Takoma Park Maryland Library · 101 Philadelphia Avenue · Takoma Park Maryland 20912 USA · 301.891.7259

April 29, 2009

New Graphic Novels

We have received a whopping large shipment of Graphic Novels for the adult section, carefully selected from various sources.

If a picture tells a thousand words, consider the creative density of a format combining both word and image. The Graphic Novel format is the fastest growing segment of the publishing world. This means there's an increasing wealth of well-written stories available to interested readers, the trick is to wade through them to find the best.

Here are a few of the more interesting titles (capsule reviews after the jump).

DMZ volumes 1 through 4.
by Brian Wood; Riccardo Burchiello & Jeromy Cox illustrators..
Manhattan as a war zone seen through the eyes of a journalist during a (near-future) American civil war.

IR$ volume 1 & 2.
by Stephen Desberg, illustrated by Bernard Vranken
Picture James Bond as a field agent for the IRS. In Volume 1 the US Treasury Agent operative tracks down the profits of Swiss bank accounts from pre World War two. And in volume 2 tries to collect taxes from a narcoterrorist empire. Naturally gunplay ensues, and beautiful women complicate matters. Translated from the French.

Cairo ,
by G. Willow Wilson, art by MK Perker.
Action/adventure modern fantasy. In Egypt, a good natured con artist steals a hookah that happens to contain a genie. Storyline intertwines romance, middle eastern politics with Arabian folk stories and magic realism.

Chicken with Plums
Marjane Satrapi's memoir of life growing up in Iran post-revolution introduced her to an american audience. Here she tells the story of her great uncle, a musician who resolves to die when his instrument is broken by his wife.

The Stuff of Life,
by Mark Schultz; Kevin & Zander Cannon illustrators.
A graphic guide to genetics and DNA. Brilliant non-fiction science, a humorous and instructive breakdown of the hows and whys of genetics, heredity, sex, as seen through the eyes of an alien scientist explaining the system to his somewhat slow-witted emperor.

Absolute Sandman volumes 2 and 3.
Neil Gaiman's moody meditation on the god of dreams. Beautiful large format compendium.

Disappearance Diary
Japanese manga artist Hideo Azuma found he couldn't handle the pressures of his life as a deadline cartoonist, and ran away from job and family, descending into alchoholism and homelessness. Here is his memoirs of two stints on the streets, and his time in a hospital in recovery. Snippets, images, vingettes written in a friendly cartoony style depicts the humor and absurdity of his situation, finding delight in small pleasures.

The Walking Dead omnibus volumes 1-3,
by Robert Kirkman.
A survival journal of the zombie apocalypse. Tense, taut and emotionally plausible, aside from all the zombies. These sorts of tales ask the question-- who would we become if modern civilization fell? A small convoy of survivors tries to build civilization on a small scale while surviving zombie attacks, heartbreak and worse. Gory, but well written.

Ordinary Victories vol 1 & 2.
by Manu Larcenet.
Marco has decided to quit therapy after 10-odd years of psycho analysis. No, his panic attacks have not disappeared, and he hasn't figured out anything in particular about his life or come to any conclusions, but perhaps that's the point. Sweet and thoughtful introspective study of a young man in a French town wrestling with job, life, love and aging parents. Charming art, moving story.

The Big Skinny: How I Changed My Fattitude; a memoir
by Carol Lay
An upbeat journal and 'how-to' comic of one woman's struggle with diet, exercise, and health.

Paul Goes Fishing,
by Michel Rabagliati.
More vignettes in the life of the titular character of previous graphic novels 'Paul Has a Summer Job' and 'Paul Moves Out'. Now grown up, married, and settled in life, Paul and his wife travel on summer vacation to upper Ontario. Whimsical illustration and thoughtful reflections on life, adulthood, and the possibility of making a baby.

Miss Don't Touch Me,
by Hubert.
The Paris of Josephine Baker in the pre-war 1930's, famous bordellos cater to the moneyed and powerful. But elsewhere in the city young women are found murdered by some unknown Jack-the Ripperesque serial killer. When her sister becomes the next victim, a young woman infiltrates a bordello to try to track down the killer. Despite the setting and her mission of justice, the earnest innocence of the young protagonist works to her advantage. Well-scripted murder mystery, rich colors, carefully detailed illustrations, evocative of the era and setting.

