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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Revenge of the Librarians by Tom Gauld

If you are unaware of the talent and creativity of Tom Gauld, then it is time to educate yourself. The Scot is a cartoonist and illustrator but able to create deadpan humour and impressive presentations of ideas and political commentary in a unique and effective way. He is best known for his literary style, often creating comics about book shelves, stock characters and breaking down classic texts into their fundamental aspects. He has been a weekly cartoonist for New Scientist and The Guardian as well as having the privilege of being cover illustrator for The New Yorker.

In his new collection, the humble librarian is the celebrated star. Complete with the same witticism and ability to cut to the heart of the matter. At times laugh out loud funny - the only cartoonist to constantly do this - through to some poignant comments on book selection, content of classics and the state of the new tech era.

Gauld’s simple style makes him endlessly entertaining. Of course, as you would imagine from the timing of this book, there are many references to the COVID pandemic and the many aspects of life from home. “The Bookshop Cat and the Pandemic”, “Around the House in 80 Days”, “On the Sofa by Kerouac” and “Waiting for Godot to Join the Zoom Meeting” are personal favourites.

As always, his inventive talent is present in spades. New words to describe things we never knew we needed like buchverlusterliechgterung or “relief upon finding that you have lost your copy of a book that you weren’t really enjoying”. And the typical conspiracy theorist jibes - “The old man and the CIA”. There is no end to the puns on classic literary titles, it seems.

It is not often that comics have the capacity to encite genuine laughter, but you can definitely find such crackers here. No book is ever jam packed with amazing examples, and certainly some of these will be flicked over rather quickly, but the gems that are in here make the experience more than worth it.

There is even a small library card pocket in the cover of the hardback edition, a nice touch in a nod to those classic days where librarians kept their date stamping ability in fine form.

Highly highly recommended, a perfect gift just in time for Christmas.

Reviewer: Chris Reed



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