Tag Archives: Graphic Novel

February 2020

february 2020It’s February! Fall in love with one of our Staff Picks!

 

 

 

 

Jean – Reference

nine perfect strangersNine Perfect Strangers, by Liane Moriarty, Fiction Moriarty

This is a light, fun story that is a perfect winter read. Each chapter is in the voice of one of nine characters who are struggling in mid-life, and on impulse each one signs up for a 10-day “health retreat” in the middle of the outback in Australia. The owner of the retreat and her staff have their own secrets, and the author reveals each storyline in pieces to keep you reading until the end.

 

Chris – Technical Services

this is really warThis is Really War: the Incredible True Story of a Navy Nurse POW in the Occupied Philippines, by Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, New Nonfiction 940.5472 LUC

The author describes the experiences of Dorothy Still, one of twelve navy nurse POW’s in WWII. Held captive in a POW camp, they continued to nurse the sick and dying, even though they were also facing starvation.  All 12 came home. Highly recommended, powerful story of the will to survive and fight against all odds.

 

Hubbell – Circulation

juniorJunior: Writing Your Way Ahead in Advertising, by Thomas Kemeny, Nonfiction 659.1023 KEM

Copywriting is not what it used to be. And creative work in advertising has changed a lot since the days portrayed in Mad Men. However, not everything has changed. Thomas Kemeny did not go to a traditional ‘portfolio school’ nor did he have a pedigree to get him in the door at some of the nation’s top advertising firms. He explains in his debut book (which is somewhere between memoir and textbook) how he did it and how he made a name for himself in an uber-competitive creative field without much help. It’s also blue, which is different.

Chris – Circulation

starbucksHow Starbucks Saved My Life: a Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else, by Michael Gates Gill, Biography 921 Gill

Michael Gill, who was a big time Advertising Exec, was forced to step out of his comfort zone and old privileged habits after 25 years. Let go from his job, in his 60’s, divorced, and finding it hard for anyone to hire him, set him on a humbling journey.  While he sat in a Starbucks and knew he no longer could afford the expensive coffee and needed insurance, he changed his life by excepting employment at Starbucks as a last resort.  In a not so great neighborhood (he thought) in New York, with his new role serving people, new young female manager, and people from different backgrounds, he was challenged daily. He experienced things he never had to deal with since things were just handed to him in the past. This journey was so much harder, yet he found a way to survive and accept, realizing nothing in his past life was as good as this.

Paula – Circulation

jokerJoker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, and Zazie Beetz, New DVD Joker

Joaquin Phoenix takes on one of his most challenging roles yet in this extremely dark origin story for one of the most notorious villains ever created. Phoenix stars as Arthur Fleck, a deeply troubled man with a mental illness no one understands. All Arthur has ever wanted to be since he was little was a comedian, but all of his efforts at becoming one have failed. His dead-end job as a clown and mediocre stand-up gigs only make him a target of brutal physical and verbal abuse. As you watch Arthur’s descent into madness, you are torn between sympathizing for him and being utterly disturbed by him. Phoenix does an excellent job of portraying the tortured man, and shows how abuse from others can drive a person into darkness. The film is a good platform for raising awareness of mental health issues while also giving us a viewpoint for the Joker that we’ve never seen before.

Michelle – Administration

jexiJexi, starring Adam DeVine, Alexandra Shipp, and Michael Pena, New DVD Jexi

I had not heard of this comedy starring Adam Devine, but I was looking for a laugh so I gave it a try. The movie proved to be very silly, but made me giggle. The story follows a guy named Phil who gets a new phone with a very intrusive AI assistant named Jexi. At first, Jexi seems to be able to help Phil improve his life, but then things take a turn to the ridiculous. If you are looking for a fun way to unwind, I recommend you check out this movie!

Cathy – Circulation

the best we could doThe Best We Could Do: an Illustrated Memoir, by Thi Bui, Nonfiction 973.0495 BUI

This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.

 

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July 2019

july 2019It’s July! Celebrate summer and the 4th of July with some of our Staff Picks!

 

 

 

Melissa – Technical Services

fates and furiesFates and Furies, by Laura Groff, Fiction Groff

Fates and Furies tells of a fiery relationship between actor/playwright Lotto and his wife Matilde. We see life and the relationship through Lotto’s eyes in the first half and switch to Matilde’s in the second. The prose is artsy and decadent, doing much to draw the reader into their fierce passion. This book is reminiscent of Julian Barnes’s The Sense of Ending in that it explores the power of perception and how the consequences of actions can ripple through time.

 

Jean – Reference

a woman of no importanceA Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II, by Sonia Purnell, New Nonfiction 940.5486 PUR

The true story of an American woman who worked for a highly-selective British intelligence unit specially formed to build up the Resistance in France early on in the war against the Nazi invasion of Europe. At a time when women were not thought to be suited nor qualified for the male work in intelligence, Virginia Hall proved to be more formidable and brave than many of her male peers. Add to the fact that she had a disability after losing a leg during a hunting accident, it was unheard of for her to be selected for the highly risky, top-secret spy mission. Little recognition was given to her because of her sex after the war, but thanks to author Sonia Purnell, we now know the story of this historically brave woman who served the Allies’ cause with honor.

