Thursday, January 5, 2012

Book Talk Thursday #1: LIFE SUCKS

(Image via Jessica Abel)
As an alternative to reviews, I'm going to be posting a series of book talks to share the books that I've read and loved lately. Book talks can be straightforward descriptions of the novel, but a popular method is to share the perspective of one of the characters.  They're similar to book trailers, but I usually find book trailers disappointing. My expectations of a trailer were formed by Hollywood, and there's no way that any reader, teacher or librarian can meet those expectations with their own creations.  Also, book trailers give you visuals that might not match up with what you would envision in reading the book. If you see a book trailer before you read the book, it's like watching a movie before reading the book. You never get the chance to imagine the characters before you see someone else's imagined version of them.

Book talks are usually done by a librarian to grab the interest the K-12 set. But there's no reason that book talks should be reserved for those under 18, right? Today, I'm talking about the 2008 graphic novel Life Sucks, by Jessica Abel, from the perspective of the protagonist's love interest.


  1. If I hadn't read this one already, I'd run right out and get it!! It's pretty interesting, though, to consider the story from Rosa's point of view. Also I'm thinking that a vampire story where the main character never really figures out she's in a vampire story could be interesting. Did you read "La Perdida"? It is good, too.

  2. Pat! Long time no comment. I liked how Abel played with the conventions of a vampire story. I read "La Perdida" and also thought it was great. But I didn't really enjoy reading it like I did "Life Sucks." It was really well told, but so depressing.

  3. haha it hasn't been that long :/ I remember telling somebody once that comics are so fun to read, there must be something wrong with it, but "La Perdida" is depressing as HELL. But, I admire how densely written/drawn it is and how much it makes you feel "there". I think comics is just a very powerful format for presenting a travelogue.

    p.s. I will comment more in the future!!

  4. Oh, I was just giving you a hard time about commenting. Pay no mind.

    I think graphic novels/comics are a powerful format for presenting just about any story. I'm hard pressed to come up with one that would be weakened by being presented in that format.

    I wish I were artistically talented, because I'd love to do a graphic novel. But lacking that, I'm not sure how authors and artists collaborate. It seems like it'd be really tough to integrate the work of two people side by side. That's why Jessica Abel rules--she can do both!

  5. You know, I didn't always feel this way, but more and more it's the collaborative aspect of comic books that intrigues me, whereas once it was how, I dunno, "self-contained" the operation of making a comic could be. But...I do think when people work in collaboration, creatively, things happen that would never happen otherwise, MAGICAL things. As for the challenges involved...well, that can be part of the fun of it, too, but I think a good artist understands that the he or she is in the service of the writer, just as the art is in the service of the writing.