Five Must-Read Graphic Novels for Adults

It's hard to deny that adult graphic novels, as a genre, have come into their own. Here are some of my personal favorites. Together, they capture much of the diverse array of creative and narrative possibilities being explored by contemporary artists and authors.

My Favorite Thing is Monsters (book one) -by Emil Ferris-
This title likely requires no introduction. First time writer Emil Ferris made big waves when this book was released earlier this year. With lush, intricate artwork, and with a haunting murder-mystery at its core, 'My Favorite Thing is Monsters' makes for a deeply compelling read. For more, check out this review from NPR's 'Fresh Air'.

California Dreamin': Cass Elliot before the Mamas & the Papas -by Pénélope Bagieu-
Few artists have received as much praise for their talent, or been as much of a target for body-shaming as 'Mama' Cass Elliot. 'California Dreamin'' gets behind the fame and the ugliness of the stories surrounding her death, and shows her as both a talented vocalist and as a human being. Click the link for a review from Paste.

The Torture Report: a graphic adaptation -by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón-
Drawing from the accounts detailed in the 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture conducted by agents of the US government, Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón bring the stark realities documented in the report to life in a way that mere words on a page never could. The brutality of these real-life events make 'The Torture Report' a tough read, but maybe that dose of reality makes it an essential read as well. Here's an exerpt at Slate, and a review from NPR.

The Museum Vaults -by Marc-Antoine Mathieu-
Mixing equal parts of fantasy and satire, 'The Museum Vaults' follows the adventures of an art expert as he delves ever deeper into an endless labyrinth underneath the Louvre in Paris. The illustrations are inventive, beautiful, and often downright eerie. Here's a review from The Guardian.

Lost Property -by Andy Poyiadgi-
While technically a part of our teen graphic novel collection, 'Lost Property' is a slim, stunningly beautiful work that will certainly speak to adults as well as it speaks to teens. When a man walks into a small shop, he is confronted with the realization that it is filled, exclusively, with every item he has ever owned and lost. Questions of why and how this has happened are quickly overridden by a more central one: what will he do with all the lost ephemera of his life, now that he's found it? Follow the link for a review from Broken Frontier.

Discuss "The Girl on the Train" Before Author Paula Hawkins Visits Ann Arbor!

Monday May 8, 2017: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Westgate Branch: West Side Room

Paula Hawkins, author of the wildly popular thriller The Girl on the Train, will visit Ann Arbor on May 17. Hosted by Nicola's Books, she'll be doing a reading and Q&A session for her new book Into The Water at Nicola's.

Join us for a discussion of this bestseller at AADL before meeting her in person!

"The Girl On The Train" tells the story of a woman who is privy to the inner lives of a couple, as she passes their house on the train every morning. She becomes obsessed with the beautiful woman and her husband, and involves herself in the case when the woman turns up missing.

AADL staff will lead a discussion of this psychological mystery. This event is cosponsored by Nicola's Books.

AADL Book Discussion: Hillbilly Elegy

Saturday May 13, 2017: 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch: Program Room

Join AADL staff and community members for a discussion of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance.

This fascinating and moving book is the author's own story of his family, and how he moved from poverty to a middle class life while battling the demons of his upbringing. The eye-opening book describes poverty in America from a first-hand perspective, and explains how growing up poor leaves a lasting effect.

Staff will lead a discussion of the book and related themes.

AADL Book Discussion: Hillbilly Elegy

Tuesday April 25, 2017: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Conference Room A

Join AADL staff and community members for a discussion of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance.

This fascinating and moving book is the author's own story of his family, and how he moved from poverty to a middle class life while battling the demons of his upbringing. The eye-opening book describes poverty in America from a first-hand perspective, and explains how growing up poor leaves a lasting effect. Staff will lead a discussion of the book and related themes.

Can't make this discussion? There will be a second session on on the same book and topic on Saturday, May 13 from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm at Malletts Creek Branch.

