Posts Tagged ‘Graphic Novel’

Best ‘New to Us’ Books in 2014: Clare B’s Picks

December 22, 2014

I read both fiction and non-fiction.  I prefer books that have rich characters, who feel like people I know by the time I finish the book.  Here are the best books I read in 2014.

Ten Things I've Learnt About LoveTen Things I’ve Learnt About Love by Sarah Butler
Alice is a wanderer, unable to decide on a career.  She has a strained relationship with her family, but has returned to England to be with her father during his final days.  Daniel is a middle aged homeless man on the streets of London, who uses found items to make small, transient art pieces.  He is also searching for the daughter he has never met.  The chapters in this amazing debut novel, alternate between Alice’s and Daniel’s voice, as events lead them inexorably towards each other.

The Death of SantiniThe Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son by Pat Conroy
Pat Conroy returns to his troubled relationship with his father in this excellent biography, where he also explores the dynamics between he and his siblings, particularly his sister Carol.  In the prologue, Conroy says that he has been “writing the story of my own life for over forty years…but I must examine the wreckage one last time”.  He does, using soaring language, and descriptions that are both tragic and hilarious.  The picture Conroy paints is not always pretty, and at times he is especially brutal in describing his own actions.  However, Pat Conroy is the ultimate storyteller, and that amazing talent shines in this retelling of his life.

March, Book OneMarch, Book One by John Lewis
I am not generally a fan of graphic novels.  However, this is perhaps the most powerful book I have read this year, and I think the format is an excellent way to describe the Civil Rights struggles.  Congressman Lewis recounts his early meeting with Martin Luther King, which led to his commitment to the non-violence movement.  Illustrator Nate Powell’s images help bring to life the incredible bravery and determination of the young men and women who risked their lives to right the horrible wrong of segregation.

The Other TypistThe Other Typist  by Suzanne Rindell
New York City in the 1920s:  women’s roles are changing, Prohibition is in full swing, and crime is hidden right in front of you.  Odalie Lazare is the new member of the typing pool at a police precinct.  Beautiful, mysterious, sometimes charming, sometimes cold, she fascinates the staid, reliable typist, Rose Baker.  Odalie pulls Rose into her world of intrigue with the promise of friendship and excitement.  Told in Rose’s voice, this satisfying tale will leave you asking, “what just happened?”

Guests on EarthGuests on Earth by Lee Smith
Evalina Toussaint, an orphan, arrives at Asheville, NC’s famed Highland Hospital, in 1936. Her mother has died, her father is unknown. she is alone, abandoned and has virtually shut down.  Dr. Carroll, the hospital administrator, and his wife, a concert pianist, take Evalina under their wings.  Part patient, part ward of the Carrolls, Evalina lives at Highland on and off over the next several decades, as she struggles to find a life for herself.  Smith has not only written a well-crafted novel, but she has also explored the changing attitudes about mental illness, and its treatment, using the factual story of Highland Hospital and the tragic fire that killed its most famous patient, Zelda Fitzgerald.  Zelda has a cameo role in the novel, providing a fleeting, but enduring influence on Evalina.

Best New Books of 2014: Allison D’s Picks

December 9, 2014

These are some of my favorite books that were published this year. You will probably notice that I not only love a well-written series, but that my reading interests vary across many genres. I enjoy juvenile books, graphic novels, romance, science fiction, fantasy, and I have a love-hate relationship with vampire novels.

Born of FuryBorn of Fury by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Born of Fury is the seventh installment in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s science fiction romance series, The League, and is one of my favorites. Like J.R. Ward, Kenyon picks up where she left off, catching you up on your favorite characters while also focusing in on a particular couple. Hauk is a trained warrior from his planet of Andarion. He is also a member of the Sentella, a group now openly in war against The League, along with friends whom he considers his family. Sumi Antaxas, a League assassin, is assigned to target Hauk. What she believes to be a simple task becomes increasingly entangled as she becomes a captive of her target. There is intrigue, adventure, action, and romance in this fast-paced fantasy novel. In any science fiction novel, there is a thin-line that an author must walk in order to build a believable world separate from our own while also retaining some mystery and not boring the reader from minute details. Kenyon demonstrates this in her League series by having a perfect balance of both.

