Aya de Yopougonby Marguerite Abouet, illustrated by Clément Oubrerie ★★★★½ Source: Municipal library Series: Aya (1 of 6) Edition: Gallimard Jeunesse (2005), French edition, Hardcover, 112 pages Original publication date: 2005
Glad I finally picked up this first book in a series highly recommended by a member of LT a few years ago. Set in 1978, it tells the story of Aya, the most beautiful girl in Yopougon—a popular section of Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast—and of her friends and their families. Though she gets plenty of unwanted attention for her looks (make that harassment), Aya is serious about her studies and contrary to her father’s wishes, wants to become a doctor and have her own career and help people instead of trying to find a rich husband, unlike her girlfriends who only think about going dancing in open air nightclubs and fooling around with men to both tragic and very funny effect. I really felt I was transported to another time and to an Africa beyond all the warring and the famines we see in the news and to what everyday living must be like for young city people like Aya. But what makes this graphic novel shine are the drawings; full of energy and colour and hilariously expressive. No sooner had I finished this first book that I hurried to reserve the second, third and fourth in the series from my local library. Highly recommended (and also available in English translation).
Uh oh, I’ve been lax. Didn’t realize nearly two weeks have gone by since my last post. The thing is I have a bunch posts lined up in the draft stages, if only I could just get them edited and out there. I found today’s video following a conversation I was just having with a dear friend on LibraryThing. She’s been let go from work recently and very understandably having a hard time of it. Like me, she’s been living on her own for a long time, and was saying that she masks the fact that she talks to herself by pretending to address her cat. I talk to my pets all the time, but I don’t think it makes it look any better. At least when you talk to yourself, you’re talking to a relatively logical being who understands the language you speak. Anyway, I googled “talking to myself video” and came up with the following, which I thought was pretty funny:
I saw this video some time ago originally, but someone just reposted in on LibraryThing today and I thought I should share it with those who might have not yet been introduced to the wonderful new BOOK concept.
This little gem of a sketch had been sitting in my inbox, overlooked for the past few months. Good thing I finally decided to sort out my emails before trashing the lot, as would have been a real shame to miss this one. Something tells me my mum will enjoy it, but I watched it three times myself and am still cracking up!
A Puppy Bookmark: how clever is that? Now I’m thinking I should teach this trick to Coco. He lies by my side or right on top of me when I’m reading anyway, and this could really work with larger tomes to avoid wrist sprain.
FYI this is also quite literally a placeholder while I slave away at my Best Of/Worst Of list of 2011 books, which I can’t seem to whittle down enough to make for a short & sweet post. So expect a long and detailed one. In other words: a book lover’s delight.
The Crows of Pearblossom by Aldous Huxley, illustrated by Sophie Blackall ★★★½
Mr. and Mrs. Crow, who have a nest in a cotton-wood tree in Pearblossom, haven’t had much luck so far when it comes to growing their family. Every time Mrs. Crow has laid an egg, it has disappeared before getting a chance to hatch. When, coming home early from her errands on day, Mrs. Crow catches the rattlesnake who lives at the bottom of the tree eating her latest egg, she tells her husband he must go and kill the snake. Mr. Crow isn’t sure this is a good idea, so he consults his friend Mr. Owl, who comes up with a brilliant plan to teach the snake a lesson he is likely never to forget. A fun and slightly wicked story by the author best known for Brave New World, this was Huxley’s only children’s story, which he wrote as a gift for his niece Olivia, who had moved to Pearblossom, California with her parents. Bright and cheerful illustrations by Sophie Blackall. (click on cover to view larger) Continue reading →