Author: Robert Kirkman
Title: The Walking Dead (Volume 21): All Out War Part Two
Illustrator: Charlie Adlard
Publication Info: Image Comics (2014)
I’ve put off continuing to read The Walking Dead series because it seems to have run out of ideas. There’s only so many times you can read about the survivors of the zombie apocalypse fighting one another to the death. And the current villain Negan has really run his course.
So thankfully this volume has some good things to offer as Negan is finally defeated. This volume is also very slender, so at least the “all out war” isn’t drawn out. Actually, Rick’s big speech about how they’ve learned to live with the constant threat of the dead around them and now it’s time to stop fighting and work toward rebuilding society seems to be a commentary on the comics series itself. It seems to me that a story about the survivors facing the challenge of rebuilding without relying on the easy plot of the violent antagonist (whether it be from outside or within the group) is an interesting story to tell. Now let’s see if Kirkman and co. can do it.
Author: Michael Chabon
Title: Manhood for amateurs : the pleasures and regrets of a husband, father, and son
Narrator: Michael Chabon
Publication Info: HarperCollins, 2009
This book collects together essays by author Michael Chabon about being a husband, father, and son. Particularly his efforts to avoid the cliches of masculinity in these roles. I can relate to his sensitive and introspective thoughts on fatherhood. One particularly interesting essay discusses the loss of wildness in childhood (much like the concerns of Free Range Kids’ Lenore Skenazy). This goes beyond children being able to wander around outside though as Chabon discusses how fart jokes in children’s books and movies have allowed adults to gentrify what once was a means for children to rebel against the grown-up world. Other essays are less relatable such as the uncomfortable reminiscences of his early sexual encounters with much older women. The essays are good and bad, but the good outnumber the bad and they all offer something worth reading.
“A father is a man who fails every day.”
“Make all families are a kind of fandom, an endlessly elaborated, endlessly disputed, endlessly reconfigured set of commentaries, extrapolations, and variations generated by passionate amateurs on the primal text of the parents’ love for each other. Sometimes the original program is canceled by death or separation; sometimes, as with Doctor Who, it endures and flourishes for decades. And maybe love, mortality, and loss, and all the children and mythologies and sorrows they engender, make passionate amateurs–nerds, geeks, and fanboys–of us all.”
Recommended books: American Nerd: The Story of My People by Benjamin Nugent, Free-Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy and Lost In Place: Growing Up Absurd in Suburbia by Mark Salzman