Daily Archives: September 17, 2008

Shelf Examination: Manga and Graphic Novels

Thanks to the success of graphic novels like Fun Home and Persepolis, more and more adults are discovering the power and pleasure of contemporary comics. Today’s Shelf Examination celebrates the renaissance in graphic literature for adults, featuring fiction and non-fiction titles that can entertain, inspire, or educate via the marriage of well-drawn images and thoughtful text.

The Series:  Essex County, Jeff Lemire.

Start With: Tales From the Farm.

The Plot:  Lemire populates a farming community in Southwestern Ontario with an assortment of quirky, yet dignified characters, each coping with life’s privations in her/his own style.  Tales From the Farm focuses on how adult role models help a young boy cope after his mother’s death.


The Memoir: Blue Pills, Frederick Peeters.

The Plot:  Peeters chronicles the delicate dance of creating a relationship with a woman and her son, both of whom have tested positive for HIV.  Images of the absurd and the magical weave through this touching, realistic story of love in a complicated world.

book jacket     book jacket  book jacket     book jacket

The Series: Old Boy, Garon Tsuchiya.

The Plot:  Goto wants some answers.  Why was he whisked away and imprisoned for ten years?  And why, suddenly, has he been released with no explanation?  Goto’s Kafkaesque search for the truth seemingly points to a teenage grudge, but can it really be that simple?


The Play: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare, adapted by Richard Appignanesi.

The Plot:  Lovers flee to the woods, fairies hold grudges and make mischief, and Appignanesi illuminates all with light, delicate depictions of the otherworldly creatures into whose domains the hapless humans have stumbled.  Includes eight pages of character introductions.

As usual, the quick picks offered in today’s post are just the tip of the iceberg.  And if you’ve spent this entire post scratching your head and saying, “Huh?,” we can help you there, too.  For graphic novel picks appropriate for kids and teens, please consult our fabulous, knowledgable colleagues in their respective departments.

What readerly goodness lurks within the heart of the stacks?  Shelf Examination knows!  See you next time.

–Leigh Anne

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized