New to Graphic Novels and wondering where to start? Here are 10 to try!

Comics and graphic novels (long-form comics) aren’t just about superheroes, and they aren’t just for teenagers. They are published in as many genres as traditional print books – you’ll find humor, horror, science fiction, history, classics, and memoirs, to name but a few. With so many movies and television shows using graphic novels as their source material, you may be curious about graphic novels, but unsure about where to start when it comes to reading them. It can be intimidating, so here’s a list of 10 terrific graphic novels for adults, a good way to get your feet wet!

The March series by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. This 3-part series is the first-hand account of the late Congressman John Lewis’s lifelong struggle for civil and human rights. It spans his youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., and the 1963 March on Washington.

Y, the Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra. The saga of Yorick Brown—the only human survivor of a planet-wide plague that instantly kills every mammal possessing a Y chromosome. Accompanied by his pet monkey, a mysterious government agent, and a brilliant young geneticist, Yorick travels the world in search of his lost love and the answer to why he’s the last man on earth.

My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris. Told in the form of a ten-year-old’s diary entries in the 1960s, this gripping story has a B-horror-movie feel to it. Karen tries to solve the murder of her upstairs neighbor, a survivor of the holocaust, while the interconnected stories of those around her unfold.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel. An unusual memoir done in the form of a graphic novel by a cult favorite comic artist offers a darkly funny family portrait that details her relationship with her father, a historic preservation expert dedicated to restoring the family’s Victorian home, funeral home director, high-school English teacher, and closeted homosexual.

The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. A rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy, The Sandman follows the people and places affected by Morpheus, the Dream King, as he mends the cosmic — and human — mistakes he’s made during his vast existence. The Sandman was one of the first few graphic novels ever to be on The New York Times Best Seller list (along with Maus, Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns).

Kindred : a graphic novel adaptation  by Damian Duffy and John Jennings. This searing graphic-novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s science fiction classic is a powerfully moving, unflinching look at the violent, disturbing effects of slavery on the people it chained together, both black and white – and made kindred in the deepest sense of the word. 

Alice’s Story : based on the novel The Magicians by Lev Grossman ; by Lilah Sturges and Pius Bak. An all new chapter set in the world of The Magicians trilogy of novels by Lev Grossman that retells the events of the first novel through fan-favorite character Alice Quinn.

The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. An epic graphic novel of Hollywood in the early days of the Blacklist. The story goes from the murder of an up-and-coming starlet from studio backlots to the gutters of downtown Los Angeles. Contains behind-the-scenes art and stories, sketches and layouts, and several historical essays.

Here by Richard McGuire. This innovative graphic novel presents the story of a corner of a room and of the events that have occurred in that space over the course of hundreds of thousands of years. The book experiments with formal properties of comics, moving forward and backward in time, using multiple panels to convey the different moments in time.

Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh. A collection of comedic, autobiographical and deceptively illustrated essays on topics ranging from childhood and very bad pets to grief, loneliness and powerlessness in modern life.

Read it Before You See it: Book-to-Screen Adaptations Coming in 2022

So many screen adaptations, so little time! There are so many books coming to big and small screens this year, it’s easy to lose track or what’s coming out when. We’ve put together a list of some adaptations that we’re really looking forward to this year – some have release dates, some do not, but the list will give us time to read as many books as we can before their adaptations come out! Which books are you most looking forward to seeing on the screen this year?

 

MOVIES

 

The Black Phone Release date: Feb. 4, 2022

Death on the Nile Release date: Feb. 11, 2022

Mothering Sunday Release date: Feb. 25, 2022

Where the Crawdads Sing Release Date: July 22, 2022 (Netflix)

Salem’s Lot Release Date: September 9, 2022

White Bird: A Wonder Story Release Date: October 14, 2022

She Said Release date: Nov. 28, 2022

The Nightingale Release Date: December 23, 2022

Persuasion Release date: TBD 2022

The School for Good and Evil Release Date: TBD 2022 (Netflix)

The Wonder Release Date: TBD 2022 (Netflix)

 

TV SERIES

 