Escape from LucienAmulet, Vol. 6: Escape from Lucien by Kazu Kibuishi
This may be a graphic novel series, and intended for a younger audience, but there is something in it for everyone. The Amulet series is a fast-paced, exciting adventure; each volume of which I devoured in one sitting. Emily, her brother Navin, and their friends are hurtling on a journey towards battling the Elf King. In order to survive, Emily has to keep her wits about her, find a way to trust the other Stone Keepers she meets along with way, and keep her family safe. In the most recent edition, Escape from Lucien, Emily has to team up with an enemy while attempting to get her friends and brother out of the city of Lucien alive. It ends with a huge cliff-hanger but, in a series that is so fun to read, I cannot find it in myself to be miffed.

Shadow SpellShadow Spell by Nora Roberts
Nora Roberts is known for her romance trilogies, and this particular series has a little bit of everything; romance, of course, as well as close-knit families, Irish lore, magic, and friendships. If you have read anything by Roberts before, I found it to be a knitting together of the best parts of what I enjoyed about her Sign of Seven and Three Sisters Island trilogies. In this second installment, Connor O’Dwyer and his sister’s best friend, Meara Quinn, realize that there is a bit more between them than just friendship. They have taken their relationship for granted but when their budding romance is put to the test by the evil Cabhan waiting in the shadows they find there might be something more than just chemistry. The best part of reading a book by Nora Roberts is that I felt like I had been whisked away to small village in Ireland, with its history and long-standing inhabitants. The worst part? Having to wait seven months for the final installment to come out!

The KingThe King by J.R. Ward
The King is the 12th book in J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. If you’ve never heard of the series before, I would start with the first book called Dark Lover. In The King, Ward revisits the couple from Dark Lover, Wrath and Beth. It is a different take on the vampire story and there certainly are no sparkly, vegan vampires to find in J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood. That being said, Ward has well-developed characters that come to life as you read further about their lives.  The King may center on Beth and Wrath, but Ward writes about the story lines of all of the other characters you have come to know and care about over the course of the series. What I love most about J.R. Ward’s series is that, in every installment, it feels as though I am stopping in for a weekend trip to check up on some friends of mine. There is a familiarity to it and a real character depth that you don’t find everywhere, especially not in romance series, which is one of the reasons I keep coming back for more!

The Mark of the Midnight ManzanillaThe Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla by Lauren Willig
I have been reading the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig for what feels like forever, each year eagerly awaiting the next addition to the series. The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla is the 11th book in the series, not counting various novellas related to the assortment of colorful characters. If you are a fan of historical fiction set in the Napoleonic Era, with a dash of romance, some intrigue, spies, and lots of absurd humor then read this series. This book is, according to the author, the second to last book in the series. It follows the mysterious Duke of Belliston, Lucien, and Sally Fitzhugh. When a vampire novel that is all the rage in society sparks a rumor that Lucien is, in fact, a vampire, Sally must help Lucien solve the murder of a woman found dead at a party with the appearance of vampire bites on her neck. I enjoyed the absurdity that such a rumor sparked in the stuffy society setting and the hilarity that ensued as the two of them were thrown together to solve this strange murder mystery. The fact that Willig was making a jab at the current vampire craze in literature was an added bonus.

Best New Books of 2014: Janet L’s Picks

December 8, 2014

Winter is coming, with its cold days and long nights.  In other words, perfect reading weather.  It’s also the traditional time to look back and choose favorite reads of the past year.  If you are a fan of humor, mystery, travel, or food (not to mention good writing) I can highly recommend the following five books:

A Man Called OveA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Neighborhood curmudgeon Ove is not amused when a lively young family moves in next door.  Imagine everyone’s surprise, especially Ove’s, when instead of the expected disaster, something wonderful results.  Fredrik Backman’s debut is an amazing mixture of comedy, pathos and social commentary.  Will appeal to almost everyone, especially fans of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce and The No. 1 Ladies Detective series by Alexander McCall Smith.

The Bone OrchardThe Bone Orchard by Paul Doiron
Life would be much easier for Mike Bowditch if he could just keep his mouth shut, but then reading about him wouldn’t be so much fun.  No longer a game warden for the state of Maine, Mike finds himself drawn into a case when good friend and former mentor, Kathy Frost, is gunned down and critically injured.  One of my favorite mystery series; if you haven’t had the pleasure, begin with The Poacher’s Son.  Especially recommended for readers of the Alex McKnight series by Steve Hamilton, the Conway Sax series by Steve Ulfelder and the Anna Pigeon series by Nevada Barr.

