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  • Cristina Merrill 3:00 pm on 2018/03/20 Permalink
    Tags: cross breed, deadly secret, , , hurricane bay, , , , no safe secret, , , , the sweetest thing,   

    Romance Roundup: Immortal Women, Private Investigators, and Green-Eyed Sailors 

    This week’s Romance Roundup includes a private investigator being framed for murder, a lawyer who needs to investigate her estranged husband’s family, and an immortal woman who has finally met her life partner.

    Twice Bitten, by Lynsay Sands
    Immortal lady Elspeth Argeneau is ready to feel some freedom. At the age of 140, she’s finally moved away from her over-controlling mother. (Clearly, nagging mothers are the same across species.) She’s ready to get some action in the sack, and so this is the perfect time for her landlady’s grandson, Wyatt, to reappear in her life. Wyatt still remembers Elspeth from when they first met four years ago, and he’s eager to show her what she could be getting more of. This won’t be too hard, as Elspeth soon realizes she’d like to take several bites of him. (Go for it, sister!) When some shady characters try to finish Elspeth off, the former Special Forces soldier kicks his skills up a notch to keep her safe. Will Elspeth realize that Wyatt is the man she’s meant to be with forever? This is the 27th book in Sands’ Argeneau Vampire series. (Available in hardcover, paperback, audiobook, and NOOK on March 27.)

    Cross Breed, by Lora Leigh
    Cassandra Sinclair may be a member of the Breeds—humans who carry animal-like capabilities both in and out of the bedroom—but she’s also her own interesting mix. She’s wolf, coyote, AND human, and let’s just say that her Breed neighbors are a tad overprotective of her. She manages to escape them to pursue a personal mission, and ends up having a rollicking good time with a guy who could very well be meant to be her mate for life. (Oh, Cassandra, please tell us more!) She’s not too thrilled with him, though. (Let’s just say she’s got some family issues to sort out and knows that she shouldn’t be dilly-dallying with the wrong guy.) But then some major tensions between Breeds and humans start to arise, and Cassandra and her new friend (her new, HOT friend) will need to stick together if they are going to survive. This is the 32nd book in Leigh’s Breeds series. (Available in hardcover and NOOK on September 25.)

    No Safe Secret, by Fern Michaels
    Molly has a picture-perfect life, complete with a house that HGTV executives would want to feature on every single show. Unfortunately, though, her life is not as great as it seems. To start with, she’s got a demanding husband WHO BETTER BACK OFF of our gal! Also, she’s got a pretty dark past that’s coming back to haunt her more than 20 years after she escaped it. (Horrible things happened to her on prom night, for one.) Molly will need to think fast on her feet if she’s going to get the better of those who would see her harmed. Here’s hoping she manages to put a stop to their shenanigans ASAP, and that she finally gets the peaceful life she deserves. Hang in there, Molly! We’re all cheering you on! (Available in paperback on March 27.)

    Deadly Secret, by Tara Thomas
    Our gal, Bea, is a lawyer who wants to make it to Congress. This is all fine and dandy, but now she’s been called upon to investigate the Benedict family and their massive business empire. Trouble is, she’s kind of secretly married to none other than Knox Benedict. True, they are estranged, and he’s actually one of the better members of his family, but this could still create a little conflict of interest. (Knox, you can show us all your conflict of interest any day of the week, if you know what we mean!) Knox would much rather woo his woman back than get involved in muddy family waters, but this could actually be really good for their relationship. Bea and Knox, knock this family drama out of the park once and for all, and embrace a future that involves being in each other’s lives—and Bea as a Congresswoman! This is the second book in Thomas’ Sons of Broad series. (Available in paperback on March 27.)

    The Sweetest Thing, by Jill Shalvis
    Tara has zero desire to go back to Lucky Harbor, Washington, but since her life has been quite bumpy lately, it’s really her only option. Besides, her sisters are there renovating an inn, so Tara will definitely be able to keep busy and try to NOT think of the downhill spiral that is her current situation. She meets a smoking hot, green-eyed sailor who wants to show her all sorts of good times. (Cue all of our sailboat, lovemaking fantasies!) Things start to go well for our heroine, but then her ex-husband shows up wanting her back. Will Tara realize that she’s right where she’s supposed to be? And will this sailor fellow whisk her away to tropical climes for some fun in the sun? This is the second book in Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor series. (Available in paperback and NOOK on March 27.)

