Last year, I read Relish by Lucy Knisley and it made me all fired up about reading more graphic novels. Granted, Knisley's book was pretty much tailor-made for me; I loved the illustrations and, of course, the whole food thing. But I thought that if there were books like hers out there, I definitely wanted to experience more of them. It's been a busy few weeks to the start of the new year, and so although one my new year's resolutions was to read more graphic novels, I've definitely been behind. Then my sister told me about one she read, explaining that she thought I would particularly appreciate the final story in the book. My local library doesn't carry it, and the same day I was going to order it online, it showed up in the mail, a gift from my sister.
The Infinite Wait and Other Stories by Julia Wertz. I love her explanation for the title: "The title 'Infinite Wait' is a very elaborate inside joke. Normally I do not like the pretentious, lyrical titles of little to no substance or direction, but the idea of someone plucking this book from the shelf, expecting the next New York, literary elite effort and finding a comic book of jokes and rude words is highly amusing to me."
I loved scenes like this in the book:
And, of course, I spent much of the book wondering if this woman is so genius that she actually comes up with answers like this in the moments of her real life, or whether she relates what she wishes she'd said via the comics. In either case, I'm not sure it really matters much as the message is eventually conveyed either way, but if it's the former it makes me want to be her friend even more.
Industry is about Wertz's non-comic-book related jobs over the years, and how she talked (and drew) her way into her dream job. The Infinite Wait is how she fell ill with lupus, and her process with the disease. The final story, which is the one for which my sister gifted me the book, A Strange and Curious Place, is certainly the one to which I can most relate. Wertz writes about how, throughout any traumatic or needful times in her life, she's turned to books and libraries for the first help. This has also always been my method for dealing with life's challenges, as well. The story is endearing, sweet, and explains better than I probably ever will the sometimes inexplicably emotional connections we have to books.
I will be reading more of Wertz's books. I saw that my library has only one other (Drinking at the Movies), and I went down to see it and the larger graphic novels section. And here's the unfortunate thing: I approached that section, thinking I might walk away with far too many books than I can handle at this time (really, just a couple would be too many with my current schedule), but I didn't. I browsed through the graphic novels, and the only other one that seemed to follow the same sort autobiographical theme along the lines of Wertz's and Knisely's books, was Alison Bechdel's Fun Home. Maybe the selection was just poor, maybe all the graphic novels that might appeal to me were checked out. There are others on my radar and, I realize now, they're all of an autobiographical nature. If you stumble across this post and have any recommendations, I'd be thrilled to hear them.
My sister's kindness gave me the opportunity to read a book I might not have discovered for some time (even if I'd ordered it online, it might have gone into the to-read pile... a gift from my sister always gets top priority.) I want more graphic novels like this!