Smoke Gets in Your EyesSmoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
Caitlin Doughty, founder of The Order of the Good Death, is a Los Angeles mortician.  She wrote this book to give people a behind the scenes look at funeral home. Death is a somber and scary subject, but Doughty handles it with humor and compassion. If she hoped this book would demystify death and make it more comfortable to contemplate, she succeeded with this reader.  Recommended for fans of Mary Roach and Sarah Vowell.

The Age of LicenseThe Age of License: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley
Graphic artist Knisley shares the ups and downs of her book tour to Europe and Scandinavia.   Honest, charming, yet serious, this graphic novel will appeal to fans of travelogues and mouthwatering descriptions of food—and isn’t that almost everyone?

The Black HourThe Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day
Sociology professor Amelia Emmet has made violence the focus of her academic research.  When a student she has never seen before appears outside her office and shoots her, theory becomes all too horribly real.  Back on campus, Amelia attempts to resume her life.  Relying on painkillers, a cane, and her sardonic sense of humor, Amelia struggles to find the answer to the questions that haunts her:  Why?

Best New Books of 2014: Amy W’s Picks

December 1, 2014

I enjoy a well-balanced diet…of books. Here we have something for EVERYONE from light and fun page-turners to thought-provoking non-fiction. Don’t let 2014 end without checking out any (or all) of these awesome books!

This Dark Road to MercyThis Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash
Easter and Ruby are two young girls placed in foster care after the sudden death of their junkie mother. The girls are used to watching out for themselves. They hope to be adopted, but do not want to live with their maternal grandparents in Alaska, total strangers, living in a strange land. Their estranged father, a washed up amateur league baseball player, appears suddenly and confuses the already precarious situation. In the backdrop of the novel and adding to the tension, is the home run rivalry between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. The scores go back and forth and the competition is of interest to everyone. This Dark Road to Mercy is a well-constructed, page-turner that artfully tells a moving story in which children are once again thrust into an adult world.  See my full review.

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
Roz Chast, a longtime New Yorker cartoonist, documents the slow decline of her aging parents. Not only does this impact her life at the time, but spending time with them at their most vulnerable brings up old anxieties. No surprise, Chast tackles this subject with great humor and candor. I found this book to be comforting and thought provoking. The graphic memoir format really lends itself to exploring a topic I would ordinarily shy away from reading.

LandlineLandline by Rainbow Rowell
Remember back in the 80’s when you would talk on the phone for an eternity until your ear actually hurt? I do. I loved talking on the phone, not so much cell phones— and texting has its moments if you can get past all the auto-correct errors. Nothing will ever surpass the old school telephone when it comes to connecting with another person. Georgie McCool is in crisis mode. She is a writer for a sitcom that just may get a pilot. Her marriage, family, mental health and personal hygiene suffer from the effort. She needs to reconnect. Her old yellow phone becomes her lifeline to the past and the present. Told with great humor and tenderness, Landline is a delight!

All Joy and No FunAll Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior
Why, why, why is parenting so hard today? This thought has crossed my mind a lot, well, more accurately, this thought lives in my mind and it ain’t goin’ nowhere. Parenting seemed easy for my mom (it also did not hurt that I was a perfect child, am I right?). This is really the only parenting book I have ever read and boy, do I love it! It is not a book about how to parent , but a look at what parenting is about these days from a sociological and psychological perspective. So, I was right — it is hard–but now I spend a lot less time focusing on the no fun aspects of parenting. See my full review.

Thousand Dollar Tan LineThe Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas
I loved the Veronica Mars television series! This book takes place a few years after the series ends when Veronica gets really close to joining the FBI but decides to live and work in her small, California beach-side hometown, Neptune. Written by the series creator, writer and producer, Rob Thomas, stylistically the book is true to the spirit of the show and the 2014 movie. I know you are thinking, “that sounds kind of low-brow for you, a well-read librarian”. Well, it’s not. This book is not great literature, but it is perfectly entertaining and it was great to be reunited with old friends (this is the part where you remember the catchy theme song…A long time ago, we used to be friends….).

