picture books

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Saturday, April 30, 2011
Here are some tiny write-ups for graphic novels I've enjoyed in the mostly recent past. The links all go to goodreads, where I figure you can Read All About It if you're so inclined. I'm trying to get my stack of checked out library books down to a reasonable (under 60) number, so there may be a few more of these in the days to come so I can take them back. 

AYA by Marguerite Abouet & Clement Oubrerie: I loved reading this graphic novel set in 1970s Ivory Coast. Here’s a blurb from the back that is very successful as a blurb as it made me nod my head a lot:
“AYA is an irresistible comedy; a couple of love stories and a tale for becoming African. This isn’t a guided tour for backseat travelers: as you read, you’re a Yopougon local. It’s also a book about what goes on in the mind of teenage girls. It’s essential reading. Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie bring back to life an Africa that’s not asking for favors and that can stand on its own feet. Despite the lighthearted tone, AYA is a very political book. And I think it’s an excellent time to invite readers to pull up a chair at an African table.” - Joann Sfar, cartoonist of THE RABBI’S CAT. 

I was gratified to see his comment on the back, because as I was reading Aya I kept thinking that it reminded me of things I loved about The Rabbi’s Cat - namely highly relatable characters from a culture very different from my own. (They also share a certain visual similarity.)   Books like this one make the world a larger and more interesting place. And there are two sequels! FOUR STARS, but more like 4 1/2. Read it! (Read in Sept. 2010) 

AIR: Pure Land by G. Willow Wilson & M.K. Perker. Book 3 in the series. SUPER TRIPPY! Featuring air travel, time travel, bloody nose headaches, danger, adventure, romance, terrorists, and so on. It reminds me of Lost, and I don’t think it’s just because of the airplanes and strange happenings. (I mean the Lost comparison in a good way - I never know what's going to happen!)  I also like Our Heroine Blythe quite a lot - she’s tough, smart, and brave, but also is vulnerable to wrong assumptions and stupid mistakes like the rest of us. Like Lost, the narrative jumps around and I have no idea if it will all hang together in the end, but I’m happy to go along for the ride. Bonus: Amelia Earhart!  (Read in April 2011) 

Irredeemable, Volume 1 by Mark Waid & Peter Krause: What happens if the most powerful superhero goes bad and none of his superfriends, let alone the general public he’s terrorizing, knows why? How do you stop him? Can he be saved? Can he be killed? Why so angry and murderous, super dude? This book was recommended to me by a co-worker when I asked the usual “have you read anything good lately?” question. (I specified “no zombies, no post-apocolypse.”) I liked it and will certainly read more. FOUR STARS. (Read March 2011)

Maira Kalman by Ingrid Schaffner - I love Maira Kalman’s brightly colored, playful, witty paintings. This book is a retrospective (to accompany an exhibit) and I would recommend it to anyone who likes her work, although if you’re just starting to explore I would probably start with the Principles of Uncertainty or any and all of the Max books. FOUR STARS (read in January 2011) 

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