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Old 05-24-2011, 06:02 PM   #9495
ATDrake
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Finished two library books about notable persons.

The first was Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón, who've also done graphic novel versions of various historical/political things for quasi-academic publisher Hill & Wang.

For some reason, the "Authorized" part of the subtitle is in italics. I'd wonder if there was a spate of unauthorized versions enough to cause authentification problems, but then I remember I have a thoroughly cracktastic Edu-Manga biography of Anne Frank lying around somewhere, with comments by Dr. Slump, creator of the robot cat Doraemon.

Anyway, this was about what you'd expect from an official version. Emphasis on Anne's cheery, upbeat personality and sensitivity and perceptiveness, plus some historical context on the Nazi rise to power and how it affected her family.

A decent intro for people looking for a reasonably detailed but not particularly in-depth Holocaust-related comic book. Personally, as biographies go, Jacobson and Colón's volume in the same series on Che Guevara is done better, and their Vlad Tepes aka Dracula graphic biography for a different imprint is considerably more cracktastic and thus, entertaining. Mild recommend.

And then finally finished up a book which I'd had paused at the 3/4 mark for a number of weeks: Morgan Llywelyn's Brendán: The Remarkable Life and Voyage of Brendán of Clonfert, One of the Most Beloved of Irish Saints, which is just what is says in the very long subtitle.

This is a historical fiction retelling of St. Brendan's life from a small boy, recounted part in flashback, part in journal entries as he writes up his famous voyage.

While the prose is well-written and moderately interesting in chapter-length doses, the actual book itself suffers from a lack of well, tension. Sure, there's the "man against himself" plot as Brendan struggles a little with coming to terms with his faith, but it's all very slow and staid and frankly not very exciting, though the journal entries of the sea voyage do liven things up a bit.

Mind you, there's an awesome bit where they visit Iceland while the volcanoes are erupting* and the monks are all like "Oh noes, we have glimpsed into the mouth of Hell and the Pit of Bubbling Liquid Fire just ate one of our brethren who was not moving fast enough!!!!!"

But aside from that, best enjoyed if you have an overwhelming interest in slowly unfolding contemplative fictionalized depictions of the history of Irish Christian faith as seen from one man's gradual development of it.

Otherwise, stick to Llywelyn's much more entertaining regular Celtic historical and fantasy novels.

* Fun fact: the Icelandic volcano Hekla is called that because medieval people thought it was the entrance to Hell. Also, it killed a lot of people the last time it erupted.
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