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Pick-a-Shelf: Monthly > 2011-09 - Graphic Novels - Post September Reviews Here

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message 1: by Slayermel (new)

Slayermel | 656 comments I can't believe it's September all ready, where has the year gone?

Can't wait to read your reviews and see what you think of the genre :0)


message 2: by LynnB (last edited Sep 02, 2011 10:42AM) (new)

LynnB | 1178 comments I just finished The Arrival. I had a hard time rating this because when I think of reading, I think of words, but this book didn't have any words. This is more of an artwork with wonderful pictures that tell the story of immigration and the unknown in that process - and for that I would rate it higher than the 3 stars that I gave it. I truly enjoyed the book, but it never felt like a "read" to me. I don't think younger children would get this, but it is aimed for the YA audience.

(No quote from this one because, well, there are no words.)

Update: Okay, on thinking more about this book, I did like the story the pictures told, so I'm moving it up to a 4 star. It was "reading" artwork.


message 3: by Susan (new)

Susan | 2526 comments Mod
I decided I'll just try a sampling of graphic novels our library has in a variety of subjects. First up, Cuba: My Revolution. I liked it, and I think it might be a good place to start for people who are uncomfortable with graphic novels because they're supposedly all silliness and superheroes. This book certainly belies that! My review here .


message 4: by Susan (new)

Susan | 2526 comments Mod
Will Eisner is considered the father of graphic novels, and A Contract with God was his first. The preface was fascinating to read for that reason. And the book itself was excellent. I had a hard time deciding between 3 stars and 4, and finally settled on 4. My review here .


message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan | 2526 comments Mod
I've often wondered about Diana Gabaldon's The Outlander-- many people have really liked it, but I wasn't sure I would. So that seemed to be a good reason to try her new graphic novel, The Exile, told from Jamie's perspective.

My general sense of graphic novels is growing. One thing I've concluded is that they tend to use the art to emphasize the sexual and violent aspects of whatever is going on. (That's been true in all 3 I've read so far). And that's not really my personal preference.

Setting that aside, I enjoyed The Exile, and gave it 3 stars. My review here .


message 6: by LynnB (last edited Sep 03, 2011 08:20PM) (new)

LynnB | 1178 comments I finished Blankets and gave it 4 stars. Here are the comments I made about it:

Teenage angst, coming-of-age, bullying, verbal and childhood sexual abuse, a first love, conflict with his Christian fundamentalist family -- all of these are wrapped up in this story. I don't usually read graphic novels, but I think this story was so much more effective in graphic novel format than it would have been in a regular memoir. This memoir was very open, honest and blunt. As a Christian from a liberal church, I found the fundamentalist background made me cringe -- how that viewpoint can totally turn people off to Christ. I wasn't sure at the end if he became an athiest or was a believer without the constraints of a church, but it was an expected ending for me when I consider his upbringing.

A warning for those who are sensitive to the issue, there are some sexual drawings that may make some uncomfortable.


message 7: by Candiss (last edited Sep 03, 2011 12:49PM) (new)

Candiss (Tantara) I have finished Ghost World by Daniel Clowes, and although I consider myself a graphic novel reader, and I really wanted to like this title, it just didn't work for me.

I enjoyed the movie version of this, (It was much, much better and more fully fleshed out the story's world. It was also funnier, easier to relate to the characters, and actually clever. The graphic novel's writer wrote the screenplay, as well, so I give him a pass to some extent...) but for some reason in graphic novel form the cynicism of the main character was just a bit much for me. (And I am pretty cynical.) She is so disdainful of everyone and everything that it is hard to grasp what her best friend (the secondary protagonist) sees in her. This is teen angst taken to a nihilistic extreme. If the girl was obviously angry about something, I'd get it. If she were simply a square peg trying to fit into a round hole, that would make sense. If she had a chip or three on her shoulder, I would fully understand. If she were merely chronically insecure, I would empathize. (And all these things do indeed apply.) But it's more as if she woke up not merely on the wrong side of the bed, but was born on the wrong side of life. I'm fairly sure that was the point, and as a character study it works. But it wasn't an enjoyable ride for which to go along, and I found myself wanting not only to tell the protag to shut up, grow up, and quit whining, but also to tell her friend to not walk but run...run away from this soul-sucking world-hater before she's irrevocably altered.

