Tag Archives: Melissa

Foodie Fiction Finds

I love food. There, I said it. I enjoy the whole process: planning what to eat, shopping for ingredients, cooking and baking dishes and, most of all, eating the labors of my work, as well as the works of others. I also enjoy reading about food. I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned before my penchant for reading cookbooks the same way others read novels.

Then there are those books that actually are cookbooks disguised as novels.  Most of them tend to fall into the cozy mystery category, which has everyone from coffeehouse owners to bakers, tea shop ladies to caterers and food writers to food truck operators solving crimes, while cooking great food in the process. Most of these even have recipes at the end of the book, so you can continue your relationship with the story and author after the dastardly perpetrator has been caught.

Recently, I’ve found myself enjoying more of the foodie fiction books that are not specifically mysteries.  Here are just a few:

Chef’s Table by Lynn Charles – Chef Evan Stanford runs a successful New York restaurant, but his passion for his work is gone. And then he meets Patrick, the cook at his neighborhood diner. Patrick’s companionship, in the kitchen and the bedroom, reawaken Evan’s lust for cooking, and for life.

Aftertaste by Meredith Mileti – As if I needed another reason to read this book besides the food, it’s mostly set in Pittsburgh! There are specific references to the Strip District and the Pennsylvania Macaroni Factory and allusions to Enrico Biscotti Company. Follow along as Mira’s career and personal life is completely destroyed, and she builds it back up by returning to her roots.

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert – Chef Lou Johnson is about to get an unwelcome surprise. Her fiancé is sleeping with his law firm’s intern, but he never understood why Lou wanted to be a chef anyway. Then she, literally, bumps into a man who could be “the one.” But Al has a secret that threatens to ruin any chance he has of a future with Lou. Can the chef whose restaurant fails forgive the man who wrote the scathing review that shut it down?

Delicious by Ruth Reichl – We’re used to reading Reichl’s books on her foodie upbringing, and her stint as editor in chief of Gourmet confirms that she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to cuisine. But now she’s written a novel? Could it be any good? The answer lies in this tale that’s part chick lit, part foodie fiction, with a dash of romance and a hint of a puzzle to solve. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of the demise of an iconic food magazine and the interesting people it employed. The backdrop of New York City rings true, as only a book written by a New Yorker who loves its food scene could do.

If you’d like to explore these and similar titles, stop by the Main Library and browse the Food Fiction display I put up this week…

Foodie Fiction 1

Happy Reading & Eating!
-Melissa M.

P.S. Ruth Reichl is coming to Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures’ Literary Evenings, Monday Night Lecture Series on October 26th. Get your tickets here. I’ve already got mine!

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My Year of Nonfiction

As I’m taking a look back at what I’ve read so far this year, I realize that my tastes have leaned greatly toward nonfiction. Yes, there has been the occasional mystery book and more than a smattering of graphic novels, but by-and-large I have been reading biographies and memoirs. I’ve already told you about a few of the books in a couple of blog posts and at least one staff pick. Here are some of the others that I have been fortunate enough to pluck from the shelves thus far in 2015:

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes – Do you love The Princes Bride movie? Of course you do! (If you don’t, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore.) And with these stories from behind the scenes, you can love it even more. Did you even think that was possible?!? The yarns I enjoyed most were about Andre the Giant. He used a pitcher for a beer mug; they provided him with a special golf cart to get around the set; and he once got so drunk that he passed out in a hotel lobby and was too heavy to move, so all the guests had to go around him. Now, there was a man who lived life to the fullest!

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris – The fantastic NPH shares his life, up to this point, in true Gen X style – as a “choose your own adventure” book. You, the reader get to decide which decisions Neil makes at critical junctures in his life. Does he take that role and become television’s iconic kid doctor or not? Does he choose to reveal details about his personal life and sexual orientation or stay in the closet? The life of NPH is up to you! (BTW, If you’re like me and the thought of not reading a book sequentially, page-by-page gives you hives — no worries, with very little continuity issues, this book can be read the regular way too.)

