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« May, 2019 »
Andre the Giant: Life and Legend

Box Brown’s style is sort of not my thing. I was concerned, when I read the Tetris book that he did, that maybe it was just a dull story but he also took Andre the Giant’s life and flattened it in a way that i think would really resonate for some people but didn’t quite work for me.

Your Black Friend and Other Strangers

More of this! Jim brought this from home because he thought I’d like it. The opening essay int his short graphic novel is all about why people should become anarchist. Which is, honestly, not a lesson I needed but I’m always interested in what brings OTHER people into deciding that. Passmore explores how various social identities (chosen and not chosen) can intersect or overlap. In particular looking at how progressive white people do and do not handle their shit with regards to race. His opening title story is the most “accessible” but there’s a lot of other weird and great stuff in here, some of it a lot more abstract. It’s rare that i find something that falls into the weird comix genre that I feel I can relate to or that seems meaningful but this was one of those.

Moon of the Crusted Snow

I think I had stayed away from this book when I first saw it because the pickup truck in the snow on the cover reminded me of some spooky movie I hadn’t wanted to watch. I am sorry I stayed away from this book, it was great. A maybe-post-apocalyptic tale of a First Nations band and their reservation settlement, trying to come to grips with what might be happening the rest of the world. There’s some old ways/new ways clashing and it’s interesting watching how different characters try to work things out. It has a gentleness to it, despite the subject matter and I will try to track down Rice’s other story collection.


I think I am all done with this series published so far and I have enjoyed them all quite a lot. Sort of “gentle” graphic novels about middle school and all the new stuff that you deal with when you are a kid. This one is about a character who is awkward and tries to do the right thing. Ultimately works out.

Tiamat’s Wrath

Another series I am caught up in. There is one more book coming but maybe not until 2020. I was so happy to see this gang of misfits wind up (mostly) back together again at the end of this, it made this book a little more satisfying than the others, even though there is, as always, a lot of loss and sorrow and “WTF is going to happen NOW?” feeling about it. Looking forward to seeing how, or if, it wraps up.


Captivating story of shore dwellers in medieval Japan who rely on the surplus from shipwrecks to keep from starving to death. It’s so gritty, everything matters so much, from learning to fish to how the weather is that year. The villagers are alternately incredibly hard working and also superstitious. As you get drawn more into the story you realize that things are even a little grimmer than you even thought. And it’s all told through the eyes of a 9-11 year old boy. A tough tale but a great story.


Was surprised that this book was only a year old because the copy at our library is SO WORN but I think that just points to what a great book it is. This one is in the series along with Brave (which I also enjoyed) and is about the quiet jock type kid, Jorge, having a crush on Jasmine, the drama kid who is a good friend of his good friend. It’s nice to read books about awkward adolescence where the central characters have a strong bond and it’s not all backstabbing and where the system actually WORKS. I know it’s not true for everyone and some may not like this for that specific reason, but it reads true in a lot of ways and, like Chmakova’s other book, the illustrations are really terrific and just add to the story.

Hey, Kiddo

Krosoczka was raised by his grandparents because his mom was a heroin addict. This graphic novel talks about what that was like all the way from when he was a baby, through his adolescence and into his teenaged years. Spoiler alert: he turns out okay but it was difficult and part of the issue was just how much he didn’t know and how it was sort of hard to find out. This book poked me in a lot of the feels because I had a parents with a problem (different than Krosoczka) and I could relate to some of the same weirdnesses that he relates to. Also he’s about my age, a little younger, and grew up in the same slices of Massachusetts that I did so there were a lot of familiar places.

Ruined by Design: How Designers Destroyed the World, and What We Can Do to Fix It

This book is fierce. It starts off explaining what is wrong with the way a lot of the web, particularly the social web, is designed nowadays and winds up arguing for more regulation (or professional standards) for the design industry. I always enjoy people who are good at taking apart just WHY something is bad, especially if they do it with love and/or caring which indicates that they’re not just cranky oldsters. Monteiro has been a voice in the online community of designers since... ever? And he’s mad. Which is not new, but him channeling that anger into explaining to newer designers exactly how their moral compass should operate is a new angle from my perspective. Shove this into the hands of any UX person you know. It’s so good.

Persepolis Rising

First book in this series where I am like “Wow this is really going to wrap up, isn’t it?” Our heroes are older, creaky and having some attitude issues that come along with those things. And a dictator is coming to power... maybe. There’s a lot going on and for the first time our folks don’t all wind up in the same place. If you like the first six books, you will also like this one.

Babylon’s Ashes

I was pleased with my capsule Twitter review of this one: Am detecting loose theme. Stage setting, team building, new backstory to a central character, oops, something got fucked, let’s call in reluctant James Holden, wow it’s even more fucked than we thought, how will they make it out, they made it, denouement. In short this book has a little less of a “Everyone is nearly dead” ending and more of a “there is a terrible threat they need to neutralize” aspect. In any case, one of the ones I liked the most. Complicated family stuff going on.

Dare to Sketch: A Guide to Drawing on the Go

This is a book about sketching that also has a lot of sketches in it. I appreciated a lot of tips by Scheinberger on how to do this sort of thing right, or well, or the way you want. I am not a sketcher but it’s always been one of those topics where I think I MIGHT and this book makes it seem more likely that I could.