Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories
From one of the most original and imaginative American cartoonists at work today comes a collection of graphic narratives on the subjects of urban planning, product design, and architecture—a surrealist handbook for the rebuilding of society in the twenty-first century.Ben Katchor, a master at twisting mundane commodities into surreal objects of social significance, now takes on the many ways our property influences and reflects cultural values. Here are window-ledge pillows designed expressly for people-watching and a forest of artificial trees for sufferers of hay fever. The Brotherhood of Immaculate Consumption deals with the matter of products that outlive their owners; a school of dance is based upon the choreographic motion of paying with cash; high-visibility construction vests are marketed to lonely people as a method of getting noticed. With cutting wit Katchor reveals a world similar to our own—lives are defined by possessions, consumerism is a kind of spirituality—but also slightly, fabulously askew. Frequently and brilliantly bizarre, and always mesmerizing, Hand-Drying in America ensures that you will never look at a building, a bar of soap, or an ATM the same way.

Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories Details

TitleHand-Drying in America and Other Stories
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 5th, 2013
PublisherPantheon
ISBN-139780307906908
Rating
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Comics, Fiction, Graphic Novels Comics

Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories Review

  • David Schaafsma
    January 1, 1970
    I have been plowing my way through dozens of experimental art comics, many of them awesome, by several artists, including Jesse Jacobs, Jesse Moynihan, Hans Rickheit, formally interesting and innovative and clever. But then we have MacArthur Award-winning Katchor, who is perhaps not as experimental in design, but is as original a thinker whose work you will ever read. And Katchor maybe has bigger fish to fry than just play and aesthetics, although he also does this, too, with a dry and absurd se I have been plowing my way through dozens of experimental art comics, many of them awesome, by several artists, including Jesse Jacobs, Jesse Moynihan, Hans Rickheit, formally interesting and innovative and clever. But then we have MacArthur Award-winning Katchor, who is perhaps not as experimental in design, but is as original a thinker whose work you will ever read. And Katchor maybe has bigger fish to fry than just play and aesthetics, although he also does this, too, with a dry and absurd sense of humor. Katchor has in mind here contemporary material culture and our obsession with objects and inventions, in an economic context. It's wonderful, and wonderfully inventive, and very often quirkily funny.Like any great artist, he forces us to look anew at the word in which we live. His primary focus here is architecture, urban planning, product design. He creates one page comics about what we take for granted and explores their uses with humor and insight and sometimes something a little surreal, such as crumb catchers on toasters, built-in tissue dispensers, tv light, hand drying. Bizarre relocations of stuff so we can see them in a new light. Non sequiturs. The intersection of capitalism and architecture. . . or just stuff, objects, the materiality of American culture, which is I guess what capitalism is all about. If you are an inventor you have to read this book, because he wonders about what purposes exist for all these things we choose (or would rather not choose) to live with.This work was serialized in Metropolis magazine from 1998-2012 and is 160 pages of over-sized pages, a gorgeous and sometimes overwhelming collection of pages. Almost too much. You can't just sit down and read it all the way through, it's too challenging and rich and contemplative and bizarre and dryly ironic to take in except at a page or so a time. The opening and closing, at the front and back covers, is a reflection on the waste and absurdity of book production itself, an environmental disaster that book readers have chosen not to think too deeply about, and we (I, let me speak for myself here) want these pretty coffee table quality objects in our (okay, my) hands as forests disappear across the planet. The paper manufacturing process causes acid rain. Buy American? Most of the work we read is made affordable by being produced overseas, destroying American printing jobs. And then, look at the energy to ship all this to us. The printing industry is one of the largest consumers of fossil fuels! What are the working conditions of the people in printing factories in China?! Ach! Oy! And this Katchor relates to us in a gorgeous book he publishes, hoping we buy lots of them. . . You see? Katchor makes you think and feel and laugh and get angry and consider how you live your life with all its absurdity. It's literature as cultural analysis in the mode of Chris Ware, Richard McGuire and Adam Hines.