I've enjoyed other work by this writer/artist, but this just irked me. Even my own grumpy teenager - heck, even myself when I was a cynical, anti-social gothy teen - looks like a ray of sunshine compared to this hateful little geezer in girl's clothing. 2 stars and a recommendation only for people who want their own anti-social tendencies either validated/re-enforced or else made to seem well-adjusted upon comparison.


message 8: by Slayermel (new)

Slayermel | 656 comments Just finished reading Thor: First Thunder by Bryan J.L. Glass and I gave it 3 stars.

An interesting enough origin story but I had a hard time connecting with some of the other characters, that being said though I will try to give Thor another shot, as I do enjoy him as a character. I mean really Viking God with bulging muscles and blond hair, I'm only human.
My review here.


message 9: by Susan (new)

Susan | 2526 comments Mod
People have shelved The Rejection Collection as a graphic novel, but it isn't really. It's a collection of cartoons submitted to the New Yorker for publication but never published there. There's no "novel" aspect to it. Nevertheless, it was great fun to look at the cartoons. Some deserved to be rejected, and some I thought were terrific.

My review here .


message 10: by Slayermel (new)

Slayermel | 656 comments Just finished Promethea Book One by Alan Moore and gave it 4 Stars.

I stumbled across this one in the library and was very pleasantly surprised. :0)

My review here.


message 11: by Slayermel (new)

Slayermel | 656 comments Finished Welcome to the Jungle by Jim Butcher and gave it 5 stars.

This is a prequel to "The Dresden Files" series and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys the series.

My review here.


message 12: by Krait (new)

Krait | 58 comments Read my review of Cycle of the Werewolf here.


message 13: by Susan (new)

Susan | 2526 comments Mod
Mercury intersperses two stories of young girls in Nova Scotia -- in the 19th and 20th centuries. It has touches of magical realism. I liked it fairly well, but found the ending dissatisfying. My review here .


message 14: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 1557 comments I read The Arrival as well - like LynnB, i'm not sure what I would give it because while the pictures were good - I had a hard time understanding parts of the story - I got that it was about immigrants - and I guess the pseudo sci-fi pictures were supposed to represent a stranger in a strange land (or something lke that)...I've give it 2.5 stars - but looking forward to reading another one


message 15: by LynnB (new)

LynnB | 1178 comments I finished A Survivor's Tale. Maus #1: My Father Bleeds History last night. It ends in the middle of the story as he goes off to Auschwitz, so I will be reading A Survivor's Tale. Maus #2: And Here My Troubles Began next in order to truly comment on the book. That being said, I found Maus #1 very interesting to read...the use of the cat/mouse (Nazi/Jew) symbolism, the story of his father (a different view from many WWII stories), interspersing the WWII story with the story of writing the book, and the relationship between father and son. Think I'll give it 4 stars for now, but it may change after I finish Maus 2 and can see the whole picture.


message 16: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 1557 comments I remember liking Maus - we used it in college when I took a course on the holocaust - as we looked at different ways people could tell their stories


message 17: by Susan (new)

Susan | 2526 comments Mod
I think Halo: Fall of Reach - Bootcamp is the closest I've read so far this month to what I've thought of as a "typical" graphic novel. It's even linked to a popular video game, as well as multiple other graphic novels that are part of the same storyline. In fact, it's the back-story for some of the others.

This is not at all my cup of tea -- basically space warcraft, where the end justifies the means, and a lot of the "fun" supposedly comes from shooting and/or blowing up things and other people.

