Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Stay-at-home shelfie #40

On to a bookshelf that's filled with numerous volumes of collected comics and graphic novels, plus some books related to movies, TV and games. Let's focus on just one of the books in today's snapshot: My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris. I read it (absorbed might be the better word) over a month during the summer of 2017. I could have sworn I wrote about it somewhere upon completion, but I can't find anything. Suffice to say: I can't recommend it highly enough. Nor can fellow graphic novel author Mari Naomi (another favorite of mine), who raved: "This might be the best book I've ever read."

Or take this summary from Lily Hoang, writing in the Los Angeles Review of Books:
"My praise for My Favorite Thing Is Monsters may seem hyperbolic, but I promise you that to call the book a masterpiece, a magnum opus, a work of genius is in fact to undersell it. We need bigger words of praise. We need to go in search of monsters. Young Karen Reyes’s world may be unfair and full of pain, but My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is resplendent. It shatters its categorization as a 'graphic novel,' and becomes literature, pure and simple (although not so pure, not so simple)."
And the fact that this work even exists is a bit of a miracle, as noted in The New York Times and this excerpt from NPR:
"If this sounds like a wild story, so is the tale of how Ferris came to write it. She was a 40-year-old single mom who supported herself doing illustrations when she was bitten by a mosquito, she contracted West Nile virus, became paralyzed from the waist down, and lost the use of her drawing hand. Fighting chronic pain, she taught herself to draw again, then reinvented herself as a graphic novelist, spending six long years creating what's clearly an emotional autobiography."
The long-awaited sequel is tentatively scheduled for September 2021. It will be worth the wait. And if for whatever reason it is never published, Ferris has left us with an incredible and emotional accomplishment within the art and form of the graphic novel. And literature.

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