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    Book Club in a Bag

    The Light and the Heavy… of Comics

    by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

    Think a comic doesn’t have the weight to deal with some heavy issues? Carry the idea that comics are just for boys and never deal with relationships? In fact it can be a light way to highlight and inform you without weighing you down and turning you off. They might even make you laugh… and cry and want to throw the book across the room. (We here at the library do NOT advocate this action, just saying).

    Try these on for size:

    Fat Free by Jude Miller & Illustrated by Mary Wilshire – “The Amazing All True Adventures of Supersize Woman! “ Memoir of one woman’s journey to self-esteem and fat acceptance and fitness. This book probes cultural questions and doesn’t hide truths or contradictions nor promote the fat phobia that is so pervasive in our culture. For instance, the story shows how we can often help others when we still need help ourselves and that often we can change our mind and redefine what recovery and health are as we go along.

    Yakuza Moon by Shoko Tendo (adapted Sean Michael Wilson by illustrated by Michiru Morikawa). The true memoirs of a gangster's daughter illustrates how significant rites of passage, such as getting a full body tattoo, can empower us to make life altering positive changes in our lives. As well as being a gripping fast-paced read this story shows human strength of spirit and honesty. Shoko says that “Getting tattooed, from the base of her neck to the tips of her toes, with a design centered on a geisha with a dagger in her mouth, was an act that empowered her to start making changes in her life. She quit her job as a hostess. On her last day at the bar she looked up at the full moon, a sight she never forgot. The moon became a symbol of her struggle to become whole, and the title of the book is an epitaph for herself and her family.” Tendo has also written a full length memoir continuing the story of her recovery on to include the birth of her daughter.

    Dragonslippers (This is What an Abusive Relationship Looks Like) by Rosalind Penfold. This graphic novel is actually pretty accurate in depicting how twisted emotional manipulation can be. No surprise since it’s actually Penfold’s memoir and based on her real life. If you’ve ever wondered or had a friend in this situation I would highly recommend this book but it DOES come with a trigger warning. On the plus side it also shows how Penfold managed to leave and recover.

    And on the lighter but no less relevant side:

    The Cute Girl Network by Greg Means/MK Reed and illustrated by Joe Flood. A fun book about 20-somethings, dating and following your own impressions of people rather than stereotypes, gossip and peer pressure.

    My Most Secret Desire by Julie Doucet. Julie is the queen hipster girl from Montreal who originally got me into comic books… way back in art school, perhaps actually because she writes about being in art school. Dark and funny, this lady pulls no punches in detailing her life as a punk growing up in Montreal through art school and various boyfriends. I briefly forgot that Doucet first converted me to comics years ago with HER tales of adventures and misadventures. It’s been an on again off again relationship. ;)

    Edmund and Rosemary Go To Hell by Bruce Eric Kaplan. Last but not least this comic is a fun, uplifting, simple fast read. It is satirical take on modern living, our search for meaning and a journey into appreciating the good things we have in life.

    For more great comic books check out my previous posts Great graphix: Not Your run of the Mill cominc Books and Words in Beige.

    Little Mosque on the Prairie

    by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

     

    I grew up being just a wee bit overly fond of Little House on the Prairie. I couldn't help it I think. I was given a copy of Little House in the Big Woods as my first chapter book for Christmas when I was six. A lifelong love of both reading and drawing (yes Garth Williams did great drawings!!) was born. Heritage Park was my favourite haunt. I even used to wear calico dresses and aprons to school… given the chance. Sooo when Little Mosque on the Prairie came out I was quite intrigued. Apparently I was not the only one, as the CBC miniseries by the same name is quite popular. And yes, the library has all 6 episodes on DVD.

    Join us on Wednesday November 12th at 7:30pm to meet the creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie, Zarqa Nawaz for an evening of storytelling and humour, as she shares her new book Laughing All the Way to the Mosque. Register Here. Zarqa is apparently quite charming and entertaining in person. Get a glimpse of her book here and check out Mario Toneguzzi's article on her in the Calgary Herald on November 8th. Zarqa's latest offerings are more comic departures than her earlier more somber NFB documentary Me and the Mosque (which does contains some droll elements).

    With her book she hopes to dispel a lot of misconceptions prevalent in popular portrayals of Muslim women in the media. As the name implies Laughing All the Way to the Mosque is a hilarious picture of Muslim life in the suburbs. Nawaz details how she grew up in a household where according to her father, the Quran says it's okay to eat at McDonald's-but only if you order the McFish.

