Fire!! The Zora Neale Hurston Story by Peter Bagge

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Originally published in: 2017

What it’s about: A graphic biography following the never dull life of Zora Neale Hurston.

What made me pick it up: I love reading graphic memoirs and biographies, so this was a must-read for me.

My favorite things: Bagge introduces the biography by explaining some of his choices and how he came to write it, which I appreciated. I also enjoyed delving into the extensive background information at the end that gives more insight into some the supporting cast of Hurston’s life. The biography itself was fast-paced and fun, hitting the highs and lows of her life with equal interest. It’s a fun way to learn about what of the great American writers of the 20th century.

Who it’s great for: Hurston fans looking to learn more about her adventurous life. Fans of graphic biographies and non-fiction.

Abby’s rating: three-and-a-half-shells


Want a copy? Find one at Amazon (affiliate link) or see if it’s available at a library near you.


Where Do I Sleep? by Jennifer Blomgren

Originally published in: 2002

What it’s about: A picture book about animals of the Pacific Northwest and where they spend their nights.

What made me pick it up: It had otters on the cover.

My favorite things: This has lovely illustrations and sweet rhymes that provide a catchy method for teaching kids a little bit about nature – mostly the names of baby animals.

Who it’s great for: Fans of otters puffins, moose, wolves or other creatures. Parents looking for a lyrical bedtime story.

Erica’s rating: four-shells


Pick up a copy at Amazon (affiliate link) or in your local library.


 

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

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Originally published in: 2012

What it’s about: A man escapes his nursing home on his 100th birthday and goes off on a new adventure.

What made me pick it up: It was suggested by Amazon when I was watching the film version of A Man Called Ove. Since I hadn’t read the book, I knew I should before watching the movie. I can’t seem to stay away from old men going on adventure novels, so this was right up my alley.

My favorite things: Allan Karlsson is a great character. Both hapless and lucky, he reminded me strongly of Forrest Gump. And speaking of adventures, he sure has had a lot of them – meeting world leaders, affecting key moments in history. I enjoyed tagging along on all of them, including those that took place in the present day. This jaunt was just a lot of fun.

Who it’s great for: Anyone who liked Arthur Pepper or Harold Fry. Those looking to go on an journey through history and around the world.

Erica’s rating: four-shells


Pick up a copy of this book at Amazon (affiliate link) or your local library.


 

Angel Catbird Vol. 1 by Margaret Atwood

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Originally published in: 2016

What it’s about: A new superhero is born when a genetic engineer, along with an owl and a cat, accidentally becomes his own next project.

What made me pick it up: A Margaret Atwood comic book sounded too good, and weird, to pass up.

My favorite things: Atwood has a strong interest in animal welfare, particularly that of cats and birds, and this comes out in the form of weird footnotes with stats about both. It’s odd but charming. The amusing cast of characters doesn’t fail to deliver and the overall effect is campy and fun. Like all good superheroes, Angel Catbird is plagued by a complicated inner struggle-mostly between his cat and bird instincts.

Who it’s great for: I loved this, but if you’re looking for a comic that takes itself seriously at all then Angel Catbird is not the superhero for you. Good for fans of campy older comics and cat lovers who want to read about their furry friends as heroes.

Abby’s rating: four-and-a-half-shells


Want a copy? Find one at Amazon (affiliate link) or see if it’s available at a library near you.


Slice Harvester by Colin Atrophy Hagendorf

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Originally published in: 2015

What it’s about: A chronically drunk punk in his late twenties goes on a quest to eat every pizza in Manhattan and blog about it. His love for New York deepens and he finds meaning for himself and reasons to sober up along the way.

What made me pick it up: Erica left this on my desk for me because I talk about eating pizza a lot.

My favorite things: Okay look, I didn’t grow up in New York so I don’t think that they have the greatest pizza on Earth, but at some points he almost had me convinced. Hagendorf strikes a good balance between backstory, pizza reviews, and the Harvesting experience. He’s self-deprecating but fun.

Who it’s great for: Fans of food memoirs. People with strong opinions about pizza. Greaseballs, dirtbags, true weirdos, and the people that love them.

Abby’s rating: three-and-a-half-shells


Want a copy? Find one at Amazon (affiliate link) or see if it’s available at a library near you.


Teacup by Rebecca Young

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Originally published in: 2016

What it’s about: A boy is set adrift on an ocean with only his backpack and his teacup of dirt from home.

What made me pick it up: It was on a list of books for children about refugees and the illustrations looked amazing.

My favorite things: I was not mistaken. These illustrations are, exactly as they are described in the cover blurb, stunning. The story of a boy adrift looking for a new land with only the things he can carry is very moving and simply told so that even young children will understand. It reminded me strongly of a children’s version of The Life of Pi, but this focused much more on hope.

Who it’s great for: Fans of beautiful illustration. Parents who want to talk about refugees with their children.

Erica’s rating: four-shells


Pick up a copy at Amazon (affiliate link) or are your local library.


 

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

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Originally published in: 2017

What it’s about: An 85-year-old woman walks around New York City on New Year’s Eve 1984 reminiscing about her 60 years there.

What made me pick it up: It got really good reviews. It had good cover art.

My favorite things: This book wonderfully balances the present Lillian’s experiences in 1980s NYC and Lillian from times gone by. I really liked the spirit of the character – an independent woman when that was still a difficult thing to be, who gets caught off guard by unexpected love, and then sidetracked completely by mental illness. She is feisty and strong and I appreciated her attitude and her indomitable will. You’ll want to be friends with Lillian Boxfish.

Who it’s great for: Fans of New York City. Anyone who has had a feisty grandmother whom they love. Readers looking for a strong female lead and a historical bent in their next novel.

Erica’s rating: four-shells


Pick up a copy at Amazon (affiliate link) or your local library.