In all of its 103-year history, only one American has won The Tour De France, consistently regarded, as one of the most difficult sporting events in the world. Yet that person, Mr. Greg LeMond, is likely not the name that most, non-cycling, American’s first think of when asked to name America’s greatest cyclist. I state this, not only to recognize the lack of attention to LeMond’s great accomplishments, but also to illustrate that occasionally sweet justice is served and famous, narcissistic bullies get their karmic comeuppance. For me, Greg LeMond was the reason I started cycling in the first place. His legend still burns bright in my eyes – he won the Tour De France 3 times, and 2 of those victories came after being shot full of lead in a horrible life-threatening hunting accident! So, to see his cycling career respected enough to produce the wonderful coffee-table sized Greg LeMond: Yellow Jersey Racer, with great stories from his fellow 80’s cycling personalities, wonderful photography from throughout his entire career, and not a single mention of a certain disgraced Texan, it feels like something has been put right with the world.
Paper Girls 2 is here! If you're new to the series, just know that it is the perfect comic to read while waiting for season 2 of Stranger Things. Complete with a great group of kids, crazy
monsters, and 1980s hairstyles in all their feather-fringed glory. If you
are already a fan, you’ll remember, at the end of Paper Girls Volume 1, KJ was still missing, and the gang was mysteriously transported out of the 80s. If you’ve somehow been patient enough to wait for the next volume instead of going out to buy the single comics, you’ll be excited to know this one starts right where the last one left off—with the
girls being dropped right in the middle of 2016, and Erin coming face to face with her adult self!
Will Erin be disappointed in her future self? Will they ever find KJ? Will the paper girls be able to survive the horrors of 2016???
There's only one way to find out-- check it out right now!
Penny’s life is a mess. She’s living out of her friend’s
storage unit, and working for a 12-year-old tyrant at a laundromat. When she’s
not attempting to rescue cats from mean kids in the neighborhood, she’s reading
fantasy romance novels, and working on a real life awkward romance of her own.
Lucky Penny, by creators Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota, is a quirky romantic
comedy, and also my new favorite graphic novel at the moment.
It reads like a cross between the epic Scott Pilgrim series and
the super twee web cartoon Bee and Puppycat. It’s adorable, funny, and unabashedly
nerdy. I enjoyed it immensely, and you probably will too, so check it out
Banned Books Week isn’t over yet, so here’s one more
interesting, if controversial book to add to our blog discussion.
It’s no secret that I am a fan of graphic novels, and teen
books, so it’s no surprise that I gravitated towards This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by her
cousin Jillian Tamaki. This beautiful book was initially very well received,
winning the 2015 Printz Honor Award for best teen book, based on literary
merit, and the Caldecott award for its stunning illustrations.
However, earlier this year the book was banned at parents’
request in libraries in Minnesota and Florida for its profanity and mature
themes. Honestly, most of the upset was probably due to misunderstanding.
Because the book is a Caldecott winner, an honor usually bestowed upon children’s
books, people probably read it, and took offense that the subject matter wasn’t
suitable for let’s say their eight year old child.
The book follows two twelve year old girls spending the
summer in a beach town. Standing right on the brink of adulthood, they encounter
and discuss subjects that are happening in their life, and the lives around
them. That includes puberty, crushes, sex, marital problems, miscarriage, and
It’s a shame that this book was banned, because it really is
a lovely book, and the graphic novel format really amplifies the work with the
idyllic setting being inked in shades of blue. It’s a great novel, and I hope
you take the time to check it out.
I am a huge fan of the award winning author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month I submit these two excellent picks by this author.
The Princess and the Warrior is a re-telling of one of Mexico’s most cherished legends. It is the story of unlikely love between a princess and a lowly warrior. The king issues a challenge to the brave warrior: defeat their enemy Jaguar Claw. Will they end up together? Find out.
My other pick is Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras. This is the history of the Day of the Dead Calaveras. Calaveras are those skeletons dressed as ladies called Catrinas, and other characters that you see around the time of the Day of the Dead. The library will be hosting programs for the Day of the Dead at many locations. Check our LINK.
If you’re interested in a jump start on the history of the artist Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) who made the skeleton images an indelible part of these celebrations, you’ll enjoy this book.
My favorite writers are those whose writings tend to defy rigid categories. I’m interested in voices whose passionate minds are rich with curiosity and whose texts feel less like someone rooted to certainties and more like an interrogation of social reality as a shifting terrain of beliefs butting up against power dynamics, history and politics. Over the past few years I’ve been drawn to books of essays and memoirs whose authors are fascinated by a wide range of subjects and themes. Teju Cole is my kind of writer and the kind thinker that our times require in order to make sense (or at the very least question) of complex issues. And in this book of 50 essays, he pulls it off with a beautiful prose that is inviting and accessible. His newest book Known and Strange Things: Essays is a wildly perceptive book that packs a punch even though it resists feeling ‘ideological’ or like someone shouting truths at you. From his interest in photography to James Baldwin’s experiences in Switzerland, to his love of literature to his various travels around the world, Cole’s erudite voice is that of someone whose sparkling mind finds immense joy in the world’s fertile landscape of ideas and culture.
Let’s talk about Here, a fascinating book by Richard
McGuire. Classified as a graphic novel, it’s less of a comic book, and more of
a subject study as the entire book never leaves the living room of McGuire’s
childhood home. The book travels backward and forward in time, exposing
ordinary events that happened in that very spot, almost like players wandering
on and off the stage.
Things get interesting however, when little windows start to
appear on the page. A woman in 1957 stops to try and remember why she walked
into the room while a cat from the year 1999 saunters through. A baseball that
crashes through the window in 1983 has no impact on the man trying to tie his
shoe in 1991. The room begins to get crowded as people from the distant past,
present, and future all begin to appear in these trans-temporal windows. As if something about the ordinary-seeming space has unraveled the space time continuum.
It’s a fun, and thought provoking book. After reading it, you can’t help but think about the people who stood where you are years before, and who will be here years after you’re gone.
What is “criticism”, who are “critics” and what sort of social role should they play in determining taste and value judgments are just a couple of the questions that New York Times journalist A.O. Scott attempts to explore in his charming, new book Better Living Through Criticism: how to think about art, pleasure, beauty and truth. Scott’s interest in the topic is certainly personal given his livelihood is based upon the notion that open societies benefit from a profession that functions to analyze, probe, and lay bare deeper truths about our various forms of expression, communication and creativity. Scott's tone is warm and self-reflexive. He understands and in some cases, sympathizes with the anti-intellectual strain of discourse that mocks his profession as elitist or unnecessary nor does he shy away from discussing criticism's inherent flaws and blind spots but he also makes a strong case for its noble role as an exercise in thinking about important matters connected to a democratic and increasingly culturally, complex society.
In 1981, my family flew to Hermosa Beach, California to visit my Aunt Sally and enjoy the California sun. I was a 13 year old Middle School student, had never been outside of the Midwest, and my idea of California was all about Hollywood movies and a 1950’s idea of beach/surfing culture. Walking around the sleepy beach town that first day opened my eyes to the dark menace that was the early 80’s punk rock scene in and around LA, including sleepy Hermosa Beach. That brief glimpse, and the cassettes that I purchased during that trip, changed the trajectory of the remainder of my youth and ultimately influenced my view of the world. Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk provides the real story behind what I glimpsed when I was 13. Told through chapter-length tales from some of the scenesters that survived that dangerous and nihilistic time, Under the Big Black Sun is a vibrant front-row seat into a legendary scene the likes of which we aren’t likely to see again.
Julie Paschkis, the author/illustrator of “Flutter & Hum: Animal Poems”, is a painter who has won awards for her artwork accompanying other picture books. Here, her illustrations depict folk art patterns that are both colorful and vivid; the perfect complement to the simple yet reflective poems. The poems appear in English on one page, and in Spanish on the opposite page. Despite her considerable abilities in constructing beautiful verse, she states that she is not a poet per se, nor a native Spanish speaker for that matter.Nonetheless, this slim volume depicts wonderfully all sorts of animals in motion- fluttering, slithering,leaping,stretching and the like.
A beautifully illustrated poetry book that is both fun and playful. Be prepared for young readers wanting to reread this many times over!