Getting Graphic

We’re heading steadily through March, and I have to say I’m a wee bit proud of myself for continuing to work through my only New Years resolution this year. If you’re a regular reader, you may recall my self-imposed reading challenge which was designed to stretch my mind and read outside of my comfort zone.

Here’s a quick rundown of my 2014 Reading Resolutions:

  1. Read something a library patron recommends
  2. Read this year’s Everett Reads! book 
  3. Read something difficult, either due to subject matter or writing style
  4. Read an award-winning book
  5. Read something that is super-popular
  6. Read a book that was the basis for a TV series or movie
  7. Read a classic work of literature
  8. Read an annotated classic work of literature
  9. Read something that will help me plan for the future
  10. Read something that will help me reconcile the past
  11. Read a graphic novel (see below)
  12. Read an entire series that is new to me

You’ll kindly overlook the fact that I’m skipping around on my list. Sure, it would have been more organized to tackle these in list order, but it turns out I can’t quite ignore that little voice inside my head that still wants to rebel against prescribed reading–even if I am the person who came up with the guidelines! The only way to drown out the voices is to read what I’m in the mood to read. And this month I decided to get graphic.

I’ve always gotten a bit lost trying to read graphic novels. My brain can’t stop looking around at all the images, and comparing and contrasting what I see with what my brain is trying to imagine on its own. Rogue brain. Be silent!

PrestoEnough of my neuroses. Let’s talk about Bandette. Presto! is the first book in the Bandette series by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover. Bandette is a teenage thief who calls Paris home. I like to refer to her as a modern-day Nancy Drew meets Robin Hood meets Sherlock Holmes. She always dons her costume, complete with cape and mask, before venturing out to clean up the streets, thwarting the criminal underworld as well as the local police inspector, Belgique. She has a weakness for first editions–her personal library is split between the books she’s purchased with her own money and books she has “liberated,” also known as stolen. And her skills as a thief are only matched by her quick wit and unique sense of humor. Bandette may not take the world so seriously, but is that due to her age or her occupation? Take this line, for example. She’s in the thick of battle and still manages to quip:

Hush, Matadori! The air is already thick with bullets. Do not overcrowd it with drama as well.

Presto! combines the first five issues of the Monkeybrain comic book series Bandette. And while I hadn’t read them until I happened upon this tome in our Young Adult graphic novel collection, I am hesitant to read any more until the next bound volume is published. For one thing, it will build anticipation. It will also allow me to work on other reading challenges in my list. And honestly, reading them bound together with all the little extras in the back (including author interviews and a behind-the-scenes look at the process of writing, drawing, and coloring the comic) is in and of itself a beautiful thing I’d miss out on.

When I started reading Presto!, which can be easily consumed in an afternoon, I knew I would need to take notes on my reading experience for the blog. Here are my reactions, perceptions, and ideas that I recorded during my introduction to Bandette. You can click on each image to make it larger and easier to read.

Notes1 Notes2

Since it’s past my deadline (Bandette wouldn’t follow any but her own deadlines!) I’ll let my handwritten notes above speak for me. You can also take my husband’s word for it, as he devoured Presto! the night I brought it home to read and nagged me about it until I had time to read it myself. I even purchased my own copy, knowing I will re-read it in the future.

Overall I’ve come out of this third reading challenge with a better appreciation for the illustrated novel and a definite plan for Halloween. I’ve also got what I would call a new literary best friend. Bandette, I can’t wait until we meet again in volume two.

Caught in the Act: We Read Banned Books

Sex, drugs, and bathroom humor – all of these and more could land a book on the American Library Association’s list of frequently challenged books. In honor of Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of our freedom to read whatever we see fit, we’ve asked A Reading Life regulars and guest posters to tell us about their favorite banned books.

The Face on the Milk Carton coverTheresa
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
Janie Johnston’s life was boring, boring, boring until one day at lunch when she grabbed her friend’s milk carton. She was allergic to milk, but one little sip wouldn’t be a big deal, would it? On the milk carton was a picture of a little girl kidnapped from a shopping mall 12 years earlier. Suddenly, Janie remembered the dress, the way the starched collar itched, and the way her braids tickled her cheeks. “The girl on the back of the carton,” she whispered to her friends, “it’s me.” Janie cannot believe that her loving parents kidnapped her, but as she tries to piece together what happened, no other answer makes sense.

