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click to enlarge - Nabeel's Song: A Family Story of - Survival in Iraq  -  - Jo Tatchell  - Doubleday, $23.95/hardcover -  -  - Iraqi poet Nabeel Yasin and his works are known and - loved in his home country  even though he was placed - on Saddam Hussein's black list in 1978. Now - Nabeel's Song, by journalist Jo Tatchell, follows - the writer and his freethinking family over a 50-year - span that begins before the Ba'ath regime and ends - during the current war. Don't expect a typical biography. - Tatchell's narrative reads like a novel and focuses on a - spirited family that readers will grow to care for as they - struggle against political repression, censorship, - intimidation, violence, imprisonment, torture and even - death threats. The book ends in 2004, but the stories of - Yasin and Iraq have yet to be resolved.  Jill - Thomas
  • Nabeel's Song: A Family Story of Survival in Iraq

    Jo Tatchell

    Doubleday, $23.95/hardcover

    Iraqi poet Nabeel Yasin and his works are known and loved in his home country even though he was placed on Saddam Hussein's black list in 1978. Now Nabeel's Song, by journalist Jo Tatchell, follows the writer and his freethinking family over a 50-year span that begins before the Ba'ath regime and ends during the current war. Don't expect a typical biography. Tatchell's narrative reads like a novel and focuses on a spirited family that readers will grow to care for as they struggle against political repression, censorship, intimidation, violence, imprisonment, torture and even death threats. The book ends in 2004, but the stories of Yasin and Iraq have yet to be resolved. Jill Thomas

click to enlarge Still Life with Elephant  -  -  - Judy Reene Singer  - Broadway Books, $22.95/hardcover -  -  - Neelie Sterling is a quirky horse trainer with a penchant - for jelly donuts and creatures in need of rescue. Though - she has a way with animals, Neelie lacks people skills - especially listening abilities. She's easily distracted and - mishears others to comic results. As the book opens, - Neelie discovers that her veterinarian husband's new - "collie" is actually an attractive new "colleague," who is - pregnant with his child. Always witty, even in the face of - pain and disappointment, Neelie keeps readers laughing - and in spite of her flaws  or maybe because of them - she is one of the most likeable characters of the - summer. Unfortunately, the plot resolves itself a little too - neatly and sweetly, but the book is still a fun read, great - for lazy summer nights.  Jill Thomas -
  • Still Life with Elephant

    Judy Reene Singer

    Broadway Books, $22.95/hardcover

    Neelie Sterling is a quirky horse trainer with a penchant for jelly donuts and creatures in need of rescue. Though she has a way with animals, Neelie lacks people skills especially listening abilities. She's easily distracted and mishears others to comic results. As the book opens, Neelie discovers that her veterinarian husband's new "collie" is actually an attractive new "colleague," who is pregnant with his child. Always witty, even in the face of pain and disappointment, Neelie keeps readers laughing and in spite of her flaws or maybe because of them she is one of the most likeable characters of the summer. Unfortunately, the plot resolves itself a little too neatly and sweetly, but the book is still a fun read, great for lazy summer nights. Jill Thomas

click to enlarge Spent  -  - Joe Matt  - Drawn and Quarterly, $19.95/ - hardcover  -  - Comic book icon Harvey Pekar (of American - Splendor fame) "dug Spent."That's quite an - endorsement for a self-deprecating graphic novel/ - memoir about a miserable, pornography-addicted - existence. Joe Matt chronicles a lifetime of awkwardness - that borders on social retardation around women and - details his odd, obsessive habits, like urinating in bottles - in his closet to avoid the odd apartment-mates with - whom he shares a bathroom. Matt's cartoon work is solid - with commendable, creative panel jumps between past - and present in the narrative, much like good editing in a - film. But unless you can relate to chronic masturbation - and neurotic comic geeks, Spent might just - come off as smut. TMI, Mr. Matt. TMI. - Matthew Schniper
  • Spent

    Joe Matt

    Drawn and Quarterly, $19.95/ hardcover

    Comic book icon Harvey Pekar (of American Splendor fame) "dug Spent."That's quite an endorsement for a self-deprecating graphic novel/ memoir about a miserable, pornography-addicted existence. Joe Matt chronicles a lifetime of awkwardness that borders on social retardation around women and details his odd, obsessive habits, like urinating in bottles in his closet to avoid the odd apartment-mates with whom he shares a bathroom. Matt's cartoon work is solid with commendable, creative panel jumps between past and present in the narrative, much like good editing in a film. But unless you can relate to chronic masturbation and neurotic comic geeks, Spent might just come off as smut. TMI, Mr. Matt. TMI. Matthew Schniper

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