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe

August 19, 2014

Marvel Comics: The Untold StoryFace front true believers! How did Marvel Comics go from being a small, struggling company in the early 1960s to a Hollywood mainstay and multibillion dollar business? How did Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and a handful of other writers and artists, almost single-handedly create so many iconic characters, such as Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers? How did the company go from the dizzying highs of the comic book boom in the late 80s and early 90s to declaring bankruptcy a few years later, only to emerge as the biggest name in film making a few years after that, dominating the box office with hits like Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier? Sean Howe’s engaging, exhaustive and exhilarating Marvel Comics: The Untold Story traces the history of one of the most important and dominant pop culture institutions of the last 60 years.

Starting with the company’s humble beginnings, Howe traces both the creative history of Marvel, from their emergence in the “Silver Age” of superhero comics in the early 1960s and then follows a group of misfits, burnouts and geniuses as they engaged the drug counter culture with the “cosmic” comics of the late 60s and early 70s, and then responded to a more jaded society with the rise of vigilantes and anti-heroes like the Punisher and Wolverine in the mid-70s and the 1980s. At the same time, the book also chronicles the business side of the comics industry, a history of boom and bust, and a seemingly never ending battle between the artists and the executives over who owns the artists’ work, intellectual property, and even the physical drawings created for the comic books. This divide is most memorably portrayed in the heart-breaking split between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, a creative partnership on par with Lennon and McCartney or Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorsese that deteriorated into bitterness, threats of violence and years of lawsuits.

Filled with amazing characters (both real and fictional) and unforgettable personalities, Marvel Comics: The Untold Story is great, regardless of if you’re an experienced comic reader, a fan of the movies, or simply interested in a fascinating story told well. Excelsior!

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

The Castafiore Emerald by Hergé

August 8, 2014

The Castafiore EmeraldMany years ago, on a cool autumn eve, a young foreigner walked the streets of Paris, France. Outside a bookstore, adults – a long line of them – were waiting to be let in, even though the shop had been closed for hours. It turned out that Hergé’s unfinished comic book Tintin et l’Alph-Art would be released the next day – thus the crowd.

In many countries around the world, The Adventures of Tintin are shelved with children’s literature. This makes perfect sense, as many youngsters love these strong stories that are populated with captivating characters and wonderful use of language. However, as the crowd outside the Paris bookstore showed, the books are for adults too. For Hergé was one of the great storytellers of the 20th century and if there is perfection in art it can be found in the graphic novels of Hergé and his staff.

The Castafiore Emerald (1963) is part of Hergé’s late, mature work, and while children and adults alike can adore this “comic opera” for its humor, it is also filled with adult elements. It is, in part, an anti-narrative, riddled with misunderstandings and communication breakdowns, and the plot is an exercise in creating suspense out of next to nothing. But while Hergé finds plenty of traction while toying with the reader’s expectations, he simultaneously offers a complex and revealing exposure of bigotry.

In The Castafiore Emerald, Hergé turns his back on international adventures as Captain Haddock and his friend Tintin enjoy some downtime in Marlinspike, the captain’s grand estate. Low-key, domestic adventures rule the days at Marlinspike. Most disturbingly, to Haddock who only wishes for peace and quiet, is a letter from his acquaintance Bianca Castafiore, the very loud opera diva of Milan. When she announces her immediate arrival to Marlinspike, Haddock decides that this is a good time to leave for Milan. But in his hurry to leave Marlinspike he slips and sprains his ankle. Leaving the estate is now out of the question, and soon enough the old sailor finds himself in a wheelchair, trapped in the company of the uninvited opera singer. Haddock’s problems grow worse when two Paris Flash reporters announce to the world that Haddock and the diva intend to get married, and when – to his horror – a TV crew invades the castle to interview Castafiore.

In the meantime, Tintin is busy solving the mystery of Castafiore’s lost emerald. Who is behind the disappearance of the gemstone? Could it be Castafiore’s secretive pianist, Wagner, who sneaks off to the village and make clandestine phone calls when he’s supposed to be practicing his craft? Or is it the Romani that have camped on the estate? Or does it have something to do with the ghostly footsteps that can be heard in the attic at night?