    Hurricane Bay, by Heather Graham
    Someone is trying to set up private investigator Dane Whitelaw for murdering his ex-girlfriend. Dane is positive that this is actually the work of a serial killer living and working in the Miami area. (We believe you, Dane!) Dane ends up joining forces with Kelsey Cunningham. Her best friend has just gone missing, and Kelsey knows that Dane is her best resource. They both get involved in a pretty dark world, and everything comes to a grinding halt when Dane’s ex-girlfriend is found, strangled to death by his tie. Now Kelsey doesn’t want to trust anyone, not even Dane, who has actually had her heart for many years now. Kelsey, you can trust Dane! You know he’s a good guy with a big heart to go with those stunning biceps. This book includes a bonus story, “A Man Worth Remembering,” by Delores Fossen. (Available in paperback and NOOK on March 27.)

    What new romances are turning your head this spring?

    The post Romance Roundup: Immortal Women, Private Investigators, and Green-Eyed Sailors appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Ross Johnson 2:00 pm on 2018/03/20 Permalink
    Tags: beginner's guide, blankets, , i kill giants, , ,   

    12 Graphic Novels for Beginners 

    So you want to get into graphic novels. There is no question the comics medium isn’t ubiquitous in pop culture, but that doesn’t make it any less intimidating for the newbie. That cultural saturation also has its downsides: the stream of superhero movies (many of them great) tends to reinforce the notion that comics are all about flights and tights. There are brilliant books about superheroes, yes. But there are also funny and poignant autobiographical comics, moving takes on history, as well as works of science fiction, epic fantasy, horror, and adventure. Here are just a few suggestions of comics and graphic novels to get almost anyone started on a new reading obsession.

    Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
    Saga has become one of the most successful and buzz-worthy comics ever, and one that’s commonly used as an example of everything modern comics can be. It’s a sci-fi love story, a war story, and a refugee tale that takes place in the middle of a bitter, bloody conflict between the winged citizens of Landfall and the horned, magic-wielding citizens of its moon, Wreath. A prison guard, Alana, falls in love with her charge, a warrior named Marko. The two escape, and the book begins with the birth of their daughter Hazel, a creature both sides of the conflict would like to exploit, or destroy. The two struggle to keep their family together in the face of hatred and pursuit by a variety of colorful creatures. It’s a brilliant marriage of art and story, with artist Staples capturing genuine emotion alongside stunning vistas and truly weird creatures.

    March, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
    Congressman and revered icon John Lewis is among the last people you’d expect to write a graphic novel, especially one as confident and successful as this three-part memoir of the civil rights movement. Inspired by a 1958 comic book that inspired him, “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story,” March tells of the movement from Lewis’ perspective, centered around the events of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march. By talking personally rather than broadly about his life and those years, Lewis and co-author Andrew Aydin go well beyond the standard history lesson. The story is inspiring, the black-and-white art (by Nate Powell) is gorgeous. March establishes one of our unlikeliest graphic novel writers among the very best.

    Bone, by Jeff Smith
    The three main characters are cutesy, whimsical blobs named Phoney, Smiley, and Fone…but that’s a trick. Writer/artist Jeff Smith lures you in with the promise of a lighthearted story of the three Bone brothers trying to find their way back to Boneville, but just as you’re thinking that the all-ages tale is charming, but little else, the cousins are drawn into the dark story of Thorn and her secretive grandmother. Their rural valley is threatened by an ominous presence, the Lord of the Locusts, and the Bones reluctantly undertake a legitimate heroes’ journey to save the valley. It’s full of adventure and heartbreak, and with a resonance that only increases over the expansive page-count.

