BRAINPORN: December

November’s been a crazy month in the land of Bloody Underrated, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t found time to read! Let’s see what this month’s booklist consisted of.

Jonathan Safran Foer – Eating Animals
If you’re looking for Everything is Illuminated, then you’re reading the wrong book! In his first non-fiction release, JSF tackles a large topic from many angles, most of which don’t usually have a voice. Backed by 40ish pages of references and links to further information, Eating Animals describes the horrors of factory farming in the USA and its potential consequences. You’d think the book would be radically anti-carnivorous diets, but it really doesn’t come off that way. JSF argues for organic, loving, small-scale farming as an alternative to mass-marketed meat, and makes a damn good case for it. By talking to many small farmers who have somehow survived while so many others have had to give up their lifestyles, JSF provides us with an inside view of the whole agricultural situation of the USA in a captivating and personal way. He also takes us through his own life, seeing as he was once a meat eater, but has now converted to veganism, and hopes to bring up his newborn son in a meat-free environment. The most compelling parts of the book, however, are the pages written by people Jonathan met while researching an writing this book: a vegan who builds slaughterhouses, a vegetarian running a turkey farm, and so many more interesting people made this book quite an eye-opener, and seemingly fair to both sides of the debate. I’d say this is a must-read for anyone who gives a damn about the food they eat. I only wish there was a book like this that also specifically targeted the situation in Canada.

Paul Auster – Invisible
Hello bias! Paul Auster’s my favourite author, has been for years, I fucking love that man. His style of writing appeals to everything I desire within a book, and I’ve never read anything by him I didn’t like. That being said, I don’t adore everything he’s ever done. Lucky for me, I loved everything about Invisible. It tells the story of one man, but from multiple different narratives – it’s written in first person, then continued through the eyes of the main character’s friend, then in third person, then through another character’s diary entries. It ends up mapping out a huge set out of stories within the main story, all of it amounting to a 40-year journey of guilt and love with a touch of madness. As far as recent Auster works, I’d say it outranks most of what he’s put out in the last 10 years or so. It makes my top 5 Auster books, that’s for sure! I’m currently reading through the rest of the books of his I haven’t read yet, expect more Auster reviews for the next few months. Extra thanks to Vic for buying me this one.

John Bell – Invaders From the North
Need a history lesson in the field of Canadian comic books? This is where you should start. Invaders From the North covers the entire history of comics in Canada, slowly going through every decade since their birth, and observing the trends that have shaped their more recent past. Backed by a ridiculous amount of research, this book is an amazing overview of the topic in question. Comics are an often over-looked formed of art (less so in recent years), but Bell hits the mark with this book and explores that very issue in depth. A great read for anyone who wants to learn, or any fan of current Canadian comic artists/graphic novelists.

That’s all, folks! Go read some books, and come back and chat us up!

-Al