Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Ghosts, a graphic novel I really like.

I'm not a huge fan of graphic novels for myself. They don't work well with my reading style which is fast, with the words on the page rushing and racing into my brain as fast as I can turn the page. Graphic novels take me a much longer time to read as I have to examine the pictures and extrapolate from them as well as the brief text the personalities of the characters, the settings, the story. When words slide into my head they construct those facets swiftly and effortlessly. With a graphic novel I have to take into account the artist's vision and its a bit harder to become completely immersed..

That said, I loved Ghost by Raina Telgemeier. It is a terrific story of growing up, sibling relationships, facing hard realities, and dealing with the dead all in a book with a middle grade entry level. Because I was at ALA last month, and because I scored an advance reading copy, I've found all the adults I know who know graphic novels are thrilled about it.  Even though middle grade kids are the intended audience, readers of all ages, teens and adults will also enjoy it.

There is nothing I don't like about this book. The family and the conflict are real. I loved I could glean they were eating our favorite dessert without the text stating it. The themes of serious illness, death, and the lasting bonds of love were skillfully and thoughtfully handled.

Definitely a book to put on your preorder list.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Why I Haven't Been Writing about Books

I'm currently serving on an award committee and can't even let folks know what I'm reading. It is a totally surreal experience because I live, breathe, and talk books. Anyway, not talking about books to my net friends is getting to me so I have figured out what to do. I can talk about picture books and older books. So a recent read I can mention is Pamala Nowak's novel Choices (Five Star, 2009), a wonderful western historical romance set at a fort in South Dakota in the 1870s. I really liked the historical information about the military and especially about military families. I always enjoy books I can connect to personally and the separation between the wives and children of enlisted men and officers really resonated. When we lived on Okinawa, my mother, a brilliant and cultured woman befriended the next door neighbor. They had a lot in common, children of the same ages, an interest in contemporary theater, appreciation for art, and a love of reading, in fact reading and enjoying the same books. The friendship was severed, not because of any antipathy on either of their parts but because it was considered totally inappropriate for the wife of an enlisted man and the wife of an office to socialize. Nowak spoke at the New Castle Library this evening and her research into the customs and mores of life on a military installation in the 1870s was in depth and meticulous. It is amazing to me that mores from the 1870s continued into the 1960s. I wonder if the contemporary military still has the sharp delineation between dependents of enlisted and officers.