Tag: graphic-novel

The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli

I remember seeing this book when I was younger. Some time ago, I put a few Newberry award winners on my holds and this one seemed to stick more than the others. This is a medieval story about a young boy from a noble family. It’s a gentle adventure story. Robin the protagonist has limited use of his legs probably as a result of polio. I didn’t know the plot until I started it. It was fitting as I have mobility issues due to leg and back pain. I liked it.

3.75/5 stars. September 11, 2023.

Edelweiss by Cédric Mayen, illustrated by Lucy Mazel

I don’t remember where I got the recommendation for this one. It’s a French graphic novel. I vaguely thought it would be YA but it’s actually for adults. It took me a little bit to get into as I started looking up the words. It’s been years since I read a French book. I was using Duolingo to keep up French up until a month ago, but I’d prefer to watch French movies or TV or read to keep it up. The visuals helped as I began to understand most of the dialogue after awhile. I did learn or relearn some expressions and vocabulary. I read it out loud to myself a few times because I’ve found French easier to understand orally. The story is a slow at first but covers the relationship between an independent upper middle class woman named Olympe and working class Edmond. Olympe wants to climb Mont Blanc like her ancestor. Over the years, a lot tragedy happens in their lives. It was a bit too much because a lot of the sad events happened very quickly in the second half of the book. I did cry at the end because it is a sad book. It was movingly done and well drawn. I liked Olympe.

3.75/5 stars. September 12, 2023.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

I decided to try this series because the court series books were taking too long from my library. This was the author’s debut novel and first series. The writing is rougher here than ACOTAR. It took me 3 workdays to read this and it felt slow because I was bored most of the time. The main character Calena is too perfect: a beautiful famous assassin, likes books, likes dresses, like dogs, plays the piano, a good flirt, speaks at least two languages, and of course, has two male love interests. As a character reader, I am trying to be lenient since these are more plot and setting stories. All of the characters were thinly drawn. The plot was slow. I do think a lot of the characters are likeable even though they are not that well developed. I also appreciated the small female friendship in this novel. I am not rushing to read the second novel in this series, but I may return after awhile since I’ve heard this series also gets better.

3/5 stars. September 12-15, 2023.

Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman

It has been many years since I read the Sandman series. It was one of the few 5 star graphic novels of my youth. I am wondering now if I would rate it as highly. I do think the ideas, art, and writing are great but having come from reading Monstress, I find the latter superior and personally more relevant. Morpheus as a character is compelling but I aso find there is a lack of emotionality because they are the Endless. It’s been awhile so I forgot a lot of the characters as well. It was fine with great visuals as usual.

3.5/5 stars. September 15-16, 2023.

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals about Death by Caitlin Doughty

Narrated by the author. This was not as good as her previous book. It’s more for middle grade readers but it still has lots of info about death practices.

3.5/5 stars. Mostly 1.5x. September 8-16, 2023.

DNF: The Swedish Art of Aging Exuberantly: Life Wisdom from Someone Who Will (Probably) Die Before You by Margareta Magnusson

Narrated by Natascha McElhone. Juliet Stevenson narrated the first one and I was disappointed she didn’t narrate this one. McElhone has a nice voice and natural accent but she puts on a Scandinavian accent. It was distracting and unnecessary. I enjoyed Magnusson’s first book for its tips and considerations about death cleaning, but this book did not really have anything useful. She has lived a great and privileged life and talks more about it in this book. It’ wasn’t relevant to me and I found myself too bored. I thought I could bear it for the 4 hours but when I got halfway, I realized I couldn’t tolerate it anymore.

DNF. September 16, 2023.

My husband grew up with Tintin and had been collecting the hardcover editions of the Adventures of Tintin. I have nice memories of watching the French and Canadian made Tintin animated series in the 1990s which is probably one of the most faithful comic adaptations. I maybe read one of the books as a kid. I remember browsing them at the library. Recently, I’ve been trying to read the books that we own and also read books which are important to my partner.

As of this writing, we own eight of these books. He had collected seven of the books in hardcover and one softcover given by a friend. His goal was to buy one hardcover every year or so. He hasn’t really been doing that the last few years so I ordered one to this collection before I started reading. They are imported books and take awhile to come in. I am going to read the ones we don’t have in French from the library. They are middle grade and would be great practice for me.

Tintin in the Congo (TinTin #2)

We do not own the first one which is “The Land of the Soviets” as that was not part of the canon when he was a kid. He also never read this Congo one because it was likely restricted due to its racist content.

It was hard to read. Originally published in 1931, Herge coloured it and published it again in 1946. He said it was an experimental early work. Let’s start with the good. Some of the drawings are fun. Snowy goes “Woooaaah”. I learned the word psittacosis. Snowy is adorable except when he said, “Missionaries are the tops!”

