Friday, May 31, 2013

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse: May 2013

Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.  If you wish to add your own review to the conversation, please sign on to the link list at the end of my post.

Title: Aline and the Others
Author and Artist: Guy Delisle
Image via R-Galaxy

Guy Delisle is a Quebecois creator best known for his travel narratives.  My Wife has been working her way through his books over the past several months, including one in the original French.  Aline was her least favorite so far but it seemed a good one for me to start with because it is the shortest, only 72 pages.  Such a lazy man am I!

Aline collects 26 short, wordless comic stories, entitled with women's names from A to Z.  "Aline" is the first, "ZoĆ©" the last.  The stories offer a deeply twisted exploration of female sexuality.  I won't kid you.  There's a lot of sex in this book - not for children.  However, it's far from sexy - more a visual approximation of what it would look like if figures in abstract sculpture decided to get it on.

Not all of the stories are about sex.  Francine is a small child, sitting crying on the floor.  Her tears run out so she storms off to the kitchen for a glass of water.  Her fluids replenished, she goes back to the same spot and resumes crying.  Irene manages to remove her arms while examining herself in the mirror, much to her own amusement.  The rest of her story recounts her struggle to get them back on.

Delisle did create a companion volume from the male perspective: Albert and the Others.  While Aline is amusing, I can't say I'm particularly interested in reading more of the same.  I will reserve judgement of Delisle's work in general until I've read his travel works.

Are you eager to share your own review of a book you enjoyed over the past month?  Please sign on to the link list below.  I'll keep the list open until the end of the day.  Future meetings shall be held on the final Friday of each month.  June's bloghop is thus set for June 28th - new link list to be posted tomorrow.


39 comments:

  1. Um. I'm a little weirded about your choice ... ? :D

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    1. Ha! So weirded out, I can't even write. I meant, 'weirded out by your choice.'

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    2. Weirded out in a bad way?

      That was more or less my wife's reaction, too. In truth, I'm not reading a lot of "books" apart from comic books these days but graphic novels are handy because they read quickly - a lot of good stuff out there, too.

      I was a little worried about offending people with a book that is, admittedly, a bit dirty. But if folks were to actually read it, I think they'd find it's not so scandalous.

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    3. It's not an offensive choice to profile -- I'm not *that* squeamish. :) But kinda weirded out in the way that sometimes happens when you're reading something and you're intrigued and then you get to stuff that makes you shake your head and think, 'what bizarre, twisted author-indulgence did I just step into!'

      That happened to me in the last year with a Piers Anthony novel that had a truly gripping premise -- narrated by Death. I almost finished the book but got irrevocably derailed when Satan gets his jollies slapping a succubus on the glossy rear after a virgin was being sacrificed to a dragon.

      That sort of thing.

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    4. "I almost finished the book but got irrevocably derailed when Satan gets his jollies slapping a succubus on the glossy rear after a virgin was being sacrificed to a dragon."

      You had a problem with that??

      ;-)

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    5. Can you imagine, babe?

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    6. Piers Anthony - love that guy, though I haven't read any of his books in ages.

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    1. Perhaps so. I've never read Ionesco myself but "Theatre of the Absurd" sounds about right for some of these sketches.

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    2. Hmm... I may need to learn more.

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  3. I'd like to challenge myself and get a hold of the original French version to read. I took six years of French- but because I seldom use it, I am forgetting most of what I've learned. Looking forward to seeing what other books everyone chose to share today! Thanks for hosting Squid.

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    1. This one is essentially wordless but I'll send some of the other titles your way. French is actually a better language for exploring comics than English. How's your Japanese?

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  4. I'm glad somebody put forth a graphic novel. Aside from Persepolis (which I loved) I don't know this genre well. So thanks!

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    1. I'm sure to post about more - quite a number of graphic novels in the to-read stacks at the moment.

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  5. I own Persepolis, and that's as close as I have gotten to reading a graphic novel. I have one on my shelf! This one looks really weirdly fascinating, and I'd never have heard of it if you hadn't mentioned it. A GRAPHIC graphic novel!

    Aline looks like she has a hairy chest. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

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    1. I think those are meant to be freckles on Aline's chest.

      Persepolis is wonderful. The movie's excellent, too.

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  6. I don't read many graphic novels, either. I would totally detach my arms some days, provided I could get them back on, as it sounds like an excellent way to avoid most of the more annoying household chores.

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    1. That would be great! "I'd love to do the dishes, dear, but darn it, my arms have popped out again. Yes, I really should use the ointment the doctor gave me but I lost the tube behind the dresser. Can't move the dresser - no arms."

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  7. Funny, because when I started reading what you wrote about the book you chose, I thought of the film "Throw Mama from the Train." In it, there's a student who wants to write a coffee table book about all the women he's ... ahem... enjoyed. Although French is my second language, I think I'll pass on this one. Interesting choice, though!

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    1. It's been so long since I've seen that movie - not since it was in theaters, I don't think. I don't remember the coffee table book.

      If French comics might be of interest to you, better than this one are the works of Joann Sfar. Start with The Rabbi's Cat.

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    2. Thanks for the recommendation!

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    3. No problem. I figure that's a big part of why we're doing this.

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  8. Like I've said before, I applaud you for going outside your comfort zone... and taking the time to profile things that end up not being your cup of tea.

    The art style may not be my cup of tea either, but Aline's big smile on the cover is kind of endearing.

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    1. They can't all be winners. This one isn't a bad book - as you say, not my cup of tea.

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  9. Man, Squid, major kudos for putting this together but yours might be the only book I've stumbled across that I might not seek out!! Is that wrong? I can read books outside of my usual comfort zone but comics and graphic novels MUST adhere to all of my preconceived notions!!!

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    1. Of course, it's not wrong! I know how you feel about the medium.

      If you are ever up for an adventure, there are other directions I'd steer you in first.

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  10. While this book might not necessarily be my thing I may check his other stuff out.

    Thanks for hosting!

    Melissa Ann at My Creatively Random Life

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    1. My pleasure, Melissa. I'm glad you're participating. I hope you will check out Delisle's other work - and share your thoughts once you do.

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  11. I'm going to be a day late on the club. :/ It's funny, before I started getting involved with blogging and writing etc, I thought I was more well-read than the average Joe/Josephine. Now, everyday I come across something totally new. Of course, that's a good thing, right?

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    1. I think so - more or less the idea here.

      Plus, I have no doubt that the average blogger - yourself included - is most certainly better read than the average Joe/Jo. Bloggers love to write largely because they love to read.

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  12. Well, doubled bah! I did post a review recently, just not today.

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  13. I love reading travel narratives. William Least Heat-Moon (best known for Blue Highways) is my favorite of that breed.

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    1. I like them, too. The Armchair Squid is all about living vicariously through others!

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  14. Damn - sorry, I forgot all about this! I need to have a better way of remembering to participate so I don't miss it next time ;)

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    1. No worries, mate!

      Step 1 is to sign up for June, Trisha.

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  15. But I also posted some mini-reviews earlier in May ;)

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