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  • Judy Vasseur
    January 1, 1970
    A chuckle for every page of this hefty coffee table collection of graphic essays. I thought to myself frequently, "Yes, I feel that way also,” about various annoying contemporary events like the systematic downgrading of fabric quality and quantity in trousers. I notice that women's pants pockets have become non-functional due to their shallow or totally fake nature. On the pretense of showing a "clean hip line", the company is actually saving a lot of money on fabric. In the attempt to save mon A chuckle for every page of this hefty coffee table collection of graphic essays. I thought to myself frequently, "Yes, I feel that way also,” about various annoying contemporary events like the systematic downgrading of fabric quality and quantity in trousers. I notice that women's pants pockets have become non-functional due to their shallow or totally fake nature. On the pretense of showing a "clean hip line", the company is actually saving a lot of money on fabric. In the attempt to save money, the place where I buy lunch per pound gives me a stack of “napkins" that are so thin that I save them to use as tissues. Meanwhile, at my gym they have supplied "tissues" that are so thick they are, in reality, paper towels meant to dry a counter top. And a sad architectural observation of the book itself: The heavy wide covers caused this library loan to rip off from the leaves, much like when many years ago the overly heavy wide doors of my 1976 AMC Gremlin came undone from their own hinges causing me to rope myself in. Maybe a paperback edition will survive better and when that comes out I might have to get my own copy to remind myself that there is one sane mind out there looking at and processing every cultural danger: Ben Katchor.
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  • Anjan
    January 1, 1970
    This is the most creative work I've read in a while. It is a guidebook, approx. ~160 comics. each comic is a collection of descriptive statements about a parallel surreal world. Leaving a session immersed in this book felt like waking up from a dream and the accompanying vague recall of disjointed thoughts that kinda-sorta-have a common theme. No book has made me feel like this book left me feeling. A world where people watch a highway grand prix, keeping track of the stats of common folk, peopl This is the most creative work I've read in a while. It is a guidebook, approx. ~160 comics. each comic is a collection of descriptive statements about a parallel surreal world. Leaving a session immersed in this book felt like waking up from a dream and the accompanying vague recall of disjointed thoughts that kinda-sorta-have a common theme. No book has made me feel like this book left me feeling. A world where people watch a highway grand prix, keeping track of the stats of common folk, people who visit particular types of doorways around the world, a museum for souvenirs, a world that employs people to open those annoying self-serve sized containers, an unmarked pipe all occupants left alone until one couldn't take it anymore - drilling leading to de-pressurization of a citie's soft-serve supply,
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  • Lobstergirl
    January 1, 1970
    Although they work in slightly different genres, I would put Ben Katchor in the same category with James Howard Kunstler. Their subject is the built environment and what it does to the human soul.
  • Kevin Hogan
    January 1, 1970
    A large (approximately one square foot) book jam-packed with stories (one extends across the front and back endpapers.It is almost impossible to discuss Ben Katchor's work without using words like "innovative" and "surreal." The stories are almost hyper-real as they involve small ideas taken to absurd extremes and the world that creates. A man whose job is to break wobbly chairs by sitting in them. An epidemic of people trying to cross rooms without touching the floor. A house whose roof reflect A large (approximately one square foot) book jam-packed with stories (one extends across the front and back endpapers.It is almost impossible to discuss Ben Katchor's work without using words like "innovative" and "surreal." The stories are almost hyper-real as they involve small ideas taken to absurd extremes and the world that creates. A man whose job is to break wobbly chairs by sitting in them. An epidemic of people trying to cross rooms without touching the floor. A house whose roof reflects the state of the bed inside. The time when comfy feather elbow pillows almost lead to the eradication of television.
