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What It Is Hardcover – May 13 2008

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly; 1 edition (May 13 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1897299354
  • ISBN-13: 978-1897299357
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 2.4 x 28.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #70,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

Praise for Lynda Barry: “Barry is, underneath the wonky handwriting and the quirky, naïve 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.” ―"The 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" “America’s leading cartoon artist of childhood angst . . . The precise rightness of Barry’s smallest observation puts TV’s "The Wonder Years" to shame.” ―"Entertainment Weekly"

About the Author

Cartoonist, novelist, and playwright Lynda Barry is the creator behind the

syndicated strip Ernie Pook's Comeek, featuring the incomparable Marlys and Freddy. Her books include One Hundred Demons and The Good Times Are Killing Me.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Intriguing, insightful, and has very useful exercises for an aspiring writer, or anyone wanting to take on a creative endeavor. However, I found some of the pages difficult to follow and the drawings and design were so off-the-cuff in appearance that I was put off...some of it seemed just lazy and drawings amateurish, rather than whimsical. I am, I suppose, old-school artistically trained in drawing, design, graphics, and aesthetics, and am tiring of the less-skill-is-more-authentic trend that seems in ascendency in some quarters. I sense that Ms Barry actually does have considerable skill and certainly understands her topic, but perhaps can reach a wider audience with her less intimidating display of abilities? My favorite sections were the autobiographical memories of her growing up which were heartfelt and sometimes amusing, but never an ounce of self pity or churlishness.
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By Parka HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Aug. 2 2009
Format: Hardcover
Length: 0:19 Mins
This book screamed "Buy me!" when I saw it at the Drawn & Quarterly booth at San Diego Comic Con 2009. It is that good!

With a brush in the right hand, and a pencil on the left, the multi-eyed monster on the back cover spoked, "Welcome to writing the unthinkable". That's the essence of this book created by Lynda Barry, putting vivid imagination onto paper.

What It Is is a scrapbook that's filled to the brim with sketches, coloured illustrations, collages, comics, autobiographical writing, random thoughts and even a bit on creative writing.

Every page is elaborately decorated, an exploration into the unknown realms of imagination. And every page is just fun to look at.

This book is creativity and self expression, great for flipping through when you're feeling random or looking for inspiration.

I'll give this book two thumbs (drawn with smiley faces) up.

By the way, What It Is won the 2009 Eisner award for Best Reality-Based Work, but I didn't know that when I bought it. It's also one of the top 100 books picked by Amazon editors for 2008.

There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great quality, great book. Matte book cover with a little slip around the back cover giving reviews/synopsizes about the book was a nice addition I wasn't expecting. Just I ncredibly happy I didn't get an Amazon horror story to tell my friends.
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Format: Hardcover
"What It Is", by Lynda Barry, is a book of writing exercises, doodles, and autobiographical stories designed to teach you to find the imagery in a situation and discover your inner creativity. What It Is won the 2009 Eisner award for Best Reality-Based Work, which is a pretty high honour for a book filled with pictures of monsters.

Barry, an author, cartoonist, and creative writing teacher grew up thinking she wasn't any good at writing or drawing, and that she had no real talent, but used her pictures and stories as a way of distracting herself from a sometimes unpleasant home life. The book is a mash-up of her doodles, quotes from books (hers and others), comics, and examples of the kind of thing your mind comes up with when allowed to wander.

Some of the effects are meant to be visual, with scraps of book pages, writing and doodles on every page, and I stopped to read every word, even if it did not seem to have any direct correlation to the point Barry makes on the page, and served instead as an example of the kind of thing she was talking about.

The exercises she uses (continuous writing, keeping the pen moving even if it's only to doodle), list making (in 3 minutes name 10 cars you had when you were young), and drawing on memories for ideas are ones I have seen in the creative writing courses I have taken over the years, but Barry makes them feel more relevant. She carries the exercises on, suggests you do them several times (even leaving spaces for your writing in her book), and walks you through the process.
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