So I won't be reading the others, but I'm glad I took the time to get a glimpse of it. And I can see how, as Slayermel says, this could lure in a reluctant reader who was already hooked by the game.

My review here .


message 18: by LynnB (new)

LynnB | 1178 comments Dee wrote: "I remember liking Maus - we used it in college when I took a course on the holocaust - as we looked at different ways people could tell their stories"

A graphic novel for the Holocaust is certainly a different way of hearing the story. It sounds like that may have been an interesting class.


message 19: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 1557 comments one of the other ones I have on my pile is a GN set in the Warsaw Ghetto during WW2 - i'll let you know how it turns out when i'm done


message 20: by LynnB (new)

LynnB | 1178 comments Dee wrote: "one of the other ones I have on my pile is a GN set in the Warsaw Ghetto during WW2 - i'll let you know how it turns out when i'm done"

Please do - it would be interesting to read if it's good.


message 21: by Susan (new)

Susan | 2526 comments Mod
Audrey Niffenegger, the author of The Time Traveler's Wife, has written three graphic novels. I picked The Night Bookmobile to read, but I wish I'd chosen one of her others (which she describes as "novels-in-pictures"). I'm giving it 2 stars, as an average between liking the premise and how it started, and really not liking how it progressed towards the end. My review here .


message 22: by Lynne (new)

Lynne (Lmsindel) Candiss wrote: "I have finished Ghost World by Daniel Clowes, and although I consider myself a graphic novel reader, and I really wanted to like this title, it just didn't work for me.

..."


Maybe I should read it just to feel better about my own 14 year old surly teen! Maybe it would improve our relationship. LOL


message 23: by LynnB (new)

LynnB | 1178 comments A Survivor's Tale. Maus #2: And Here My Troubles Began was very good, too. I do think that you really need to read Maus #1 AND Maus #2 to understand the whole story. Otherwise, Maus #1 ends too abruptly and Maus #2 doesn't make sense without knowing the background story of the characters. I can see why it got a Pulitzer. I am giving both books 4 stars each.


message 24: by Susan (new)

Susan | 2526 comments Mod
Deja-vu is a "manhwa", the name for Korean manga-like comics. Again, this is not so much my style, but I wanted to give it a try. This particular book has a series of 4 interlinked stories plus 2 separate ones, all written by the same author, but each illustrated by a different artist. I didn't like it much, gave it 2 stars. My review here .


message 25: by LynnB (new)

LynnB | 1178 comments (oops, posted this on the wrong thread...will try here!)

I just finished Dante's Divine Comedy: A Graphic Adaptation, which was interesting, though I liked it in the original format better! I gave it 2 stars. It is an illustrated summary of the story more than anything.


message 26: by Susan (last edited Sep 07, 2011 06:55AM) (new)

Susan | 2526 comments Mod
It's so nice to read a terrific book after a few I didn't much like! Fun Home is wonderful, though those who might be bothered by a few frank (homo)sexual scenes should stay away. I give it 4 stars. My review here .


message 27: by Bea (last edited Sep 09, 2011 02:58PM) (new)

Bea | 2315 comments Mod
I read A Sickness in the Family. It was an interesting story that had an ending I did not expect and, if it was a mystery, I would probably like it a lot due to the twist. But, I felt that this book was a mean book. All the characters were presented as angry, jealous, focused on themselves except for the one telling the story, and he ended up being the one punished.

I also found that I had trouble separating out my daily work with the elderly from this tale.

I'd give it a 3* rating.


message 28: by Slayermel (new)

Slayermel | 656 comments I read Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O'Malley and gave it 5 stars

I was worried about all the hype surrounding this series and the movie that followed, however for once I was not let down by the hype. I enjoyed the story very much, and will definitely read the rest.
My review here


message 29: by Bea (new)

Bea | 2315 comments Mod
Don't know exactly why but I did not like The Arrival but it was probably because the drawomgs were not clear to me. I spent most of the book wondering where he was and trying to make sense of what was going on. If this book had been longer or as dense in a written form as it was in pictures, I would have abandoned it.