Outlander Season 6 (Starz) Premiere Date: March 6, 2022

Based on the book: A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon 

Bridgerton Season 2 (Netflix) Premiere Date: March 25, 2022

Based on the book: The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn

Lord of the Rings (Amazon Prime Video) Premiere Date: Sept. 2, 2022

Based on the books: The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkein 

The Sandman (Netflix) Premiere Date: TBD 2022

Daisy Jones & the Six (Amazon Prime Video) Premiere Date: TBD 2022

Conversations with Friends (Hulu) Premiere Date: Spring 2022

The Legacy of MLK

It’s hard to live in America and not know who Martin Luther King Jr. was. If you’re reading this from out of the country, MLK was a black Baptist minister who became the driving force in the 1960’s fight for civil rights, and for the equal treatment of black citizens in America. His call was for peaceful protest and non-violence – always non-violence – and he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. For his outstanding efforts, Mr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968. James Earl Ray was charged with the murder, a white troublemaker with a 7th grade education and a long rap sheet. Ray admitted to the crime, had a strong timeline leading up to the crime, had fingerprints on the weapon, but because he lied numerous times and changed pleas and facts all over the place, conspiracy theories abound.

Kings death no doubt played a major role in the passage of the 1968 Civil Rights Act, just a week later, in an effort to help quell the riots that followed his death. His examples reached into South Africa and Northern Ireland, areas of long hostilities, and a statue of him stands in Westminster Abbey in London.

King’s beliefs and activities created as many conflicts as they tried to solve. While the racially charged South saw him as too progressive, so far as to call him a communist, many in the black community, such as Malcolm X, thought he didn’t go far enough and demanded radical action, not peaceful protests. King alienated himself from the US government by opposing the war in Vietnam. Herbert Hoover, head of the FBI, considered King a radical and sent him threatening letters. It wasn’t until 1986 that Ronald Reagan enacted Martin Luther King Day as a Federally recognized holiday.

Biographies will give the standard information on Martin Luther King, and while White Trash (warning: FaceBook will jail you for discussing this book) and Caste are excellent books which will open your eyes to issues you never considered, they’re heavy on sociology and can be difficult to slog through at times. If you’d rather read about the issues he fought against, and where we stand today on Civil Rights in an easier fashion, check out these non-fiction books that will give you a good perspective of the issues. If non-fiction isn’t your thing, try these novels about modern issues as well, and realize we still have a long way to go. 

The Hate U Give

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Small Great Things

My Brother Moochie

The Help

Evicted

Native Son

Born a Crime

Sing, Unburied, Sing

A Raisin in the Sun

Long Way Down

The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr.

Dear Martin

My Life With Martin Luther King Jr

Survival Math

How We Fight for Our Lives

Celebrities – They’re Just Like Us! The 10 Best Celebrity Memoirs of 2021

We seem to be in the midst of a celebrity memoir boom. Seems like every celeb with time on their hands during the height of the pandemic used that time to write their memoirs. Of course, not every famous person’s story is interesting enough to devote an entire book to, but we’ve picked out 10 from 2021 that we think are worth the page count. There is something really appealing about a candid celebrity memoir that reveals the real person behind the “persona”, be prepared to be entertained, and even inspired, by these celebrity stories.

The Beauty of Living Twice by Sharon Stone. She was one of the most renowned actresses in the world–until a massive stroke cost her not only her health, but her career, family, fortune, and global fame. Stone talks about her pivotal roles, her life-changing friendships, her worst disappointments, her greatest accomplishments, and ultimately, how she fought her way back after devastating illness.

Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci. Tucci reflects on the intersection of food and life, filled with anecdotes about his growing up in Westchester, New York; preparing for and shooting the foodie films Big Night and Julie & Julia; falling in love over dinner; and teaming up with his wife to create meals for a multitude of children. A gastronomic journey through good times and bad, five-star meals and burned dishes.

Just As I Am by Cicely Tyson. Her memoir was released just days after the 96-year-old actress passed away this year. The Academy, Tony, and Emmy Award-winning actor and trailblazer tells her stunning story, looking back at her life and six-decade career. President Barack Obama said of her: “In her long and extraordinary career, Cicely Tyson has not only succeeded as an actor, she has shaped the course of history.”

Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson. As Jenny Lawson’s hundreds of thousands of fans know, she suffers from depression. In Broken, she brings readers along on her mental and physical health journey, offering heartbreaking and hilarious anecdotes along the way. Jenny humanizes what we all face in an all-too-real way, reassuring us that we’re not alone and making us laugh while doing it.