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  • Douglas Gorney
    January 1, 1970
    If you've ever read Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer or other strips Ben Katchor publishes in free weeklies, you know the crumbling, sooty urban core in which his characters ply obscure trades at the edge of relevance. Hand-Drying in America, his latest collection, plays out in the wider arena of the man-made environment. From the stolid Serpentine Bank for Savings (now the Ping Tung Market) to the bold mirrored finish of the Poleax Building, or the important work of The Committee for Arch If you've ever read Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer or other strips Ben Katchor publishes in free weeklies, you know the crumbling, sooty urban core in which his characters ply obscure trades at the edge of relevance. Hand-Drying in America, his latest collection, plays out in the wider arena of the man-made environment. From the stolid Serpentine Bank for Savings (now the Ping Tung Market) to the bold mirrored finish of the Poleax Building, or the important work of The Committee for Architectural Neglect, Katchor explores what our structures say about us, and how we live with them. : Katchor's world is one of details writ large: "The Crumb Trap," "The Cracked Cup Inspector" and "The Call of the Wall" (which sheds much-needed light on the phenomenon of climbing around one's apartment by clinging to dado moldings elbow the ceiling), he zooms in on the most unzoomable of architectural minutae, particularly those of the fading, brick-and-plaster city landscape the early 20th Century. "The Breezeway to Hell," "New Uses for Vitreous China," "Peabald's Field Guide to the Air Conditioners of North America"…well, you get the idea.Katchor's a master storyteller, too. Every strip takes the reader on a labyrinthine and slyly peculiar journey with a conclusion as unexpected as getting dumped on the New Jersey turnpike after a few minutes in John Malkovich's head. In a way that makes you sit up and say…"Yes! That's it, precisely!"It's great speculative fiction. And as much as I like sci-fi that boldly goes, even more thrilling are those artists who can point out the new life, new civilizations and new ways of thinking about plate glass, curbstones and built-in tissue dispensers—the stuff of the here and now.A word about Katchor's art: his blocky, hulking figures, bare sketches, really—though illuminated here in glorious, comic-book four-color—embody the existential, slog that is getting through the day.The only cartoonist to have won the MacArthur Fellowship "Genius Grant," Kachtor deserved every penny of that $500,000. His one-page strips are so deeply, personally resonant, I feel he draws them just for me.
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  • Becki Iverson
    January 1, 1970
    It took me a really long time to get into this book. Ben Katchor definitely has a unique style, and I considered quitting this right away. After a while, though, I came to realize that he was providing a savvy, wry commentary on societal change (which he usually found not for the better). Using the transition of everyday objects - the shape of home building architecture, technological advances, the transition from flame to electric candles, etc. - Katchor details and in a way mourns the state of It took me a really long time to get into this book. Ben Katchor definitely has a unique style, and I considered quitting this right away. After a while, though, I came to realize that he was providing a savvy, wry commentary on societal change (which he usually found not for the better). Using the transition of everyday objects - the shape of home building architecture, technological advances, the transition from flame to electric candles, etc. - Katchor details and in a way mourns the state of civilization at that moment. As this book spans many years worth of drawings, it provides a fascinating timeline over at least 20 years. This isn't a book for someone looking for a light, easy, happy read. It has humor and fun, to be sure, but it the point made is definitely to be serious and think harder about the things we use and the way we use them. There is a lot of waste in the world, and there's just no need for it. This is a great book for the environmentally or design conscious, or politicos who need a break from MSNBC.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    Katchor is the curator of the petty grotesqueries of urban life and capitalism (The Brotherhood of Immaculate Consumption). Almost awkward, his trembly lines encase a sedate wash of darker colors. Nothing is truly bright and shadow is king. I'm impressed by his diction (mallow-pink) and his background tongue-in-cheek smart-assery. But his artifice, and modern pretense, is stripped down via his over-the-top jokery to the downright lie. Each gambit in his metaphors is built on real emotion - a cur Katchor is the curator of the petty grotesqueries of urban life and capitalism (The Brotherhood of Immaculate Consumption). Almost awkward, his trembly lines encase a sedate wash of darker colors. Nothing is truly bright and shadow is king. I'm impressed by his diction (mallow-pink) and his background tongue-in-cheek smart-assery. But his artifice, and modern pretense, is stripped down via his over-the-top jokery to the downright lie. Each gambit in his metaphors is built on real emotion - a curmudgeon's hate of uselessness, a nail-biter's fear of betrayal, and the lazy lackadaisical adventure seeking dreams of those in white collars - or receiving retirement checks. Throughout the book, the power of architecture is held up, ridiculed and worshipped - even as he mocks it, the syntactical translation of artistic an historic beauty cannot be denied. My favorite strips (or vignettes?) are: The Miniature Trash Can, The Body Heat Snatcher, The Tragic History of the Oversized Magazine, Fayoum's Finger, Peabald's Field Guide to Air-Conditioners of North America and Forbidden Rooms.
