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Saturday, July 28, 2018

##NetGalley Book Review: Zen Pencils: Cartoon Quotes from Inspirational Folks by Gavin Aung Than

This cartoon offering is very different from my usual read.
Zen Pencils: Cartoon Quotes from Inspirational Folks
by Gavin Aung Than
File Size: 60076 KB
Print Length: 176 pages
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (November 11, 2014)
Genre: Cartoon, Comic Strip, Self-Help
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Gavin Aung Than, an Australian graphic designer turned cartoonist, started the weekly Zen Pencils blog in February 2012. He describes his motivation for launching Zen Pencils: "I was working in the boring corporate graphic design industry for eight years before finally quitting at the end of 2011 to pursue my passion for illustration and cartooning. At my old job, when my boss wasn't looking, I would waste time reading Wikipedia pages, mainly biographies about people whose lives were a lot more interesting than mine. Their stories and quotes eventually inspired me to leave my job to focus on what I really wanted to do. The idea of taking these inspiring quotes, combining them with my love of drawing and sharing them with others led to the creation of Zen Pencils."

I don’t read too many cartoon style books and I thought this would be fun. It is fun with the author sharing some great quotes with unique and wonderful illustrations. My favorites were The Two Wolves, To Love at All (C.S. Lewis) and Invictus-- a Tribute to Nelson Mandela. All three of these are favorite quotes or poems of mine so it’s not surprising I liked them. I liked how Mr. Than matched the images to the literary works.

There are many other inspirational pieces with unique comic strips expressing emotions for each piece. The only thing that troubled me was some of the illustrations have very angry faces. We have enough terrible rage and mean-spiritedness in the world. I can appreciate the emotional intensity but I don’t think the terrible anger expressed is suitable for young people or a book promoting “zen”. I guess I have always associated “zen” with calm and peace although it is more accurately a focus of togetherness of mind and body in tune with natural intuition. Apparently the anger aspects did not bother other reviewers.

I read this on my tablet so I could experience the color comics. The set up allows expanding individual frames which I found interesting. I think the book might work even better in print but it worked fine on tablet too. Except for the anger emotions, I would recommend this as a unique presentation of inspiring words.

Source: NetGalley 2017. This qualifies for 2018TBR, NetGalley and Alphabet Challenges.

1 comment:

  1. Great review. I might check this out to see how he did the cartoons with the inspiring quotes.


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