    All-Star Superman, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
    Doomed planet. Desperate scientists. Last hope. Kindly couple. That’s how writer Morrison and artist Quitely sum up Superman’s origin in the book’s opening, and it sets the stage for a tale that gets right to the heart of the superhero myth. Superman is given a death sentence and, rather than struggle to save himself, he undertakes a series of adventures (Herculean labors, really) that will ensure that he leaves the world better than he found it. The tasks are alternately action-packed, colorful, fun, and bizarre; the book refuses to shy away from the big and bold, and the glorious ending makes the title literal. It’s a distillation of everything great about Superman, and caped heroes in general.

    Blankets, by Craig Thompson
    At a time when comics were still struggling to attract a wider audience, Thompson’s autobiographical work drew notice outside of the usual circles. It wasn’t the first graphic novel to tackle childhood drama and mature themes, or even the thousandth, but the critics’ acclaim wasn’t misplaced. With art that’s sometimes realistic, sometimes dreamy and surreal, Thompson tells a story about growing up in a devoutly religious midwestern family and dealing with abuse, bullying, first love, and first loss. It’s a great book about the weird, confusing march through adolescense, both the good and the bad.

    Lumberjanes, by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, and Brooke A. Allen
    If you’re looking for a girl-centric adventure for young and old alike, Lumberjanes is an excellent place to start. “Friendship to the max!” …is the motto of five pals at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, where mystery, excitement, and monsters are the norm, and a diverse group of campers is more than ready to take on a variety of supernatural threats. The Lumberjanes are a little punk rock, very funny, and extremely tough, and the book is a delightful story of friendship and bravery from an creative team made up entirely of incredibly talented women.

    I Kill Giants, by Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Nimura
    Kelly and Nimura’s I Kill Giants introduces us to Barbara Thorson, who battles giant monsters. Except that she doesn’t, not really. Her fantasy world is a coping mechanism she uses to deal with depression and feelings of powerlessness in the real one. The magical land that she inhabits ultimately becomes a trap: she’s lashing out and isolating herself, retreating further and further into her own mind and avoiding reality entirely. It’s a poignant story about growing up and learning to face the world and ask for help. It’s also a powerful example of the ways comics can tell fantastical stories with real-world relevance.

    The Vision, by Tom King, Garbiel Walta, Michael Walsh, Mike Del Mundo, and Jordie Bellaire
    There are brilliant superhero books that do all the things that super-comics should do, and then there are others that take those tropes and go off in wildly different directions. Synthezoid Avenger the Vision builds himself a wife and twin teenage children before moving to the suburbs to live out an entirely ordinary life. Of course, it’s not nearly that easy, and the family’s shared obsession with “normality” leads each of them deeper into the darkness. It’s creepy, poignant, and a big departure from typical superhero action.

    My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, by Emil Ferris
    Visually imaginative and emotionally powerful, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is told in the form of a diary of a 10-year-old growing up in Chicago in the late ‘60s. Through a prism of B-horror movies and pulp magazines of the era, Karen Reyes recounts the murder of her upstairs neighbor, Anka, a survivor of the holocaust. In exploring Anka’s life in Nazi Germany and beyond, Karen draws connections with her own life, despite Anka’s seeming, at first, so incredibly different. The story is gripping, and the unusual art style is a perfect complement.

    This One Summer, by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
    Rose Wallace has been spending summers at fictional Awago Beach for as long as she can remember, but the comfortable sameness of the place is slowly giving way to the restlessness of young adulthood. This coming-of-age drama of bickering parents and life-threatening secrets is the first graphic novel to ever have won the coveted Caldecott Medal for children’s books, but it’s really about the transition into young adulthood. Mariko Tamaki’s story is charming and real, while the pencil illustration from her cousin Jillian Tamaki is gorgeous.

    Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, by Marjane Satrapi
    Persepolis is a funny, poignant, and deeply personal autobiographical tale by graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi. As a child living in Iran during the 1970s and ’80s, Satrapi witnessed firsthand the tumult of the Islamic revolution and the war with Iraq that followed. No dry history lesson, this is the story of a young girl’s day-to-day life under an oppressive, misogynistic regime. It’s sometimes horrific, but ultimately a masterful and deeply felt tale of a woman’s resilience.

