Tag Archives: hoboken public library

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

Broadway at the Hoboken Public Library, Part 2: Waitress, The Great Comet, and Hello, Dolly!

11 Feb

It’s been awhile since I wrote about my adventures on the Great White Way! (Click here, here, and here for my past posts about Broadway.) I haven’t been to the theater as much as I would like lately (life has been busy, and the Hamilton tickets I bought last year cost beaucoup bucks and wiped out my theater budget) but these are the shows I have seen recently.

Waitress

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“Sugar, butter, flour” are the simple opening lines of this show as well as the basis of many pie recipes. This musical is based on the movie of the same name, written by Adrienne Shelly, about a waitress named Jenna with a talent for baking pies who finds herself pregnant by her deadbeat husband and longs to escape. The musical stays pretty true to the movie, but definitely stands on its own.

The show was created by a team of women, including Sara Bareilles, who wrote the music and lyrics for this show. She released an album (CD and Freegal) performing some of the show’s tunes herself. My favorite tracks from the Original Broadway Cast Recording (on CD and Hoopla) include “Bad Idea,” “I Didn’t Plan It,” and “You Matter to Me.” Ogie has to be the most memorable romantic hero on all of Broadway, who declares his love via a song called “I Love You Like a Table.”

The scent of fresh baked pie wafts through the theater, which will make you hungry. (Don’t worry, the concessions stands sell warm slices of pie for an intermission snack!) What will stick with you long after the show is over is the strong bond between the three female leads, Jenna, Becky, and Dawn. You may also remember a romantic scene that includes some epic Revolutionary War era cosplay.

The Great Comet

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The complete title of this show is Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. Certainly a mouthful to say, and a lot to type. I had no idea what this show was about going in, except that Josh Groban stars as Pierre, and I was pleasantly surprised by The Great Comet.

This is the sort of show that winks at the audience–the fourth wall is gone. The action takes place all around the theater, with the actors making use of the all the space and engaging with the audience. It was fun to anticipate where the actors will appear next, perhaps near you. If you’re lucky, the actors, along their travels, will give you a little box that contains a pierogi for a mid-show nosh. I didn’t get one, but that lady sitting next to me did.

You can hear the soundtrack on Hoopla, and borrow the CD. “Letters”, a song about email’s predecessor, includes the knowing lyric “In nineteenth century Russia, we write letters / we put down on paper what is happening in our minds.” Another standout track is “Charming.” I also recommend any track featuring Brittain Ashford, who plays Sonya. Her voice is delicate but full of emotion, particularly on “Sonya Alone.”

Hello, Dolly!

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Ok, I haven’t seen this show yet. It isn’t due to officially open on Broadway until Thursday April 20, 2017. But I am planning to see this revival, which will feature Bette Midler as Dolly Gallagher Levi and David Hyde Pierce as Horace Vandergelder. I can’t wait to see this show and these talented actors in the iconic roles.

To me, Hello, Dolly! Is one of the most classic Broadway musicals. Barbra Streisand starred in the 1969 film adaptation, but Carol Channing who originated the role on Broadway in 1964 is the best known Dolly. I love so many songs from this show. “Dancing” makes you feel as though you’re spinning with the actors. “Before the Parade Passes By” is wistful. “Elegance” is fun and upbeat. Of course, “Hello, Dolly!” is a showstopper. But my favorite has always been “It Only Takes a Moment,” which is sung in a courthouse of all places. What can I say, I’m a romantic.

Hoopla has several versions of the Hello, Dolly! soundtrack to stream. Borrow the Original Broadway Cast Recording on CD to hear “So Long Dearie”, which features one of the sickest burns to come from Broadway, when Channing as Dolly sneers to Horace Vandergelder, “snuggle up to your cash register”. Shall we adapt that one to the twenty first century, changing “cash register” to “iPhone”? Thoughts?

-Written by Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

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