Audrey’s Cimmerian Tales Book Club

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“With unreliable memories and scraps of photographs as his only clues, Conor Lyons follows in the tracks of his father, a rootless photographer, as he moved from war-torn Spain, to the barren plains of Mexico, where he met and married Conor’s mother, to the American West, and finally back to Ireland, where the marriage and the story reach their heartrending climax.  As the narratives of Conor’s quest and his parents’ lives twine and untwine, Collum McCann creates a mesmerizing evocation of the gulf between memory and imagination, love and loss, past and present.” ~ From amazon.com

I love this book. My dad gave it to me years ago and I can’t say how many times of I have read it. There are so many things I find intriguing about it. First of all, the language is amazing. I seriously started a list of good words (because I tend to over use words like “really” and “amazing” and have never once used “fulcrum” in anything ever). The writing is super descriptive and transports the reader back and forth across the globe as Conor remembers his parent’s stories and interweaves them with his own. Mr. McCann probably goes a bit overboard sometimes and you may need to download the dictionary.com app, but I think all the lovely words are part of the beauty of this book.

I also love the grittiness of the story. When I read it first as a young (and slightly sheltered) girl, I felt like I was reading something I shouldn’t be. It was a peek into a grown-up world I was just entering. As an adult, I notice the emotions of the characters a lot more and find the story even more captivating because of it. I appreciate the McCann isn’t afraid to take the story to dark places. And somehow, amid all the horrible and tragic bits of life, he manages to show the good things too. Truly beautiful.

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Julie’s Cimmerian Tales Book Club: Webcomic Wednesday

Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell:

I’m a big webcomic reader, so I thought I would discuss one of my favorite webcomics, Gunnerkrigg Court, this week.

This award-winning comic follows the adventures of Antimony (Annie) Carver, a 13-year-old girl who has just begun attending school at Gunnerkrigg Court. The court is full of monsters (including a friendly ghost named Mort and a Minotaur) and mysteries. Annie befriends Kat, another student her age, and the two of them begin to explore the court and search for answers about its inhabitants and its purpose. Some of their adventures include infiltrating the headquarters of the court robots to retrieve a CPU, falling in love with a boy who becomes a bird, meeting creatures from Gillitie Wood (where students are forbidden to enter), and investigating the death of a woman named Jeanne.

If you’re into fantasy creatures, folklore (especially that of the British Isles), robots, science, and talking wolves, this comic is for you. Most of the chapters are episodic and can be read alone, but I recommend starting from the beginning to get the full complexity of the story arcs. Tom Siddell, the comic’s creator, does a great job of fleshing out a varied cast of characters that includes adults and children, fairies, demigods, and other magical creatures. He also sneaks in fun pop culture references here and there, and his sense of humor is understated but spot-on. (If you’re a new reader, don’t miss the comments he includes at the bottom of every comic page.)

Jump in on page 1 here. Tom’s style has evolved quite a lot over the course of the comic (it was launched in 2005). It continues to update Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.