Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Graphic Novels Off the Beaten Path

     I recently picked up two very different but equally satisfying graphic novels, both  of them completely outside of the superhero vein. Reading them back to back gave me a flavor of how different graphic novels can be from storyline to artwork. I first picked up Relish: My Life in the Kitchen , by Lucy Knisley, because anything having to do with food is a draw for me.  Lucy has written a story about herself and it proves to be funny, thoughtful and thoroughly charming.  The author is the daughter of established foodies: her mother is a chef, a pioneer in the farm to table movement and inspiration with her love of food culture.  Her father, a more distant and difficult character, is an appreciator of fine restaurant dining and helps to give Lucy an exposure to fantastic as well as disastrous restaurant dishes.  Sprinkled in amongst the stories of her relationship to food as she was growing up, are recipes such as Marinated Lamb, Mom's Pesto and Huevos Rancheros.  Whether you like to cook or not, you'll love reading about Lucy. 

   Native American Classics in the Graphic Classics series is actually a collection of several historic tales and poems about Native Americans.  Some were written in the 19th century and some in the early 20th century, and all by indigenous American writers.  The graphic art in this collection brings these timeless stories of loss, betrayal and change alive.  There are ten different illustrators of Native American heritage, each with a distinctive style ranging from the "cartooney" of old children's comics to a more picture book illustration style.  I could tell that the artists connected with these writers from the past and that they deeply feel the experience of their ancestors. Some of the stories have heart wrenching endings, some are sweet, some funny and some hopeful.  Take a look at this graphic novel if you went to get new insight into America, past and present.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Summer Reading Favorites

School's almost out and that means it's almost time for Summer Reading!  Register at the nearest library and get a fun flip-book to keep track of your progress.  You can win a $10 Bookman's certificate, a Brooklyn's Pizza coupon, and a Breaker's Water Park pass.  Or you can exchange one of those prizes for a book!

Last year, the favorite teen books were:

8.  Eragon
10.  The Vampire Diaries series

Some of these books have new movies coming out this summer:  Hunger Games, the Hobbit, and Percy Jackson.  The Pretty Little Liars and the Vampire Diaries are still showing on TV and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever animated film will be released this Christmas.  If you haven't already, now is the time to read the books while waiting for the movies or new season to start!

Of course, you can also find some new favorites this summer.  The library shelves are full of good books waiting to be discovered!

~ Book Ninja

Pssst!  Go to the Murphy-Wilmot Library and fill out a book recommendation to be entered into a drawing for a free book each month.  The more recommendations you fill out, the more chances you have to win!  We have comics, manga, and other fun books - the choice is yours!  And hey, you're going to be reading books for those cool prizes anyway, right? 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

How Afraid Are You To Die?

In a world where vampires have taken control over society, humans are divided into two groups--the Registered and the Unregistered. Registered humans are required to attend a bloodletting once a month in order to feed their vampiric masters. Unregistered humans are free from the obligation to "donate," but the freedom comes with a price; while Registered humans are provided with food cards, Unregistered humans are not, and the penalty for stealing food is death.

This is the world Allison Sekemoto survives in Julie Kagawa's The Immortal Rules. She lives on the edge of the city of New Covington in the slums, scrounging for food and trying to avoid becoming a vampire's prey. She vows that she'll never be anything like the soulless monsters that treat her species like cattle, but when a food raid goes terribly wrong and Allie is left dying in the street, she must make a choice--she can either die for good, or wake up again as the very demon she despises.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Rats Saw God

Steve York is a mess.  He is a senior in high school in San Diego and a National Merit Finalist who is frequently stoned and on the verge of not graduating.  He has also been spending a lot of time and energy trying not to be like his father, the famous astronaut. When a school counselor offers him the chance to write a 100 page paper in exchange for graduating with his class, Steve takes him up on the offer.

Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas tells the story of what is going on with Steve as he writes that paper. That story is interspersed with the paper itself in which he reveals to himself (and us) how he got to this place in his life. We learn about the astronaut's disappointment, the parent's divorce, Steve's first love and his broken heart. 
The book was written by Rob Thomas in 1996 but was re-released in March.  You may know Rob Thomas by his other claim to fame - as the creator, writer and producer of several television shows, including Veronica Mars

Pick up this book if you have ever felt like you couldn't live up to someone's expectations, or had your heart broken. Does that leave anyone out?  I don't think so. And the title? You will just have to read the book!

Betsey S