Dungeon Monstres Vol. 1 and Dungeon Zenith Vol 3.
Mssrs. Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim return to pen the escapades and exploits of the various monsters running the administration of a massive Dungeon. Hi-jinx and hilarity ensue as usual, but interestingly this far into the various series' the monsters have begun to develop richly developed character and deep humanity, each in their own way. And somehow the cartooony art gets better, richer, more detailed, more vivid, more fluid, and more fun.

Little Nothings Vol 1 & 2.
By Lewis Trondheim
One page journal outtakes from the life of France's greatest humor cartoonist. Quirky, slice of life, thoughts and musings. Occasionally quite pretty ink and watercolor art.

Criminal Vol 1, Coward,
by Ed Brubaker, Sean Philips art.
Ed Brubaker writes tense believable crime fiction. 'Criminal' is a series of stories told from the perspective of various (mostly small-time) hoods con artists and thugs. Not many happy endings, but gripping plots, compelling people.

Wet Moon, vol 1-3,
by Ross Campbell.
A small-town southern art college is populated by a pantheon of interestingly damaged punk rock and goth girls. Doesn't matter than nothing much happens, what matters more is what they think and feel about each other. Sensual, moody, characters have realistic curves, heft, quirks, and obsessions. The series seems like it might be going someplace, even if it may never quite get there. A slow-paced sorta swampier Love and Rockets. Black and white, but Campbell's inks are detailed enough that you can see the humidity.

The Scorpion V.1, The Devil's Mark
by Stephen Desberg ; illustrated by Enrico Marini.
Intrique and swashbuckling adventure in Vatican City. The Scorpion is a Zorro-esque rogue who robs from the rich and corrupt --and in Inquisition-era Rome the richest of the rich are the denizens of the Holy See (as perhaps are the most corrupt). From whence does his emnity for the Church arise? He tries to solve the mystery of his own birth while avoiding the assassins of the Vatican's political arm. Rooftop steeplechase acrobatics ensue. Lush colors, clean confident inkwork, with baroque, opulent, intricate backgrounds. Under Marini's brushwork Vatican City at night glows like a vast luminous undersea creature, pulsating with it's own light.

Really great stuff. Come take a look.

Posted by Dave at 11:47 AM

April 28, 2009

Spring Book Sale 09

Book sale on the library lawn.
10-3, May 16th.

Book donations accepted through the 8th. Call the library for details.
301.891.7259

Update: No more donations please. We have run out of room. Many thanks to all of you who have contributed books.

Posted by library at 02:44 PM

April 05, 2009

Obama

barack obamaMore than a building that houses books and data, the library represents a window to a larger world, the place where weíve always come to discover big ideas and profound concepts that help move the American story forward and the human story forward. Thatís the reason why, since ancient antiquity, whenever those who seek power would want to control the human spirit, they have gone after libraries and books. Whether itís the ransacking of the great library at Alexandria, controlling information during the Middle Ages, book burnings, or the imprisonment of writers in former communist block countries, the idea has been that if we can control the word, if we can control what people hear and what they read and what they comprehend, then we can control and imprison them, or at least imprison their minds.
Obama's 2005 speech to the American Library Association

Please read the full text of the speech.

picture source: Pundit Kitchen

footnote: Here are some bits from Obama's answers to an interview conducted just before his speech. (American Libraries; Aug2005, Vol. 36 Issue 7, p48-52, 5p - accessible full text via our Masterfile subscription)

Can you tell us more about the effect libraries have had on you? Here's another interesting fact: People always mention libraries in terms of just being sources for reading material or research. But I probably would not be in Chicago were it not for the Manhattan public library, because I was looking for an organizing job and was having great trouble finding a job as a community organizer in New York. The Mid-Manhattan library had these books of lists of organizations, and the librarian helped me find these lists of organizations, and I wrote to every organization. One of them wound up being an organization in Chicago that I got a job with.

Tell us something that you're not going to say in your speech. You know, I have a soft spot in my heart for librarians. Although I'll probably mention this in my speech, I have been known to misbehave in libraries.

What's your main message to librarians? That our prosperity as a nation is directly correlated to our literacy.

Posted by library at 07:04 PM