Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Best of 2015: Comics

Welcome to Day Two of My Best of 2015 Reading Round up! As always, my Best of the Year lists cover what I read in 2015, which includes books published in any year. Today, I'm sharing my favorite comics. Yesterday, I shared Hawthorne's favorite board books. (Want to look at past year's lists. They're all linked here.)

5. Last Night's Reading by Kate Gavino

Artist Kate Gavino lives in New York City and goes to a lot of book readings, festivals, and author events. While there, she draws the author and adds a memorable quote from the event. Because I live in Des Moines, not New York City, this book also made be incredibly envious of anyone with the ability to go to a literary event EVERY NIGHT. I adore this book, which is filled with such bits of wisdom and whispers of a memoir. This book is one to keep on your shelf, seek inspiration about new authors to read, give as a gift, and generally make yourself wish you lived in New York City.

Rating: 4.5 out og 5

4. Snowden by Ted Rall

Snowden is a graphic biography of Edward Snowden. Rall traces his life from birth to both understand why he chose to become a whistle blower and to shed light on what our government knows about us and how. Snowden is both informative and thought provoking. It offers keen insights into Snowden, both personally and professionally. It's also raises powerful ideas about what government should look like. This book will entertain you and make you think, which is a perfect combination.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

3. Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel by Anya Ulinich

Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel is a graphic novel that feel like a memoir. Finkle is a richly drawn, beautifully flawed and raw character. Ulinich's art is stunning, but it's her writing that sets this graphic novel apart. I found myself lingering over sentences frequently as I read. Ulinich plays with the format of the page and size of drawings in really interesting ways. Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel made me laugh and made me think.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

2. Displacement by Lucy Knisley

I've read and enjoyed all of Knisley's graphic memoirs, and she's my favorite graphic writer, but Displacement is her most ambitious memoir yet. It's part travelogue, which is familiar, but Knisley layers depth about her cruise vacation with her grandparents by interspersing her grandfather's war journal in the narrative. The interplay of her grandfather's journals with his present self is a sobering portrait of aging. Knisley's reflections are particularly poignant in this memoir, and I loved her combination of whimsy and wisdom.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

1. Here by Richard McGuire

The first comic I read in 2015 remained my favorite all year long. I keep thinking about this graphic novel and recommending it to others. Spanning hundreds of thousands of years, Here is the non-linear story of one piece of land (and its inhabitants) over time. I've always been fascinated by the ways in which places shape us and how places and people change over time. Since having Hawthorne, I'm perhaps even more interested in these themes, so Here offers the perfect entry point for those themes, but it takes them so far into the past and future, I'm still haunted (in the best way.) Here manages to be a riveting page turner, a thoughtful exploration of time and place, a meditation on the roles and lives of humans, and a beautiful piece of art. It's astonishingly good.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Thanks for tuning in to read about comics. Best of 2015 continues tomorrow with Mysteries, followed by nonfiction on Thursday and fiction on Friday.

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  1. I'm so happy to see Displacement on your list! I loved it so much.

    1. Have you read Something New yet? It's not out until May, I think, but it's my favorite Knisley yet. Will definitely make my Best of 2016!


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