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Happy Dances! Battle Round 2, Matches 3 & 4 March 29, 2012

Posted by ccbooks in Nerd Line.

“Beyond tales within tales, Drawing from Memory abounds with other “subplots” (a most inadequate word!) in which pictures speak, layering and extending theme.” –Jewell Parker Rhodes

These were the two battles where I got to be jumping up and down, squealing at the computer screen. Drawing from Memory was possibly my favorite non-fiction book I read last year, so I’m VERY excited that it is carrying the Non-Fiction banner into the third round of the battle. I just reread Allen Say’s fictionalized version of his adolescence, The Ink-Keeper’s Apprentince, which covers about the same time period as this memoir, but has no illustrations. Hopefully I will get around to writing something comparing the two soon. One other odd thing I noticed–the jacket copy for Drawing from Memory refers to the story taking place “As World War II rages” when Say clearly states that the war ended when he was 8–well before most of the events of the book. Absent-minded editor, perhaps?

“If I may echo the Clinton war room motto: It’s the writing, stupid.” –Chris Lynch

I love Brian Selznick. However, the fact remains that I always spend far more time looking at his pictures than I do rereading his words. Since Wonderstruck is a story told equally in words and pictures, it made sense to me that Life: An Exploded Diagram, which had some of the most precise, vivid language of any book I read this year, would knock it out of the battle. Life, for me at least, hit the perfect balance of having enough description that I could visualize the characters and setting without being overwritten. There are books with beautiful language that occasionally lose me in their long sentences of involved imagery.  Chime was a book like that for me and even, if I can bring myself to admit it, Daughter of Smoke and Bone. But Life just hit that sweet spot for me between outlining the picture and allowing me to fill in the colors myself. Will it’s precise words and cadences fall to Drawing from Memory’s precise pictures and interplay of text and image? We’ll find out soon…


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