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What It Is

Barry, Lynda (Book - 2008 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
What It Is


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"Deliciously drawn (with fragments of collage worked into each page), insightful and bubbling with delight in the process of artistic creation. A+" (Salon.com) How do objects summon memories? What do real images feel like? For decades, these types of questions have permeated the pages of Lynda Barry's compositions, with words attracting pictures and conjuring places through a pen that first and foremost keeps on moving. What It Is demonstrates a tried-and-true creative method that is playful, powerful and accessible to anyone with an inquisitive wish to write or to remember. Comprising completely new material, each page of Barry's first Drawn & Quarterly book is a full-colour collage that is not only a gentle guide to this process but an invigorating example of exactly what it is: "The ordinary is extraordinary." Praise for Lynda Barry's previous work: "Barry is, underneath the wonky handwriting and the quirky, na*ve drawings, a great memoirist ... Like [Tobias] Wolff and [Dave] Eggers, she finds a tone that accommodates self-criticism and self-irony without tipping over into self-loathing ... but what she is particularly good at is resonance." (New York Times) "Barry is not just a storyteller, she's an evangelist who urges people to pick up a pen-or a brush ... and look at their own lives with fresh, forgiving eyes." (San Francisco Chronicle)
Authors: Barry, Lynda, 1956-
Title: What it is
Publisher: Montréal :, Drawn & Quarterly ;, New York :, Farrar, Straus and Giroux,, 2008
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 209 p. :,col. ill. ;,29 cm
Statement of Responsibility: Lynda Barry
ISBN: 1897299354
9781897299357
Branch Call Number: 741.5973 B281w 2008
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Comment by: multcolib_lauralw Report This Mar 14, 2014

A unique vision about art and memory-Lynda Barry is a fascinating read.


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Report This Mar 14, 2014
  • multcolib_lauralw rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A unique vision about art and memory-Lynda Barry is a fascinating read.

Report This Sep 08, 2010
  • stuvw27 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

What it is NOT is another book of funny drawings and stuff from Lynda Barry. Rather it is a tour de force of seemingly random, apparently silly, possibly pointless questions laced with potent memory shards that cut and slash with a thousand razor sharp edges. At times you may ask yourself "Why am I reading THIS!? This is not my beautiful book!" Just when you try to put it down, the wind shifts and she takes you in hand and walks you through a world populated with Alice-like sea creatures, innocent notes from long dead children, and other flotsam that swirls around the planet in formerly unknown currents of air and sea. Finally, it allows you to discover your own undiscovered country, to cry your own freedom, to walk your own Yul Brynner walk across the dusty square in some forgotten south of the border village. When you finish and the book begins working its way through your system, you'll know that you've been through a world that no other book has ever taken you to. And there Lynda will be waiting for you at the end of your journey with a towel... because your forgot the cardinal rule of galactic hitchhiking. Barry packs a real wallop with this book. I'm not kidding.

Report This Oct 09, 2009
  • quagga rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

What is an idea made of? What is an image? What is the source of memory and imagination? What happens in our heads when we compose words or create anything? What happens in our heads when we read something? What are thoughts? How is thinking different from experiencing? These are the kinds of questions Barry explores in What It Is. Her collage style may present an obstacle to people approaching this book with the left side of their brains, but her goal is to get people to play, to overcome internalized self-criticism and to embrace the notion of not-knowing-where-the-pen-is-taking-you. A right-brained way of acting. "I have found that writing by hand slowly is faster than a computer-way of doing it, though I know it's not easy the way a computer is easy. Tapping a finger is not as complicated as making an original line in the shape of an S. Different parts of the brain are used when we make an S by hand and more of the body than a finger tap - and - images seem to come from this kind of being in motion." (Handwritten, with some letters coloured-in, some in all caps, some underlined, etc.) This is the second time I've read this book and I know I'll be reading it again when I feel like being inspired to create.

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