WHAT IT IS reviewed by The Austin Chronicle

Your Library Wants These Bad

The Austin Chronicle    |    Wayne Alan Brenner    |    May 2, 2008

You know those books that, putatively, explore what it means to be creative? Those books that, it seems, are written for people who'd really like to spend their time making art but are just too busy doing, well, other things – watching the latest episode of Lost, meeting pals for a drink at their local, shopping – to ever get around to it? This isn't one of those. This is what all those books, if they got together and looked deep into their printed souls, might admit that they truly wished they could be. This is the artist Lynda Barry at her enthusiastic best, her most sincerely encouraging, urging readers toward journeys of self-discovery and the joy of making, of appreciating, art. And how does she do this? How does she communicate such ideas, all the while documenting her own travels through those vivid realms? With artwork. With page after page of collaged images and words, with original cartoons and paintings and notes lovingly delivered via sumi-e handwriting and calligraphy. The beauty here, the sheer complexity, is almost overwhelming. It's like, um, seeing a dozen simultaneous sunrises on acid while a redheaded life coach whispers in your ear that you never have to let go of the parts of childhood that are eternally worthwhile. So of course every single page of this volume from Drawn & Quarterly is in full, gorgeous color on good thick paper. So of course, because you're alive, we recommend this book to you.

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