What I Read Last Week – 1/16



What I Read Last Week

The last time I watched The Bachelorette was when this guy was a contestant (~2003). #stopaskingmeaboutthebachelorette 

What I Read Last Week:

Llamas with Hats 8 : If I sent this to you in this last week that was because I care about you + swans. And zoo books.

Saturday in the City


This weekend, I took a trip into New York City. I take for granted the fact that I can take a train for reasonably cheaply into New York and be swimming in a variety of exhibits, sights, and sounds. With summer class over, I said enough was enough on Saturday and took the train to, essentially, eat and sight see. I also wanted to see if I could finally get into the Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library.

Great Success!

In some ways, visiting the Schwarzman Building of was nicer than visiting the Library of Congress. For one – I finally completed what was becoming a epic quest of battling weather/hours/dragons to get into the Library. Another is that the Library of Congress is exclusively meant for the Congress and thus there are more restrictions on what one can see. At the Schwarzman Building, visitors were free to wander the public reading rooms and halls, as New Yorkers are able to.


Patience and Fortitude
I didn’t get any pictures of the inside of the building. It’s best experienced rather than pictured? (Also, I just didn’t care.) Perfectly fated though, the Library had an exhibit up about the importance of children’s books, of which I took many pictures.


The exhibit took the viewer through the history of children’s books, highlighted some sensations, and acknowledged different facets of children’s bookship. There was a great display about censorship and banned books.



“Where the Wild Things Are” – One inside was painted Max’s Crown Gold and the other was Wild Thing Hairy.

And unexpectedly, there were a few sections highlighting comic books and graphic novels! Specifically, they looked at how comic books were initially perceived by librarians – i.e. inappropriate for children and for any reader.



Awesome to see the X-men represented.



Will Eisner’s “The Contract with God” (1978) is often noted as the first graphic novel.blankets

Craig Thompson’s “Blankets” (2003) under the glass, noted for changing the 21st century perception of illustrative storytelling.

After all that, I just bopped around the city. I made it down to The Strand and bought a birthday present for a friend, ate ice cream in Bryant Park and a burger Shake Shack (over-rated). Overall, an excellent celebration to summer class ending and getting to savor summer for a little bit longer before classes resume in September.



MoCCA 2013


Back in April, I volunteered at MoCCA Arts Fest – an annual festival held by the Society of Illustrators and the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in New York City. It was an interesting experience in terms of attending a graphic arts festival and volunteering. The festival was small, and showcased many homegrown, DIY graphic artists and publishers. If you were looking for capes, storm troopers, or one of the big two, this was not the festival for you. There was a greater focuses on the artistic nature of graphic art and a little on storytelling. The biggest publishers in attendance were the likes of First Second Books and the Pantheon imprint. The management of the volunteers was a little disorganized, but overall the festival for attendees was intimate and affordable ($12 at the door/$15 for the weekend). Professionally, I’m not sure if I would add this to my list of conferences and festivals to attend for collection development purposes like the New York City Comic Con, but it was an eye-opening experience for identifying other components, like the smaller publishers and imprints, to keep in mind.

My Heart is an Idiot

My Heart Is An Idiot

Too Beautiful To Live originally broadcasted on KIRO Radio in Washington, but got pulled and was re-purposed as a podcast. The programming is often a mix of the host’s interests (Luke guests on Wait…Wait…Don’t Tell Me!), what’s going on Seattle, some current events (although the current events can range from pop news to politics), and various intriguing guests. One show, Luke had a conversation with Davy Rothbart, founder of Found magazine and contributor to This American Life, and they discussed his newly released book My Heart is an Idiot.

Davy Rothbart has had a wild ride, and his heart really is an idiot. But he has a very big, idiotic heart. Rothbart binds this collection of essays together with the lovable sense of humor and disappointment. He has awoken naked in New York City and has found a dead body in a swimming pool after cheating on his girlfriend. He’s killed elk roadkill off of the road. He ridden in a burning hot, lifted car with a 100+-year-old man, his great-great granddaughter, her ex-son-in-law and his pregnant girlfriend, a Canadian car thief, and a Chinese family on Valentine’s Day. And amidst these adventures, Rothbart falls hopelessly and terribly in love.

He falls in love with the young woman he meets on the bus to New York City after 9/11. He falls in love with a “woman” over the phone in a hotel room. He falls in love with a Vietnam veteran. My Heart is an Idiot is necessary about romantic love, but the love relationships that we find ourselves in. Of course the book is peppered with the failed trappings of Rothbart’s love life, but the most beautiful stories are the ones where he is not in pursuit of a woman. The most beautiful are the ones where he falls in love with moments, places and humanity. Rothbart lives with a big, open heart.

The strongest stories for me were The Human Snowball, New York, New York, and How I Got These Boots. But really, it doesn’t matter whether you read one or all of Rothbart’s essays. He knows how to balance a story with humor, emotions, and purpose. Rothbart is a tremendous storyteller whose stories will linger in your brain for years to come.

Still not convinced? Here is the book trailer.

Thumbs: 2 out of 2.