RHC 2017: Maus by Art Spiegelman

Read Harder Challenge 2017

This post is part of a series in which I describe the twenty-four books I read in 2017 for Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge

Task: Read a book you’ve read before.

Alternatives: Read a book about war.

I run a book club at work, and Maus was selected while I was out on maternity leave, so I figured I’d use it for this task. I have indeed read Maus several times. Both volumes figured prominently in my senior thesis at Carleton College, where I somehow managed to write a massive paper on the literary significance of comics in 2005 without mentioning any of the following: Watchmen (WATCHMEN), Love and Rockets, Black HoleBarefoot Gen, Ghost World, Jimmy Corrigan the Smartest Kid on Earth … yeah.

So, I failed my thesis. Oh, I got it satisfactorily revised in time for graduation, but before that happened I definitely got a slip of paper in my student mailbox informing me that I, Anne Gresham, had straight up failed a very important academic task.

I did not handle this well.

I mean I really did not handle this well.

So you’ve decided to stop breastfeeding earlier than you meant to.

overshare

I had blithely assumed I’d breastfeed for at least a year, and probably longer. It was a struggle at first, but I had great support, loads of information, and I finally made it to a point where I was able to thoroughly enjoy the sleepy, snuggly, hormone-drenched lovefest it became around eight weeks or so.

But. 

RHC 2017: An African in Greenland by Tété-Michel Kpomassie

Read Harder Challenge 2017

This post is part of a series in which I describe the twenty-four books I read in 2017 for Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge

Task: Read a travel memoir.

My first instinct here was to grab something by Bill Bryson that I haven’t read, because he’s funny and I like him. I also considered picking up something by Paul Theroux. I thoroughly enjoyed Riding the Iron Rooster while I was living in China – I thought Theroux was a total jerk (at least according to his own account of his interactions), but his writing is gorgeous. At some point, though, while poking around looking for something to read for this challenge, I realized that all of the travel writing I’ve enjoyed was written by white American men.

So in an effort to get out of my comfort zone, I settled on An African in Greenland, which is Tété-Michel Kpomassie’s account of his journey from Togo to Greenland, originally published in 1967. I knew very little about either Togo or Greenland, and Kpomassie was a positively charming guide to both locations. This is the sort of person who arrives in Paris, meets a total stranger, and within an hour has a place to stay – for months. At one point, he literally knocks on a stranger’s door in Greenland and asks the family inside if he can stay with them. And they say yes.

Someone’s opinions of places usually say more about that person than any city or culture encountered, and Kpomassie was travelling in the friendliest, most inviting world I’d ever heard of.