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  • Matt
    January 1, 1970
    So we've reached this curious point where we've got graphic novel/comic collections of an artist's take on urban planning, architecture, and modern culture. But seriously, most of this book revolves around architecture.I'm excited to see the medium get to this point.Possibly a little less excited by the book itself. It was just a slowish read. And frankly, often the pictures were not terribly descriptive. I found it to be exactly like those vague yet brilliant architectural statements you hear, So we've reached this curious point where we've got graphic novel/comic collections of an artist's take on urban planning, architecture, and modern culture. But seriously, most of this book revolves around architecture.I'm excited to see the medium get to this point.Possibly a little less excited by the book itself. It was just a slowish read. And frankly, often the pictures were not terribly descriptive. I found it to be exactly like those vague yet brilliant architectural statements you hear, "The architect was hoping to infuse a sense of the unmade bed when he designed this structure." Kind of hilarious. Kind of weird. Kind of necessary to have captions. Maybe that's a statement on architecture. Maybe that's how architecture and its artist statements, captions, and conceptualizations make themselves known in a comic. I don't know.It really is funny and often thoughtful. Peculiar also.
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  • Daniel
    January 1, 1970
    This isn't for everyone, but if you're already a Ben Katchor fan, chances are you're going to like this and if you're not familiar with his stuff, it's a perfect introduction. The story that begins on the cover and continues on the first few pages of the book, wraps around to the end of the book and concludes on the back cover is one of the best in the book and is squarely aimed at those readers who are given to speculations about the morality and environmental impact of the production of art bo This isn't for everyone, but if you're already a Ben Katchor fan, chances are you're going to like this and if you're not familiar with his stuff, it's a perfect introduction. The story that begins on the cover and continues on the first few pages of the book, wraps around to the end of the book and concludes on the back cover is one of the best in the book and is squarely aimed at those readers who are given to speculations about the morality and environmental impact of the production of art books and/or high-end comics compilations like this one! It's such an odd and specific bit of satire, but it's pure Ben Katchor.BTW, if you ever get a chance to hear Katchor doing a reading of his works accompanied by his Powerpoint/slideshow presentations, do so; afterwards, you'll always hear his stories in his wonderful voice, which can only add to their delights.
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    - As someone who recently viewed almost a dozen apartments and spent hours on Craigslist reading rental postings, I really enjoyed "Open House Season."- The titular "Hand-Drying in America" is a funny commentary on the choices and options in small everyday actions.-In "The Brotherhood of the Immaculate Consumption" a vintage clipboard is destroyed in order to force the owner to purchase a new, cheap replacement at an office supply store.
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  • Jason
    January 1, 1970
    I haven't read anything quite like this before! Architectural humor is not something I'd have said I'd be interested in, but katchor's humor is completely accessible to the layperson, if the layperson appreciates dry, understated humor that is. So many interesting topics and such droll but affectionate jabs at them! Quite a brilliant and entertaining collection of strips.
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    I'm leaving this one unrated because I have no reason to rate it badly. It's a great-looking book, the strips are cleverly drawn and the publishing industry strip on the endpapers is a peach. BUT it really wasn't entertaining enough to keep me reading. Most of the strips are about architecture, and the humor is very, very dry. So when it was due back at the library, I didn't renew.
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  • Stewart Tame
    January 1, 1970
    Always love Ben Katchor's stuff. He has a knack for finding details of the urban landscape and building stories around them. He has a wonderful way of focusing on the real to the point of surrealism. Good book!
  • Malcolm
    January 1, 1970
    I have enjoyed everything I have found by this artist. He is one of the greats.
