Year One: Readers’ picks
As part of the celebration of our first year, we reached out to some Idler readers and asked them to share their favorite pieces from the site.
Duck decoys, lost laptops, and a necklace to grieve with: Teal Amthor Shaffer’s post “Souvenirs” is a bittersweet exploration of the emotional power we invest in objects.
Suzanne Fischer is a historian and writer who lives in Detroit. She cares about people, places, and things. Find her on Twitter as @publichistorian
My favorite essay from the The Idler‘s first year — a difficult choice among so many stellar pieces — is “Harry Potter and the Evil Empire” by Angela Vasquez-Giroux. I am the ideal target reader for Ms. Vasquez-Giroux’s prose: a baseball-loving, Yankee-hating bookworm who resisted the charms of Harry Potter because, as the author puts it, I’m often a “hater of all things beloved by everyone else.” Typical of The Idler‘s broad cross-cultural vision, this essay manages to connect literature, sport, Johnny Damon, “and his ragtag gang of self-named misfits, the idiots, lacking pedigree and pinstripe.” Yes, Ms. Vasquez-Giroux, the Yankees ARE Voldemort. . . and watching them fail at the end of the season/story is a pleasure I’m delighted to know we share.
Congrats on your first year, The Idler. Here’s to many more.
Kate Sloan’s honest and intelligent articles on comics (“Book reviews for the comic lover’s soul” and “Smart Girl at the Party: Web Comic Round Up, Part III” to name but a couple) have both reminded and informed me about a number of comics-related news, reviews, and web-comics. I’m looking forward to seeing more from this talented writer.
Ryan Claytor is a comics artist and professor living in Lansing, Michigan. He currently teaches Comics Studio courses at both Michigan State University and the University of Michigan Flint. Claytor is most widely known for his self-published, autobiographical, comic book series And Then One Day. Find him online at www.elephanteater.com/.
I’ve always loved The Idler‘s slogan: “Refusing to apologize for the things we enjoy.” There’s an unabashed nerdiness that pervades the site, and every time I finish a piece on The Idler, I think to myself, “These are my kind of people.” Case in point: Gavin, Andrew, and Daniel’s re-playthrough of Final Fantasy VII. The “Gamers’ Club” concept was creative, the format loose, and the end product was a series of thoroughly enjoyable and insightful posts about how the game has aged (Daniel: “Two women fighting over Cloud? This was like crack to a sixteen-year-old boy, I tell ya. Years later, it still makes for great story telling.”), how it should be played (see Andrew’s character and materia management piece), and sometimes, in the process, what it says about its players (Gavin: “I feel a bit underpowered, but I always feel underpowered at the end.”). Anyone who hasn’t played FFVII will still be able to appreciate the enthusiasm and quality of analysis, but if you have a nostalgic adoration for the Final Fantasy series like I do, you’ll understand why exactly these are your kind of people.
Kevin Nguyen is an editor at The Bygone Bureau. His only marketable skill is an above-average knowledge of European geography. He has been useless since the introduction of the atlas in 1477. Find him at Twitter at @knguyen.
What’s amazing about The Idler is that it not only provides personal perspective and entertaining exploration in each of its writer’s articles, but it also doesn’t coddle current crazes and pander to passing obsessions. Readers will find delightful deliberations on a wide array of topics like Kevin Mattison’s personal reactions to the work of French filmmaker Jacques Tati through the lens of Slyvain Chomet’s The Illusionist in Kevin’s “Jacques Tatis, there and back again.” It’s this type of feature that not only highlights a current work that deserves more universal attention, but also turns its attention to an artist that has been grossly overlooked by the pages of mainstream cinematic history. Mr. Mattison’s response to The Illusionist is not only intelligent, it also perfectly demonstrates the individualized personalities that make The Idler so engaging.
Landen Celano is an actor and writer in the Los Angeles area. You can find him at Twitter at @landencelano.