The bad. Belgians were arguably the worse colonizers which is saying something. Their view of Africans was problematic even when this book was written. The Africans are not drawn well literally and figuratively. It it was extremely patronizing. Tintin is a white saviour figure. The hunting is awful as many animals are shot at or tortured for comic relief. The plot was really flimsy. Also why is it that Tintin is so popular as a journalist? He was offered $10,000 to be a correspondent making him one of the most in demand journalist in history. I didn’t really see the Tintin character or appeal at in this comic book.

2/5 stars. Read August 9, 2023.

Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (Tintin #1)

My husband never read this one either and I didn’t expect much due to Wikipedia article which noted that it was “joyously bizarre” and allegedly Hergé’s worst.

The worst part is up for debate. I think the Congo was worst in some ways because of the racism and animal abuse content. This one had racism too but it wasn’t there as much and it wasn’t in colour. This one moved at an even faster pace yet I became bored me with how many messes Tintin got himself into. Tintin lacks personality in both these books. Snowy is still sassy at least. Overall, the book felt very dated and not really a classic. I look forward to when the stories and characters get better.

2.25/5 stars. Read August 30, 2023.

Tintin in America (Tintin #3 )

This one was better than the first two because of its satire on America. It still has racist depictions of Native Americans, but the satire about how America treat them in the story was not bad. I still found Tintin a blank slate of a character. I don’t understand why he’s so special. The pacing is very fast because these are comics but this was less overwhelming than the first two books.

2.5/5 stars. Read September 16, 2023.

Chinatown Pretty: Fashion and Wisdom from Chinatown’s Most Stylish Seniors by Andria Lo and Valerie Luu

This was a pre-bedtime slow read. This is a photography book featuring the portraits and stories of seniors from Chinatowns across North America. Like the authors, I’ve also noticed this style in this community. My late mother was on the way to adopting this style completely. It’s a great book featuring really moving and touching stories of migrants who have made their lives here.

4.25/5 stars. Read June 8-July 1, 2023.

Nimona by N. D. Stevenson

Funny and great storytelling. I did find the font very small though. It’s not my favourite visual graphic novel but the characters made up for it. I wish there had been more.

4/5 stars. Read July 2, 2023.

The Tea Dragon Festival (Tea Dragon, #2) by Katie O’Neill

Such a a lovely and wholesome series. I like that the universe keeps expanding and it’s pleasant. I love dragons. I need this kind of gentle reading these days.

4.25/5 stars. Read July 7, 2023.

DNF: Selected Poems by Walt Whitman

Did not finish. I found this book and Leaves of Grass a few weeks ago as I have been decluttering my book collection. I read a couple from this book and decided that there was no way I would read the whole of Leaves of Grass. I put that in a Little Library. I remember liking Walt Whitman years ago but as I went through these books, I didn’t find it engaging. I kept trying but I have too many other books that I want to read.

Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery

I found two copies of this book last year. This edition was from a public school and had the 90s cover which I remember seeing as a kid. I really enjoyed this installment and one aspect made me laugh out loud very hard. I love Anne as a character. I was having a couple of rough days when I read this which likely affected my enjoyment. I debated about giving this 5 stars but while I loved the experience, I don’t think I will reread this book. I will likely give the whole series 5 stars.

4.5/5 stars. Read July 8-10, 2023.

Heartstopper, Volumes 1-2 by Alice Oseman.

The first volume took ages to come to me from the library. After that first one, I decided to get it via express ebook from my library. I quite liked using my iPad for graphic novels. Lovely, wholesome, light hearted goodness.

Both 4/5 stars. Read July 13, 2023 in book (vol 1) and ebook (vol 2).

I have been following Kate Beaton and Hark! A Vagrant when it was still a Livejournal blog. I have loved her work and felt a kinship to her comics for many years now. I read both her children’s books. I was excited to read this graphic memoirs which I know she had been working on for over six years.

I am glad that more have discovered her talent with this work. It took me a few months to get it from the library because of the long wait list due to it being listed for and winning Canada Reads.

This graphic novel hit me like a bus. I knew it would be somewhat tough because the topic of the oil sands has been fraught in Canada for many years. However, I did not expect the trigger warnings of sexual assault, sexual harassment, misogyny, depression, loneliness, exploitation, classism, and more. My mental health has not been as great this year so I’ve been more sensitive to triggers.

Continue reading →

This was a good reading month so this is a longer post than usual.

Continue reading →

I discovered this manga series through Good Reads. I’ve read volumes 1-8 which were all available through my library. Volume 9 should be coming to me in the next month or so. I think there is a total of 11 or 12 in the series.

There is something so captivating about this medieval fairy tale manga about a girl and a creature from the “Outside” a kind of a monster with history. There is no audience stand in and like the characters, the reader is discovering the mystery of the Outside and the curse of the monsters.

Sometimes, it was a bit frustrating to read about a little girl’s reactions to things or watch “Teacher” the monster character full of doubts and self-pity. On the whole, I found the story really interesting and compelling. It really made use of the black and white visual medium. It had moments of levity and humour. It’s oddly wholesome at times. There’s horror but there is a lot of tenderness between the two main characters as well. It’s really effective character work.

I am looking forward to the last few instalments. Recommended for graphic novel and manga lovers.

Read Dec 2020-January 2021.

What a lovely graphic novel. It has beautiful art which is fantastical and perfectly fits the mood of night time adventures. I already liked the style from the cover. It vaguely reminds me of a close artist friend’s style. The book uses really nice paper as well.

This is the second young adult graphic novel that I’ve read recently which I find amazing. I think this is an area of young adult fiction that does not seem to be limited creatively right now. It feels like there is a lot of space for authors and artists to explore or at least styles that I like. I am biased because I am really into children’s fiction these days.

The story is a coming of age fantasy adventure with two boys named Ben and Nathaniel. Ben is quite annoying at times because he is insecure but typically so of a kid his age. Nathaniel is earnest and sweet. You see Ben grow at least. I wonder if there will be a sequel or a series. The ending is left open ended for more adventures.

This novel seems to be set in the pre-Internet era when kids would play outside even at night. I guess nostalgia is a factor here too. I like to read about kids who also didn’t have too many screens growing up like myself.

I’ve read seven books in 2020 so far and half of them have been graphic novels. A good getaway into my reading year and as a reprieve after a long day working.

Read February 20, 2020.

I have mixed feelings on this series. Like the first volume, I found this one disjointed.

There were at least four separate storylines and over a dozen characters for most of the novel. Keeping track of the plotlines is one thing and I don’t mind it as much in Monstress (which is more confusing and complex than this series). I don’t find many of the characters that compelling especially when they are apart.

While the art here is good, I find it is not as dynamic or interesting as some other graphic novels I’ve read recently. This series is more similar to comic book aesthetic which is an area I’ve never been truly enamoured with.

The second half of the novel and the ending are quite good. There is a character who is a Japanese scientist and is depicted with a strong likeness to Hayao Miyazaki. That was amusing.

I think this is an interesting series. I am doubtful if I will seek out the next volume in the future.

Read February 19, 2020.

Another interesting volume of this graphic novel series. This instalment was less confusing than the previous one. I often forget so many of the details of this series between volumes. They come out only once a year so I can’t remember all the details from volume one or two let alone three.

I did like this volume better than the last one. There was some family drama and the little Fox got some things to do. I have to admit there is a lot of details about this series which confuse me because there are a lot of characters and rivalling parties. However, I continue to like the artwork and many of the characters. Maika has really grown on me.

I read a review for this volume and another reviewer echoed all my thoughts here. I am glad I am not the only one who finds this series sometimes confusing and hard to follow; however, I still find it very compelling and well done.

Read February 4, 2020.

My first book of 2020 was graphic novel for children based on history.

I really liked this graphic novel; it’s heavy and well written and drawn. I like the use of water colours and images from historical times. Even though the story is not real history, it is based on it and I believe some of the elements concerning the religious aspect is true. I really enjoyed the folk and fairy stories in it as well. That would be true to the Tudor and medieval era.

The story is a classic one about an orphan who comes of age and learns much about herself. It is dense and has a great cast of characters. I really enjoyed reading this on a wet winter’s day. It’s a cozy book. I hope there are more graphic novels for children like this. I love the historical aspect and would have liked it as kid as well.

I believe the author is planning a sequel which I will devour if I get the chance.

Read January 11, 2020.


A graphic novel and food memoirs growing up in NYC, Hudson Valley, and Chicago. It includes illustrated recipes and tips. I really enjoyed this little piece especially after I read Bullshit Jobs (which was more intense). I like the artist’s style and storytelling. I will be reading more from her.

Read August 15, 2019

After Relish, I realized that my library had a number of her graphic memoirs so I requested a few and read them during a busy work week time. I had taken a break from the nonfiction I was reading and needed some easy read.

Continue reading →

I had not read a book in over a month. When I haven’t read any book after 3 weeks, I get very angsty. It’s not like I don’t have books around, but this one came at the right time.

This a very enjoyable little graphic novel about a woman whose boyfriend is a grizzly bear. It fantastical realism and silliness. The woman is relatable, but the whimsy of this novel makes it a nice little read. Funnily enough, this is not the first time I’ve read a book where a woman has a relationship with a bear. This graphic novel is a lot more wholesome about it.

Read August 14-15, 2018