  • Rex Hurst
    January 1, 1970
    The Extension Fallacy is when an arguer takes a statement and exaggerates the parameters so much that it becomes completely ridiculous idea. This perfectly defines the humor in Hand Drying in America. The strips revolve around the nuances of city life. Much of them are concerned the variances of architecture in a New York City-esque environment. The constant raising and destruction of buildings, as depicted in this books paints a picture of a city landscape that drifts back and forth like an oc The Extension Fallacy is when an arguer takes a statement and exaggerates the parameters so much that it becomes completely ridiculous idea. This perfectly defines the humor in Hand Drying in America. The strips revolve around the nuances of city life. Much of them are concerned the variances of architecture in a New York City-esque environment. The constant raising and destruction of buildings, as depicted in this books paints a picture of a city landscape that drifts back and forth like an ocean current, where the occupants try to find stability and meaning in a chaotic ever shifting concrete jungle. The stories take mundane aspects and illuminate them to ridiculous heights. Such as the couple tired of the sealed wrapping in these new condiment styles that hire people to open up the packets for them. To the man who is obsessed with BTU outputs and heat sinks so that he marries a woman that radiates a lot of warmth. To a man who is preoccupied with the gravel in his driveway being taken away by strangers that he eventually has his daughter’s fiancée arrested for theft. Katchor’s artistic style adds to the surrealist element. Colored in muted tones, the charterers are drawn as almost grotesque caricatures of people. Rigid smiles that reek of false friendliness, like off-center candid stills where the participant was caught in an awkward moment. Stiff limbs, like an old timey photograph where a person had to stand rigid for 10 minutes before the shutter snapped. These all add to his dry sense of humor and make a reader believe that we are just one beat away from some of his stories being true. It is a beautiful oversized book, 11.8 x 0.9 x 12.3 inches, with each page containing one of Katchor full strips. All of these were originally published in Metropolis, an architectural magazine, which this strip had been published in from 1998 until it recently ending in December of 2016.
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  • David Rice
    January 1, 1970
    A masterpiece.
  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    Very clever Dilbert type comic pages.It is not meant to be read all at once, the humor is similar from page to page.Good coffee table book
  • Helen
    January 1, 1970
    This is a coffee-table sized book of collected droll stories Katchor wrote for Metropolis magazine between 1998-2012; since I'm a Katchor fan, reading this was highly enjoyable/entertaining. However, there are many facets to Katchor's work. It is more than merely entertainment or wry social commentary. Katchor's vision or perspective on society is actually fairly grim or pessimistic - a parallel that occurred to me were the grotesques of Goya. There are few redeeming characters in the world of K This is a coffee-table sized book of collected droll stories Katchor wrote for Metropolis magazine between 1998-2012; since I'm a Katchor fan, reading this was highly enjoyable/entertaining. However, there are many facets to Katchor's work. It is more than merely entertainment or wry social commentary. Katchor's vision or perspective on society is actually fairly grim or pessimistic - a parallel that occurred to me were the grotesques of Goya. There are few redeeming characters in the world of Katchor - all have their weaknesses or fatal flaws, which reveal in turn alarming aspects of modern-day life; the artificiality, pretentious falseness and cheapness of much-hyped luxury residential architecture/amenities; the hopelessness of today's digital economy; consumerism; a critique of capitalism perhaps in general. The effect of the book is like a tonic - it clears away illusions, but in a marvelously humorous way. I certainly hope Katchor continues drawing and writing - he holds up a mirror to our warped world, and his humorous views on society, act as a corrective. I recommend this book to anyone interested in an ingenious volume of stories, perhaps influenced by Roz Chwast but even more bizarre, yet also dead-pan/matter of fact - that will keep the reader entranced.
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  • Edwin Arnaudin
    January 1, 1970
    4.5.With the exception of a few two-pagers, all of Katchor's stories are told on one sheet and express more wit and insight than a lot of his peers do in 10, 20, 30x that space. An observational convergence of Larry David and Harvey Pekar, augmented by scientific and architectural research and a taste for surrealism, Katchor takes overlooked everyday objects and social situations and blows them up to absurdist proportions. In doing so, he offers insightful cultural commentary and serves up bizar 4.5.With the exception of a few two-pagers, all of Katchor's stories are told on one sheet and express more wit and insight than a lot of his peers do in 10, 20, 30x that space. An observational convergence of Larry David and Harvey Pekar, augmented by scientific and architectural research and a taste for surrealism, Katchor takes overlooked everyday objects and social situations and blows them up to absurdist proportions. In doing so, he offers insightful cultural commentary and serves up bizarre morality tales. Many are profound, some barely register, but the ideas are consistently creative and offer at least one amusing image or anecdote. More impressive is the amount of original thoughts expressed in these pages, whose cumulative effect is something I've rarely encountered outside of a Calvin and Hobbes, Far Side or Dilbert collection.