    Great Graphix: NOT Your Run of the Mill Comics

    by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

    Think that comic books are only for teenagers and picture books are only for kids? It might surprise you to see what actually ends up being published as Graphic Novels these days and the complex and mature content that ends up being published as… basically, picture books. Everything from the biology of our DNA to the Bible; from Math Romances to Book Spine Poetry can make it between these pages.

    Here are five subjects you might have never thought would be published as a comic book:

    The Stuff of Life : a Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA by Schultz, Mark

    Think you’ll never grasp the science behind DNA? Even the basics of genetics can sound utterly alien. So who better than an alien to explain it all? Enter Bloort 183, a scientist from an asexual alien race threatened by disease, who's been charged with researching the fundamentals of human DNA and evolution and laying it all out in clear, simple language so that even his slow-to-grasp-the-point leader can get it.

    Manga Shakespeare by Paul Duffield

    I have found these the fastest way to understand Shakespeare’s plays in a 20-40 minute sitting. Get the context complete with actual quotes from the plays – THEN read the texts and you're sailing. Plus they are illustrated in Manga--did I mention that? Start with Romeo and Juliet and then try The Tempest on for size. (It’s set in a sci-fi future!)

    Cancer Vixen by Marisa Acocella Marchetto

    Another great graphic novel form that has evolved is the Graphic Memoir, and this is a prime example. Heartbreaking and funny, it details how Marchetto set out and succeeded in “kicking cancer in the butt – in 4 inch killer heels, no less,” managing to keep her optimism, her high end restauranteur fiancé, fashion, humour, support from family and friends, wits AND get married on time in high style to boot.

    Book of Hours : a Wordless Novel Told in 99 Wood Engravings by George A. Walker

    Some events are best described wordlessly. George A. Walker certainly felt this when he chose to chronicle a day in the life of the events of 9/11 in Book of Hours. It’s hard to describe what these black and white illustrations impart but should take you approximately 9-11 minutes to flip through the book and get it.

    The Bible: a Japanese Manga Rendition, Translated by Glenn Anderson, edited by Marie Iida

    Whoever thought you could enjoy the bible Manga style? Well, you can.

     

    There are many other gems embedded in the Library's Art, Graphix and Children’s book collections.

    Stay tuned next week for five unexpected… picture books!

    JACKIE LESS KNOWN

    by Jasna Tosic - 0 Comment(s)

    "If you produce one book, you will have done something wonderful in your life."

    Jacqueline Kennedy

    Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (1929-1994) has been an icon for over fifty years. Many of us are familiar with images of the young, perfectly coiffed First Lady wearing stylish outfits, pearls and matching pillbox hats. We have seen her in evening gowns and long gloves; in candid shots playing with her children; and waving from the Presidential motorcade the day that her husband, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated and America’s Camelot era ended. We know that she was the mother of Caroline Kennedy and the late John F. Kennedy, Jr., and that she became known as “Jackie O.” after marrying wealthy Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.

    We know a lot about the first part of her life, but who was she when her identity was no longer tied to the men she married?

    She outlived her first husband by thirty years, and her second husband by twenty years. In 1975, widowed and wealthy, with her two children then in their teens, the 46-year old Jackie needed an identity of her own. Journalist Jimmy Breslin gave her this advice: “You should work as an editor. What do you think you’re going to do, attend openings for the rest of your life?”

    Despite her lack of experience, Jackie applied for a job as an editor with Viking Publishing and was hired. She later moved to Doubleday Publishing, and worked her way up to being their Senior Editor. She was enthusiastic about her clients, and their books. She even promoted a book about Marilyn Monroe, mistress of John F. Kennedy, and one about opera singer Maria Callas, a former lover of Aristotle Onassis. Books became her passion, and in the nineteen years she worked in the field, she edited almost one hundred titles.

    The Calgary Public Library has ordered a newly released title about this period in Jackie’s life:

    Jackie as Editor: The Literary Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Greg Lawrence

    Other titles which may interest you:

    What Jackie Taught Us: Lessons from the Remarkable Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Tina Santi Flaherty

    The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

    Farewell, Jackie: a Portrait of Her Final Days by Ed Klein

    Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: a Life by Donald Spoto

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