Sunday, June 22, 2008


Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home is #68 on EW’s list of "new classic books" and better yet Bechdel contributes a fine four page color comic “Compulsory Reading” to EW reflecting on both her love of books and her ambivalence toward the dog-eared classics that everyone says are a must-read.
Praying before a library bookshelf “Authors bless me, for I have sinned.”

“It’s been three months since my last novel . And I didn’t even finish that one.”
She admits that she reads “for work” in a panel showing her hand on a copy of Maus as if it were the Bible. It sits atop Persepolis and Jimmy Corrigan. She then goes over her checkered past as a reader, having read Huck Finn for a $5 reward from her father but eschewing the Count of Monte Cristo once she discovered juicier texts like Erica Jong's Fear of Flying.
The comic ends very cleverly with a split panel in which Bechdel pulls Jhumpa Lahiri’s highminded Interpreter of Maladies off the shelf while she thinks the audience is still watching her, but then the second panel shows her opting for Harry Potter having assumed she’s “off camera” and being annoyed to find that we’re still there.

(there's a photo of Bechdel holding the issue in question on her blog, linked above)

Other graphic novels to be listed as "new classic books":
Maus is #7
Watchmen is #13
Persepolis is #36
Sandman is #46

Michale Chabon's novel Kavalier and Klay #53
Jimmy Corrigan #54

It's got nothing to do with comics but a novel I really like Haruki Murakami's
Wind-Up Bird Chronicles lands at #10.

Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic meditation The Road was #1

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