Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Alright, I give up

I surrender. I can't read. I'm in the middle of a most compelling chapter in a most excellent book called Howl's Moving Castle and my brain has skidded to a halt. It doesn't like words anymore (except for Villa Negativa's recent dream about the Twilight film, which I suggest you all read) and so I've given up fighting for the moment. It's over, but hopefully not for the long term.

In the meantime, I've finally "read" Shaun Tan's incomparable book The Arrival - because it has absolutely no words and an abundance of ridiculously beautiful drawr-ings. My god, I love this book! I'm a bit angry with myself for taking so long (at least a year it's been in my possession) to get to it.

The Arrival is a story of immigrants and the magic (both benevolent and malign) that metaphorically, and sometimes literally, defines the experience of starting over in an alien new place. The pictures in this book made me intensely interested in living inside Shaun Tan's brain for a while; he seems to see the world in a much more beautiful, sometimes painfully beautiful, way than I do. Here's one drawing from the book, apart from its perfectly gorgeous cover:


And here's the link to Tan's web site, ShaunTan.net.

So, yeah. I'm not sure what happens next, or how long this non-reading shit storm will continue. I'll try to get a Curious/Creepy in to distract us all. After that, well, I don't know. Maybe I'll have found the cure by then.

13 comments:

Biblibio said...

"The Arrival" is just amazing. Really. I was pissed at myself for taking so long to buy it, but felt that it balanced out with the way I read the book - slowly. Very, very slowly. Almost every other page, I had to stop and literally shove the book to my face. It was like reading a picture book... but better... if that makes sense.

Anyways, glad you enjoyed it. And don't stress too much about the not-reading thing. It eventually goes away, and then you'll find something magical: this time, with actual words.

Rohan Maitzen said...

I agree about not sweating the 'not-reading thing'. Really good (intense, rewarding) reading is hard, not just to begin but to find and to do. Perhaps your anxiety is a lingering academic disorder...

That said, obviously (??) the cure is Trollope's He Knew He Was Right.

Tony said...

Hang in there kid ;)

I have recently acquired a copy of 'He Knew He Was Right', and I'm sure it will be a wonderful read, but (with all due respect, Rohan) seeing as it took Australia Post's most robust delivery vehicle (and strongest employees) to deliver it to my doorstep, I'm not sure it's the best book for someone struggling to make it through anything longer than a magazine article...

Bellezza said...

Sometimes picture books are just the ticket! (The section in our elementary school's library for them is labelled E: used to be for Easy books but now is for Everyone books. ;)

I'm the only one, I think, who hasn't read this yet...but it sounds like the perfect read, especially for our immigration unit.

Stefanie said...

The Arrival looks gorgeous! I have not heard of it before so thanks for the tip! Perhaps ceasing to struggle to read is the best thing. Maybe you just need to recharge your reading batteries.

chasingbawa said...

I've been hearing a lot about Shaun Tan this year so I really must check his work out. About the 'not in the reading mood' phase, we all go through it. Maybe try doing something different, focus on dvds or movies for a bit, and soon you'll want to dive back into a book.

Colleen said...

Biblibio: I read The Arrival really slowly as well. Just perfect.

Rohan: You may be right. You may regret being so perceptive because you may receive a long email from me about this.

Tony: The Trollope book is that big, is it? Sounds perfect...for the me of 3 months ago, and hopefully (oh, please!) the near future.

Bellezza: You won't regret checking out this book. It's truly in a class of its own.

Stefanie: A recharge is def. in order. I just am not sure when that could possibly happen. Le sigh.

chasingbawa: This has never happened to me before, so I find it really quite disorienting.

J.G. said...

Poetry? Short stories? David Sedaris? Or tell yourself you're not allowed to read anything for a month (shhh, it's reverse psychology)?

andrew said...

Shaun Tan is a frickin' genius. Harry recently brought over his "Tales from Outer Suburbia" to show me and I started flipping through it...then immediately sat down and read it start to finish while he wandered off and amused himself. Stunning. Can't agree more on "The Arrival".

Colleen said...

J.G.: If I had any Sedaris left to read, I would have tried, believe me!

Andrew: Yes, Tan is a genius. I'm really looking forward to checking out his other stuff.

whisperinggums said...

I know what you mean about Tan. I have given The arrival and Tales from outer suburbia away, but haven't read them myself. Recently I bought a little book, Eric, by him. It's one of the stories from the Tales book. I loved it. I too would love to be in his head!

Colleen said...

whisperinggums: Perhaps getting to spend time in our favourite authors' heads will be the wave of the future...much cooler than just getting a book signed.

Sarah said...

The only thing I know about Shaun Tan is his name, but I think we need to get better acquainted. I also suspect that my daughter (aged 10) would sppreciate his quirky drawings; is the subject matter appropriate to kiddies?