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Chris  Ware All Authors »

About The Author


Born in Omaha and now living in Chicago, Chris Ware is a highly regarded comic book writer and graphic novelist.

His first cartoon strips were published in the student newspaper of the University of Texas at Austin in the late 1980s and brought him to the attention of Art Spiegelman, who invited him to contribute to alternative comic anthology RAW.

In 1993, he published the first in his series, the Acme Novelty Library, which now runs to twenty volumes, the most recent of which was published in 2010. Amongst other strips, this popularised Quimby the Mouse, Rusty Brown and, in serial form, perhaps his most famous creation, Jimmy Corrigan.

In 2001, Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, was published to widespread acclaim. This story of a lonely middle-aged man, with its diversions into alternative versions of his childhood, won numerous prizes, including the Guardian First Book Award; this remains the only occasion that a graphic novel has won a major British literary award.

This was followed by a collection of Quimby the Mouse strips. Ware was guest editor of Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern (commonly known as McSweeney's) in 2004. Other projects include TV animation and designs for book covers, records and film posters.

Buiding Stories by Chris WareHis new graphic novel is Building Stories, available in a stunning elaborate boxset containing fourteen different items - hardcover books, booklets, magazines, newspapers and pamphlets - that together make up a highly desirable, and no doubt highly collectable, package.

Together these stunning artefacts tell the story of three women in a Chicago apartment block: a lonely spinster, a young woman with a revolting boyfriend and a woman who dreams of escaping to the calm of suburbia.

You may have seen extracts already, dating back to 2005, which have appeared in publications as diverse as nest magazine, the New Yorker and the Guardian.

In her list of recent favourite reads selected exclusively for Foyles, Zadie Smith picked Building Stories, saying of Ware, "There's no writer alive whose work I love more than Chris Ware".

Below, exclusively for Foyles, Chris selects some of his favourite books, ones that moved and entertained and inpsired him, including classics such as Ulysses and Moby-Dick, recent books by Dave Eggers and Zadie Smith and, of course, some fine examples of graphic art.

 

 

 

 

Author Picks

What it is
What it is (Hardback)
Lynda Barry
 
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A two-volume self-help course in finding that core of unselfconscious creative urge that school, adolescence and self-consciousness stomped out of you years ago — with pictures, funny anecdotes and a warm-hearted narrator that will, at some point, make you say out loud to the book, "I love you!" Lynda is an American national treasure and these two works are her Old and New Testaments, the efforts towards which I think her last 30 years of cartooning have lead up to. I've never met anyone who wants more desperately to give something of herself to others than Lynda does.
Joseph Cornell: Shadowplay, Eterniday
Lynda Roscoe Hartigan; Walter Hopps;...
 
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The finest monograph on any artist I've yet read, it provides a thorough overview of the work and the man who kept poetry and the beauty of the ineffable alive in the visual arts during its blunter and decidedly more "effable" periods. Including a DVD of his experimental films, a facsimile digital collection of his record and book collections, and three-dimensional digital models of his better known boxes, this book is a fittingly great assessment of the man who I think was the greatest and most original artist of the 20th century.
Rabbit Angstrom: A Tetralogy -...
John Updike
 
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Everybody's always complaining about how the Great American Novel has yet to be written, but here it is, and it won't likely ever be bettered; four decades of all-American male wrought with the finest, most forgiving brush that words can ferulle together, synaesthetically limning a sense of a person, a generation, and a lifetime so vividly that sometimes I forget that the events herein didn't actually happen to me. It's sort of as if the clarity of Tolstoy and the flat trueness of Chekhov were applied to the 20th century, with surprisingly hilarious results. Thank goodness Updike gave up on cartooning early and moved on to prose.
MetaMAUS
MetaMAUS (Hardback)
Art Spiegelman
 
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I thought that my generation was doing pretty well following Art's example of how to make serious comic books for adults, but this book demonstrates just how pale and paltry our efforts have been; via interviews, documents, photographs and preparatory sketches (and an interactive DVD) it's clear that Art not only created the graphic novel, but that graphic novel may also never be bettered.
Great Northern Brotherhood of ...
Seth
 
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Whenever I think I'm trying hard at what I do, I think of Seth and realized that I'm not. Usually devoting himself to somber works of graphic fiction, this extremely fun book mixes his memories and research into real cartoonists with complete nonsense, all revolving around a fictional fraternal order with a distinctly Canadian (and British) tone of camaraderie, gentlemanly competition and arcane knowledge, all somehow coming out strangely moving and warmhearted, not unlike the artist himself.
Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Little ...
USA Title
Wilder, Laura Ingalls; Fraser, Caroline
 
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With this adult edition of Wilder's warm yet unremittingly bleak memories of her 19th century frontier life in Midwestern America, the Library of America acknowledges what those of us who read them to our children (or read them ourselves) already knew — that she's one of the greatest, most lucid writers America has produced. The only drawback of this edition is that Garth Williams' homey, woolly drawings are not included, but Wilder's crystal clear prose perhaps shines all the more because of it.
Moby-Dick
Moby-Dick (Paperback)
Herman Melville
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It's not really about whales or whaling, it's about how the inexperience of youth deifies the doings of the old. In a way, it could be considered the first "fan fiction," if it wasn't already fiction itself. At the same time, it will get you really, really interested in whales and whaling. The Great American Novel, but the 19th century version.
The Ingmar Bergman Archives
The Ingmar Bergman Archives (Books & other media combined)
Paul Duncan; Bengt Wanselius; Erland...
 