The story lines of The Castafiore Emerald are weaved together in the most wonderful way, and even if this book offers low-key adventures, the cliff-hangers will last till the very last panel.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

Marbles : Mania, Depression, Michelangelo + Me : a Graphic Memoir by Ellen Forney

March 21, 2014

Ellen Forney is a successful comic artist in Seattle, Washington. She embraces the creative life and all it has to offer. One day, her therapist clues into her constantly “jazzed” state and refers her to a psychiatrist. Unfortunately, her creative life was being fueled by a manic episode. The psychiatrist diagnoses her with manic depression as they go down the DSM-IV checklist of criteria. This shatters Ellen’s perception of herself and her future as an artist.

She struggles with coming to terms with a disease that has a terrible grip on her. At first she resists being medicated but when the mania finally bottoms out into a deep, dark depression, she finally concedes to the much feared and maligned gold standard: lithium. The side effects are harsh especially for an artist so in tune with the world around her. Memory loss, tremors, weight gain are just the tip of the iceberg. Her psychiatrist switches her to different medications although Ellen is not being 100% honest with her psychiatrist about her more than occasional use of marijuana. Eventually, through much trial and error they find the right mix of medications.

Luckily, Ellen has supportive friends and family. She does a great job holding on to whatever she can when her life is at the lowest. She still manages to swim a few times a week and reads books from her childhood to occupy her mind without overwhelming herself with the paralytic depression that encompasses her. She looks closely at the lives of many great artists who very possibly suffered from mood disorders and looks at their art with new eyes. She studies intensely the link between mood disorders and creativity.
This is a beautifully written and illustrated graphic memoir about Ellen’s journey to find the balance she once disparaged as boring, but needs so that she may exist as an artist.

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Best New Books of 2013: Keith H’s Picks

December 16, 2013

Hi! My name is Keith and I’m a children’s librarian who enjoys scifi and fantasy books that straddle the line between adult and teen fiction. Some of my favorites of 2013 were:

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
I was initially standoffish because Sanderson is most famous for his Mistborn fantasy novels and finishing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.  My high fantasy days are mostly over. But, the synopsis drew me in since it reads like a comic book plot. Steelheart is set in a world where an event has given some humans super-powers. Unfortunately, everyone who gains these powers becomes criminal sociopaths, known as Epics. The story focuses on a young man named David whose father was killed by an Epic named Steelheart. Steelheart is impervious to physical attacks and has declared himself Emperor of Chicago. David joins a resistance organization working to free the city from Steelheart’s tyranny. This book reads like a blockbuster  movie, deftly moving from one action packed scene to another. I couldn’t put it down and ended up finishing it in a day.

Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi
I love the teen novels of Bacigalupi – gritty dystopias with strong characters and no romance! When he released his new book, Zombie Baseball Beatdown, it was marketed towards middle-grade readers from 5th to 8th grade. This threw me for a loop.  Judging it by its cover, it appears to be a book about members of a sports team who must destroy some zombies with their baseball bats. And it is…but it is so much more. You get an inkling of this when the main character declares his hero as Spider Jerusalem from Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan, a very adult graphic novel.  The protagonist is an Indian-American  middle-schooler named Rabindranath Chatterjee-Jones, called Rabi by his friends. Rabi and his friends fight against the havoc wreaked by industrialized corporate meat, immigration law, and racists. Oh yeah, and in the process they seriously beat down some zombies.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
“After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.” The story begins with a teen named Cassie trying to survive an earth that has already been devastated by alien invasion. Most of the planet’s population has been eliminated, and the few humans that are left are hunted by strange beings which appear in human form. So Cassie has trust issues… The only person she trusts is her little brother, who she will protect at any cost. Be warned, there is a goofy love triangle. Fortunately, there are enough firefights, explosions and plot twists to forgive that.

Saga: Volume Two by Brian K. Vaughan
(I’m kind of cheating here because you wouldn’t want to read Volume Two before reading Volume One, which was actually published in 2012.) Saga is the award winning science fiction graphic novel series written by Brian K. Vaughn (Y the Last man, Pride of Baghdad). It has been described as “Romeo and Juliet meets Star Wars meets Game of Thrones”. This is one of those comics that is a good entry point for readers who are curious about comics, but don’t feel compelled to read super-hero stories. Saga is the story of mixed-species couple who meet as a guard and prisoner in a P.O.W. camp. Alana and Marco fall in love, have a baby, and go on the run…but not necessarily in that order.  They are chased by a multi-limbed female humanoid/arachnid assassin and a bounty hunter with a cat partner that says, “Lying” when someone is not telling the truth. It all sounds insane, but has a very cool storyline and some pretty innovative storytelling. The artwork by Fiona Staples is beautiful. If you enjoy science fiction and/or quirky romance, give it a try – just be prepared for some adult content.

Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang
Set at the turn of the century during the Boxer Rebellion, these two graphic novels offer different perspectives on a tumultuous time in China’s history.  Boxers follows Little Bao, whose village has been invaded by a brutal priest and his enforcers. Bao tries to stand up against the oppression of the Christian missionaries by gathering an army of peasants. They learn to use kung-fu to channel the power of Chinese deities to defend their culture and religious traditions. The companion volume, Saints, tells the story of Four-Girl, an unnamed fourth daughter in a family that doesn’t want her. She is baptized by the same priest from Little Bao’s story. Four-Girl embraces Christianity and finds acceptance from fellow worshippers, who give her the name Vibiana. Visions of Joan of Arc and Jesus give Vibiana the strength to stand up for her right to practice the faith of her choice. One of the interesting things about these two books is that both main characters, Little Bao and Vbiana, are compelling and sympathetic. Each one has a very direct connection with their respective faiths. Put together, the stories of this National Book Award finalist offer a well-rounded take on a historical period I knew little about.

Powers Vol. 1: Who Killed Retro Girl? by Brian Michael Bendis

May 10, 2013

So what happens when you’re the cop who has to solve the murder of a beloved superhero?  How about if you’ve just been assigned a green partner who’s never worked on a case involving powers before?  These are some of the questions answered by Brian Michael Bendis in his Powers series of graphic novels.

Detective Christian Walker does not have the easiest job in the world.  Some might say the exact opposite, since Walker has to find out who killed Retro Girl.  Oh yeah, and the Captain’s saddled him with a green rookie, to boot.  Still, despite the fact that both Walker and his new partner, Deena Pilgrim, are perfectly normal mortals, they end up going out and questioning a slew of heroes and villains throughout the city, searching for leads.  Added to the mess is another case of Walker’s where he ends up having to babysit a 9 year old girl.  Written in a gritty style with realistic dialogue and clear though simple art, Who Killed Retro Girl? is an intriguing and fun look at what cops have to deal with in a world where the most powerful citizens routinely act outside of the law.

I enjoy graphic novels that are gritty, and I have always been a fan of hardboiled detective fiction, so for me, this series is practically a dream come true.  Full of surprises, not just about the case but also the main characters, each volume of Powers is hard to put down before it’s done.  If you’re going to give Vol. 1 a try, I highly recommend that you go ahead and check out at least Vol. 2:  Roleplay.  You just won’t want the story to end.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

Not Love but Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy by Fumi Yoshinaga

June 13, 2012

A female gay porn artist enjoys fine food. It’s a strangely appropriate set up for a manga that, at its core, is itself porn. Already you have decided that this selection is too trashy for you and probably beneath the dignity of this otherwise respectable blog. But I happen to know it’s not beneath your dignity. I know what you do on the internet: pulling up photos of Golden Braised Artichokes with Garlic and Mint – drooling over that recipe for Blueberry Soup. Stop acting like it’s beneath you when it’s not. You love food porn. Admit it.

That’s what this is – a manga filled with graphic depictions of food. Our under achieving protagonist drags her quirky acquaintances out to various real-life Tokyo restaurants where they, and we, take part in detailed gastronomical orgies highlighting the unique delights offered by the particular ethnic style of the cuisine as seen through Japanese eyes. The fun comes from the descriptions of our guests as they sample the foods. Some are fellow “foodies” while others are pushed outside their comfort zones to try various gourmet tidbits. Relationships are sort of explored over the meals, but part of the charm of this one-shot is that the relationships center more around the food itself. Sometimes there’s almost something more, but the characters always revert back into their quirky dysfunctions which are only bridged by the food they share.

If reading about a group of gourmands not quite connecting over servings of delicious victuals sounds like a good time, then grab this book. I wouldn’t want it to be any longer than it is, but for a literary equivalent to a Food Channel soap opera, it serves quite well. And if you really enjoy it, you can visit the actual restaurants and order the same meals. The author provides a map with the nearest subway stop and even offers advice on how much money to bring. It’s the perfect dish for food voyeurs.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

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