Books Aloud – April 2007

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A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
Howard Zinn
City Lights
Street: 12.01.06
Howard Zinn is a genius. A Power Governments Cannot Suppress will be the most enlightening and powerful thing that I will read all year. The majority of the book is made up of columns that Zinn wrote for Progressive over the past few years. Overall, this collection is the perfect companion to his best selling work, A People’s History of the United States. Zinn has penned insightful essays about the US’s occupation in Iraq, immigration laws, the importance of dispelling the myth of WWII as a "good war" (because lets face it, everything about war is inherently bad) and most of all he pushes readers to question what they have been taught all of their lives. This is a must read for anyone struggling to right the wrong that they see in this post-9/11 world. Zinn sums it up best when he says, "small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can quietly become a power no government can suppress, a power than can transform the world." Brilliant. –Jeanette Moses

Fantagraphics Books
Street: 01.31
This beautifully bound and illustrated book fills its pages with the prompt that each artist capture a creature from mythological or folkloric storytelling; the cultural entities—"still thriving or extinct"—that fill our closets and deep recesses of our minds. The product is outstanding in its anecdotal accounts of beast history, stretching from the well known beasts—The Unicorn and Loch Ness Monster—to the bizarre—Bapets ("Malefic females…last recorded in the North American deserts of southwestern Utah and southeastern Nevada…said to prey on humans (particularly small children), the Bapets lure toddlers to suckle, then poison them with their lethal milk."); breathtaking in its artwork, artists from every discipline participate, Keith Andrew Shore and Kenneth Lavallee are among the few greats throughout. Beasts! is a perfect coffee table book that will leave anyone deeply enthralled and entertained in the myth culture that thrives off the fears and fascinations of civilizations. –Senator Spencer

Escape From "Special"
Miss Lasko-Gross
Fantagraphic Books
Street: 03.14
We have all been there and done that concerning our high school days; we hated them and they hated us and to have another coming-of-age book of any kind rehashing that theme of "growing up" and toughing it seems like one too many. But what we have here with Escape From "Special" (and what I think is so great about it) is not your typical view of the growing up process. First, it ends right before Miss Lasko Gross gets to high school. Second, they are vignettes of a semi-autobiographical nature that show (not tell) the story of a precocious young girl who is different and isn’t trying to cash-in the chip on her shoulder. Instead, she shows, sometimes rather awkwardly, those true moments of growing up. All this is told in an abrupt fashion revealing her love of horror films, not believing in God and having hippie-dippie parents who make her go to a psychiatrist. Her style is confessional and diaristic without being "dashboard confessional" and her colors and tones are dark (as in humor). Fantagraphics can do no wrong. –Erik Lopez


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