Favorite Graphic Novels and Comics (Top Ten Tuesday)

A genre I tend to read very little of is graphic novels/comics. I don’t know why, they have a lot of things that draw me to them but I end up archiving them on my ‘to-be-read’ shelves and rarely end up reading them.

However, the ones that I have read I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Moreover, this year of 2017 has revealed to be the one in which I read more books in these two genres, in part thanks to NetGalley and some publishers for sending me digital review copies.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted as per usual by The Broke and The Bookish, is dedicated to graphic novels and comics and I’m taking this chance to share which books I’ve read in the past and loved.

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1. Persepolis (volumes 1 & 2) by Marjane Satrapi

persepolisThis graphic novel is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir, following her as a young child growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution in 1979. It’s told from first-person through black and white illustrations. It shows the changes it had in her life — from being made to wear an hijab and, later, a burka to the repercussions the war between Iran and Iraq had in Tehran.

I loved both volumes of this memoir. It was heartbreaking to see some of her civil liberties (and other people’s as well) being striped away and hearing her opinion on it through the eyes of a pre-teen girl. As a reader we also get to experience the changes she goes through during puberty and her late teen years despite the civil unrest in the country. It was a fascinating book to read and I cannot recommend it more.

2. The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

best-we-could-doThis graphic novel memoir tells the story of the author’s childhood growing up as an immigrant in California after her parents fled South Vietnam as refugees during the 1970s to Malaysia. It also follows her parents’ back story in a divided and war-torn Vietnam, before and after it was split into North Vietnam and South Vietnam.

Thi Bui’s memoir took my breath away. Its portrayal of growing up as the daughter of a refugee couple is predominantly white America is heart-breaking and emotional. It deals with the sacrifices immigrants need to make in order to fit in the community they now belong to and, in Bui’s parents’ case, the ghosts and monsters of the past that keep haunting them. If you’re looking for the perspective of a first-generation Asian-American I recommend that you pick this book up immediately.

Also, the illustrations are gorgeous. They’re done in shades of red and blue and different story lines are colored in a specific way that ties the narrative to the illustrarions even more.

P.S.: A review of this graphic novel will be posted here in early March, upon its publication.

3. Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen

bmhlThis is a collection of comic vignettes created by the author, Sarah Andersen. It’s done in the same style as her previous work, Adulthood is a Myth, from the perspective of a young woman as she deals with anxiety, stress, a career, relationships and other everyday things that make up adulthood.

This was lovely. It was extremely relatable, I felt like Andersen must have broken into my home when I was having one of my lows due to anxiety and stress and sketched me just lying there, wrapped in blankets and duvets. It’s also very funny and the drawings are incredibly cute.

I have done a full review of the book in my blog, you can find it here.

 

4. Smile by Raina Telgemeier

smileSmile follows a young girl named Raina who one day, on her way home from a Girl Scouts meeting, trips over in her front lawn and breaks two of her front teeth. As she grows up, from an eleven-year old girl to a seventeen-year old teen, she has to face all the challenges puberty, middle school and high school entail and dental drama.

The illustrations are amazing, as well as the color palett. The story pulls you in and you can’t help but cheer for Raina as she navigates through her middle school and high school social and academic life.

I have done a full review of the book in my blog, you can find it here.

 

5. It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot

fineIn this compilation of Ruby Elliot’s drawings she takes the reader on a journey through the ups and downs of life, basing it off her personal experience. She approaches a lot of different topics relating them to her mental health, discussing anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and her identity. While the topics at hand tend to be depressing she manages to talk about (or rather, draw) them with a positive message lurking underneath.

I have done a full review of the book in my blog, you can find it here.

 

 

6. Jane Eyre adapted by Stacy King, SunNeko Lee and Crystal S. Chan (*)

jane-eyreThis manga adaptation of the popular and beloved classic Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is fantastic. This was the first manga I’ve ever read and I’ve got to say that these ladies did a phenomenal job adapting the story. I loved what they did with the character of Jane Eyre — they kept her persona, independent and strong-willed, exactly as Bronte did in her novel.

The illustrations were beautiful and very detailed, every hair on the female character’s head was given special attention as if it were a selling point by itself. The division into ten chapters also worked perfectly, the authors ended a chapter on a cliffhanger, which gave me the encouragement to keep reading.

I thoroughly recommend it if you like the original classic version or if you want to one day read it but you’re too scared to start.

(*) Note: I was sent a digital copy of this title by UDON Entertainment through NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion. All views expressed are my own.

7. Stormy Seas by Mary Beth Leatherdale & Eleanor Shakespear

stormy-seasThis very short illustrated children’s book tells the story of five young people, either children or young teenagers, who have risked their lives to flee from war or political oppression in their countries. They are the so-called “boat refugees” and in times like these their voices carry the most weight and should be heard by everyone.

I will be doing a review on this one so stay tuned for that! I can, however, say that this might be one of the best books I’ve read on the topic. It approaches such heartbreaking topics in a very light, but respectful tone, that is suitable to both children and adults.


And this is my list! Do you like reading comics or graphic novels? What are your favorites?

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