Dancing Girls of Lahore: Selling Love and Saving Dreams in Pakistan’s Ancient Pleasure District by T. Louise Brown – It took me about 50 page to realize that I’ve read this book before. It must have really appealed to me, for me to pick it up twice, years apart. But read it a second time, I did. I like using books to explore lives vastly different from mine. (If everyone was like me and had my life, the world would be very boring indeed.) This book is the result of the author spending many months and years visiting and staying among the women in the “red light” district in Lahore, Pakistan. The culture and class system that this book explains are so foreign to my experiences that I can’t get enough of reading about them. And, of course, I want to save everyone.

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life by Sophia Loren – I never knew that Sophia Loren grew up in such poverty or without her father in her life. So many hardships were endured by this international film legend. I feel inspired knowing about her childhood during World War II, her journey to stardom and life in general. Sophia Loren is so much more than a pretty face. Her substance and style are more than skin deep. What a classy lady!

And here’s what’s on my TBR pile at home:

Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household by Kate Hubbard.

A Spoonful of Sugar: A Nanny’s Story by Brenda Ashford.

Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days by Bill Whitfield.

The Glitter and the Gold: The American Duchess – In Her Own Words by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan.

VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV’s First Wave by Nina Blackwood.

Now, go forth and read some biographies!

-Melissa M.

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Graphic Novels from a Woman’s POV 3

I used to be able to say that graphic novels were outside my comfort zone and a new reading endeavor for me. Now that I’m on my third post about graphic novels written by women (here are one and two) and the umpteenth one that mentions the genre, I don’t think I’m able to truthfully make that statement any longer.

My graphic novel journey began six years ago, when I was new to the First Floor and felt I needed to be more familiar with the format, in order to be able to talk to library customers about them. Fast forward and I now find myself reading more graphic novels than almost any other genre. They fit my lifestyle and, for the most part, make me laugh. I enjoy seeing myself in their stories and pictures. Plus, I am still the type of person that likes pictures in books. Bonus is that I can now comfortably discuss and recommend graphic novels to anyone. There’s such a wide variety of topics available in this format, that there is literally something that could appeal to anyone and everyone.

So here’s what I’ve been reading lately:

The Voyeurs by Gabrielle Bell – Based on the title, I thought this book might be more titillating that it turned out to be. (I’ve read some that are for sure!) Turns out we are the voyeurs observing the author’s life. But also, she’s the voyeur observing, and possibly over-analyzing, her own life. This book made me glad that I’m not an artist or author. It seems that the self-doubt and paranoia can be soul-crushing. Kudos to all of those who are able to overcome these feeling and produce the works we all enjoy. Bonus feature: There was a brief appearance by my second favorite graphic novelist!

Journal: February 2011-October 2012 by Julie Delporte – This peek into the daily life of an artist in post-break-up status is raw, but visually beautiful. She purposefully shies away from using black in her doodling and journaling pallet because it’s safe, and the last things she feels, or wants to feel currently, is safe. Her little drawings on each page are miniature works of art. The daily entries are akin to stream of consciousness writing at times. Watching her journey to discovering herself as an artist is intellectually satisfying.

Girl in Dior by Annie Goetzinger – This book is visually stunning from cover to cover. It is a pictorial synopsis of designer Christian Dior’s career, from his first collection as a solo designer to his untimely death, through the eyes of one of his “young ladies”, which is what his runway models were called. Although the protagonist in the story is fictional, the other people, and most importantly, the designs pictured are factual. This book was originally published in French and is basically a love letter to Dior and everything he represented. A timeline of his life, short biographies’ of his well-known associates and supporters, list of all his fashion collections and glossary of fashion terms are included at the end. I leave you with these parting words from Christian Dior’s Little Dictionary of Fashion (1954), “Uncomfortable shoes will alter your gait and harm your elegance.” Truer words were never spoken.

But I Really Wanted to Be an Anthropologist by Margaux Motin – True to life comics of the days, and nights, of a fashion-obsessed, French wife and mother of a young girl. Watch her try to “hint” to her husband what she wants for her birthday, navigate life with a preschooler who parrots the words of her mother at the most inopportune times and deal with her post-pregnancy body. This book talks to you like you’re one of her girlfriends. And since she lives in Paris, that’s what I want to be!

