Friday, October 22, 2010

Art & Culture: Ghosts by Jon Izzard

The only thing confusing about Jon Izzard’s Ghosts (Spruce) is who the book was created for. While some booksellers have presented this as a work for children nine-to-twelve, my own take is that this book covers enough ground in a serious enough way that it's a terrific resource for anyone with an interest in this topic. After all, ghost hunting is hardly a childish pursuit and it seems to me that anyone who cares about such things will learn a few things from Ghosts.
Life after death is the cornerstone of popular religions: from Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, to Hinduism and Buddhism. For millennia, we have been taught that we each have a soul that continues our existence long after our body is laid to eternal rest.
Even so, don’t get the idea that Ghosts is an exercise in ideology or even theology. It’s not.
What if there was a ghost beside you, right now, reading over your shoulder? How would you know? And should you thrill with excitement at meeting a great mystery. or cringe in fear at the chill of its charnel breath on your neck?
Ghosts combs through the stories and the stacks of information and looks for the things that connect them: the common threads, if you will, that bind all of these tales and beliefs together. It mixes up pop cultural references from films and television, literary references and folklore and what it comes up with is an interesting exploration -- in text, photos and classic illustrations -- of a phenomena of interest to a great many people. ◊

Lincoln Cho is a freelance writer and editor. He lives in the Chicago area, where he works in the high-tech industry. He is currently working on a his first novel, a science-fiction thriller set in the world of telecommunications.

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