    Wytches, by Scott Snyder, Jock, and Matt Hollingsworth
    There are many great horror comics to recommend, but for a creepy standalone, this atmospheric tale of family history that won’t stay buried is in a league of its own. The story finds the Rook family (Sailor and her parents) in a small, isolated town, having moved to escape scrutiny following the suspicious disappearance of Sailor’s bully. Naturally, that’s not the end of it: there are creatures in the woods with a deep interest in the family (non-spoiler-hint: they’re witches). It’s dark, psychological, and disturbing with lurking horror, damaged families, and teenagers called upon to be strong in the face of disbelief and hostility from the grown-ups.

    So you’re a beginner—what’s going to be your first graphic novel?

    The post 12 Graphic Novels for Beginners appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Melissa Albert 6:45 pm on 2018/03/16 Permalink
    Tags: , heal thyself, ,   

    7 of the Best Irreverent Self-Help Books 

    Self-help is a nearly ten-billion-dollar industry. By adding a healthy dose of humor and a fresh perspective from today’s real world, these authors make the case for guidelines that stick—just don’t be fooled by their light-hearted, easy-to-read style. Irreverent self-help books are packed with powerful, relevant concepts and ideas that just might change your life. At the very least, they’ll make you laugh, and some days that’s the best medicine of all.

    Adulting, by Kelly Williams Brown
    The funny, helpful nuggets of advice in Adulting are geared toward twenty-somethings and run the gauntlet from cooking/hosting (“How to make a dope cheese plate,” “Do not fear the puff pastry”) to socializing (“The small-talk bell curve”) to employment (“Do not steal more than three dollars’ worth of office supplies per quarter.”) A self-help book with a little something for everyone.

    Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow
    Little Golden Books have been around since 1942, and The Poky Little Puppy, by Janette Sebring Lowrey and illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren, remains the top-selling children’s book of all time. Who better than Diane Muldrow, the longtime editorial director at Golden Books, to curate the best pieces of wisdom from these classic kids’ stories? Timeless, charming illustrations byRichard Scarry, J.P. Miller, Mary Blair, and Gertrude Elliott make every page a nostalgic delight, while Muldrow suggests that the tenets of a full life include, “Be open to making new friends, even if you’re very, very shy”; “Go ahead and make a big deal over your birthday”; and “Give in to a good cry. You’ll feel better afterward!”

    Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads, by Gary Greenberg
    There are approximately one zillion books for new moms and considerably fewer for dads, so Greenberg’s Boy Scout–themed guidebook is not only a necessity, it’s one of the most fun, entertaining, and creative parenting books out there. Need to baby-proof a hotel room, find activities baby and dad will both enjoy, or create a decoy drawer for baby to explore, so he’ll leave your good stuff alone? What about rigging an emergency diaper in the dead of night? (Hint: duct tape, sock, and a towel.) It’s all in there, plus illustrations and asides written in a positive, pragmatic, and non-alarmist manner—exactly what all parents deserve.

    How to Be a Person in the World, by Heather Havrilesky
    Practical, illuminating, and always relatable, Havrilesky’s book (based in part on her advice column at New York magazine’s The Cut) reads like a combination of Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed, and The Vine at Tomato Nation.  As Havrilesky puts it, “Part of what I like about giving people advice is that I never f*cking know how I’m going to pull it off. I’m not some kind of swami or guru.” Using relentless empathy, Havrilesky underscores her points by sharing personal anecdotes, which serve to remind readers they’re never alone. “This is your life, and it’s going to be big and bright and beautiful.”

    You are a Badass, by Jen Sincero
    If you’re into the idea of using positive thinking to attract certain energies from the universe, you’ll find a lot to inspire you here; Badass is The Secret in a cocktail dress, albeit with a more down to earth approach. (“Feed your fear a suck-it sandwich.” “Give painful people the heave-ho.”) Sincero has a knack for reconfiguring familiar concepts into specific, helpful “aha” moments.

