Monday, March 14, 2016

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 3/12

{self-indulgent blathering deleted}

This week, I have one book that arrived by surprise in the mail -- just as I was thinking I should see if the library had it, or maybe even pay money for it. (That's the most wonderful moment for a blogger -- getting something you really wanted unexpectedly.) I also have three books I paid for, which I'll throw in here, because what the hell. So all four of these are books I want to read and am happy to see; I hope some of you will say the same.

The book sent to me by an actual publicist was the new graphic novel by Faith Erin Hicks, The Nameless City. Hicks has done a lot of books over the past decade or so, mostly with fantasy tropes, from Zombies Calling to The War at Ellsmere, and has also worked with other writers, as with Prudence Shen on Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong. I've always liked her stuff, but the last big book I saw of hers -- the eventually Eisner-winning The Adventures of Superhero Girl -- was even better and truer than her previous work, a real gem of a webcomic turned into a great book. So I'm happy to see new work from her: this is the story of two teens in a mysterious often-conquered city somewhere unspecified but vaguely Chinese. Apparently, they're going to save that city, because that's what happens in YA fiction, but I have faith (little pun there) that Hicks can tell that story without lapsing into cliche. This is a trade paperback from First Second, coming in April.

And then for the books I paid for myself, while getting presents from that hegemonic internet store for my older son's (gulp!) eighteenth birthday later this week. The first two are books I've tried to buy from my usual comic shop several times, but they've been repeatedly "coming soon" even when they had been published for months. I'm willing to support small businesses, but there are limits.

Guy Delisle seems to find a groove and do several books in it -- he had a bunch of travelogues (for example, Jerusalem and Shenzhen), and two odd wordless books of stories about men and women (Albert and the Others and Aline and the Others), and now he's on his third book of amusingly badly parenting advice -- the first one was A User's Guide to Neglectful Parenting. All of those various things have been interesting and thoughtful, and Delisle's animation-influenced line is a joy to read as well. So I'm back for this one. (Which, I realize, I should actually name -- it's The Owner's Manual to Terrible Parenting.)

Rick Geary is a busy cartoonist; besides the book he Kickstarted last year and his regular yearly graphic novel about some old interesting murder, he also brought out a quirkier book last year: Louise Brooks, Detective. It's a made-up story -- we in the biz call that "fiction" -- about the once-popular movie actress returning to her childhood home in Wichita (a place Geary also has a long history with) to solve a murder.

And then there's Giant Days, Vol. 1, the third story of that name by John Allison, who is so good that we'll forgive him for confusing us. This iteration is, I think, not connected with his solo webcomics and the fictional town of Tackleford, though I suppose it could be tucked away in another bit of the same universe. Giant Days is an ongoing floppy comic book, and it's drawn by Lissa Treiman, whose work I haven't seen before. Like a lot of Allison's work, it focuses on a group of young women -- in this case, three first-year students at what I assume is a British university.

That's the pile of books I had next to me -- what's up with you folks?

1 comment:

strugglingwriter said...

I'm excited to read Nameless City. And I'm a big fan of Giant Days. I get the single issues when they come out.

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