Saturday, October 17, 2015

Saturday Evening Reads: "Step Aside, Pops. A Hark A Vagrant Collection" by Kate Beaton

I had never heard of the dynamo that is Kate Beaton until I went to Montreal to visit my sister and her husband. She has had a long and glorious career on the Internet and my sister had often visited her site. So the evening of the lunar eclipse we went across the street to a talk by Kate Beaton and a friend of hers, whose name I unfortunately do not, at this time recall. She was an excellent interviewer, however, and not a forgettable person.

Needless to say, Kate Beaton and her writer friend had an interesting exchange, before opening the floor to questions from the mostly appreciative audience. Before it started, I decided to buy an autographed book of her newest collection. I think it was only twenty-five dollars, which for a hard cover comic book is a steal.

Kate Beaton makes ancient and less ancient history accessible, and she does so comically. She is positively delightful for someone like me, who flirted with the idea of majoring in history, before I focused on English and Religion. I have taken so many history courses it might as well have been my minor...

From the first comic "Chopin and Liszt" to the the last page about "Katherine Sui Fun Cheung" who, incidentally, I have never heard of, but apparently she was an early aviator who kicked some feminist butt, the collection is refreshingly funny with excellent comic timing and superb delivery. I haven't read it all yet, but rest assured I soon will!

Of course some may be offended by some of the comics, as did happen at the talk. However, I think it pays to have a sense of humour, even about some sacred cows. This book is a New York Times best seller for a reason! Kate Beaton is comic gold and a genius of epic proportions. So fortunate to have stumbled across her, as sometimes I just need to laugh at life, and not be so intense and serious all the time.

If you appreciate history and consider yourself to have a good sense of humour, I highly recommend you order this book on Amazon or at your local bookstore. You will learn more about history rather effortlessly and by osmosis. Kate Beaton has logged many hours at researching her comics from her humble beginnings when she was working in Alberta, until now, when every one who knows comics recognizes her as a rising star, even if they don't agree with her viewpoint.

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