Michelle – Administration

waiting for tom hanksWaiting for Tom Hanks, by Kerry Winfrey, New Fiction Winfrey

This is a perfect summer beach read. It follows rom-com obsessed Annie, who dreams of living her own rom-com fantasy. She gets a job working on a movie set when they come to her Ohio town and the pieces begin falling into place. If you are looking for a light bit of fluff to pass the time, then this book is for you!

 

Cathy – Circulation

sunny side upSunny Side Up, by Jennifer Holm, Graphic Novel J Holm (Graphic bk)

Have you wondered what the kids are reading and why they love graphic novels? Check this one out! You don’t need to be a kid to love this book, the graphics are great and the story fun and timeless. The drawings really help tell the story. This book opened up a whole new genre for me, and it might for you too.

 

 

Hubbell – Circulation

patrick melrosePatrick Melrose, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugo Weaving, and Jennifer Jason Leigh, New DVD Patrick Melrose

HBO’s 2018 mini-series Patrick Melrose is a show loosely based on a series of novels by English writer Edward St. Aubyn. The titular Melrose, played brilliantly by Benedict Cumberbatch, struggles with substance abuse and recovery, as well as confronting his past and his relationships with his parents. The series begins with Melrose visiting New York from England to retrieve his father David’s ashes. He quickly spirals out of control, but also vows to cease drugs and drink. The show is also a reflection and commentary about Britain’s upper class and the trappings of social privilege. Melrose is given everything in life and while afforded every opportunity to expand socially, he maintains very few close friendships, for those to whom he is closest, his family, are the ones responsible for his personal demons.

Paula – Circulation

bastille bad bloodBad Blood, by Bastille, CD 781.66 Bastille

Having just released their third album, Bastille’s Bad Blood is a must-listen. It is the first album from the British indie rock band that contains their first single “Pompeii” that brought them to fame. It introduces the brooding yet melodic sound that Bastille is known for. Their music may sound happy and upbeat at first, but after a close listen, the lyrics suggest otherwise. As the band puts it, they have “quite the catalog of depressing songs,” but their lyrics take on a deeper meaning than most bands. They focus on real-life issues and emotions, and draw them out with their haunting tunes. Their songs may be a little somber, but they balance them out with beauty and passion.

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August 2017

augdogdays2017It’s August! The dog days of summer have arrived! Beat the heat with some of our cool picks!

 

 

Chris – Circulation

crackupCrack-Up by Fleet Foxes, New CD 781.66 Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes are back after six years of waiting for a follow-up to 2011’s Helplessness Blues. All that time away gave them the opportunity to transform their sound into something grander, not just rehash what they had done on their previous two albums. What they have done on Crack-Up is evolve their unique brand of indie folk into a progressive folk style. The compositions are less lyrically structured and more instrumentally expansive. The focus is really more on the concept of the album as a whole rather than the individual songs. The album ebbs and flows naturally itself, and even within songs. This is usually a style implemented by rock and metal artists, but Fleet Foxes pull it off beautifully, and in doing so lead the folk genre to new bright adventures down seldom-trodden paths.

Paula – Circulation

kingsmanthesecretserviceKingsman: The Secret Service, starring Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, and Samuel L. Jackson, DVD Kingsman

Eggsy is a troublemaker just trying to get by on the streets of London. Before being sent to jail, he is recruited to join the Kingsman, a secret British spy organization that protects the world from monumental threats. As he learns what it means to be a Kingsman, Eggsy and the other agents must try to stop a villainous tech genius from killing off the majority of the world’s population. Filled with non-stop, fast paced action and witty humor, this movie will keep you on the edge of your seat. Colin Firth amazes in his character as Agent Harry Hart, and will leave you desperately wanting more.

hacksawridgeHacksaw Ridge, starring Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn, and Sam Worthington, New DVD Hacksaw Ridge

Set in WWII, Hacksaw Ridge tells the true story of army medic Desmond Doss. As a pacifist, Doss refused to bear arms during training and in battle, causing much tension and backlash from his fellow soldiers. Despite this, Doss never lost touch with his faith, and went on to save the lives of 75 men during the Battle of Okinawa without firing a single shot. For his valiant efforts, Doss was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Hacksaw Ridge is one of the best war pictures I have ever seen. It is filled with raw emotion and powerful strength that captivates all viewers. Andrew Garfield delivers an outstanding performance as Doss that rightfully earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

Michelle – Administration

Smallville, Seasons 1-10, DVD Smallville

Smallville, one of my all-time favorite shows, follows Clarsmallvillek Kent from his teen years in Smallville through to the beginnings of his superhero days in Metropolis. The show followed a strict “no tights, no flights” rule, so don’t expect Superman. You will get to see Clark’s ever evolving relationship with Lex Luthor, his childhood romance with Lana Lang and the Lois and Clark origin story, with special appearances by the Green Arrow, Aquaman, Black Canary and more . This is the show that ushered in the era of current superhero shows. One small caveat, if you are starting with season one, the special effects are pretty cheesy, but they do greatly improve as the show progresses. Smallville stars Tom Welling as Clark Kent, Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor, Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang, Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan, Erica Durance as Lois Lane and Justin Hartley as Oliver Queen.