On Loving Women by Diane Obomsawin – In this collection of stories, French Canadian lesbians tell their tales about realizing their sexual orientation, first loves, and first “times.” They are all variations on a theme, but each individual follows a slightly different route. If you can get over the people in each story being replaced by anthropomorphized animal-like creatures, you’ll discover very human tales of coming-out and becoming comfortable with yourself.

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures by Caroline Preston – Opening this book is like discovering your great-grandmother’s scrapbook in the attic. You can’t help yourself. You sit right down in place and begin flipping through the pages — marveling at the assortment of old photographs and clippings from magazines and newspapers. What’s even better is that there’s a story here for you to read. You don’t have to try and figure out the meaning of the ticket stub, the pressed flower or that scrap of fabric. Before you know it, you’ve spent the better part of the afternoon absorbed in another time period. And you realize you’ve been rooting for the scrapbook keeper to find fame, fortune and love.

Will You Still Love Me if I Wet the Bed by Liz Prince – Liz is one of my top four favorite graphic artists/novelists right now. (The others being Lucy Knisley, who is number one; Jeffrey Brown, as you already have learned above, is number two; and the team of Hubert and Kerascoët are number four, just FYI.) This book is super short, a small, graphic novel that is full of laughs. It took me less than an hour to read, but I kept stopping to show comics to my boyfriend, accompanied by comments like, “This is TOTALLY us!” and “You’ve/I’ve done this on more than one occasion.” This is a hilarious and sweet look at relationships and it doesn’t hurt that my second favorite graphic artist drew the preface!

-Melissa M.

P.S. Turns out that I unknowingly had a theme this time. Four of the seven books above were originally published in another language and subsequently translated into English. We have graphic novels from all countries. Fun fact!

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What I’ve Been Reading

Do my reading tastes so far this year have a pattern or not? Take a gander at the list below and judge for yourself!

Cat Person by Seo Kim – You don’t have to be a cat person to enjoy this collection of comix. There are many panels those who are over-fond of felines will be able to relate to, but there are many more that will speak to single females, those in search of relationships, and those seeking to sustain them. I make this sound more boring than it is. What this graphic novel is, is laugh-out-loud funny. And I have two teenagers to back me up on this opinion.

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr – Huguette Clark inherited a lot of money from her father, copper baron and Senator W.A. Clark. When I say a lot of money, I mean A LOT OF MONEY. How she chose to live her reclusive life, whom she associated with and how she spent her money became the subject of scrutiny and speculation from the press when she passed away at the age of 104 on May of 2011.  Which was exactly what she didn’t want. And by all accounts, she didn’t want her family fighting over her will and money, but that’s exactly what happened also. This well-researched and extensive history of Huguette’s family and life is alternately fascinating and frustrating for the reader. You’ll sympathize with her, but also want to shake her silly!

Extra Virgin: Recipes and Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen by Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar, photographs by Eric Wolfinger – This cookbook is a feast for your eyes as well as your stomach. The recipes have been photographed beautifully. I also enjoyed the stories about each of the recipes. I’m a huge fan of Italian food and there are several things in here that I can’t wait to try. I’m considering adding this to my personal cookbook collection.

No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D. – Although the kids I share my life with are teenagers, I wanted to peruse this book to see if there were tips for dealing with some of the situations that continue to confound me, like getting homework done without drama. There most definitely are suggestions for that particular situation, but what I appreciated most was the practical advice for how to talk to your kids so they develop those parts of their brain that allow them to develop critical thinking skills. As well as the concession by the experts writing the book that no parent is perfect, not even them. (And they each tell a story of a time when they didn’t follow their own suggestions and how poorly it turned out. You’ll feel better about your parenting skills almost immediately!)

Pittsburgh Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes from the Steel City by Laura Zorch, Sarah Sudar, Amanda McFadden, and Julia Gongawere – Want to know the person behind those restaurants that are making Pittsburgh the next great food destination? Want to be able to make some of their signature dishes at home? This gorgeous cookbook allows you into the kitchens and minds of the Steel City’s best and brightest. Almost immediately after I finished reading this cookbook, I went online and ordered it to add to my collection.

