Graphic Novel · Nonfiction · Review

Zen for Beginners by Judith Blackstone & Zoran Josipovic

The Language Learning Challenge had a theme last month of reading about the history of the region, culture, or our target language. My target language of focus for the month was Japanese, so I tried to find books about that culture. I’m going to change up what I would typically write as only a review… Continue reading Zen for Beginners by Judith Blackstone & Zoran Josipovic

Graphic Novel · Nonfiction · Review

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle

After reading Hostage by Guy Delisle last year, I wanted to read more of his graphic novels, which brought me to Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea. This one focuses on the Delisle’s adventures while working at an animation studio in Pyongyang. He deals with corrections to animations, being followed everywhere, and seeing attractions and behaviors that glorify the leader of North Korea. This travel memoir gives an unsettling look at North Korea.

Contemporary Realistic Fiction · Graphic Novel · Review

Blue Is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh

Ever since I saw the review for Blue Is the Warmest Color on From Isi, I wanted to read it. Before this, I only saw the movie listed on Netflix. I checked the book out from the library and enjoyed it. In a colorless world, Clementine, a high school junior, has a family, friends, and a boyfriend she can’t reciprocate feelings for. She breaks up with him. Her gay friend takes her out to a gay bar where she meets Emma, the confident art student with blue hair. This event starts Clementine on the path of self-discovery and love. Narrated in diary entries, this graphic novel is a love story about two women in France in the ’90s.

Graphic Novel · Review

Ouran High School Host Club, Volume 2 by Bisco Hatori

Haruhi Fujioka is a scholarship student at a rich kids’ school who has to work for the Ouran High School Host Club to repay the debt she owes for breaking a priceless vase. On top of that, she has to keep it secret now that she is a girl. But now it’s time for physical exams. How is the club supposed to keep the doctors and their customers from finding out Haruhi is a girl? As the official start of a series plot, the second volume of Ouran High School Host Club, by Bisco Hatori, throws new issues at the Host Club to develop characters who did not get as much page-time in the previous book.

Contemporary Realistic Fiction · Graphic Novel · Review

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

One day in a programming class in Flagstaff, Arizona, a guest speaker visits to get the girls in the class to play as female characters in Coarsegold Online. Anda Bridge decides to play the game and quickly levels up in her guild by killing gold farmers for money. She meets a gold farmer, a person who illegally collects rare items and sells them to other players, from China and learns that life isn’t easy for everyone. In Real Life, by Cory Doctorow and illustrated by Jen Wang, examines a culture clash, workers’ rights, and a black market.

Contemporary Realistic Fiction · Review · Young Adult

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Eliza Mirk is a famous author of a webcomic, Monstrous Sea, but everyone only knows her as LadyConstellation. She is perfectly happy in her anonymous world with her online friends, her monsters, and her loving-but-confused family. All of this changes when the biggest Monstrous Sea fan transfers to her high school and tries to bring her into the real world. Francesca Zappia’s Eliza and Her Monsters depicts an introverted high schooler, with a few privileges, learns how to balance her needs and interests and how to interact with people off the internet.

Graphic Novel · Nonfiction · Review

Hostage by Guy Delisle

In 1997, Christophe André was working for a humanitarian NGO in the Caucasus when he was kidnapped and held hostage by some Chechens. He finds himself trapped in a room, handcuffed to a radiator, not knowing when he will be rescued from this Hell. While trapped, he thinks about possible escape plans, keeps track of the date, and entertains himself with his knowledge of world history. Guy Delisle recounts Christophe’s story as he was told it through a graphic novel.