Your recommended daily dosage
Of something to read
Last night, I read Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness by Kristen Radtke, which is a graphic novel, to my visually impaired partner. I knew I had to read it to him when I saw the opening pages talk about ham radio. Will is an amateur radio operator. I discovered this book via a quick search for graphic novels available on the Libby app (which our library offers to users; it is an OverDrive product).
I had no idea what I wanted to read, and didn’t realize how perfect a selection this was until I began to read it. Imagine a doctoral dissertation as a graphic novel; I think it would blow people’s minds. The author, who is originally from rural Wisconsin, and about 10 years my junior, relays her own experiences and observations and backs up each thesis statement with credible research in the social sciences. She often refers to the controversial experiments Harry Harlow conducted on rhesus monkeys at UW-Madison. As horrifically cruel as these experiments may have been, the findings provide, perhaps, the best explanation for what is happening today.
I don’t want to divulge too much from the book, because I want everyone to get their hands on a copy and read it. Its over 300 pages can easily be read in one evening. I read this aloud to my partner in its entirety last night, sometimes describing the illustrations to him, and we even paused to discuss some of what was being said. I think its content can help us heal, and unlike many other graphic novels (and other written works) that I have read that tackle important social issues, it doesn’t talk down to anyone.
It is so clever how this author begins this book by talking about ham radio, a hobby, that in the U.S. anyway, is populated predominantly by conservatives. The author writes and illustrates the pages in a way where she tackles all that divides us, reflects the reality of it, but allows space for people of various ideologies. These pages cut through the noise and get at the very heart of the matter.