This story of Janie’s quest to find answers and to discover her true identity is a captivating read; a book that I have easily sold to teens looking for a good book. I was surprised to find it on a list of frequently challenged books. The most common reasons listed were: challenge to authority, sexual content, and inappropriate for age group. Yes, Janie skips school with her boyfriend Reeve to try to find some clues as to what is the truth of her parentage, (challenge to authority?). The complaint about sexual content really surprised me. I had to reread the book to figure out where that came from. Reeve asks Janie how they will explain skipping school, he says, “they’ll figure it’s sex we wanted….” (sexual content?). “Inappropriate for age group”, is the one complaint that may have some merit when it is coming from elementary school parents since the book deals with teenagers and high school issues. Grade school readers might not be familiar with high school life, and they might not be interested in dating and such, but the plot isn’t particularly what I would consider to be for mature audiences.

I will continue to recommend The Face on the Milk Carton and its sequels. Janie’s dilemma, “What if I am not who I think I am?” is a theme that resonates with teens as they look for their place in the world, and the intrigue as she unravels the mystery of her origin make for a fast read.

The Stupids Step Out coverRon
The Stupids series, by Harry Allard
The Stupids are a wonderful non-conformist family whose adventures can be read about in The Stupids Step Out and The Stupids Have a Ball, among others. Along with their cat Xylophone and dog Kitty, Stanley Stupid, his wife and their two children Buster and Petunia look at life a little differently than most.

A typical day in the Stupid household might include breakfasting in the shower, mowing the rug, interpreting a power outage as death, and sleeping with their feet on their pillows. Illustrations are filled with weird touches such as strangely labeled pictures hanging on walls, people engaged in bizarre activities or wearing odd clothing, and pets who are more clever than their owners.

In other words, these are silly books. There is something for both kids and adults to enjoy and little chance that children will be permanently warped through reading about the Stupids. So be a rebel, read a banned book to your kid. Just make sure to wash their pillowcase after they use it for their stinky feet.

The Glass Castle coverMarge
The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls
“Don’t I always take care of you,” asks Jeannette Walls’s father, in her memoir, The Glass Castle. In reality he almost never did. Raised by both a father and a mother who seemed genuinely oblivious to the needs of their children, Walls recalls frequent moves, poverty, hunger and neglect. Remarkably, she describes her turbulent family life in a matter-of-fact tone without bitterness or self pity and with flashes of humor and a sense of the ridiculous.

A popular book on the New York Times bestseller list for many weeks, The Glass Castle was also among the top 10 most challenged books in 2012 for offensive language and sexually explicit content according to the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom. Indeed, there is some foul language and one particularly distasteful scene but the language and content simply seem appropriate to the story the author is telling.

Those unlucky enough to be deprived of the opportunity to read this book would miss the story of a woman of great resilience and forbearance who not only survives but prevails. Refusing to let her past define her, Walls moves to New York City at seventeen, finds work, graduates from Barnard College and begins a career as a journalist. As the book ends, she is hosting a Thanksgiving dinner at her home for her mother and siblings seemingly at peace with the past.

Blankets cover imageAlan
Blankets by Craig Thompson
This terrific coming-of-age graphic novel was pretty famously challenged for its depiction of a nude teen. How bad is it? Out of 592 pages, we’ve got 1 or 2 pages that are risqué (and beautiful, brutal, and true). Pick up this phonebook-sized volume and your reward is the real deal, a literary depiction of what it is to: come of age with a brother, fall in love, lose your faith, and be a human being. The art is incredibly evocative. Innocence is wide-eyed, with thin lines and graceful flow. Anger is expressionistic, jagged, thick, and black, black, black. Highest possible recommendation.

What did Thompson do next? The gorgeous, even more care wrought Habibi.

We hope this short list has tempted you to take a walk on the wild side and read some banned book with us. For more information about Banned Books Week, and why books are challenged or banned, check out ALA’s excellent collection of resources on the topic.

Sherlockmania!

He is one of the most recognizable names in literature. Hundreds of pastiches by copious authors have been written about his character. Movie and TV series abound. Parodies aimed at all ages proliferate. And a multitude of quotes which never issued from his fictional lips are attributed to this British detective, Sherlock Holmes.

Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories are undoubtedly brilliant, introducing (or at least popularizing) a new genre, a new style of detection. The hero is not a particularly likable or sympathetic chap, but his skills are remarkable. It’s no wonder that he has maintained such a high level of acclaim for more than a century.

Sherlock Holmes originally appeared in 4 novels and fifty-six short stories set between 1880 and 1914. His character apparently died in a story written in 1893 (but set in 1891), but fan outcry led to his resurrection in 1901 (in a story set in 1894).

Technology has changed since Holmes’s introduction and Everett Public Library carries Sherlock Holmes books on CD, eBooks and AudioEBooks in addition to plain ol’ books printed on paper.

Perhaps it is comforting to know that Sherlock’s adventures did not end with the death of Conan Doyle. Numerous authors, many alive today, have written stories about Holmes’s exploits during the same period that Conan Doyle chronicled.
Line 1
Line 2
Line 3
(The Italian Secretary is also available as an AudioEBook)

Other authors have dared to speculate on Holmes’s life after his apparent retirement.
Line 4
(
Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes titles by Laurie R. King are available as books, large print books, eBooks, books on CD, and AudioEbooks.)
Line 5
(
A Slight Trick of the Mind is also available as a book on CD)

In some cases, Holmes has even been thrown into the present, through a series of mysterious occurrences, of course.

Line 6
One can also find series aimed at young adults featuring Sherlock as a teenager.
Line 7
Line 8
(Death Cloud is also available as a book on CD and AudioEBook)

One series, which focuses on the young boys who make up the Baker Street Irregulars, is aimed at younger readers.
Fall of the Amazing
(Set in the Victorian era)

Another format aimed at young adults and juveniles is graphic novelizations of Conan Doyle’s stories.
Line 9
Murray Shaw graphic novels
(These juvenile books include explanations of Holmes’s deductive reasoning and the clues that helped him arrive at a solution)

Perhaps the biggest buzz currently centered around the famous detective is the BBC series Sherlock. This take on Holmes has him living in present-day London, not a man somehow removed from Victorian times but simply a brilliant investigator born near the close of the 20th century. This ingenious show delivers unto us a Holmes who has all of the 21st century’s miraculous technology at his fingertips. The stories are based in the Conan Doyle canon, but include abundant updating and fast-paced dering-do.
Line TV
And when you finish this superlative series, be sure to look into some of the other big and small screen depictions of England’s most brilliant detective.
Line 10
And if that’s not enough to keep you busy, there’s always Agatha Christie

Ron

Librarians Gone Wild!

Librarians have long been burdened with a variety of uncomplimentary stereotypes, stern old maid and milquetoast bookworm being perhaps most common. Oh, and we mustn’t forget that standby of 1960s sitcoms, the plain-looking young woman who upon removing the hairpins from her tightly-wound bun transforms into a sexual dynamo. Thank you Mr. Freud.

In my personal experience with librarians I have encountered few to none of these personality disorders. However, one could probably safely deduce that librarians are interested in reading, research and learning. All of which seem rather tame compared to say the activities of the X-Men.

So as a library employee I’m always interested to find a story where a librarian has a bit of adventure in his or her life.

A recent pleasant surprise that came my way is Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines. The main character of this story, Isaac Vainoi, is a librarian, and while his occupation is somewhat irrelevant to the story, his love of books is vital. Isaac is one of a select group called the Porters, people who have such strong imaginations and symbiotic rapport with books that they are able to pull objects from stories (as long as said objects are not larger than a page). This trick comes in handy for Isaac and his fellow Porters as they try to keep the peace between themselves, vampires (yes, yes, I know, vampires are very last Thursday), and regular humans. Sadly, Isaac has been removed from field work and demoted to research duties after letting his magic run amuck. But when a group of vampires attacks a Porter stronghold and libriomancers start dying gruesome deaths, Isaac is thrust into the battle. He is a most excellent example of a bookish, non-athletic, not particularly brave person thrown into a highly dangerous adventure.

As it turns out, Libriomancer is just one of many books that feature the exploits of librarians.  Here are just a few that you might want to check out.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Henry DeTamble is a librarian who involuntarily travels through time, which creates a strange and challenging relationship between his wife and himself.

