Friday, November 24, 2017

Cephalopod Coffeehouse: November 2017

Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the works 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: The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984
Author and Artist: Riad Sattouf
via Amazon
This is the first of two volumes of Riad Sattouf's graphic novel childhood memoir.  Sattouf spent parts of his childhood in France (his mother's homeland), Syria (his father's) and Libya.  As such, he provides a vivid contrast between the first and third worlds of the late '70s/early '80s.  France seems like a paradise compared to the frequent power outtages, poor water and sanitation and sketchy governments of the Arab world. 

While the cross-cultural experiences are certainly interesting, the more interesting story is the drama within Riad's own home.  His father is quite a colorful character: ambitious and a bit rough around the edges.  At times he comes across as almost progressive but he is not shy in expressing his bigotry towards Jews and he has a surprisingly sympathetic view towards Arab dictators.  Riad's mother's story is darker.  He hasn't said as much yet but she appears to be heading towards a severe depression.

The artwork is minimalist, yet engaging.  Sattouf likes potty humor, which I do not but it's infrequent.  I'm definitely interested in the second book which covers 1984-85.  A third book is scheduled to be released soon as well.

Please join us and share your own review of your best read from the past month.  This month's link list is below.  I'll keep it open until the end of the day.  I'll post December's tomorrow.  Meetings are the last Friday of each month.  Next gathering is December 29th.


18 comments:

  1. I swear, you find the most interesting graphic novels. This sounds a bit too intense for me, but I like knowing it's out there, in case I want to stretch myself.

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    1. Let's give credit where it is due. My wife is the one with the nose for the good stuff in graphic novels, and many other things.

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  2. I would read this. I am partial to some potty humour, although it can be too infantile. And I am drawn to the use of orange in the cover. I haven't finished my review yet, because I haven't quite finished reading the book! By tonight or tomorrow, with apologies, we had a poorly granddaughter to tend this week. (Chest infection, not serious.)

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    1. I hope your granddaughter is feeling better.

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    2. She is - now I'm poorly! Going to have a glass of wine and an early night - but I've (kind of) done a review first.

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    3. Ugh. Hope YOU feel better. Wine and sleep sounds like good medicine.

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  3. It certainly sounds better than my current read.

    You know, my local comic doesn't carry any of this stuff. :/

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    1. You need a Drawn & Quarterly branch in your area!

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  4. This sounds interesting though I'm not into graphic novels.

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    1. So you say... I'm going to try to sell you on Locke & Key.

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  5. Not so interested. Sorry !
    Enough bigotry in the world today I rather not read about more.
    Glad you enjoyed it.

    cheers, parsnip and mandibles

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    1. I agree it can be rough. But it is interesting to learn how deep it can run.

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  6. Sounds interesting and reminds me a bit of Persepolis. Though I don't seem to remember any potty humor...
    Best,
    Veronica :)

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    1. It's difficult not to compare books like this to Persepolis and yet the comparison always seems unfair. As I think I have said to you before, I consider Persepolis to be the one must-read in the graphic novel genre. So no, this one is not as good.

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  7. This does sound intriguing. I wouldn't expect there to be potty humor in it- just from the cover and topic- but I guess it really can show up anywhere. I don't mind potty humor in small doses. Thanks for sharing. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. I suppose it's small doses. Let's just say it makes me grateful to live in a country with good sanitation.

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  8. Sounds like this book (and the series in general) would give intriguing insight into a few different worlds.

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