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The Graphic Treatment: Non-Fiction Graphic Novels for You to Check Out

15 Feb

One thing that I’ve really enjoyed since becoming a fan of sequential art books (aka graphic novels; aka comics) is the discovery of non-fiction stories told in comic form. Just as with typical non-fiction books, there are non-fiction graphic novels on every topic imaginable.  From the history of beer (The Comic Book Story of Beer: The World’s Favorite Beverage from 7000 BC to Today’s Craft Brewing Revolution by Jonathan Hennessey) to the American Civil War (Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War by Ari Kelman) no topic is too big or small for the graphic treatment.

El Deafo by Cece Bell

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The first non-fiction graphic novel I recall reading and enjoying was Cece Bell’s El Deafo. This book is for children but I think anyone would enjoy it. Bell recalls what it was like growing up hearing impaired. She imagines herself as a superhero who, with the help of her hearing aids, can hear people speaking in other rooms. But it can be lonely being different and Cece’s story will resonate with many.

For more graphic biographies try:

The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded by Jim Ottaviani

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Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir by Stan Lee

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Michael Jordan: Bull on Parade by Wilfred Santiago

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Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

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Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman (a classic!)

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The March series (Book One, Book Two, Book Three) has won numerous awards since its debut including the 2016 National Book Award.  It depicts Congressman John Lewis’ first-hand account of the Civil Rights Movement. Although I’ve read several books on the subject, this series helped me to truly understand how astonishing the movement was.

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Although it’s short, and cannot possibly cover everything about Hurricane Katrina, Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans by Don Brown still revealed some facts that I did not know, or that I had forgotten about the devastating event. The brief, stark narration and dialog convey the confusion, anger, and sadness in the storm’s aftermath.

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But maybe you’re looking for something a little more fun? Check out Human Body Theater: A Non-Fiction Review by Maris Wicks. Described as “The all-singing, all dancing anatomy extravaganza”, this book presents scientific information about human anatomy with easy to understand and humorous illustrations and dialog.

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The library also has books on The Gettysburg Address: A Graphic Adaptation and The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation, both by Jonathan Hennessey, and Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation by Michael Kelly.

And if none of these topics interests you, but you’d like to read something else in graphic novel format you can drop by the library to browse our non-fiction graphic novel section to see everything that we have!

-Written by Kim Iacucci, Young Adult Librarian

HPL Staff: 2016 Favorites

30 Dec

Another year has come to an end. Some staffers at the Hoboken Public Library share something they loved in 2016. Make sure to visit our blog to find out what we’re reading / watching / listening to in the next year.

Cheers to a wonderful 2017!

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Image credit

 

Heidi Schwab, Emerging Technology Librarian and Program Coordinator

This holiday season I have really enjoyed the comedy program based on the Blair Tindell memoir Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs & Classical Music. This Amazon original series takes place in the world of classical music and the audience gets to experience what it is like to be part of a first-class orchestra. The music transforms you but the characters are totally down to Earth. Season 3 takes place in Venice, where we peek inside beautiful villas and amazing concert halls.  It stars Lola Kirke as a young, hungry oboist and Gael Garcia Bernal as the brilliant, exotic new maestro. Many episodes have guest appearances from real world classical music stars like Joshua Bell! 

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Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

I’ve been reading Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series since the beginning with Kitty and the Midnight Hour about a radio DJ that is a werewolf.  You may remember I mentioned it in a blog post about Halloween worthy urban fantasy awhile back. It was therefore with mixed emotions that I read the last title in the series, Kitty Saves the World.  Though I will miss Kitty’s adventures, this was an enjoyable, suspense-filled story and a fitting end to Kitty’s adventures.  Many favorite and beloved characters from previous novels return.  This is a novel that definitely pays off for fans who have stuck by Kitty as she has gone through her many adventures and finally get to find out what the vampire’s mysterious long game was all about. Marguerite Gavin, who performs the audiobook for this and others in the series, does an excellent job and her voice matched the one I’d always imagined in my mind (you can borrow if from Hoopla).  My grandmother will always read the ending of books first since if she doesn’t think the work has a good ending she won’t bother wasting time on it.  Having seen how the Kitty series ends, I can promise that the journey through the books in the series is worth your time.  Check them out from the beginning from BCCLS libraries in print or from Hoopla as audiobooks.

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Kim Iacucci, Young Adult Librarian

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates won the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Written as a letter to his teenage son, Coates discusses his experiences and thoughts about living as an African-American male in modern America. Reading is often talked about as a way to walk in another’s shoes and to discover different perspectives on the world. This book did exactly that for me.

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Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

Yes, Justin Bieber’s album Purpose (on Hoopla and CD) was released in late 2015 but try and tell me you didn’t hear Mr. Bieber on pop radio every single day in 2016! 🙂 I guiltily purchased this album on vinyl because “Sorry” is such a catchy tune. When I confessed this purchase to a vinyl-loving friend and fellow lady over 30, she admitted she bought it too. At that moment I felt less alone in the world. #LadiesOver30forBieber

Back to “Sorry”, my favorite track. My eldest niece made her bat mitzvah this past summer, and I made it my mission to learn the choreography to the song and bust the moves on the dance floor at the party. With the help of a hip-hop dance class in Jersey City and repeat viewings of the YouTube video I (mostly) succeeded. It was one of the highlights of my year. The party DJs, my family, and other guests were super impressed with me. However, my niece did not share those sentiments and said I was “weird.” But it’s difficult to win over a 13 year old who is in general mortified by your very existence. One day, when she gets older, she will appreciate that her aunt can recreate pop dance choreo.

 

 

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