|Four points for the home team
||[Nov. 18th, 2012|08:08 pm]
The following four works were each recently published by an author who either currently lives in Seattle, or else did so for a pivotal time in his or her career. I found substantial value in each of them.|
- Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney. I'd only known this talented artist through the charming and upbeat cartoons she published in a local newspaper, and had no idea about her multi-year struggle with bipolar disorder. This book-length cartoon about that experience left me with far greater appreciation for the pain caused by serious mental illness, and it includes some frankly heartbreaking drawings she made during the worst of her depression. It is an important work which I can only assume took courage for her to publish.
- Blasphemy by Sherman Alexie. A collection of short stories, mostly concerning the realities of Native American and/or reservation life, by one of this country's most acclaimed authors. I personally struggled with the fact that I couldn't always figure out what was autobiographical, what was semi-autobiographical, and what was completely non-biographical, but since the entire collection is a work of fiction this is probably more of a quirk on my part than any real criticism of the material.
- The Man Who Bridged the Mist by Kij Johnson. This wonderful story, which I believe would warm the heart of any skilled engineer or craftsman, won both the Nebula and the Hugo awards in 2012 for best novella. It's available for anyone to read, free of charge, at http://www.kijjohnson.com/MistBridge.doc
- Science Left Behind by Alex B. Berezow and Hank Campbell. This book argues that undermining science isn't just done by the political right, but also by the political left. Although this book is by no means perfect, I found its analysis of the common underpinnings between vaccine conspiracy theories and the increasingly unreasonable health food superstitions of wealthy urbanites to be a breath of fresh air. It's provocative, and well worth reading.