Less than a year ago I had never read a graphic novel. I had (incorrectly) assumed that I wasn't the type of person that would enjoy them. Then one day I found a copy of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi in the trash (throwing away a perfectly good book should be a punishable offense). I pulled it out of the bin and fell in love.
Now I am obsessed with graphic novels; I can't get enough. So I thought I would share this joy with you. Here are some of my favorites.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis is the book that got me hooked on graphic novels. It's an autobiography about Marjane Satrapi's experience growing up in Tehran, Iran during the Iranian Revolution. She shows you the war from a child's perspective, which is extremely moving; it really made me think about how lucky I am to have never been affected by war. Originally written in French, this book and it's sequel are the only books I read this year that were translated.
Feynman by Jim Ottaviani (author) and Leland Myrick (illustrailtor)
As a physics major, I had to read about a lot of scientists; none were as entertaining as Richard Feynman (Neil deGrasse Tyson was a close second). Feynman covers his whole life and even goes over some basic quantum theory. It describes his time at Los Alamos where he had fun cracking everyone safes and doing physics in strip clubs and his love of bongos. Ottaviani has also written Primates, about the lives of the three amazing scientists Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas. Both books are very quick and entertaining reads, especially for budding young scientists.
Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang
I am a sucker for Chinese history so these two companion books were made for me. The books are historical fiction set during the Boxer Rebellion in China. Boxers is told from the side of the Boxers, also known as The Fists of Righteous Harmony, whereas Saints is told from the point of view of the Chinese Christians and the Christian missionaries. Each story makes you feel passionately for that side of the rebellion; Yang really shows how complicated the issue was.
Flora and Ulysses by (the amazing) Kate DiCamillo
Okay, this book isn't completely a graphic novel. It's really ¾ novel ¼ graphic novel, but I loved it so much I had to add it to this list. The story follows Flora, a girl who befriends Ulysses, a squirrel with superhero powers. She has to keep him safe from her mom, cats, and even a vacuum cleaner with a mind of its own. Even though it's written for children, that doesn't mean adults can enjoy it as well. Plus, it just won the Newbery Award.
Do you read graphic novels? If not, why not?
Yes, I know I left out a lot of great books (Maus by Art Spiegelman and Blankets by Craig Thompson, to name two big ones); what other books do you think should be on this list?