BeListed to DeListed

by Jas Faulkner 

why i hate saturn
Kyle Baker’s comic masterpiece, “Why I Hate Saturn” is one of many graphic novels no longer in print.

I have never been a fan of “best of” lists.  It’s not the subjectivity that gets me.   They always seemed so narrow.  The old sci-fi list books and the current crop of internet sites that are completely devoted to lists  seemed blinkered somehow, whether it was the inclusion or exclusion of certain works or publishers or authors  or in the case of the internet lists, the fact that nothing significant seems to have happened before 1995.  The easy assumption would be laziness on the part of the compilers, but I had to wonder if there was more to it than that.

Last week I got my answer.  An industry site I write for asked sent a request for lists of top fifty graphic novels.  My first response was, “Only fifty?”  It took me about thirty minutes to come up with a list of fifty graphic novels that I would recommend as the best of medium.   I started writing brief entries for each one, explaining why I included them.  Happy that I was so far ahead of the October 30th deadline, I took a break and started working on some other projects.

A couple of days later, I bumped into a colleague online and asked her how was her list coming along.

“Not gonna do it,” she said.  She didn’t care if it entailed getting a mention in a reference book, it just wasn’t worth it. “You are aware that every book on your list has to be in print.”

At that, I nodded and yuh-hunhed.  My list was full of titles that had been shortlisted for and sometimes awarded Nebulas, Ignatzes, Inkpots, Kirbys, Eisners, and so on.  It couldn’t be that hard.   Then I started looking up each title.  My list of fifty was reduced to a list of nineteen.  The thing is, I was not picking obscure collections or rarities.  Many of these books were critics’ favorites that made annual best of lists when they were first released.

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What will the word “book” mean to future generations?

by Jas Faulkner It might seem like a needless bit of sophistry to contemplate the evolution of the definition of  “book.”  We all know what makes up a book, right?  Say the word, “book” and the immediate association for most is still an aggregate of leaves bearing printed information, bound together with front and back … Read more

Subculture Spoken Here! (Hint: They read! You can sell them books!)

by Jas Faulkner Fifteen years ago I was browsing in the graphic novels section at Media Play, a now-defunct retailer in Madison, Tennessee.  I had just picked up a trade paperback of Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, when a young girl who had stepped up to look through the same shelves said, “That’s a good one.” … Read more

Reel Entertainment

by Jas Faulkner

sense-and-sensibility-1995-dvd-cover-1School has been in session for nearly two weeks and Sam and Tab have already hosted their first “Page to Screen” night based on what the kids are reading in class.

“I thought you had those all the time,” I said.

“Oh, we do. But the ones during the school year work a little different from the ones we have in the summer.  We get to pick out our own movies and have giveaways when there’s no school.”

I’ve seen their giveaways. Rather than one expensive thing that everybody covets and only one person gets, they tend to find something they can afford to give to anyone in attendance who wants it.  At the end of their events the crowd leaves with books, bookmarks, and other goodies in hand courtesy of Magnolia Square Books and The TikTok KitKat Cafe.

Of course there is always something the girls and George ask in return.  Sometimes it’s an hour or two everyone’s time for some consciousness raising about diabetes or the environment or aging or fitness  or even a little dose of stealth sensitivity training.  Sometimes the cost for an evening of film, talk, books, and biscuits is a bag of empty recyclables that are loaded into the back of George’s van so he can take them to the recycling center in Jackson the next day. 

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Atticus Revisited


to kill a

by Jas Faulkner

Where there used to be lots of chatter and lots of speculation with just enough nuggets of truth to keep people listening and wondering, now there are memes. Whenever something big happens, there are always quotes pulled from primary sources closest to the event, movies, TV shows, and yes, books.  There is a sameness to this.  We expect to hear from the heroes and the villains who are directly involved  and the pop culture voices that seem to have some ancillary connection and it all starts to run together in a big, colorful, smeary heartfelt collage of words in boxes. 

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Putting Books In Hands

by Jas Faulkner
BookClubSoapI swear, there are days when writing for this site feels like I’ve been jumped in to The Fight Club.

“You can write about this, but you can’t tell where…”

“I would appreciate it if you didn’t reveal my sources for….”

“Just don’t use my name.”

Okay, maybe it’s not exactly like The Fight Club.  After all, I’ve been talking about The Fight Club and the first rule of The Fight Club is you don’t talk about The Fight Club.  To be fair, the former social worker in me gets it.  Stay in the field long enough and you get a mental rolodex going for the official and not-quite-so-official sources for everything anyone might need and there are times when you feel protective of that information.  There is always that fear that someone will not understand the delicate balance that has to be maintained in order to keep that resource available when someone needs it.

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Delusions of Beulah

by Jas Faulkner 

paula paula paula

writer’s note: I had planned this really great photo essay about bookstore dogs and cats.  Then I started to upload my pictures and my CF card failed. While I was at Geek Squad trying to get my pictures, the nice young man who corrects all of my technical SNAFUS asked me if I’d heard about Paula Deen.   I’m rather fond of this kid, as he hails from Detroit and we have a favorite hockey team in common, so  I let it slide that he would think I cared one whit about the doings of La Deen.  

I went back home to find a stack of galleys waiting for me.  On the top of the pile was a new account of the American Civil War as told by a Dominionist historian.  Doing a little research, I found that he’s part of a group of people who envision a rather scrubbed version of  mid-Nineteenth Century America. He, and many people like him (and like our Paula Deen) find 2013 lacking and wish to go back to a simpler time, a time when there was little pushback at the social hierarchy, a time when they could be gentlepeople of refinement and leisure.

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