Friday, November 17, 2006

New Books by Favorite Authors

Valley of Silence by Nora Roberts. Large Print edition of the "electrifying conclusion to her powerful new the Kingdon of Geall, the scholarly Moira has taken up the sword of her people. As queen, she must prepare her subjects for the greatest battle they will ever fight - against an enemy more powerful than any they have seen. For Lilith, the most powerful vampire in the world, has followed the Circle of Six through time to Geall."

Capital Crimes by Jonathan and Faye Kellerman. The dynamic duo combine two short novels into one volume. Both feature series regulars of the authors. Here's a question for you, does Jonathan Kellerman always wear make-up? It sure looks like it in all his book jacket photos.

Shape Shifter by Tony Hillerman. Joe Leaphorn is still retired from his Lieutenant position with the Navajo Tribal Police but is back once again. This time Leaphorn investigates an old unsolved case of his own. A priceless, and supposedly destroyed, Navajo rug appears in a magazine spread and the man who tells Leaphorn about it has gone missing. Working on his own, without Jim Chee, Leaphorn gets into trouble.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Graphic Novels? What's that?

I first tried reading graphic novels a few years ago when the publishing world exploded with them. I have run across some boring or poorly written stories but have read some excellent ones too. Graphic novels (GNs) should not be confused with regular comic books even though GNs have the same format as comics: drawings with text inserted for dialogue, narration, and sound effects. Many GNs are stand alone stories aimed at adult readers and deal with adult themes. Other GNs are aimed at teen readers and focus on teen relationships and concerns. Some graphic novels are a collaborative effort: a single writer working with one, or more, artists.

This is not all to say that you won't see GNs referred to as comic books and their writers as cartoonists. Here are some of the graphic novels we have here at Lake Mills. Many others are available from other libraries through our library catalog.

Tricked by Alex Robinson, 2005. Tricked was very well reviewd when released in '05. Six different characters lives weave around one another until they meet at the novel's violent climax.

Paul Has a Summer Job and Paul Moves Out by Michael Rabagliati, '03 and '05. Semi-autobiographical stories by Montreal cartoonist Rabagliati. Summer Job has an unprepared, 18 year old Paul taking a camp counselor job in the Quebec woods. Moves Out has Paul leaving home to attend art school in Montreal and meeting and moving in with a girlfriend. The reviewer in Booklist wrote, "Rabagliati's skillful, sympathetic treatment makes life's small moments seem big, well conveying the excitement of discovering the wider world and apprehension over impending adulthood."

War's End: Profiles from Bosnia 1995-96 by Joe Sacco, 2005. Sacco's work are journalistic profiles of people and places. Sacco has traveled to the Balkans and Palestine, interviewed the residents, observed events and written/illustrated books afterwards. I read Sacco's Safe Area Gorazde a couple years ago and was highly impressed. War's End is two stories: one of a Bosnian veteran of the siege of Sarajevo and two, Sacco's story of traveling across Bosnia during a 1996 ceasefire to try and get a quote from Serbian leader Radovan Karadzic. Sacco has a neat illustrative style mixing cartoonish caricatures with realistic background and buildings.

Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes, 2005. A collection of characters, and stories, centered around the kidnapping of goofy kid David Goldberg. Clowes is one the most widely known graphic novelist after two of his books Ghost World and Art School Confidential were made into movies.

Hellboy series, including Right Hand of Doom, Conqueror Worm, and Hellboy Junior by Mike Mignola. Hellboy came out of Hell as a child and was taken in by the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense who he works for as an agent fighting evil and demons. The series is both action oriented and comedic. The Hellboy series comedy involves Hellboy's past and the weirdness of a gruff mannered demon working for good.

Astro City: Confession and Astro City: Local Heroes by Kurt Busiek and others. These are compilations of storylines originally serialized as regular comic books. There are several entries in the Astro City series with interesting twists on the superhero storyline. Astro City is the home of multiple superheroes who regulary are fighting supervillains, regular criminals, and attacks from outer space. The heroes written as those they are real people with daily troubles of everyone else. A lot of effort and talent is spent in making Astro City seem like a real place. I have really enjoyed these stories.