have to call a hare a langlugs, he‘d said. And you can‘t ever let them on the boat. Not ever.


This Place: 150 Years Retold by Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm and others. [graphic novel format]

I was 17 in the holds queue at Edmonton Public Library, so it was a treat to find this graphic novel on shelf at the Banff Centre when I was there recently. It‘s an outstanding collection of stories by talented Indigenous writers like Chelsea Vowel, Richard Van Camp and Katherena Vermette. What an appealing way to present aspects of Canada‘s history that need to be more widely-known! The timeline prefacing each piece is a valuable component, as is the extensive end matter.

As Indigenous people, we all live in a post-apocalyptic world. The world as we knew it ended the moment colonialism started to creep across these lands. —Alicia Elliott, Foreword 

Glass Beads by Dawn Dumont [Audiobook narrated by Louise Polika]

Interconnected stories follow a pair of multifaceted Saskatchewan Cree women—and their on-again-off-again romantic partners—from childhood into middle age. Dawn Dumont‘s earlier fiction is swaddled in humour. This time around, she takes her gloves off & gets really real, with issues like foster kids, family violence, police brutality, addictions, suicide, and racism. A good choice for OverDrive‘s One eRead Canada program. I'm sorry that I missed Dumont's talk at Edmonton Public Library last week.

He talked fast, leaping over multiple ideas in a single bound. He had a dozen voices as he acted out characters. He was a one-man conversation band.

Spring by Ali Smith

Ali Smith is keeping it surreal, which is her special way of keeping it real. Her prose sings a song of hopeless hope: that we can change; that art somehow makes space for us to breathe; that we can stop being afraid of other people who are different in some ways from ourselves. Heartbreaking beauty that resonates with the truth of our times.

What if, the girl says. Instead of saying, this border divides these places. We said, this border unites these places. This border holds together these two really interesting different places. What if we declared border crossings places where, listen, when you crossed them, you yourself became doubly possible.

What do you do there? her mother said when she‘d been a fortnight into the job.

I‘m a DCO at one of the IRCs employed by the private security firm SA4A who on behalf of the HO run the Spring, the Field, the Worth, the Valley, the Oak, the Berry, the Garland, the Grove, the Meander, the Wood and one or two others too, she said.

Brittany, her mother said. What language are you speaking?

War won‘t stop, the story says. But enmity can. Things can change over time, what looks fixed and pinned and closed in a life can change and open, and what‘s unthinkable and impossible at one time will be easily possible in another.

Don‘t be calling it a migrant crisis, Paddy said. I‘ve told you a million times. It‘s people. It‘s an individual person crossing the world against the odds. Multiplied by 60 million, all individual people, all crossing the world, against odds that worsen every day. Migrant crisis. And you the son of a migrant.

The Deeper the Water, the Uglier the Fish by Katya Apekina

Fraught family dynamics, art, mental illness, obsession, and a time span from the 1960s to the early 22nd century. My favourite aspect of this novel is the layered, wildly varying viewpoints built from multiple sources including letters, interviews, medical notes, phone conversations, plus the main alternating voices of two sisters. Wowsa.

“Don‘t cry,” she says and closes her eyes. 
I hadn‘t realized I was crying. Tears have been leaking out of me since we got here, like my face is incontinent. “I‘m not,” I say and wipe them with her hair.

Feast Your Eyes by Myla Goldberg

Told in multiple voices—interviews, letters, journal entries—plus a daughter‘s reminiscences, this novel is uniquely presented as a museum catalog for a posthumous photo exhibit. Lillian Preston and her art are based (in composite form) on real photographers and images; I could clearly imagine them. I was enthralled by the characters and the central question, which is how a woman can be both artist and mother.

After three years of folk songs, hands-on learning, and Quaker meetings, nothing short of electroshock therapy could have prepared me for public junior high. 

She knew kids had the built-in cuteness of baby animals but that real childhood was what went on underneath.

The Owl Service by Alan Garner

My YA book club voted this one of their favourite novels out of the hundreds we‘ve read. The group actually read it before 2003, which is when I joined, and I‘ve only this year got around to reading it. Now, I understand their love and admiration for this haunting and compelling novel that brilliantly explores personal relationships and societal structure in the UK. Eerie touches of myth and magic in an atmospheric, realistic setting. (Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle was another strong contender in our vote for favourites, and my vote for went to Skellig by David Almond. Now that I've read The Owl Service, the two might be tied.)

