Books I Did Not Finish (DNF) | no. 1 | Jan 2018

I’ve talked a lot about the books that I finish reading in the month. But I never actually talk about the books I don’t. I’ve said in YouTube videos that I’m a huge user of my public library. Every month I check out dozens of new(ish) graphic novels and comic books to peruse. I’ll usually take them home (or bring them to work), read a chapter or two, and then if they don’t grab me, put them down.

I pick up too many books to read them all. But, I still want the opportunity to look at as many books (especially the art) as I possibly can. I love sequential art! Did I tell you that?!

I find that the few chapters I read are usually enough to inform me on the series. I don’t feel like I’ve wasted my time, and I get to do the thing that I love most… look at as much art as is humanly possible. The only real problem (and I have yet to solve it) is that books weigh so much. I hate the hassle of carrying them to-and-fro!

Anyways, here’re some of the titles I picked up this month that I didn’t read until the end, and WHY I chose not to.

What was the last book you DNF’d??

 

The Bloody Monday Murders, volume 1 : All Hail, God Mammon / by Jonathan Hickman: I read about 1 chapter/issue. Intriguing concept: it starts with an alternative “suggestion” to why businessmen were “jumping” to their deaths after the stock market crash. But, the font was too small, the art too dense for my liking, and it’s occultism/science fiction-y-ness are things I’m rarely interested in reading about. This gets high ratings on GoodReads, but I just wasn’t in the mood for it at the time. I might pick this up again in the future.

Shattered Warrior by Sharon Shinn and Molly Knox Ostertag: I read about 3/4 of Shattered Warrior (and so counted it “read” on GoodReads). Shattered Warrior unfortunately had an immediately weak showing as a “graphic” novel being obviously written by someone more practiced at writing prose (this is NOT necessarily a bad thing). But having no previous exposure to the author before picking this up, I could tell immediately (this IS a bad thing). There is a different pattern or cadence to writing for graphic novels that prose novelists seem to have the hardest time in figuring out — they’re too close to the art form. They try to do too much using words that the art should be able to handle — this, for example, had an immediate case of “tell” instead of “show” which is never a good sign in the first couple of pages. Your art is the “show” — it shouldn’t require the “tell.” The art was fair, but felt static, likely due to the prose it was attempting to highlight.

The Abominable Mr. Seabrook / by Joe Ollmann: I didn’t know this was going to be a biography about a cannibal. It looks interesting, but I think will require more concentration and mental strength than I’m willing to offer it at the moment. I might pick this up in the future though.

The Best American Comics 2017 / edited by Ben Katchor: I read a selection — a disappointing (and often illegible) curation. Also, the statement by the editor inferring Canada and Mexico as inferior countries is enough to make me avoid any of his future work. This statement (even as satire) was out of place, and completely devalues and demeans the artists from those “inferior” countries that were selected for this publication. I was unimpressed, to say the least.

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