Trejo : My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood by Danny Trejo. You may not know him by name, but character actor Danny Trejo has one of the most recognizable faces in film and television. On screen, the actor played scores of bad guys, and has been killed at least a hundred times. This is an inspirational story of a journey from crime, prison, addiction, and loss to unexpected fame as Hollywood’s favorite bad guy with a heart of gold.

Forever Young by Hayley Mills. Under the wing of Walt Disney himself, Hayley Mills was transformed into one of the biggest child starlets of the 1960s through her iconic roles in Pollyanna, The Parent Trap, and many more. This memoir is a behind-the-scenes look at the drama of having a sky-rocketing career as a young teen, as well as the challenges of dealing with an industry that wanted her to remain to bound to a wholesome, youthful public image.

All In : An Autobiography by Billie Jean King. In this spirited account, Billie Jean King details her life’s journey to find her true self. She recounts her no only her groundbreaking tennis career–six years as the top-ranked woman in the world (twenty Wimbledon championships, thirty-nine grand-slam titles) , but also her activism as a feminist and social justice fighter in the wake of her coming out as gay at age 51.

Going There by Katie Couric. For more than forty years, Katie Couric has been an iconic presence in the media world. In her brutally honest, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking memoir, she pulls no punches as she reveals what was going on behind the scenes of her sometimes tumultuous personal and professional life.

The Storyteller : Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl. The legendary American musician, singer, songwriter and documentary filmmaker offers a collection of stories that focus on the memories of his life, from his childhood to today. With his reflections on touring with Scream, joining Nirvana and watching it all crumble, creating Foo Fighters when his life was at a crossroads, and now crisscrossing the world as a family man, Grohl offers an honest portrait of an extraordinary life made up of ordinary moments.

The Boys : A Memoir of Hollywood and Family by Ron Howard & Clint Howard. What was it like to grow up on TV? For Ron, playing Opie on The Andy Griffith Show and Richie Cunningham on Happy Days offered fame, joy, and opportunity, but also invited stress and bullying. For Clint, a fast start on such programs as Gentle Ben and Star Trek petered out in adolescence, with some tough consequences and lessons. By turns confessional, nostalgic, heartwarming, and harrowing, The Boys is a dual narrative that lifts the lid on the Howard brothers’ closely held lives.

 

Patriotic Read-alouds for Veteran’s Day

November 11 is Veteran’s Day, a day to celebrate our American veterans: their patriotism, their willingness to serve, and the sacrifices they’ve made. We’ve put together a list meaningful books to read with kids for Veteran’s Day and beyond!

What is Veterans Day? by Elaine Landau. An introduction to Veterans Day with an easy activity.

The Wall by Eve Bunting. A boy and his father come from far away to visit the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington and find the name of the boy’s grandfather, who was killed in the conflict.

Brave Like Me by Barbara Kerley. Describes the experiences of a boy and girl who struggle with worries and fears while their parents serve their country during wartime.

Nubs : The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle by Brian Dennis, Kirby Larson, Mary Nethery. The true story of a mutt named Nubs, who was befriended by a marine on duty at the Iraqi border and became so devoted to the marine that he followed him on foot to his next post more than seventy miles away.

Tucky Jo and Little Heart by Patricia Polacco. A young soldier in World War II meets a sweet young girl in the Philippines who helps him remember what he is fighting for as he helps her and others of her village, and many years later she returns his kindness.

Henry and the Cannons by Don Brown. The true story of bookseller Henry Knox’s heroic contributions during the Revolutionary War, describing how he dragged fifty-nine cannons to Boston across 225 miles filled with danger and hardship.

Gabe : The Dog Who Sniffs Out Danger by Thea Feldman. Gabe is a real dog who works with the United States military. He has an important job: he uses his sense of smell to find weapons before they hurt anyone. Read his story to find out more about Gabe and what makes him a hero dog.

Sky High : The True Story of Maggie Gee by Marissa Moss. Tells the story of Maggie Gee, from her childhood in the San Francisco Bay Area to becoming one of only two Chinese American Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) to serve during World War II, with powerful illustrations depicting the pilot’s bravery.

Nugget on the Flight Deck by Patricia Newman. Aboard an aircraft carrier, a lieutenant introduces a new aviator to the “lingo” and layout before taking him on a practice dogfight.

America : A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Cheney. Filled with historical quotations and lively illustrations, this alphabet book doubles as an introduction to American history, paying tribute to American diversity, faith, and determination.