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Month: August 2008 (page 2 of 3)

reading pyongyang by guy delisle

Post started: 8/7/08:I took my first sojourn with serious graphic literature last summer when I read Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis–an amazing memoir of a Satrapi coming of age in Iran during the cultural revolution. I highly recommend it. This summer, I thought I’d dip back into this fascinating (and under-recognized genre) with another graphic memoir. This time Pyongyang by Guy Delisle. As usual, I’ll post an update as I get into it or once I’ve completed it. I expect it will read quickly.

Update 8/22/08: I finished Pyongyang the day after I started this post but am only now getting back to it. (Prepping for the start of fall semester has got me neglecting the blog a little.) Anyway, I found Pyongyang a dismal, dark, and moving portrait of North Korea’s [singlepic=173,225,225]  from Pyongyangshowcase capital. Delisle paints an austere picture of a place couched in absurd lies, under the yoke of fear and suffocating oppression–but also void of resistance of even the slightest kind and lacking of all human affect. What I found most fascinating about this quick reading graphic novel was its very subtle story arc. Nothing really happens in any very dramatic sense. Rather, Delisle spends much of his time hoping and roaming for much more than there is–in his work there, in the food, the people, the culture. What’s striking is the weight of oppression Delisle himself feels in the memoir and, in turn, the oppression the reader begins to feel. It left me short of breath, as if I was trapped in close quarters–in a closet of darkness–a space too cramped to even turn around freely. The closing panels of the book moved me as Delisle one last time sends a paper airplane from his hotel window toward the Taedong river (a personal ritual he started during his stay). Watching it sail, grabbing the window ledge, “C’mon! Go!” he said.

a couple days at the beach

Earlier this week, we packed up the Jeep and headed to the beach. Up north we went to the Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan. We also checked out Silver Beach in St. Joseph, MI. Silver Beach was free and proved to be more enjoyable than the beach at the dunes actually. The day we went to the dunes, they posted a red flag (meaning hazardous water conditions), which kept us out of the deeper water. We still splashed around in the surf, though, and had fun building sand castles and collecting rocks. Besides the beach, we got some exercise scurrying up a mountain of sand; honestly, I never saw so much sand, and was it hot on the feet. Great fun, though. Aidan really took to the beach and had a blast climbing the dunes.

On our last day, we visited the Curious Children’s Museum in St. Joe’s, and enjoyed a nice breakfast and lunch at a couple of quaint neighborhood restaurants. All in all, a decent excursion for the dog days of summer–and just before school starts again.

We took over 330 pictures in the course of two and a half days–far too many to post here. So, I put together a down-and-dirty slide show with some of the beach highlights. Check it out.

baby bunnies at the neighbors’

Our neighbors discovered a litter of bunnies under their porch the other day. They were nice enough to invite Aidan over to take a closer look. He was even brave enough to hold one. (Yes, there was a little trepidation at first.) Aren’t they cute?

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