Thursday, June 5, 2008

Avant-garde reads

We have a couple of new books that fall on the edge of the spectrum, but if you are open to something a little different, you should give them a try.

Bandersnatch, edited by Paul Tremblay and Sean Wallace is a collection of 12 very, very odd stories. There are no strong plots or standard dialogues in this anthology. Instead, you get a series of musings and mental images, paragraphs that seem like poetry in prose form, and an overall tone of darkness and foreboding. Above all, these stories have a surrealistic feel to them, almost as if they were the literary equivalent of a Salvador Dali painting. This book probably won't appeal to everyone, but are worth the time for an adventuresome reader.

Students for a Democratic Society: a graphic history seems a little tame in comparison to Bandersnatch, but it does involve some revolutionary characters. Part memoir, part history, the bulk of this book was written by legendary comic artist Harvey Pekar and drawn by Gary Dumm. The contributions by former SDS members were edited by Paul Buhle, who was the founding editor of the SDS journal Radical America. You're obviously not going to get an objective, academic perspective on SDS activities from a book with these credentials, but it was an important part of American history, and since the under-30 group seems to gravitate easily towards graphic novels, its an enjoyable way to learn more about where their parents are coming from.

No comments: