This month’s Monthly Recommendations topic is graphic novels and mixed media. I’ve talked before on my blog about how I’m not much of a graphic novel reader, so my list today is a little short, but I think you’ll find some good ones here.
If you’re looking for more graphic novel recommendations, I highly recommend checking out the Goodreads group here. I imagine a lot of the other members will have much longer lists of recommendations than I do, so this should be a great resource to find more graphic novels!
Maus by Art Spiegelman
It’s been several years since I read Maus, but the fact that I still remember it so vividly is a clear indicator that it belongs on in this list. It’s the story of Spiegelman’s father’s escape from Nazi Germany, only the Nazi’s are drawn as cats and the Jews are mice. More than that, though, it’s the story of Spiegelman’s relationship with his father and the lasting impact that the Holocaust has had on subsequent generations. This book is just as amazing as everyone says, and even if you never read graphic novels, I recommend giving this one a try.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis is another graphic memoir with a distinct art style that I highly encourage you to check out if you haven’t already. It follows Satrapi growing up in Iran around the time of the Iranian Revolution and the war between Iran and Iraq until her parents send her to school in Austria in an attempt to keep her safe. It deals with an array of topics like feminism and immigration and loneliness and shows Satrapi trying to reconcile her life in Iran after returning from Austria with everything she learned while living abroad. It’s a really powerful memoir that offers a glimpse into a part of the world that I don’t know much about, plus it’s told through incredibly striking black and white drawings. Definitely a must-read for graphic novel readers and non-graphic novel readers alike.
My Favorite Things Is Monsters by Emil Ferris
Breaking momentarily from the graphic memoir trend, My Favorite Thing is Monsters is a really interesting story with some amazing artwork that I think is worth all the hype it’s been getting. I’m not much of a horror fan, so this graphic novel isn’t entirely my aesthetic because of the inspiration from B-movie horror and pulp monster magazines, but that didn’t stop me from being thoroughly impressed by it. It follows 10-year-old Karen in 1960’s Chicago as she tries to solve the murder of her upstairs neighbor, a Holocaust survivor. Everything is drawn in ballpoint pen on lined paper to make it look like Karen’s personal notebook, and in it Karen chooses to depict herself as a werewolf. The artwork is super cool and the story is multi-layered and fascinating, and I really enjoyed reading it. I’m excited to see what the sequel will bring!
March by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
We return to the graphic memoir! March is a three-part graphic memoir about Congressman John Lewis’ experience growing up in the Deep South and getting involved in the Civil Rights Movement and working with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I’ve only read the first volume so far, but I enjoy learning more about such an important part of history and getting Lewis’ unique perspective on it, plus I really enjoy the artwork. And I like how the story comes full circle and is set on the day that Barack Obama was sworn in as president. It’s really well done and I’m eager to continue with the rest of the trilogy.
There you have it! Those are four graphic novels I’ve read and really enjoyed and think you probably will too, especially if you’re interested in graphic memoirs.
What are some of your favorite graphic novels? Let me know in the comments, especially if you have any graphic memoir recommendations! In addition to finishing the March trilogy, I’m excited to read The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui about her family’s escape after the fall of South Vietnam. I was hoping to read it last month so I could potentially include it in this list, but it’s so popular that there’s a massive hold on it at my library.