Libraries get new graphic novels for adults

Posted: Friday, December 07, 2007

Here are a few of our new graphic novels for adult readers - but track down a complete list of titles by going to the library catalog and using the advanced search option to select "graphic novel" in the format field. (You can also use this technique to find graphic novels for kids, just put "juvenile graphic novel" in the format field.)

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"The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam," by Ann Marie Fleming. The greatest act in vaudeville is a name hardly known today: Long Tack Sam. This illustrated biography about the author's great-grandfather tells the story of a Chinese boy who left home and traveled the world as an acrobat, magician, ambassador and impresario for nearly 70 years. His career was affected by two world wars, changes in audiences' tastes for entertainment and the immigration laws of the United States and Canada. Fleming pieces together the many versions of his story into a vibrant whole. Her mix of photos, fine art, cartoons, stick drawings and succinct text turn Long Tack Sam's amazing life into a fascinating read.

"Wire Mothers," by Jim Ottaviani and Dylan Meconis. Harry Harlow was the psychologist who brought the word "love" into the vocabulary of science with his experiments on rhesus monkeys. In stark black and white images, this book explores Harlow's scientific life and discoveries, while in the background, Harlow's personal life plays itself out as well. He used the word "love" to define the feeling of security that young animals gain from their mothers which allows them to venture out on their own, learning and adapting to new situations. The scientific community rebelled at such an unscientific term, but had to admit that the experiments with wire and cloth monkey mothers did indeed show that something vital was missing from the monkeys who grew up with only wire mothers. Eventually, Harlow's theories became mainstream and changed the advice new human parents were given. Well-illustrated and cohesive, this is a great introduction to the life of a scientist and the science he loved.

"Exit Wounds," by Rutu Modan. Koby Franco's estranged father has been killed in a suicide bomb attack in Hadera - or has he? Contacted by Gabriel's young lover, Numi, Koby begins to unravel his father's life, but everywhere he turns he finds more puzzles. Stymied in his attempt to use a DNA test to match his father's name to an unidentified corpse, Koby begins tracing Gabriel's steps backwards and discovers that his father may well still be alive, albeit even more removed from his family's life than ever before. Modan has been lauded as one of Israel's finest cartoonists and this, her first graphic novel, has been acclaimed for both its illustrations and for its depiction of modern Israeli life.

"Silverfish," by David Lapham. When Mia's father and new stepmother go off for a ski weekend, Mia and her best friend Vonnie start investigating Suzanne. Mia wants to know if Suzanne is a golddigger, but what she discovers is so much worse. In stealing Suzanne's address book to try to find out who she really is, the girls accidently put a psychotic killer on their track. The excellent black and white illustrations allow the full horror of the girls' situation to blur, but the tension doesn't let up till the satisfying resolution in this thriller.

"The Clarence Principle," written by Fehed Said, illustrated by Shari Chankhamma. When Clarence wakes up in the bathtub, he's surprised to find the water is pink. He's a little confused, but finds a message written in the mirror's condensation "Find me." Off he goes through a convenient door into the land of death? Whoever he's looking for leaves him clothes and clues, and he travels on, mending a heart here and losing an arm there. Atmospheric manga-inspired art drives the story of a young man searching for meaning in his new world.

First Fridays Literary Series will be at 7 tonight at the downtown library. Bring your poems, stories or art to share in an informal community atmosphere. Readings should be five minutes or less. For more information, contact Amelia at 586-5303.

The latest in the World of Film Series, "Standing in the Shadows of Motown," will be at 7 p.m. Saturday at the downtown library. Bring soul food to share at 7 p.m., or come at 7:30 p.m., when the film rolls.

For more information about any Juneau Public Libraries programs, or to place a hold on any material, visit www.juneau.org/library or call 586-5249.



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