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Second in line from the better-selling Stanley Kubrick Archives, I actually prefer this volume because the filmmaker's life's work is so much messier, complicated, unstrung and confusing -- while his art is just as precise and masterful. Why Taschen decided to stick with the Kubrickian cover lettering is a little confusing, though easily overlooked for the treasure trove of material within, which
Ethel and Ernest
Ethel and Ernest (Paperback)
Raymond Briggs; Raymond Briggs
 
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I don't think I've ever read this book without my eyes tearing up. How Briggs manages to impart such feeling and generosity towards his parents in this deeply moving and heartfelt yet never overly sentimental memoir amazes me. It reminds me a little in its after-effects of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town," though the two works are otherwise completely different. It will make you care more deeply about life and the people you live it with, which is about the best one can say about anything.
The Original of Laura: (Dying is Fun)...
Vladimir Nabokov; Dmitri Nabokov
 
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Because my friend Chip Kidd designed this book, I had the unsettling experience of getting to read the posthumous, incomplete manuscript in illegal bootleg copy a year before it was published, and I found it one of the strangest literary experiences of my life. I'm still convinced that Nabokov, had he finished this book, would have so powerfully induced a sense of death and obliteration in the reader it might have actually caused injury in some. As it was, I felt icily feverish while reading it, my extremities going cold and translucent along with Nabokov's vanishing paragraphs, sentences, words and "characters."
Ulysses
Ulysses (Paperback)
James Joyce; Hans Walter Gabler
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What can I say about what is probably the greatest book ever written in English, other than when I first made my way it I'd frequently stop at the end of the page and have no idea what I'd just read, but would find that my mind had been filled with vivid impressions and sensations that added up, if I thought about it for a second, to a very specific image. Has any other writer ever even come close to this direct transplantation of sense data via language, let along created art with it? It may be the greatest work of art ever created, next to Beethoven's 9th Symphony (which seems to share some of its same transmogrifying, transplant-ifying qualities).
The Pale King
The Pale King (Paperback)
David Foster Wallace
 
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The first great novel of the 21st century uses the sinister beauty of the American Tax Code as a springboard from which to launch into a genuinely serious discussion of the origins and importance of civic responsibility amidst the hazy, blurred stupidity of a country in quick decline. Contrary to many reviews, I don't think it's about boredom, and it's certainly not boring. Another posthumous editor-to-manuscript resuscitation, the book hangs heavy with the clotted spectre of Wallace's suicide, which makes the writing glow all the more painfully through it.
A Hologram for the King
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Dave Eggers
 
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I have to confess that I haven't read this yet (it's next on my list) but my wife did and said it was fantastic, and Dave never goes wrong; every book he takes up is a slightly off-kilter yet completely fresh approach to what the idea of writing and journalism and responsibility to one's fellow humans actually is, and all Right Now. He's also done more to keep publishing interesting than any other person I can think of, and he shouldn't even be doing any of that stuff (but he does, along with maintaining the 826 writing centers, the various McSweeney's periodicals, etc.) Plus the book is designed really, really well.
An Anthology of Graphic Fiction,...
Ivan Brunetti
 
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The best collection of serious comics ever collected by one of its most serious cartoonists (who also happens to be one of my best friends.) The word "curated" is very overused these days, but Ivan very sensitively did just that here, balancing the funny against the tragic and the literary versus the esthetic, with everything in between. If one wanted to make an argument for comics as a viable medium for self-expression, one couldn't do any better than these two books (minus the selection of my own "Jimmy Corrigan" in the book, which Yale refused to run as anything but sideways, and so looks absolutely terrible.)
An Anthology of Graphic Fiction,...
Ivan Brunetti
 
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Volume Two of the above
Dal Tokyo
USA Title
Dal Tokyo (Hardback)
Gary Panther
 
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I've been waiting for this book for almost three decades. Gary Panter is not the same as you and me, a fact most clearly felt in his artwork and drawings, which feel and look like he's reeled in the 20th and 21st century central nervous system and laid it right on the page — with all of the advertising, music, movie and television imagery his line happened to snag on the way up. Designed in emulation of the earliest, awkward oblong strip collections of pioneering strips like 'Mutt and Jeff', this is a pioneering book of cartooning for the 22nd century by cartooning's most singular genius.

Available Titles By This Author

Building Stories
Building Stories (Hardback)
Chris Ware
£30.00£30.00 Add to Basket
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on...
Chris Ware; Chris Ware
 
£20.00£14.0030%Add to Basket
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on...
Chris Ware; Chris Ware
 
£16.99£12.4027%Add to Basket
Quimby the Mouse
Quimby the Mouse (Hardback)
Chris Ware
 
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The Acme Novelty Library: No. 20
Chris Ware
 
£15.99£11.6727%Add to Basket

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