The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton
An American librarian goes to Africa to help with a library that delivers books to nomadic tribes via camel.


The Librarian by Larry Beinhart
In this uproarious thriller, university librarian David Goldberg finds himself on the Ten Most Wanted Criminals list as well as involved in a conspiracy to steal the presidency.

The Giant’s House: a romance by Elizabeth McCracken
In 1950 Cape Cod, an unlikely romance blossoms between a little librarian and the tallest boy in the world.


Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs by Molly Harper
A children’s librarian is fired, mistaken for a deer and shot, turned into a vampire, and framed for a series of vampire murders. Any questions?

In addition to these captivating novels, there are a number of graphic novels that feature librarians.

The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger
Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians by Jarrett Krosoczka
Cave of the Bookworms by Michael Dahl
Unshelved by Bill Barnes
Rex Libris: I, Librarian by James Turner

 
So the next time you feel compelled to paint librarians into tiny boring boxes, pick up one of these titles to give yourself a refreshing dose of reality.

Ron

Parodies Found

It seems like a guy can’t swing a sack full of bats these days without hitting a book that parodies a specific title, author, or genre. As an avid reader and writer I can understand the numerous reasons that might compel one to create such a spoof.

Myself, I often battle a nearly uncontrollable impulse to lampoon many a detestable piece of twaddle that sells kabillions of copies (did I say Fifty Shades of Grey out loud?) thus making the author rich and convincing the reading public that said writer is a genius. It’s almost an obligation to point out to the unsuspecting masses, using the two-pronged sword of humor and irony, that their $10 would have been better spent on a chia pet shaped like Don King’s head.

Conversely, I suspect that some writers think to themselves: “Self, the Harry Potter industry has generated enough cash to buy one of Saturn’s moons. I need a piece of that action. It’s time to cash in. But how? (Finger snap!) Ah yes, a parody is just the thing! And it will be called (reverb emulating the voice of God): Harry Potty and the Deathly Boring. (End reverb). Hopefully I can catch a ride on the Potter juggernaut. I’ll be richer than Croesus! (Dramatic pause). Self, who the Helen-of-Troy is Croesus?”

Then there’s the fickle factor. Humans tend to be capricious, and it’s not unusual for something that quickly soars to dazzling heights of popularity, say vampire books, to just as quickly fall into the Marianna Trench of uncoolness. And when this occurs, parodies are sure to follow.

Take for example The New Vampire’s Handbook:  A Guide for the Recently Turned Creature of the Night by Joe Garden. This important how-to volume for the recently turned gives tips on oral hygiene, faking your way through a meal, using your new vampiric powers and maintaining a fashionable wardrobe while avoiding mirrors. Edited by the vampire Miles Proctor, this helpful book is a must-have for any newly-bitten immortal.

And let us not forget that most wonderful motivator, the green-eyed monster. Humans are jealous and vengeful creatures, and it’s entirely natural for one to seek out a successful person, someone high on the survival-of-the-fittest scale, and bring them down a rung or three. And if a wee bit of income is generated from this exercise in humility, well… Who’s to say what’s wrong or right in the game of capitalism?

And speaking of games, Stefan Petrucha has given us a biting lampoon of The Hunger Games trilogy in his graphic novel,  The Hunger Pains. In Petrucha’s version, Ratkiss Everspleen takes her sister Dim’s place in the district’s annual battle to the death. Joined by fellow contestant Peek a Choo, the two train under Haybitch Blubbernasty for the most unnecessary battle of their lives.

But perhaps the best reason of all to create a parody is simple laziness. By taking a pre-existing work (one out of copyright, of course) and adding a few scenes containing the latest literary trend (say perhaps zombies?)… Viola! A brand-spanking-new tome, such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance – Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! by Seth Grahame-Smith is born with nary a sweat crossing the author’s brow. This novel novel uses 85% of Austen’s original text and rounds it out with, as the title says, ultraviolent zombie mayhem! Austen’s characters still have the same traits and yearnings, but in addition to being very properly British they are also highly-skilled zombie killers. So, with just a few thousand new words in a dead author’s style, you too can have undreamed of notoriety and wealth.