    The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, by Margareta Magnusson
    An accomplished artist aged “between 80 and 100,” with a bundle of kids and grandkids and a lifetime of travel behind her, Swedish author Magnusson has enjoyed—and continues to enjoy—a full, robust life. This gem of a book teaches readers to “remove unnecessary things and make your home nice and orderly when you think the time is coming closer for you to leave the planet.” It’s perfect for older relatives who’d like to downsize, or anyone who wants more control and less clutter in their home, regardless of age. Though Magnusson has a wicked sense of humor, there’s very little sugar-coating here. She means it when she says, “If it was your secret, keep it that way,” i.e., don’t burden your loved ones with embarrassing box-loads of private items. In Magnusson’s words, “Save your favorite [sex toy]—but throw away the other fifteen.”

    The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson
    A popular blogger-turned-author, Manson holds the view that into each life a little rain must fall—sometimes a lotof rain—that’s neither fair nor deserved, and pretending everything’s  “for the best” can sometimes do more harm than good. Since we all have problems, Manson challenges us to ask ourselves to take control of them: What kind of problems do you want? (After all, the pain of hard work and living our values isn’t easy, but does bring fulfillment.) In other words, it’s not that you won’t give a f*ck about anything, it’s that you’ll give your f*cks selectively, prioritizing and paying attention to what matters most to you and letting the rest go.

    The post 7 of the Best Irreverent Self-Help Books appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Tara Sonin 4:00 pm on 2018/03/16 Permalink
    Tags: , , anthony mccarten, , brave, , coco, daniel ellsberg, daniel kraus, darkest hour, darryl ponicsan, david finkel, deborah heiligman, diana lopez, first they killed my father, , greg sestero, , hillary jordan, in my own words, jeff bauman, john pearson, , last flag flying, loung ung, martin mcdonogh, molly bloom, molly's game, mudbound, munro leaf, nancy kerrigan, our souls at night, , painfully rich, r.j. palacio, reni eddo-lodge, rose mcgowan, , secrets: a memoir of vietnam and the pentagon papers, , stronger, thank you for your service, , the miracle of dunkirk, the shape of water, the story of ferdinand, three billboards outside ebbing missouri, vincent and theo, walter lord, why i'm no longer talking to white people about race,   

    24 Books to Soothe Your Post Awards-Season Letdown 

    And the award goes to…books! At least, it does in our world. But if you’re a film fan and looking to broaden your literary horizons, here are two dozen books to read now that awards season is over (and you’re probably tired of movies).

    Call Me By Your Name, by Andre Aciman
    The most buzzed-about book-turned-into-a-movie this season is definitely worth a read! A sensual, emotional tale of two young men tempted by lust, love, and passion for one another (despite neither of them being openly gay).

    Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, by Reni Eddo-Lodge
    Get Out isn’t based on a book, but that doesn’t mean one of the most important movies of this awards season (and all of film history) shouldn’t be talked about. This book is a great starting point for discussing the complicated intersections of black history, white supremacy, racism, gender, and much more.

    In My Own Words, by Nancy Kerrigan
    I, Tonya tells the story of the infamous rivalry between Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding as a larger-than-life portrait based on real interviews. What happened between Nancy and Tonya, two skating phenoms, who were once colleagues on ice…that led to Nancy’s skating career being derailed by a bludgeoned knee? Read her own words to find out the other side of the story.

    The Shape of Water, by Guillermo Del Toro and Daniel Kraus
    Normally, book people advocate seeing the movie after reading the book, but since this adaptation of the award-nominated movie doesn’t come out until the end of the month, we’ll forgive you for doing the opposite. This ethereal, beautiful romance between a mute woman and a mysterious sea creature kept as a science experiment is set against the backdrop of the conflict between the US and Russia, and is as high-stakes as it is romantic.

    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, by Martin McDonogh
    A grieving mother sets herself on the path of justice, violence, and retribution when she puts up three public billboards accusing the police department—and their beloved chief of police—of neglect after they fail to catch her daughter’s murderer. Brutal, emotional, and as impactful as the performances in the movie, this story is not to be missed.

    The Miracle of Dunkirk, by Walter Lord
    It’s 1940, and the allied forces have been forced to retreat after a terrible ai assult from Hitler. Over 300,000 men were stranded on Dunkirk until an evacuation was attempted…in which in which nearly the entire army was saved. This film is a riveting portrait of survival in war and the strength of the human spirit—and the book is just as fascinating.

    Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here, by Anna Breslaw
    Lady-Bird fans, this is the book for you! If you loved the honest voice, snark, and pop-culture references in the movie, you will love Scarlett. Her favorite TV show was just cancelled, so she resorts to writing online fanfiction of what could-have-been…but the problem is, it’s starring real people. When her secret gets out, Scarlett has to reckon with the relationships she has IRL, including a tense one with her Dad, as a result of her parents’ split.

    Darkest Hour, by Anthony McCarten
    If you’re making your way down this list, you will have read about Dunkirk…but who was the man who saved England’s army, and in history’s eyes, the world? Winston Churchill became Prime Minister right at the start of the war, and guided the allies through the most difficult fight of their lives.

    Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, by Daniel Ellsberg
    The Post is one of the most talked-about movies this season, starring an incredibly prestigious cast. But I knew very little about the Pentagon Papers, and that’s where this book comes in! Daniel Ellsberg was the man behind the release of this Vietnam-war-era document, and risked his life to expose the truth.

    Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn
    The Phantom Thread is an incredibly unique movie with lots of twists and turns about a couple in the fashion world of the 1950’s who manipulate one another. Without giving too much away about the plot of the movie to those who haven’t seen it, I think fans will love Sharp Objects! It’s about a murder, a complicated mother, a beguiling sister, and a town that hides lots of secrets.

    Coco, by Diana Lopez
    A fave animated movie of 2017 about a boy who wants to be a musician despite his family having outlawed music for reasons he doesn’t understand is now in book form!

    Painfully Rich, by John Pearson
    This movie starring Christopher Plummer, Michelle Williams, and Mark Wahlberg is based on who made himself very very rich…but ruined his family in the process. Drugs, suicide, a kidnapping, and much more feature in this saga that is as strange as it is true.

    The Disaster Artist, by Greg Sestero
    Have you seen The Room? It’s a cult movie written by a man named Tommy Wiseau which never earned any money and was panned by critics. And yet it’s had an enduring life among cult fans, and this book brings that story hilariously to life (the story you can also see in the movie starring James Franco!).

    First They Killed My Father, by Loung Ung
    Now a movie from Angelina Jolie, this story about a young girl who had to flee her home and train as a child soldier in Cambodia is heart-wrenching, but true. Reading the book will help give you an appreciation for the struggles of others, for family, for home, and for freedom many people have lost their lives for.

    Molly’s Game, by Molly Bloom
    Gambling’s never been my game, but fascinating women who infiltrate exclusive, underground societies totally are. This movie of the same name stars Jessica Chastain as the young girl running an elite poker ring in Hollywood, until the house of cards came crumbling down.

    Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf
    Jane Fonda and Robert Redford are a star pair in this movie of the same name about a widow and a widower who have been neighbors for years…until one day they take the risk and decide to become something more. A story of second chances, love at all ages, and chosen happiness.

    Stronger, by Jeff Bauman
    The Boston Marathon Bombing was a horrible moment in history, and no one knows that better than Jeff Bauman, one of the survivors. He lost both his legs that day, and wrote a bestselling book about his journey following the terror attack, and it was adapted into a movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

    The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf
    A children’s book that will make you laugh and cry! Ferdinand the bull is sweet as can be. He has no interest in doing the things other bulls do. Fans of the movie, about a bull taken from his home after being mistaken for a violent creature, will love this heartwarming tale.

    Thank you For Your Service, by David Finkel
    Another movie about heroes and survivors that has a connected book. David Finkel was a different kind of hero; a journalist on the front lines of Afghanistan who documented the soldiers as they ended their tours of duty and started another war…the battle to rejoin civilian life.

    Wonder, by R. J. Palacio
    We could all use more kindness in our lives. That’s what the book—and movie—Wonder is all about. It tells the story of a young boy with a facial disfigurement who is afraid to let kids see what he really looks like, because he worries he’ll be bullied. This is the perfect gift for the sensitive kid in your life (after you watch the movie with them of course!).

