Comics Roundup #22: “Audubon: On the Wings of the World”

With this, I complete a second book published by Nobrow Press. I own a few books by this publisher on my bookshelves, but it’s my nature to pay more attention to books I don’t own. Hence the two book I’ve read by this publisher were both borrowed from the library. But I don’t mind that. I’m just happy that I’ve finally read books published by Nobrow Press to confirm that they are one of my favorite publishers. I’ve always admired the books they feature on their IG account and now it seems that I’ll probably always like their content. 😊


Audubon: On the Wings of the World by Fabien Grolleau, illus. by Jérémie Royer, trans. by Etienne Gilfillan

Genre:

Nonfiction: biography

Pubbed:

2016

Quick summary:

Audubon: On the Wings of the World is a biography of John James Audubon (born Jean-Jacques Audubon in Haiti in 1785), the noted artist, naturalist, and ornithologist most known for his book Birds of America, which contains 435 paintings of different species of birds in America observed in their natural habitat. Written and illustrated by Fabien Grolleau and Jeremie Royer, respectively, this graphic novel portrays Audubon as a passionate, determined man striving to paint and record all the birds of America in the 1800s.

Though Audubon’s persistence and efforts are admirable, the book does not shy away from showing less savory aspects of the man, such as his disdain for his mentor Alexander Wilson, the long lengths of time he spent away from his wife and children as he pursued his passion, the immense debt he gained from failed business ventures, and that he hunted and killed many birds in his pursuit to document and study them.

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“Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future” by Lauren Redniss

Thunder & LightningThunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future is an illustrated nonfiction book about the weather that I recently read. Written and illustrated by Lauren Redniss, the book explores how weather affects nature and humanity and how humans cause changes in the weather. It was an informative, thought-provoking read that left me curious about some of the subjects, places, and people mentioned in the book.

The book is huge and thick, but that’s because of the large, beautiful illustrations that are sometimes spread across two pages. There’s a lot to read, but the amount of text isn’t overpowering since they are interspersed with illustrations and the font size allows for easy reading. (No need to strain your eyes.)

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“Dataclysm” by Christian Rudder

Available at your local bookstore.
I received an ARC from Random House. I was excited when I got it in the mail. Thanks Random House!

Christian Rudder, a Harvard grad and co-founder and president of the dating site OkCupid, has written an engaging book in which he uses data to analyze human behavior. Most of the data is taken from OkCupid’s user base, and is presented as an aggregate so no one is singled out. According to Rudder, he is telling the story of the masses.

Dataclysm is a wonderful read. It’s funny, light, and relatable with a few narratives thrown in. The book looks thick but it can be a quick read if you have the time for it. It also helps that the text and graphs are visually appealing. If you’re interested in graphic design, I suggest taking a look at Rudder’s graphs and tables. He presents a variety of them in a clean manner that makes them easy to understand.

Rudder draws surprising conclusions from his data though some were more of a confirmation for what I already know. A few points Rudder uncovers include: older men are more attracted to younger women (a glance at the TV show Millionaire Matchmaker proves this); using Twitter may actually improve one’s writing than hurt it; the more followers a person has on Twitter, the more that person sounds like a corporation. He also includes his opinions on his findings, some of which I disagree with, but I like reading them. He doesn’t try to ignore the subjectivity of his research.

One problem I have with his data, though, is that he takes it for granted that people on OkCupid are being entirely honest on their profiles. People do lie on the internet and often try to present themselves in a favorable light. I think Rudder should have taken that into consideration even if OkCupid does ask a bunch of questions to weed out the fakes. It makes me question the stats in his data even though his conclusions ring true.

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