Thus we are left wondering if parody is the highest form of flattery, or if it’s simply a quick trip to the bank. Ultimately it matters not, for if we the readers are entertained by a spoof, then perhaps its author has brought a bit more happiness into the world. And isn’t that what literature is all about?

Along with huge piles of cash.

by Ron, Everett Public Library staff

Robot Dreams

Dog wants a friend so he buys a mail-order robot. Dog and Robot go to the library, watch movies, eat popcorn and vacation together. They are perfect companions, a match made in mail-order heaven. Unfortunately, when Robot goes swimming with Dog he becomes rusty and immobile. Dog panics and abandons his beloved Robot at the beach.

Months pass and remorseful Dog attempts to make new friends with a duck, an anteater, a penguin, a snowman and many other quirky characters. But none of them can replace dear Robot. Meanwhile, Robot regrets his swim, dreams of rescue, wonders why Dog left him and gets picked apart by beach scavengers. Dog and Robot each reflect on their friendship and their fateful beach trip.

Robot Dreams tells the story of Dog and Robot in pages filled with beautiful color and charming illustrations. This nearly wordless book is deceptively simple, sweet, comical and surprisingly poignant.  This quick read is a perfect choice for sharing with a young friend or as a treat for your inner child.

Mindy

May I Be Graphic?

In many facets of life I am a snob, and I embrace this pomposity. Coors Light does not pass my lips nor does popular music assault my ears. And graphic “novels,” oh no no no, graphic novels most certainly do not join my stack of reading materials.

Enter my daughter. She is nine and will soon be getting braces. Recently she read Smile by Raina Telgemeier, a graphic novel about a 7th grade girl getting braces. Soon I was harangued with, “Dad you have to read this! Read it tonight. Have you read it yet? When are you going to read it? It’s great! You have to read it. Have you read it yet? You said you’d read it. Read it right now!” So I read it.

And it was wonderful. 

So I thought it was time to find the root of my prejudice against this popular format. After scant seconds of philosophical reflection, I realized that I equate graphic novel with comic book. And I do enjoy comic books when in the mood, but for my daily reading I crave novels or non-fiction with elegant prose and captivating stories.

Smile met my daily reading needs. It is a novel told with both words and pictures. Just before the main character is about to get braces she accidentally knocks out her front teeth and more serious dental measures are needed. The embarrassment of false teeth, braces, puberty and non-stop teasing by friends all make a story that is easy to relate to for anyone who has been a teenager.

“Could there be other worthwhile graphic novels out there?” I wondered quietly, or perhaps in a scary out-loud voice, to myself. The Everett Public Library catalog revealed several titles that seemed worth investigating.

Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography by Sidney Jacobson

I confess that I’ve somehow made it through life without being exposed to Anne Frank’s story in any detail. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a graphic novelization of this sad tale. What I found in this first graphic biography of Anne Frank was an informative, touching account of a family, people who could easily be my neighbors, and the destruction of their lives by Nazis. No comic book here—we learn about the history of Anne’s parents, events leading to the rise of the Nazi party and conditions in concentration camps. This graphic novel provides an excellent foray into events surrounding World War II and the tragedies and atrocities that resulted from the conflict.

The Adventures of Unemployed Man by Erich Origen

Yes, I was sucked in by the title and the cover. And I fully expected this tome to be a stupid comic unworthy of the virtual paper I’m currently keyboarding upon. But as the Greeks say: Eureka, I was wrong!

What I found in The Adventures of Unemployed Man is perhaps best described as a parody of Batman and other Silver Age superhero comics driven by an educational/political agenda. The Ultimatum, well-known superhero and champion of the downtrodden, makes the world a better place for the poor and disenfranchised by spouting pearls of wisdom such as “In America, if anything is possible, then why have you chosen to fail?” and “It’s not the economy, stupid, it’s you!” Upon finding abuse of workers in his own corporation, The Ultimatum confronts the board of directors and is fired.  He begins a rapid descent to rock bottom, discovers the inequities of capitalism and begins a new career as Unemployed Man, champion of all who’ve lost their jobs.

But wait, there’s more! Check out these other exciting graphic novels available at Everett Public Library!

 

 

Aya of Yop City
War is Boring
Faradawn

Kampung Boy
How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less

Ron  

Bookmobile Day!

What’s that? You didn’t know that today, April 13, 2011, is the second annual National Bookmobile Day? Well, now you know.