    Brave, by Rose McGowan
    The harrowing story of one actress’ rise to activism through trauma is more than just a book; it’s the start of a movement. There’s no movie tie-in to this story, but we’d be remiss not to acknowledge the elephant in awards season…the systemic sexism and misogyny in Hollywood, now laid bare in part by Rose’s story.

    Last Flag Flying, by Darryl Ponicsan
    To truly understand Last Flag Flying, you should also read The Last Detail, the story of two soldiers escorting a man to a naval prison (which was also made into a movie.) This book, set over three decades after the events of the first, about three men escorting a young, deceased soldier home against the orders of their command.

    Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan
    In 1964, a woman from the city is trying to raise a family in the Mississippi Delta when two soldiers return from war and help out on the farm. One of them is black. In the Jim Crow South, bonds between family, between brothers, and friends, are all tested by the realities of the harsh world they live in.

    Vincent and Theo, by Deborah Heiligman
    There’s a non-fiction movie about Vincent Van Gogh and his brother, Theo, nominated for an award this year! I knew very little about them (other than the famous ear story) and so for those who, like me, are interested in learning about the brother who supported the genius artist—and 658 letters he wrote him over the course of their lives—this is the book for you!

    What books are helping you recover from awards season?

    The post 24 Books to Soothe Your Post Awards-Season Letdown appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Joel Cunningham 8:00 pm on 2018/03/12 Permalink
    Tags: 20th century boys, , essenials, , , kate beaton, scott pilgrim, sin city, vision   

    Modern Graphic Novel Classics for Every Genre 

    When a corny pleb like me is reading graphic novels, you know they’re a big deal. Over the past decade, the medium has become immensely popular, and new soon-to-be classics are published every year. Whether you are a noir fanatic with a penchant for macho detectives or a sci-fi buff who prefers stories that take place on a distant planet, there is a graphic novel out there for you. List your favorites modern classics in the comments!

    Science Fiction

    Spill Zone, written by Scott Westerfeld, illustrated by Alex Puvilland
    Scott Westerfeld has written several YA series, including the Uglies and Midnighters. This is his first graphic novel. It’s pretty fantastic. Several years ago, a strange disaster befell Poughkeepsie, New York. Addison, a young photographer, documents the “spill zone” from her motorcycle. It’s a dangerous task. The zone is filled with the undead, or as Addison calls them, “meat puppets.” In the zone, there are strange lights in the sewers, levitating objects, and a wolf-like creature the size of a building. Addison keeps herself safe by following a strict set of rules. Never get off your bike. Never touch anything.

    Descender: Tin Stars, written by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen
    Ten years ago, the people of Niyrata depended on robots for nearly everything. That changed after the Harvester Attacks, when gigantic robots appeared outside of the United Galactic Council’s 9 planets and killed billions of people before disappearing. The bot backlash was severe. Robots were destroyed systematically. Some believe the key to learning more about the Harvesters, lies in their codex, a machine’s version of DNA. When its discovered that a child robot named Tim-21 shares the same codex as The Harvesters, forces across space will try to track the boy bot down.


    Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter, written by Richard Stark, adapted and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke
    Darwyn Cooke’s graphic novel is an adaptation of Richard Stark’s 1962 book of the same name. Since its publication, Stark’s novel has been transformed into several movies, but this book might be its best adaptation. The book’s central character, Parker, is a bad man, a criminal who makes his living in heists. When a heist goes wrong and his woman double-crosses him, Parker makes those responsible pay up in a big way.

    Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, written and illustrated by Frank Miller
    Featuring one of noir’s most ruthless dames, Frank Miller’s second Sin City volume follows one man’s tale of obsession and revenge. Dwight is Miller’s central character, he is a dangerous man who is barely in control of what he calls “the monster.” Dwight does all he can to keep the monster leashed, avoiding his triggers: women and booze. When the twisted love of his life does him wrong again, he lets the monster run free.


    Hark! A Vagrant, written and illustrated Kate Beaton
    The world has a crush on Kate Beaton. At least the world I live in. Her comics are infinitely cool and totally hilarious and cover everything from the bloodlust of the French Revolution to Austen-mania. If you want a straight-talk retelling of Jane Eyre, she’s got comic for that. You want to learn about America’s founding fathers while cackling at the grouchiness of John Adams? She’s definitely got a comic for that. There’s nothing Beaton can’t do.