There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me by Brooke Shields – Brooke Shields’ mother, Teri Shields, was an over-involved stage mother who pushed her child into acting and let her portray a prostitute and be filmed nude at the age of 11. Well, not really. Teri Shields was a relatively high-functioning alcoholic who never coerced her daughter into doing anything she was remotely uncomfortable with, except maybe living with a mean drunk. Because the story of her relationship with her mother has been told incorrectly so many times, Brooke decided it was time to tell it herself. Here you’re going to get the whole story, from Brooke’s point-of-view, of course.

Underwire by Jennifer Hayden – This graphic novel by a mother of two is an almost-too-honest look at life, relationships and parenting. If you are a parent, you will see yourself in the pages. If you are married, you will see yourself in these stories. If you are a woman, you will see yourself in these illustrations.

What have YOU been reading?

-Melissa M.

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Women in World War II: Rosie the Riveter and Beyond

girlsofatomiccityI recently finished reading The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan. It is a fascinating look into a town that never existed on any map but had a HUGE influence on the outcome of World War II. Although not all of the residents were women, of course, the story is told through the lives of several different ladies who found themselves at this historic place. These women varied in the amount of education they had received, their race, marital status and part of the country they were from, but all of them contributed to output that Oak Ridge was designed to create – enriched uranium for use in the first atomic bombs, including the ones dropped on Japan in August of 1945.

As I was reading this book, it reminded me of another I had read a few years ago about the North Platte Canteen in Nebraska, also during World War II. Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen by Bob Greene tells the story of a very small town that was on the major railway line almost all U.S. troops used during their transport from basic training to deployment. Onceonceuponatown the people in the town realized who was passing through their area, they made sure that no matter what time of the day or night, each and every train would be met with smiling faces and food. This town used its rationing coupons, not for themselves, but to help scared soldiers – many away from home for the first time – feel appreciated and loved. Every single train had a birthday celebration, complete with a cake. Many soldiers remembered their stop in North Platte decades later, even though it may only have lasted ten minutes. By the time the war was over, the North Platte Canteen had taken care of over 6 million soldiers. That’s just staggering for a town of about 12,000 people. Once again, not everyone in North Platte who helped at the canteen was female, but we all know who was baking those cakes and making the sandwiches.

This all got me to thinking about the various roles women played in World War II, both in and out of the military. For Women’s History Month 2015, consider finding out more about how the “fairer sex” contributed to the winning of the war, both at home and abroad. Here are a few items that might be of interest…

Books:
bandsofsistersBands of Sisters: U.S. Women’s Military Bands during World War II by Jill M. Sullivan – I bet you knew that there were/are military bands. But did you know that in World War II all of the branches of the military had their own women’s band as well? They were used to support troop morale and to recruit women to the armed services. In some cities they were greeted warmly and given keys to the city. In other places, they were unjustly run out of town. The music biz is never an easy one!

Beyond Rosie the Riveter: Women of World War II in American Popular Graphic Art by Donna B. Knaff – During World War II, women were encouraged to take on jobs that were normally reserved for men. Propaganda posters at the time, such as Rosie the Riveter, certainly reflected this idea. However at the same time, women were being encouraged through the same media to not lose their femininity. This contrast makes for a thought-provoking study.

Bitter Fruit: African American Women in World War II edited by Maureen Honey – This is a collection of poetry, essays and photographs compiling the history and the contributions of African American women in World War II. Although they were largely left out of the propaganda and recruitment posters, these women participated in every aspect of the war and home front that their white counterparts did. These writings, many not seen since their original publication, show the lives of women of color and you can see the roots of the civil rights movement within the stories.

fromcoverallsFrom Coveralls to Zoot Suits: The Lives of Mexican American Women on the World War II Home Front by Elizabeth R. Escobedo – If you thought finding the voices of African American women and their experiences during this time period was difficult, imagine the lack of information about Latino women. This book does a nice job identifying how they contributed to the war effort, while still needing to combat the prejudices of the nation they were serving. I especially liked getting to see some of the bilingual wartime propaganda posters.

Good Girls, Good Food, Good Fun: The Story of USO Hostesses during World War II by Meghan K. Winchell – Servicemen relied on the USO to provide them with a recreational outlet and some sense of normalcy during World War II. However, the recruitment process for the hostesses was biased. It served to reinforce stereotypes of the working class, as well as women of color. The military felt that if they exposed soldiers to “good” girls, they wouldn’t feel the need to seek out the “bad” ones. How the women excluded from participating made their inroads to volunteering and what those who were selected for the USO thought about life within its social constraints provides interesting reading.

