Carlson, David L. & Landis Blair. The Hunting Accident: A True Story of Crime and Poetry.

NY: First Second, 2017.

If you’re in the market for a really involving graphic novel that will keep you absorbed for hours and have you hunting up background material so you can learn more, I strongly recommend this one. It’s the winter of 1959 in Chicago and ten-year-old Charlie Rizzo has just returned to live with his father following his divorced mother’s death in California. He doesn’t really know his father that well, except that he’s blind and writes poetry, but his mother and grandmother had felt the need to “save” Charlie from him five years earlier.

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Nadler, Steven & Ben Nadler. Heretics! The Wondrous (and Dangerous) beginnings of Modern Philosphy.

Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017.

As an undergraduate many years ago, I took quite a few courses in the history of philosophy, simply because I needed an easy second minor and (once you learn the actual history), philosophy doesn’t really have any right or wrong answers. I learned a lot and I’ve maintained an interest, so I had high hopes for this uncommon graphic approach to the subject in its more recent centuries.

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Published in: on 5 September 2018 at 7:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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Padua, Sydney. The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.

NY: Pantheon, 2015.

I’ve long been fascinated by Charles Babbage and his “difference engine” (almost always confused with his completely separate “analytical engine,” which was the first instance of the concepts which grew into the digital computer, more than a century later), especially after reading Gibson and Sterling’s 1991 novel. Babbage was a first-rate mathematician — he held Isaac Newton’s Lucasian Chair of math at Cambridge, most recently occupied by Stephen Hawking — but Ada, Countess of Lovelace, the only legitimate child of the mad, bad, dangerous Lord Byron, was a certified math genius.

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Clowes, Daniel. David Boring.

NY: Pantheon, 2000.

Clowes has done several first-rate graphic novels that have won awards. This, unfortunately, is not one of them. In fact, it lives up to its name: It’s utterly boring.

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Published in: on 1 July 2018 at 7:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mina, Denise (adaped). The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

2v. NY: Vertigo 2012.

I read a lot of graphic fiction, and I’ve also read and enjoyed Larsson’s original novel twice now, so I was surprised to find I had somehow missed this graphic adaptation of it by Denise Mina — a mystery/thriller author whose books I have also enjoyed.

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Bui, Thi. The Best We Could Do.

NY: Abrams, 2017.

This is one of most affecting graphic novels I’ve read in some time. It’s actually a memoir (the library classifies it in U.S. history), detailing the author/artist’s birth in Vietnam three months before the end of the American war there and her flight with her family as one of the Boat People in 1978.

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Thrash, Maggie. Honor Girl.

Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2015.

This “graphic memoir” is the author’s first book, but she pretty much hits it out of the park. It’s the 1990s (I think) and 15-year-old Maggie, an Atlanta native and daughter of a federal judge, is spending the summer at the same Kentucky camp where she’s gone every year since she was little (as did her mother and her grandmother). She has friends there but she’s not really one of the popular girls. But this summer is different. This is the summer she’s blindsided by falling in love with tall, blonde Erin, a 19-year-old counselor.

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Stevenson, Noelle. Nimona.

NY: Harper, 2015.

EXPLOSIONS! SCIENCE! SHARKS! NERDS! SYMBOLISM! Yep, that’s the kind of graphic novel this is. It won a bunch of awards, not only from other artists but from its (mostly) teenage readers, as well. Lord Ambrosius Goldenloin is the Official Hero here and Lord Ballister Blackheart is the Bad Guy, but neither of them is really terrible — even though the former hacked off the latter’s arm back when they were students together. Now, Ambrosius works for the Institution while Blackheart tries to keep the kingdom’s growing police state from impinging on its subjects any further.

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Holm, Jennifer & Matthew Holm. Swing It, Sunny.

NY: Scholastic, 2017.

This is a sequel to this sister/brother team’s Sunny Side Up (2015), and it’s pretty good. It’s set in the closing months of 1976 and Sunny, now starting middle school, misses her older brother, Dale, who has been sent away to a military boarding school for his own (and everyone else’s) good. The story is episodic, going from the start of school to Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s — all the landmarks in an adolescent’s calendar

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Cho, Michael. Shoplifter.

NY: Pantheon, 2014.

This not-long graphic novel isn’t even close to an epic. No superheroes, not even especially unusual characters. A “quiet” story, as they say, but it’s quite well done. Corinna Park is a Korean-Canadian in her mid-20s who is burning out in her job with an ad agency. Does she really want to keep pitching perfume to nine-year-old girls? But what else can you do to pay the bills in the big city with a degree in English Lit? (She’d rather be a novelist, but. . . .)

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Published in: on 26 April 2018 at 4:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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