Bookmobile
If the Everett Public Library’s Outreach Services staff have ever visited you or your family at your home, preschool, senior center, nursing home or somewhere else, then you know what how great the bookmobile is. It helps take the library to those who can’t come to us.

bookmobile
You can join the bookmobile appreciation party by listening to our podcast “Peggy Roars Again.” This 10-minute recording tells the story of Everett’s old Model-T bookmobile, the first bookmobile in Washington State!
book cover

For a quick read about another very special bookmobile, check out Audrey Niffenegger’s The Night Bookmobile. Although it looks like a children’s book, this graphic novel is for grown-ups. One night, Alexandra goes out for a walk and discovers a wayward Winnebago. She goes inside and discovers a kindly old librarian and a collection of every book she’s ever read, including her diaries.

After that evening, Alexandra becomes obsessed with finding her own personal bookmobile library. It is years before she finds it again. Meanwhile she slips into a life of solitude spent reading and working as a librarian. She hopes to get the job of working on that magical bookmobile, even though that job comes at a very steep price. This is a haunting little story that is sure to capture the imagination of anyone obsessed with books and reading (and, of course, bookmobiles).

Mindy

Wordless Books*

When it comes to reading, I’m a literalist.

Reading is done by a reader who decodes a sequence of written symbols – a condition notably absent in other narrative media such as audiobooks or film. 

So what’s a literalist to do when confronted by a book without words? Shaun Tan’s The Arrival is an essentially wordless piece of narrative sequential art that I found both vibrant and moving. I got to hear Tan explain his work at a slideshow presentation during the Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival in 2008. What follows are my notes on his talk, mixed with my own impressions after “reading” his book. 

For someone who tells a story without using words, Tan is wonderfully articulate about his artistic vision and the techniques he uses to achieve it. The Arrival, he says, is informed by historic photography, the photo album, silent film, the graphic novel, and a sort of sea-world surrealism. His art is grounded in images from real life which he then adapts to make slightly strange in order to challenge our assumptions and cause us to slow down and look more deeply. The Arrival is largely about the immigrant experience, and it addresses such issues as identity, political oppression, displacement, community, and miscommunication. At times, Tan uses fantastic visual metaphors to communicate these themes, such as a tadpole-inspired creature to signify metamorphosis or ambivalence regarding community and environment. He says images can express things that are hard to articulate or that touch preliterate emotions; for example, children often cannot say what it is that’s bothering them, but they can illustrate it in a drawing. He said he tries to present the book as a world itself – not just a representation of the world as we know it. 

Tan noted that his book does have words – in his own invented alphabet – and the importance of being able to read comes up more than once in his story. But even without his linguistic symbols, this literalist would urge you to take a look at his remarkable book.

On a related note, Seattle’s The Stranger has awarded Jim Woodring its 2010 Genius Award in Literature for his book Weathercraft, noting that it is the first wordless book to win the award. I’m just now introducing myself to Woodring’s extraordinary artwork through a companion volume, The Frank Book.

Woodring’s often freakish and disturbing dreamscapes present a fantastic world with Moorish-style architecture and a variety of characters drawn in distinctly different ways. Frank, who looks somewhat like a Mickey Mouse woodchuck, bumbles aimlessly about his unpredictable world, sometimes in the company of the toaster-like Pupshaw and Pushpaw (who share a certain affinity with Shaun Tan’s tadpole-like creation mentioned above). Other characters include geometric chickens, Manhog, and floating oddities that resemble elasticized venetian glass bottle stoppers. These wordless stories include down-the-rabbit-hole escapades, out-of-thin-air manifestations, strange metamorphoses, and the consumption and expulsion of various life forms.

Ultimately, it’s a world too weird for words – you just have to see it for yourself.

UPDATE: November 5, 2010

I failed to mention the amazing woodcut novels of Lynd Ward. A 1966 reprint of his 1929 book Gods’ Man has been in the library collection for decades, and we just recently purchased the brand new two-volume Library of America set that contains all six of Ward’s woodcut stories. Gods’ Man was released the same week as the 1929 stock market crash and it is the first of six woodcut novels he was to release up until the beginning of World War II. You owe yourself a look at these. 

 *almost wordless

Scott