Our Mother’s War: American Women at Home and at the Front During World War II by Emily Yellin – This book all began when the author found a journal and letters her mother had written while serving with the Red Cross in the Pacific. It is a good overview of many of the roles women played during World War II – wives and mothers at home, entertainers, WACs and WAVES in the military, spies, politicians, and even those who worked for the enemy.

winningWinning My Wings: A Woman Airforce Service Pilot in World War II by Marion Stegeman Hodgson – Marion was one of the first women trained to fly military aircraft with the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs).  The WASPs flew airplanes stateside to test their repairs or deliver new aircraft to the airmen who would then fly them into combat. It was a dangerous job, as Marion recounts in her letters to the wounded Marine pilot she eventually marries after the war.

Women Against the Good War: Conscientious Objection and Gender on the American Home Front, 1941-1947 by Rachel Waltner Goossen – For those who objected to the war, there were still opportunities to be of service. Many women, often with religious anti-war beliefs, joined the Civilian Public Service to do forestry work, disaster relief training, or to work in hospitals stateside. This organized pacifist culture had some benefits for those who wanted to contribute something of a humanitarian nature during wartime. But they were more often met with prejudice because of their convictions, and some found it hard to find employment once the war was over as veterans were coming back to the workforce.

Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue by Kathryn J. Atwood – This contains stories of women from many countries, but the United States is well represented. I wanted to make sure something that explained the secret side of the war was on this list. Included within, you will find Virginia Hall – once considered the most dangerous Allied agent in France, Muriel Phillips –a Jewish nurse at a tent hospital in France during the Battle of the Bulge and Marlene Dietrich – who entertained the troops as part of the USO, while also involved in an OSS propaganda campaign aimed toward the German troops.

womenwhowroteThe Women Who Wrote the War by Nancy Caldwell Sorel – We know it takes bravery to be a soldier, but imagine the guts needed to be the first person inside a recently freed concentration camp, just BEFORE the rescuing troops enter. Now picture that person as a woman, because for the camp at Dachau in southern Germany, it was. The women journalists and photographers who were sent oversees to cover World War II were amazing and inspiring, as are their stories.

View of women Marines carrying out the repair and reconditioning of fighting airplanes during World War II, 1940s. (Photo by US Marine Corps/Interim Archives/Getty Images)

View of women Marines carrying out the repair and reconditioning of fighting airplanes during World War II, 1940s. (Photo by US Marine Corps/Interim Archives/Getty Images)

DVDs:
topsecretTop Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of World War II produced & directed by LeAnn Erickson; written by Cynthia Baughman – This is the story of six of the women mathematicians originally recruited by the Army to be human computers tabulating ballistics trajectories. Once the first electronic computer was created (ENIAC), they needed people to program it. These six women were those people. They never received recognition for their absolutely vital role in the winning of World War II, nor for their pioneering work in the field of electronic computers. That’s a crime as far as I’m concerned.

Women in World War II: 13 Films Featuring America’s Secret Weapon courtesy of the National Archives of the United States – This is a collection of actual wartime propaganda short films. Their purpose was to encourage women to join the war supporting industries, as well as to convince both sexes that women were actually up to any and all of the tasks formally done exclusively by men. Highlights include “Women of Steel”, the one narrated by Katherine Hepburn, and getting to see Eleanor Roosevelt in living color.

Soon arrving in Hawaii, women Marine Reserves stand to for evening colors at Pearl Harbor, during World War II, 1940s. (Photo by US Marine Corps/Interim Archives/Getty Images)

Soon after arriving in Hawaii, women Marine Reserves stand to for evening colors at Pearl Harbor, during World War II, 1940s. (Photo by US Marine Corps/Interim Archives/Getty Images)

And One Government Document:
Breaking Codes, Breaking Barriers: The WACs of the Signal Security Agency World War II courtesy of Karen Kovach, History Office, Office of the Chief of Staff, US Army Intelligence and Security Command – World War II ushered in an era where women were needed in military service in far greater numbers than ever before in American history and for a wider range of occupations. This slim volume belies the importance of the job of the women contained within. They were tasked with breaking the encryption of the enemies’ messages. By doing so, they saved countless lives.  Especially poignant is the quote about the day of the bomb drop from the WAC assigned to monitor Hiroshima, “I came on to my trick and started tuning to my assigned frequencies. I was copying Hiroshima, it was one of my stations, but I couldn’t find it. I’m saying to myself, ‘what the heck is the matter?’ I’m dialing all around, searching all over the place trying to pick it up, trying to locate the signal. There was nothing there.”

