It’s been ages since I’ve covered anything of any literary value, so if you’ve been waiting in anticipation, today is your lucky day! I cover not one, not three, but two, that’s right, two books!
The first book I finished was a graphic novel I picked up at Free Comic Book Day called The Year of Loving Dangerously. It’s a graphic memoir (hey, that’s what it says on the cover) of the political cartoonist Ted Rall. Unlike many other graphic novels about this cartoonists early years, which tend to be about how miserable and sexless their lives are, Ted’s early years were at times miserable, but unlike many of his fellow cartoonists, the last thing he lacked was sex. After a freak medical accident which caused him to miss his final college exams, and a couple of professors who refused to allow him to write them at a later date, Ted finds himself evicted and out on the street. After a few nights spent in an empty storage room, he ends up keeping a young lady company for the night, mostly because he “needed a bed”. What turned out to be a one night stand with a random girl soon becomes a way to survive while he tries to put the pieces of his life back together.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I’ve read a lot of books about the lives of cartoonists, and for the most part, they tend to almost wallow in self loathing, usually because no matter how successful they become in their careers, their love lives usually go the way of the dodo. It’s refreshing to read about a cartoonist that can actually get laid. Oh, and it’s also great to see him overcome his many trials and tribulations, usually in quite unexpected (and sometimes illegal) ways. Unfortunately the art isn’t fantastic, but the strength of the story more than makes up for it.
The second book I finished is a book called Don’t tell Mom I work on the rigs, she thinks I’m a piano player in a whorehouse. An autobiography written by Paul Carter, it tells of his many crazy tales while working on oil rigs, and the times in between these insane adventures. He travels from Asia, to Africa, to the Middle East, returning from time to time to his home country, Australia, for some R and R.
I’m beginning to think that I’m either crazy, or I aspire to be. Almost every book I’ve read and enjoyed recently was about someone who is either mentally unstable, a drug addict, or in some cases both. I didn’t even notice this trend until my sister took a look at my bookshelf and pointed out that all the people I read about are “fucked up”. Personally I think everyone is fucked up, but I do agree that the people in the books I read tend to be a bit more screwed up than most. Don’t tell Mom definitely falls into this category, and I absolutely loved it. As a result I ploughed through it’s 200 odd pages in a couple of trips on the train, and am considering getting the next book which picks up at the end of this one. The only thing that I am worried about is that the next book will have the same problem as Russel Brand’s My Booky Wook 2. This problem is that it might feel like a retelling of the first book with slightly different characters and events, (although to give My Booky Wook 2 some credit, it did get ridiculously funny towards the end). But that’s something to worry about later. Don’t tell Mom is definitely a worthwhile read if you like crazy people living crazy lives, or are maybe just looking for something exciting and different to read.