All tagged Graphic Novels

Recommendation Roundup: Winter/Spring 2014-15

Well, I got a bit behind on, like, life, so I thought I'd bundle a few months of our recommended reads for you, rather than trying to catch up month-by-month. 

I did a bit of re-reading over the last few months, which has been pretty fun. I think I will continue to revisit my favorites as a matter of course, because there's something enjoyable in revisiting a beloved story. We all read The Carnival at Bray for book club right before it was a Printz honoree and we all loved it so much, so if you haven't snagged that brilliant little book, do so!

As always, click on the cover for more information. If we have a review available, it will be noted.

Recommendation Tuesday: Edgar Allen Poe's Spirits of the Dead by Richard Corben

Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. Basically, this is my way of making Tuesday a little more awesome. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @FullShelves and I'll help spread the word.

View all of the past recommendations over here. 

Richard Corben captures the gothic sensibility and the fears that plagued Edgar Allan Poe in his graphic representation of the great master’s work. Poe’s soulful poem Spirits of the Dead is a fitting title for Corben’s work. 

Thy soul shall find itself alone
        Mid dark thoughts of the gray tombstone ——
            Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
                 Into thine hour of secrecy.

Recommendation Roundup: November 2014

My reading habits have been all over the place lately. 

For a few days, I binged on all the comics I could find. Then, I blew through Amy Poehler's book. And, it took me most of the month to listen to the final audiobook in Alexandra Bracken's Darkest Minds trilogy (I'll write more about that series later). I've continued to read the Sirantha Jax series slowly, and am kind of bummed that I'm approaching the end. Probably my two favorite reads this month were both graphic stories: Ms. Marvel and Seconds (thanks to my friend Kinoko for the recommendation). And now I'm kind of in a reading funk--not much is working for me. 

In other news, Sandra's been blowing through review books, so her recommendations are filled with newer titles, if you're looking for something fresh. 

As always, click through on the book cover image for more info!

Sarah Recommends

Recommendation Roundup: Oct. 2014

We're back with our monthly roundup of recommended reads!

My picks this month really demonstrate my weird, er, eclectic taste, I think. I'm recovering from a killer month, schedule-wise, so I'm hoping to get in some more writing about some of these books, because I read some interesting ones in October. 

12 Graphic Novel/Comics Mini-Reviews

Since I've fallen down the graphic novel rabbit hole (I blame the phenomenal Saga series, which you should read right now), I've been furiously reading all that I can get my hands on. It's been great as I had a very busy summer work-wise, I can get my reading in via quick bits. 

I thought I'd round up a few of my recent graphic novel reads for folks who may be dipping their toes into this format as well. 

Recommendation Tuesday: Page by Paige Laura Lee Gulledge

Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @FullShelves and I'll help spread the word.

View all of the past recommendations over here. 

I have been on a graphic novel and comics binge of epic proportions lately, burning up my Multnomah County Library card at a furious rate with all checkouts. I've read a ton of good ones, but one that sticks out and I'm going to have to pick up for my forever and always shelf is Laura Lee Gulledge's Page by Paige. 

Recommendation Roundup: June 2014

I don't know about you, but reading has been weird for me lately. Between summer and a stressful couple of work projects, I'm finding myself in a bit of a funk. 

I keep starting books and then they lose my attention. However, Nafiza's wonderful graphic novel recommendation list came to my rescue and it's been just what the doctor ordered. I've gone way down the Saga rabbit hole and am official obsessed. 

I also picked up a couple of fabulous middle grade verse novels I'd been meaning to read and that was a pretty solid life decision. I got Kwame Alexander's beautiful and moving The Crossover from the library and I'll definitely be buying a copy for my own shelves. It's one of my favorite reads of 2014 for sure. I want everyone to read it so that I can nerd out about it with other people!

Onward to the recommendations!

Reflections on Trickster: Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection

A couple of years ago, Sarah and I spent a long weekend in Washington, DC. She lived there for several years during and after college, and I always enjoyed visiting the city. Returning to the nation’s capital was a real treat, since a number of new attractions opened since my last visit. While we intended to hit many of them, we instead visited the National Museum of the American Indian several times.

In the gift shop, I came upon a graphic story collection Native American tales, Trickster: Native American Tales. Leafing through it evoked memories of my own childhood, memories of beauty, memories of sunshine filled days, and memories of a gentle man, Larry of the Klickitat Indian tribe, who lifted me upon his shoulders carrying me about and speaking to me, telling me stories. He gave me beautiful memories of a singing, sparkling river, of dry pine covered mountains, of compassion, and love—all memories I hold sacred.


Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor creates a world that sparkles like a lake on a summer afternoon in her 2007 novel for middle grade/early YA readers,  Blackbringer (Faeries of Dreamdark #1).

It’s a diverse world of faeries, a band of crows, imps, Djinns and tattooed warriors beguiling while plunging me into into a fanciful world where legends are,

…meeting life. [Where] every choice casts a shadow, and sometimes those shadows stalk your dreams.

Beautiful, delicate and fierce faerie Magpie Windwitch is the granddaughter of the West Wind who travels with her band of crows across the landscape of their world, Dreamdark,  the forest filled with all creatures bright, fanciful, dangerous and dark.. Cacophonous, her boisterous and funny crow buddies, entertain and protect, love and fight and carry the dreams of all of the creatures in their Dreamdark Forest in their hearts. Magpie comes from dreams, made from their fabric and woven into the tapestry of Dreamdark.

Dark forces gather to eradicate all that is beautiful and free in Dreamdark. Because the setting is fanciful and beautiful, the darkness encroaching upon it folds itself across the pages smothering all that shines with laughter and joy. The Blackbringer lives in a netherworld where the stars are ripped out. And, he’s been set loose to wreak his revenge upon all that is good. She holds her destiny to save her world and those she cherishes as the fuel that powers her actions.

I don’t believe the war is simply the work of politicians and capitalists. Oh, no, the common man is every bit as guilty.

The Holocaust is disturbing enough for adults to conceptualize, but for younger children it’s especially difficult to explain. I certainly cannot give a valid explanation beyond the usual lines that we find in history books.

However, in Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography, Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon have gifted us with a finely-illustrated and written graphic book that explores issues of intolerance and prejudice for a younger audience in an accessible way. It’s deeply felt for the the young and not-so young.

Told through the eyes of Otto Frank (Anne’s father) but still drawing upon Anne’s diary, Otto’s sad face and words come forth in a beautiful portrait of him in darkness and shadows thinking about Anne’s diary.

Painful reminiscences overwhelmed me…Never had I imagined the depths of her thoughts and feelings.


I adored the television series Dollhouse and was thrilled to learn that it’s continuing in graphic novel form—unfortunately, this first installment disappointed. 

If you’re not familiar with Dollhouse, the television show developed a cult following in 2009-2010 with it’s captivating stories of an evil corporation that ran an underground network of “dollhouses” that allowed wealthy clients to rent people whose personalities had been wiped out and replaced with temporary personalities and skills. Basically, clients could order up anything they wanted from the menu. The show centered around one “Active” (what the people who’s personalities had been wiped) named Echo, who remembers small amounts from each personality temporarily placed in her mind. This excellent Joss Whedon-lead show explored fascinating themes about identity and individuality and also had kickass scifi and action elements. 

(Please note, this review contains spoilers for the TV show from this point forward, so if you don’t want to be spoiled for the show, go hit up Netflix, get caught up on Dollhouse and come back to this review.)

The graphic novel series, published by Dark Horse, takes place before the two episodes of the show that are set after the two episodes (Epitaph 1 & 2) that follow the technology that creates the Dolls spreading like a virus, creating a legions of zombie-like people that can be controlled by Rossum Corporation. In this post-apocalyptic world, there are only a few survivors who are trying to save humanity. 

Much of the action centers around Alpha, the seriously screwed up rogue Active who became obsessed with Echo in the television series. And therein lies my problem with this contribution to the series story.

I simply don’t care about Alpha, he served his purpose in the series, but when I think “Dollhouse,” I think “Echo.” 

Chopsticks is probably best described as a graphic novel… sort of… about forbidden teenage love and mental illness.

But that’s not a particularly descriptive description.

Part scrapbook, part narrative, Chopsticks in an innovative approach to storytelling. This contemporary YA tells the story of Glory and Frank, next door neighbors that fall in love and are rapidly split apart by both distance and Glory’s father. Glory is a piano prodigy slowly descending into a dark world, where she’s only able to play Chopsticks on the piano and obsesses over Frank’s drawings. Frank is a gifted artist who’s failing out of his prestigious prep school. Chopsticks takes the reader through the couple’s tale in photo, snippets of IMs, YouTube video links, drawings and mementos from their relationship. 

Beyond the IMs and occasional scraps of paper with notes and lists, there are no words in Chopsticks.