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  • Caleb
    January 1, 1970
    A humorous critique on the misuse of design. If I were cooler, I would have known that these stories were originally published in Metropolis, a magazine about "architecture, culture & design". Most of the stories deal with architecture and urban planning. Each one makes a small point or joke about some small aspect of design - the use of storefronts to house ATMs, musings on reversing the trend to convert urban industrial space into residences - etc. I learned a bunch and laughed out loud to A humorous critique on the misuse of design. If I were cooler, I would have known that these stories were originally published in Metropolis, a magazine about "architecture, culture & design". Most of the stories deal with architecture and urban planning. Each one makes a small point or joke about some small aspect of design - the use of storefronts to house ATMs, musings on reversing the trend to convert urban industrial space into residences - etc. I learned a bunch and laughed out loud too. I also found myself implicated - instead of interacting with citizens, I was reading an oversized book, printed with toxic ink, taking too much room on the bus.
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  • Christopher
    January 1, 1970
    This book is about details, mostly architectural ones (cornices, ventilation systems, light switches, tissue box holders ) and how they interact overtly or subliminally with people. How maker’s imagined intentions are overshadowed by user’s functions in real life. Its humor is a dry martini drunk in a mocking fashion while criticizing the thickness of the stem of the glassware with a side panel on olive production characterizing the process of pimento stuffing in Spain. Then turned into a buildi This book is about details, mostly architectural ones (cornices, ventilation systems, light switches, tissue box holders ) and how they interact overtly or subliminally with people. How maker’s imagined intentions are overshadowed by user’s functions in real life. Its humor is a dry martini drunk in a mocking fashion while criticizing the thickness of the stem of the glassware with a side panel on olive production characterizing the process of pimento stuffing in Spain. Then turned into a building: “The Masline Center.”
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  • Tyler
    January 1, 1970
    Dense and highly imaginative, and in its final stretches takes a surprising and elegiac turn toward the actual world as it is recognized. "SayUSaw.com" and "International Competition" could be read as the dismayed confessions of the author attempting to make sense of a digitized world in which "only a ceaseless and frenetic display of amorphous forms and colors can hold the eye" and "the fragile logic of the post-industrial city has given way to the senseless arrangement of a post-analog strip m Dense and highly imaginative, and in its final stretches takes a surprising and elegiac turn toward the actual world as it is recognized. "SayUSaw.com" and "International Competition" could be read as the dismayed confessions of the author attempting to make sense of a digitized world in which "only a ceaseless and frenetic display of amorphous forms and colors can hold the eye" and "the fragile logic of the post-industrial city has given way to the senseless arrangement of a post-analog strip mall." Probably Katchor's best book so far.
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  • Brian
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book, but there's just too much of it. Each page is a huge micro-fictive graphic spread, clever and self-contained, but I got exhausted after about 60 of these. It didn't particularly seem like the book as a whole was going anywhere different, so despite how much I liked the individual stories, it started to feel like I'd read them all already.This would work very well as a daily or weekly webcomic, where this is specifically why I keep going back to this site on a regular I really enjoyed this book, but there's just too much of it. Each page is a huge micro-fictive graphic spread, clever and self-contained, but I got exhausted after about 60 of these. It didn't particularly seem like the book as a whole was going anywhere different, so despite how much I liked the individual stories, it started to feel like I'd read them all already.This would work very well as a daily or weekly webcomic, where this is specifically why I keep going back to this site on a regular basis, but as a sit-down read, I couldn't keep going.