I do get that he left his country and went to another country and later his family came too. I also get that he had difficulty finding work and a place to live..that he was one of many in a large city. And, although I thought it was about coming to America through Ellis Island, I did not get that from the story and found that part in the author comments.

I feel let down as it seemed to me EVERYONE else seemed to think this book was amazing, and I was looking forward to it.

I gave it 1* and felt sad to rate it as such.


message 30: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 1557 comments I think I only gave it 2 stars bea (maybe 3)...I got most of it - but it has that weird almost sci-fi feel to it that I didn't get


message 31: by Bea (new)

Bea | 2315 comments Mod
Dee wrote: "I think I only gave it 2 stars bea (maybe 3)...I got most of it - but it has that weird almost sci-fi feel to it that I didn't get"

Dee, I think that is what put me off of the graphics. The story's details got lost in the weirdness of the graphics. And, you are right, it struck me as sci-fi - ish.


message 32: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 1557 comments i sorta took the sci-fi thing to be a stranger in a strange land kind of idea...where everything looks weird...but you can't really say that without words


message 33: by Slayermel (new)

Slayermel | 656 comments @ Dee, that's how I took it as well. Mind you I gave the story 3 stars as some of it was a bit far fetched for me as well


message 34: by Slayermel (new)

Slayermel | 656 comments finished reading True Blood, Vol. 1: All Together Now by Alan Ball and gave it 5 stars

I really enjoyed this, but I'm a huge fan of the books and really enjoy the TV series as well even though it's a bit different.
My review here


message 35: by Slayermel (new)

Slayermel | 656 comments I read Runaways: Dead End Kids by Joss Whedon and gave it 5 stars

I didn't realize there where other parts to this, so will have to hunt them down now as I really enjoyed this book.
My review here


message 36: by Susan (new)

Susan | 2526 comments Mod
Wow! Reading Watchmen was very hard work for me. I gave it 3 stars, but not really because I liked it -- more that I grant it a grudging respect. My review here . Now I need a break, something simple and fun next.


message 37: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 1557 comments I read Aya today - it is a GN set in the Cote D'Ivorie (Ivory Coast) in the 1960's and focuses on a 19 year old Aya. The thing i noticed the most - if it hadn't been for a the references to the cities there, she acted like an american teenager - wanted to go to college and be a doctor; her friends had boyfriends etc. The author grew up in the area, and a lot of it is based on her experiences. I gave it 3 stars over all


message 38: by Mimi (new)

Mimi (Moonchan) I read The Complete Persepolis and had a love/hate relationship with the book from beginning to end. I found the story and the protagonist intriguing, but there was too much focus on the author to the detriment of fully fleshing out any other character or even framing the larger context of her story sufficiently. Worse, near the end of the story, Satrapi portrays an incident where she commits an extremely heartless, cruel and unethical act.There are painful consequences for her, but she never seems to experience any remorse at all. That troubled me deeply.

And, it was only today that it occurred to me that neither this book, nor my great favorites (Fun Home and Maus) are novels at all. This shouldn't surprise me, as non-fiction, biography and memoirs have been my favored reading for some time now. But I've been wanting to read more fiction, and this month I didn't even try. I'm going to try to pick a real fiction graphic title to read before month's end.


message 39: by Slayermel (new)

Slayermel | 656 comments Finished The Good Neighbors, Book 1: Kin by Holly Black and gave it 5 stars

I stumbled across this at the library and I'm so glad I did. :0)
My review here


message 40: by Slayermel (new)

Slayermel | 656 comments Finished Serenity: Those Left Behind by Joss Whedon and gave it 5 stars

wow, I've had some real great reads back to back :0)
Mind you I love Joss Whedon so I'm really not surprised *giggle*
My review here


message 41: by Bea (last edited Sep 15, 2011 02:52PM) (new)

Bea | 2315 comments Mod
I finished Dark Rain: A New Orleans Story. I gave it 4* (edited)

This is a well-written story of Katrina events in New Orleans, USA. The good and bad characters were ones I could like/hate with ease, and they stayed true to the story. The drawings added to the story and characterizations. Although this was a bad time and quite a tragedy, this story told how good can come out of the hard experiences of that time.