"Is it a children‘s book? Of course it is, and of course it‘s not only for children. Nowadays, I‘m very glad to say, children‘s literature is taken seriously by academe, and not dismissed as trivial. The Owl Service is one of the books that made that possible and necessary. 50 years after it was first published, we can see that it was always a classic." -From the introduction by Philip Pullman, 2017

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas [Audiobook narrated by Bahni Turpin]

Speaking of YA, I was dragging my feet about picking this up because The Hate U Give was so good, and who knocks it out of the park twice in a row? Angie Thomas does, that‘s who. Her characters—Bri and her family and friends—are real people to me. I‘m so glad to know them. Bri, you keep on speaking up for yourself! Outstanding audiobook performance by Bahni Turpin.

“Brianna, why don‘t you go have a seat?” she tells me, which is mom-at-church speak for: “Girl, you better go somewhere before I whup your behind.”

Normal People by Sally Rooney

“Connell had just wanted to be normal, to conceal the parts of himself that he found shameful and confusing. It was Marianne who had shown him other things were possible. Life was different after that.” 
I could identify with these two lost souls and I enjoyed the quiet yet inexorable way their relationship unfolded. We all make mistakes and we are all deserving of grace. 

He had thought that being with her would make him feel less lonely, but it only gave his loneliness a new stubborn quality, like it was planted down inside him and impossible to kill.

Denise decided a long time ago that it is acceptable for men to use aggression toward Marianne as a way of expressing themselves. As a child, Marianne resisted, but now she simply detaches, as if it isn‘t of any interest to her, which in a way it isn‘t. Denise considers this a symptom of her daughter‘s frigid and unlovable personality. She believes Marianne lacks warmth, by which she means the ability to beg for love from people who hate her.

Hurricane Child by Kheryn (now Kacen) Callender [Audiobook narrated by Krystel Roche]

Winner of two important LGBTQ awards—Stonewall and Lambda—the primary audience for this first-person tale are readers who are around the same age as the main character, who‘s 12. Caroline Murphy was abandoned by her mother for unknown reasons, is bullied at school, and falls in love with another girl. To set her even further apart, Caroline can see spirits. A heartfelt and memorable story set in the US Virgin Islands. Audiobook is performed by Haitian actress Krystel Roche. Her emotional range—sometimes defiant, sometimes sorrowful—is perfect for this.

Lanny by Max Porter [Audiobook narrated by Annie Adlington, Clare Corbett, David Timson, and Jot Davies]

Mythic nature meets modern English life in this joyous, eerie, propulsive novel about creativity, friendship, and our connections to place. Four different audiobook narrators skillfully perform the kaleidoscopic viewpoints. Think George Saunders‘ Lincoln in the Bardo, Jon McGregor‘s Reservoir 13 and Melissa Harrison‘s At Hawthorn Time.

The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander

A brilliant reimagining of history, with humans able to communicate with elephants using sign language. In this slim yet powerful novella, true facts are mashed together in three alternating storylines. It's Radium Girls plus Topsy the elephant (who really was executed in public on Coney Island) plus the problem of how to warn future generations to stay away from toxic nuclear waste sites. Weird and wonderful, especially the parts from an elephant‘s point of view.

But chains can be snapped, O best beloved mooncalf. Sticks can be knocked out of a Man‘s clever hands. And one chain snapping may cause all the rest to trumpet and stomp and shake like a rain-wind coming down the mountain, washing the gully muddy with bright lightning tusks and thunderous song. 

Dharma Punks by Ant Sang [graphic novel format]

Chopstick, a Chinese New Zealander, is looking for existential answers. He‘s turned to Buddhism and pacifism while he recovers from a painful loss but agrees to help his friends carry out a potentially violent act of political protest. Expressive, atmospheric heavy ink artwork. Set in 1990s Auckland, the ragtag band of punk rock anarchists grabbed me by the heart right from the opening pages. Do our lives matter?