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  • Teri
    January 1, 1970
    I received this as a First Reads giveaway. I was quite taken with this book as soon as I opened the mailing envelope. This book is huge, heavy and beautiful! Just the use of color and design makes you want to open and peruse it even if you don't read a word. The illustrations are fun and the artists talent shines through. I can't say I understood all of the points the book tried to make but I'm sure than was more on me than the author. I think everyone would enjoy owning it,it looks great on you I received this as a First Reads giveaway. I was quite taken with this book as soon as I opened the mailing envelope. This book is huge, heavy and beautiful! Just the use of color and design makes you want to open and peruse it even if you don't read a word. The illustrations are fun and the artists talent shines through. I can't say I understood all of the points the book tried to make but I'm sure than was more on me than the author. I think everyone would enjoy owning it,it looks great on your coffee table and will be a great conversation starter.
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  • Emilia P
    January 1, 1970
    Yes, absurdities of urban architectures and inconvenience of modern conveniences, the horribleness of condo development and the idiosyncrasies of past architectural trends. This is unapologetically snobbishness and judgmental of architectural trends and just the way we live now, but Katchor revels so thoroughly in his subject matter that he captures a certain delight in the oddities of the urban environment that he really passes on to the reader. I enjoyed it, perhaps not everyone would.
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  • Chelsea Martinez
    January 1, 1970
    Melancholy and incredibly cumbersome (reading this on the bus made me feel like one of the technologically doomed people in the comics), this compendium of Katchor stories still manages to feel more modern than all the others I have read. I have a bunch of photos of the ones I liked best that I'll add here at some point.
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  • Oliver Bateman
    January 1, 1970
    His best short-strip work to date, though I have concerns about Hand-Drying's more recent, more overtly political pieces and the new style of illustration he uses to present them (see pp. 126-159). The Jew of New York remains Katchor's masterpiece, but this is a worthy addition to any serious collection of graphic art.
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  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    Just wasn't for me. I found a few things interesting -- little sideways looks at modern culture -- but even as cartoons, if you will, there was a lot of text and I found myself wishing he had just given me his insight in each strip in a decent paragraph and moved on to the next. I would have found it far more intellectually stimulating in that format.
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  • Fraser Sherman
    January 1, 1970
    This collection of Katchor's strips centers around architecture (buildings with one side completely blank and windowless, impossibly deep hot tubs, an ice-cream stand that exists solely as a tourist attraction) though other topics work their way in. Katchor explores enjoyably weird ideas, but a lot of the strips taper off rather than end effectively.
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  • Keli
    January 1, 1970
    This was a perfect book to read on break. It was too big to take home and each page is a perfectly encapsulated story. By looking critically at everyday objects in an urban environment, Katchor elevates the mundane and uses it as a commentary on modern life. Few of the stories really resonated with me. But it was enjoyable to read all the same.
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  • Chris Nott
    January 1, 1970
    Love this book, it reminds me of my high schools days when I would draw during class.The short stories are humorous and have a familiar message hidden in them. The flow of the book does take some time getting used to but I loved reading the book and it was very unique. This book is almost a work of art in itself.Highly recommend
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  • Courtney
    January 1, 1970
    I had the privilege to hear Ben Katchor read from this book a week ago. He's hilarious. He reminded me of my days in New York City with his new york accent and dry humor. He signed my book and drew a wet hand hand. haha. More review to come later.
  • Don Naggie
    January 1, 1970
    Further reading material for all would be flanuers--a masterpiece of the quiddities of urban living.
  • Mike
    January 1, 1970
    Enjoyed the art more than the writing. Repetitious tone and depth.
  • kirsten
    January 1, 1970
    Lots of architectural, design and city humor.
  • Allen Martin
    January 1, 1970
    Got tiresome. Didn't finish.
  • Vaidyanathan
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting and different..... for the compulsive cerebral.....
  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    A quietly clever distopian view of the present and near future from a design perspective. Utterly original.
  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    I had no idea what I was getting into. Katchor's comics are deeply weird, but often funny and certainly insightful. Good stuff.
  • Stephanie Robertson
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book on Goodreads. I read this and all the comics were funny, I would read this again any day.
  • SPH
    January 1, 1970
    really didn't click with this at all. unfinished about 1/3rd through.
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