Jacob – Administration

accountantThe Accountant, Starring Ben Affleck, DVD Accountant

Ben Affleck is a math whiz who uses his talents to help corrupt organizations and individuals with their financial issues. Always in danger of being caught by either the government or competing criminals, Affleck must work quick to unravel the disappearance of a large amount of money. This fast paced movie entertains and keeps the viewer guessing as to what is going to happen next.

Brigitte – Youth

myfrienddahmerMy Friend Dahmer by Berk Backderf, YA 364.152 DER (GRAPHIC BK.)

My Friend Dahmer by Berk Backderf is a Young Adult book that tells the true story of Jeffrey Dahmer’s life during his high school years. As the author was a close friend of Dahmer’s this graphic novel provides a unique insight into his life before he became a notorious serial killer. Themes touched upon in this novel include friendship, empathy, responsibility, and teenage isolation. This graphic novel has been made into a movie, set to be released later this year.

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Picks for September

Here we are winding down the long summer nights into the (hopefully) cooler Autumn days. So as the leaves begin to change and school starts up, grab a warm glass of cider and curl up with some of the things we enjoy and hope you will too.

Melissa – Reference

 

 The_Sense_of_an_EndingThe Sense of an Ending – By: Julian Barnes – Fiction: BARNES

 This novel is both enigmatic and fascinating.  The story follows the experiences of a young man through his formidable years and the experiences that shaped him.  Later in life, he receives a letter that forces him to question what he thought he knew about his friends and himself.

Julian Barnes sets up the novel perfectly.  As soon as I finished, I had questions about what really happened versus what was perceived to have happened, which I think is exactly the message Barnes wanted to deliver. 

 

 5345The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town – By: John Grisham – NONFICTION: 345 GRI

 Although Grisham isn’t known for his nonfiction, he certainly is an adept researcher.  “The Innocent Man” relates the tale of two men who were found guilty of the rape and murder of a young woman in a small town.  Although neither man had a spotless record, they did not commit this crime.

Grisham takes readers through the inaccurate police investigation and unlawful trial that led the two men to serve twelve years in prison.  One man received the death penalty and narrowly missed his execution.  I thought this book would be very upsetting to read, but it was in fact quite humbling.

 

Theresa – Youth Services

 Stitches-David-SmallStitches: A Memoir – By: David Small – Non-Fiction: 921 Small.

 Author and illustrator David Small effectively tells a story of his own sickly childhood growing up in Detroit. Using hauntingly beautiful illustrations and  minimal dialogue, this graphic novel captures spellbinding snippets in time. Quickly paced, Small’s grimly dysfunctional family life and lonely existence keep the reader’s morbid curiosity piqued. Although sad and disturbing, this memoir reveals Small’s amazing ability to survive, overcome, and perhaps even forgive family members for their shortcomings.  

Matt – Circulation

 

 81ZowVA-D8L._SL1500_Parks and Recreation – Starring: Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Rashida Jones, Rob Lowe – DVDs: PARKS AND RECREATION

 For people who have not seen this show, you need to see this show. Parks and Recreation is about Leslie Knope: an idealistic government worker who loves her home town of Pawnee, Indiana. You can’t help but root for Leslie as she tries to improve an apathetic town with an excellent cast of characters whose quirks make this show a constant cavalcade of solid satire and a warm show with real heart. Every season this show gets better and is the best comedy currently on television. 

 

 foundation-isaac-asimovFoundation – By: Isaac Asimov – Fiction: ASIMOV

 This is the first in one of the most influential Sci-Fi series of all time Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Series. This was the first book written in the series but not the first of the series as Asimov later wrote two prequels. I started with Foundation and was instantly hooked by the premise: the galactic empire is collapsing and PsychoHistorian Hari Seldon has come up with a mathematical formula mixed with psychology and evolutionary theory to predict major events in the collapse of the empire. Seldon decides to make The Foundation on two worlds at opposite ends of the universe to scientifically advance the primitive cultures of the outer worlds while trying to slow the coming collapse from within.

Rife with allusions to the fall of the Roman Empire and the politics of the Cold War, Asimov tells a compelling narrative about leaders who use their wits and cunning in the face of fanaticism and militarization. An interesting read and a classic Sci-Fi series.

 

Check back next month for more suggestions!

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