I am glad to finally find a GN that I can truly enjoy and like.


message 42: by Paras (last edited Sep 13, 2011 05:59AM) (new)

Paras Allana I read A God Somewhere today. and gave it 3 stars. I think it could have been better if this would have comprised of more then just one novel. here is my review


message 43: by Susan (new)

Susan | 2526 comments Mod
Joe Kubert was initially a comic book artist, and only later began to write graphic novels. In Yossel, he focuses on the Warsaw ghetto uprising of 1943. I gave it 3 stars. My review here .


message 44: by Susan (new)

Susan | 2526 comments Mod
Grandville is not only a graphic novel, but steampunk fiction as well, so I got to explore two genres unfamiliar to me for the price of one! I thought this was great fun, partly because of the artifact of anthropomorphized animals as characters. I gave it 3 stars, and will definitely read the sequel. My review here .


message 45: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 1557 comments finished reading Yossel, April 19, 1943 (seems like susan and I are mirroring a lot of our books) - enjoyed it, but in this instance at least, the printed words drew me more than the pictures, but i think he did a good job of dehumanizing the characters as the book progressed


message 46: by LynnB (last edited Sep 14, 2011 10:02PM) (new)

LynnB | 1178 comments I gave Beowulf - Graphic Novel 4 stars as it seemed to be a good over-view of the original (though I did have a hard time figuring out one part of the graphics).

In some ways this seems Beowulf-lite -- but although the original is better in many ways, this does bring the epic poem into modern-day readability. I would hope that possibly this would open some to read the original epic poem. The graphics are gory (but so is the tale). The drawn characters were too much like modern superheroes and evildoers to me, but I appreciated the story he was conveying in the artwork.

The author's note and afterword are both helpful in understanding the story's setting and history.


message 47: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 1557 comments Lynn that sounds interesting...do you think that kids would be more likely to pick up the original beowulf, after reading this maybe?


message 48: by LynnB (last edited Sep 15, 2011 07:55AM) (new)

LynnB | 1178 comments Dee wrote: "Lynn that sounds interesting...do you think that kids would be more likely to pick up the original beowulf, after reading this maybe?"

Maybe. It certainly makes the epic poem more understandable. It does have an Old English style of writing though the words would be easy for kids to read. I think it's violence makes it definitely a YA read at minimum. My library has it shelved in the adult area. That all being said, most kids these days have seen violence in books and on TV. There are some bloody scenes and arms being ripped off in a super-hero-enemy way. It depends on the kid, the age, the background...

I would say an adult should preview it first before giving it to a kid.


message 49: by Bea (new)

Bea | 2315 comments Mod
OK... I just had to edit my rating for Dark Rain: A New Orleans Story above to 4* because it is not as good as The Night Bookmobile, which I just finished.

What a nice little story! And, yet it has deep undertones of other meanings besides just being about a reader and her books. The pictures add to the story and are clearly, delightfully drawn. It is short and fun to read. 5*.


message 50: by Slayermel (new)

Slayermel | 656 comments I just finished reading Kith and Kind by Holly Black and I gave both 5 stars

I really enjoyed this series, it was fun quick and a little darker then I expected it to be. At first I thought I was going to be turned off by the fact that the pictures where all just drawn in black and white, but I was so involved in the story I didn't even notice.


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Arrival (other topics)
Cuba: My Revolution (other topics)
A Contract With God and Other Tenement Stories (other topics)
Outlander (other topics)
The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

Will Eisner (other topics)
Diana Gabaldon (other topics)
Daniel Clowes (other topics)
Bryan J.L. Glass (other topics)
Alan Moore (other topics)
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