Hoping to read more broadly in 2018? The library is hosting a version of Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge, and there’s plenty of time to hop on board! If you know me, you know I read tons of comics, so imagine my excitement to see that of 24 challenge tasks, three of them are comics-specific! Some of my favorites are single-creator, meaning the writing and illustrations result from a single person rather than from several collaborators. This is the subject of task #4: Read a book written and illustrated by the same person. Here are a few recommendations. Continue reading “Single-Creator Comics: Read Harder 2018”
The art of British graffiti artist Bansky has always raised more questions than answers. This mystique is probably why the artist has been a popular topic for documentaries this past decade. Check out these documentaries about Banksy.
“Exit Through the Gift Shop” (2010)
This film tells the story of how an eccentric French documentary maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner with spectacular results. The film contains exclusive footage of Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Invader and many of the worlds most infamous graffiti artists at work. Continue reading “Being a Wallflower: Docs About Banksy”
Imagine an America in the throes of an economic depression while around the world nations react to similar circumstances by turning authoritarian — Nazis in Germany and Fascists in Italy. Could it also happen in the hallowed land of freedom, the United States of America? Pulitzer prize-winning author Sinclair Lewis saw such a threat in 1935 and described a chillingly plausible scenario in “It Can’t Happen Here.”
Lewis introduces us to the ridiculously named Berzelius Windrip (you can call him Buzz), a charismatic, plain-spoken politician who appeals to many of those hardest hit by the Depression by making grand promises and exploiting divisions in society. He becomes the Democratic nominee for president by defeating the incumbent Franklin Delano Roosevelt with the intent of upending the current way Washington operates. Continue reading “Know Your Dystopias: It Can’t Happen Here”
“Best Worst American” by Juan Martinez is another delightful and weird collection of short stories published by Small Beer Press. (If you haven’t read the previously recommended works by Kelly Link, I reiterate my recommendation to do so.) (Apologies to Mr. Martinez for immediately hijacking his recommendation to re-recommend another author.)
Proceeding, then, with the career boost this post inevitably provides and which Martinez indubitably deserves, “Best Worst American” will be appreciated by fans of McSweeney’s (where several of the pieces were originally published) and the sort of stand-up comedy performed by people with hip glasses. (Not the glasses you think are hip, the ones that actually are hip: I do not know which glasses these are; though, of course, the monocle will never go out of style.) Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Juan Martinez”
Okay, everyone. We’re back for the second installment of Quintessential Comics. This time we’re going to be taking a look at female-centric comics that, either through plot development or thematics, highlight women. If you have ever found yourself dissatisfied with the lack of female representation in comics, or at the mishandling of female characters, this list might be the remedy.
If you’re looking for a comic series with a comedic element, look no further: “Giant Days” is here to scratch that itch. A series that focuses on three young women rooming together in college, this one is sure to bring a smile to your face due to just how relatable and endearing these characters can be. This is a comic that doesn’t need to rely on grandiose thematics. Follow Esther, Susan and Daisy as they stumble through life just like the rest of us. Continue reading “Quintessential Comics: Top Five Female-Driven Series”
Editor’s note: This review was submitted by a library patron during the 2017 Adult Summer Reading program. We will continue to periodically share some of these reviews throughout the year.
“Queen Bee of Mimosa Branch” is about Lin, a Southern girl, who married her childhood sweet heart and beat it out of her home town with him as her husband to Atlanta. 30 years later, Lin tucked tail and returned to her little home town without him, after her husband’s antics of disloyalty and insane choices with their money gave her no other choice. Returning to a small town with no money or skills, other than having been a socialite, is compounded by strained relationships with every member of her family.
I liked it this book because I find it therapeutic to read books about women who have experienced life as I have. The characters of the book are friends for that short time it takes to read about them; there is encouragement and there are lessons. I particularly liked the wisdom of grandmas of the South.
Three words that describe this book: awakening, family, acceptance
You might want to pick this book up if: you like books about women for women, their friendships, their talents and that sort of thing.
The first national Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was observed in 1986, although at that time only 17 states had official King holidays. The intent of the holiday is to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King and remind ourselves of the ideals for which he fought. Observance of a holiday for decades risks becoming a rote exercise that misses the complexities of the person and the historical period. Fortunately, there is a continually growing body of work on Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement to keep us engaged with this part of American history and how it connects to our present.
One of King’s most iconic speeches, the “Mountaintop” speech in support of striking black sanitation workers, was given hours before his assassination in Memphis. The progress of King’s thinking on labor and economic justice issues are traced in “All Labor Has Dignity.” This collection of King’s speeches includes the “Mountaintop” speech, as well as other previously unpublished ones in which he advocated for jobs, unionization and other labor concerns. You can also listen to the speeches of the skilled orator in “Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Essential Box Set: The Landmark Speeches and Sermons of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” Continue reading “Literary Links: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement”
It’s January once again — time for reflection and setting new goals. It’s also time for book challenges! I almost always set a yearly goal of so many books but this year the Columbia Public Library is hosting a year-long program around reading through the 2018 Read Harder Challenge. How could I not participate in that? The very first task on the Read Harder Challenge is a book published posthumously, meaning that it must have been published after the author has died. I have a few that I have read and loved. Continue reading “Posthumously Published Books: Read Harder 2018”
Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.
“Fire at Sea”
Website / Reviews
An Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature, this film takes place in Lampedusa, a remote Mediterranean island that has become a major entry point for refugees into Europe. There, we meet Samuele, a 12-year-old boy who lives simply, climbing rocks by the shore and playing with his slingshot. Nearby, we bear witness as thousands of people risk their lives to make the brutal crossing from Africa. Continue reading “New DVD List: Fire at Sea, Twin Peaks & More”
Here is a quick look at the most noteworthy nonfiction titles being released this January. Visit our catalog for a more extensive list.
James Patterson is moving into true crime in a big way this year. He will release three true crime titles in January. Two of them, “Murder, Interrupted” and “Home Sweet Murder” will coincide with the first episodes of the television show “Murder Is Forever.” The third is “All American Murder,” the story of the professional football player Aaron Hernandez. A fourth is slated for release in February and it would not be surprising to see others announced for later in the year. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: January 2018”