When the Wolves Bite by Scott Wapner

A quick and rather superfluous read, a story of Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn’s fight over Herbalife, an MLM dietary supplements producer accused by Ackman of being a pyramid-like Ponzi scheme. Ackman lost his fight, Herbalife survived, though in a somewhat crippled way – and this story, frankly, bears no moral whatsoever – it is just yet another Wall Street popcorn read you can devour in a few hours on the beach.

The Netflix movie on the same subject, Betting on Zero, is a much more candid thing, though siding entirely with Ackman in this struggle – it has certain honesty about it, determination, candor. Though somewhat socialist and anti-aynrandian, you inadvertently sympathize Ackman, posing as a Don Quixote for the poor defrauded Latino communities (sic!).

Yet, if you want to read a true activist book, don’t read this CNBC summary report by Wapner, glorifying again and again the harsh talk he had with both investors on live TV. Better read David Einhorn’s Fooling Some of the People All of the Time – a short-seller’s tale in his own words. Or bloody read The Big Short, definitely a more wholesome read.


Mary wept over the feet of Jesus: Prostitution and religious obedience in the Bible by Chester Brown

img_0025Given a hell of controversy this may spark, I’d rather leave this review intentionally blanc. The title is self-explanatory. Read the book and decide for yourself.


The New Wine Rules by Jon Bonné

img_0022-1A short, funny, rather entertaining book by Jon Bonné, something young wine aficionados should read and enjoy. Actually, I was okay with it as well.

Funny find – the diagram of technical/traditional wines, classified whether they are in or out of fashion now. Hilarious!


My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

KOBK_15A short new graphic novel by the duo of Brubaker and Phillips falls in the tracks of their well known Criminal series, it’s is indeed another short noir story. A wrong man meets a wrong woman. What makes it different is the combination of striking blue and yellow colors, more shameless and alluring than I would expect.

A brief easy read.


Berlin by Jason Lutes

img_9978-1A book that took three installments and 23 years to complete. I think I stumbled on Book One: City of Stones back in 2007 or so, and then got hold Book Two: City of Smoke immediately thereafter, in 2008 when it was out, and had been patiently waiting for the finale, Book Three: City of Light which finally came out this September. All three under one hardcover and read in one go, brilliant.

Deep and sincere, it’s a multi-layered interconnected tale of a big group of people, rich and poor, politically motivated and careless, all residents in the city of Berlin during the Weimar Republic in 1928-1933, the Jazz era, a short intermission for peace, with fascism, intolerance and hatred slowly and masterfully creeping in.

The band is still playing – yet children get hurt, mothers are shot, families break down and turn on each other, free love is persecuted, a tall blond man is marching with a black band on his arm and shiny suspenders in full sight, and then a small man, he with ridiculously trimmed mini-mustache is making a couple of brief cameo appearances here.

Fills your heart with sadness, with loss of liberty, youth and innocence, and with little hope. Lives are wasted, and the city, burnt and captured, cut in two pieces with a butcher’s knife and then sewn back together, the city still stands. Uh-huh. Well, could I expected anything else?

Picture: Carl von Ossietzky, the recipient of the 1935 Nobel Peace Prize

Blankets by Craig Thompson

img_9375An honest and somewhat clumsy autobiographical graphic novel by Craig Thompson, his first major success, a thick 9-part book about growing up in snowy rural Minnesota, about young boy’s religious acceptance, god fearing reverence, affection, love, and subsequent denial of god, and on finally moving on.

While Blankets is a critically acclaimed masterpiece of modern comic book storytelling, I remain a much bigger fan of Thompson’s next story called Habibi, a much harsher tale of love, poverty, almost medieval violence and bigotry. To me, Blankets vs Habibi is a good US indie flick vs a major groundbreaking Scorsese biopic.


Dead Men’s Trousers by Irvine Welsh

Almost sixty now, Irvine Welsh still rocks my world and gets me glued to the pages like he used to 25 years back or so, even now, with yet another book on Rents, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie. It’s officially the fifth in the series, after Trainspotting, Porno, Skagboys and Begbie’s very own The Blade Artist, but really like the twelfth, if you count the rest of his Edinburgh novels like Glue, Filth, A Decent Ride and the rest.

Traveling between Miami and Scotland, Welsh carefully places his characters on the same routine that he undergoes himself, red-eye flights back and forth, a huge divide between sunny and well fed Florida and a drizzling damp and bevvied up brawly Leith.

Everyone’s now older, somewhat tired and weary, yet Hibs, ching, lassies, parties, and chapter after chapter of this unique Welsh-invented brute Scottish language you first learn, get accustomed to, and only later appreciate. The part on Scottish Cup final of 2016 made me open up YouTube and watch Sunshine on Leith sung by the stadium after a major mash up in the pitch.

I dream that one day I re-read most of Welsh’s books in a TV-show-like binge kinda way, as I am tired of not remembering certain parts of previous books that the old master carefully cross-refs here – without it I’m often clueless, as my memory fails.