-Melissa M.

P.S. Did you notice the interesting thing about almost all of the authors in this list? They are all female. Huh. Women writing about women’s history. What an idea!

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Take a Book on a Blind Date

We’re librarians. We like nothing more than introducing you to your next crush. Book crush that is. This Valentine’s Day we on the First Floor at the Main Library are poised to introduce you to your next blind date.

blinddate2blinddate1

Each book is putting its best face forward with attractive decorations and an enticing description. The barcode that is needed to check the book out is on the outside of the covering, so you can wait until you get your date to the privacy of your own home to unwrap it.

Maybe it’ll be true love and maybe the book will be over before it even begins. But you’ll never know until you try. C’mon, be adventurous. Let us pick out your perfect match. You can trust us!

-Melissa M.

P.S. See something you like?  Visit the Main Library to check it out. If you do take out one of our books, please tell us how the date went in the comments below!

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Graphic Novels from a Woman’s POV 2

Some time ago I talked with you about my specific interests in the area of graphic novels. That previous post provided suggestions for reading material by female graphic artists. I’ve been reading more items along those same lines as of late, so here are a few more to put on your “to read” list, if you haven’t already.

aloneforeverAlone Forever by Liz Prince – Liz Prince is trying to find someone, a man, to share her life with. Problem is that she can’t seem to get the guys she’s interested in to even look at her sometimes. She worries that it’s her approach, her looks, how she dresses or the types of music she listens to. Trying to find love in the big city is never easy. Not in person and not online either. At least she has cats…

Pregnant Butch: Nine Long Months Spent in Drag by A.K. Summers – When you look like a fat guy instead of a pregnant woman, people will not offer you a seat on the subway. This is just one of the hard lessons pregnantbutchlearned by the author as she carries the child for herself and her partner Vee. Coming to terms with this most feminine of body functions was difficult for Summers. How do you adjust your view of yourself when your body is changing constantly? This is a sentiment that all pregnant women can relate to, no matter what their gender or sex identification is.

lenafinkleLena Finkle’s Magic Barrel by Anya Ulinich – Being an immigrant is never easy. Trying to adjust to your new country is almost as difficult as never feeling at home again in your old one. Add to that a childhood trauma, a long distance relationship, a bad marriage or two and online dating, and you have one person in need of friends. As long as those friends give you good advice!

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – If you thought the 80s here was rough, try the 80s in Iran. It seemed to Marjane that all of a sudden things changed for the worse. her school became segregated by sex, she had to wear a veil,persepolis people were always watching for her to behave inappropriately. At home, most of her family were political activists, and her uncle was ultimately executed. Because she was always taught to stand up for herself and the oppressed, Marjane was eventually expelled from school. Her parents thought a life in Europe might be better for her, but she never quite found a safe place and ended up living on the streets. After returning to Iran her life became even more confused. This graphic novel explores life behind a curtain many Americans never see.

ageoflicenseAn Age of License: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley – Lucy Knisley is fast becoming my favorite graphic novel artist/writer.  Her travel memoirs are always studded with the great food she eats wherever she goes. Since traveling and food are two of my favorite hobbies, this combination really speaks to me. In this latest work, Lucy is planning an extended trip to Europe. This trip begins with an invitation to speak at a comic fest in Norway and continues with stops in Sweden for a love affair, France for wine and Paris, because well, Paris. Along the way, she realizes that the chaos she feels as she’s in her mid-twenties is exactly where she’s supposed to be. As her mom says, “If you hadn’t been screwing things up along the way – then I’d be worried.”  A-men!

Happy Reading!

Melissa M.

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