    The Influencing Machine, written by Brooke Gladstone, illustrated by Josh Neufeld
    Brooke Gladstone is a cohost on NPR’s On the Media, a Peabody Award-winning show that analyzes the inner workings of the media industry. Her graphic novel takes a wide view of journalism, detailing the history of media from the hieroglyphic age to the modern era. Gladstone’s book is an education. She proves time and again that news has always been complicated. Josh Neufeld’s illustrations perfectly accompany Gladstone’s text. Neufeld is the author of his own non-fiction graphic novel masterpiece, A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge.

    Fun Home, written and illustrated by Alison Bechdel
    Since its 2007 publication, Alison Bechdel’s darkly humorous memoir has become a classic. Bechdel often renders her unconventional upbringing through literary comparisons. Her father is Jay Gatsby and Daedalus (Greek Mythological craftsman of the labyrinth) rolled into one. Her childhood was indeed a labyrinth, one she struggles to navigate even in its retelling. Fun Home (which served as the basis for a successful Broadway musical) follows the author from childhood to young adulthood, when her closeted gay father commits suicide. She analyzes his incongruous life via his obsessions, unpredictable temper and disarming charm.


    Nimona, written and illustrated by Noelle Stevenson
    Superheroes may save the day, but villains have more fun. Nimona is a crime-loving shapeshifter, a force of chaos. She delights in spreading mischief and mayhem. Her life is missing just one thing: a partner in crime. Enter Lord Ballister Blackheart, a vengeful supervillain. Blackheart and Nimona would be an unbeatable duo, if Nimona could play along. After all, even villains have rules. But aimless destruction, Nimona’s forte, isn’t really a team sport. A graphic novel by Noelle Stevenson, Nimona is a comic powerhouse with a bittersweet backstory and stellar artwork—and is currently being adapted as a major animated feature.

    Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, written and illustrated by Bryan Lee O’Malley
    The first of a six-volume series, O’Malley’s work chronicles the life and times of a Canadian 23-year-old man-child. In a band, sharing a studio, happily jobless, and dating a high schooler, Scott is pushing against adulthood with all his might. But that’s until Ramona Flowers, an uber cool American, invades his dreams. She’s got seven evil ex-boyfriends, and if Scott wants a chance, he’s gonna need to conquer them all. In a rare feat, the 2010 film adaptation is also a modern classic, bringing the manga sensibility of the comics to life.


    Vision Vol 1: Little Worse Than a Man, written by Tom King, illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta
    Perfect. This book is perfect! In Tom King’s take on the enigmatic Avengers character, the synthezoid superhero is attempting to live in suburban bliss with the family he created. The Visions include his homicidal Stepford wife Virginia and well-meaning teenage twins Vin and Viv. Each of them is obsessed with becoming more human-like. Each fails miserably. This book starts weird, and just gets weirder. One of my recent favorites—also check out Vol. 2, in which the rather grim story reaches its natural, inevitable conclusion.

    Superman: Red Son, written by Mark Millar, illustrated by Dave Johnson
    In your fanboy dreams, did you ever wonder what the world would be like if Superman was raised a Soviet? I sure didn’t, but I’m so glad that Mark Millar did. In the story of comrade Superman, alternate versions of Wonder Woman and Batman both make appearances.


    20th Century Boys, written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa
    When Kenji and his friends were young, they lived for rock n’ roll, outdoor adventure, and manga. Now, they are all grown up and Kenji spends his days working at a convenience store and taking care of his sister’s kid. Life has become dull. That changes when the world of his childhood starts reappearing in strange ways, ones that may be related to a dangerous cult leader.

    The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home, written and illustrated by Konami Kanata
    Just a sweet little manga about a kitten named Chi! Beware: this book is way adorable. Its cuteness may be over the top for some readers. But not for me! Konami Kanata tells the story of a lost kitten who is found and adopted by the Yamada family. As Chi delights in her new home, she begins to learn the ways of a house kitten.

    What comics would you add to our list(s)?

    The post Modern Graphic Novel Classics for Every Genre appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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