Advent Reflections from Michigan's Northern Woods with Author Gayle Boss

Saturday November 12, 2016: 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

Inspired by the landscape and animals of the north woods, Michigan author Gayle Boss writes with the heart of a poet in her new collection of Advent reflections All Creation Waits.

Twenty-five portraits meditate on how wild animals adapt to winter's darkness and cold, inspiring us with the ancient wisdom that darkness is not the end, but the way to a new beginning. Each reflection is accompanied by a striking and sensitive woodcut in deep blacks and brilliant whites by artist David G. Klein.

Be inspired with the beauty of winter and the natural world as Gayle Boss discusses how this unique volume came to be. She will also take a closer look at the gorgeous woodcut illustrations in large-scale.

This event will be held at AADL's Pittsfield location, overlooking the wetlands where many of the animals that inspired this volume find a home. This event will also include a book signing, and books will be for sale.

Washtenaw Reads Book Discussion: "$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America"

Sunday February 12, 2017: 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm -- Westgate Branch: West Side Room

This event is intended for grade 9–adult

AADL staff lead a discussion of $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin & H. Luke Shaefer, the book selected for Washtenaw Reads 2017.

After two decades of groundbreaking research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen before: households surviving on virtually no income, a level of destitution so deep as to be unthought-of in the world’s most advanced capitalist economy. Edin teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on surveys of the incomes of the poor, to discover that the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to one and a half million American households, including about three million children.

The result of their investigative teamwork is this book, which received much critical acclaim. "$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America" won the prestigious Hillman Prize for Book Journalism by the Sidney Hillman Foundation, was short-listed for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation and was named a New York Times Notable Book and a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice.

Copies of the book are available at area libraries and bookstores. For more information on Washtenaw Reads, visit the Reads website at wread.org.

Washtenaw Reads Book Discussion: "$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America"

Wednesday January 25, 2017: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for grade 9 - adult

AADL staff lead a discussion of $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin & H. Luke Shaefer, the book selected for Washtenaw Reads 2017.

After two decades of groundbreaking research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen before: households surviving on virtually no income, a level of destitution so deep as to be unthought-of in the world’s most advanced capitalist economy. Edin teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on surveys of the incomes of the poor, to discover that the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to one and a half million American households, including about three million children.

The result of their investigative teamwork is this book, which received much critical acclaim. "$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America" won the prestigious Hillman Prize for Book Journalism by the Sidney Hillman Foundation, was short-listed for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation and was named a New York Times Notable Book and a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice.

Copies of the book are available at area libraries and bookstores. For more information on Washtenaw Reads, visit the Reads website at wread.org.

Emerging Writers: Writing and Review Meet-Up

Monday October 16, 2017: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Westgate Branch: West Side Room

This event is intended for grade 6 - adult

Come with questions, a work in progress, or an empty notebook. All writers are welcome in this casual, supportive environment. Authors Bethany Neal and Alex Kourvo will be on hand to answer questions and give encouragement. This is an excellent opportunity to meet your fellow Ann Arbor writers as well as get feedback from published authors.

This is a monthly meet-up that welcomes all writers to ask questions, connect with other writers, or simply have a dedicated time and place to work on their projects.

Do you have a completed manuscript? Bring your work to a meet-up to be in consideration for the library’s new imprint, Fifth Avenue Press: fifthavenue.press.

Emerging Writers Workshop: Writing and Publishing Children’s Nonfiction

Monday October 2, 2017: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Westgate Branch: West Side Room

This event is intended for grade 6 - adult

There’s a world of children’s books beyond picture books and easy stories. Kids also read nonfiction on every topic you can think of. In this workshop, Bethany Neal and Alex Kourvo will be joined by author Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan, who has published numerous children’s books on everything from extreme mountain biking to how to start a dog-walking business. Virginia will share tips and tricks for writing the things kids want to know.

Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan lives and works in San Diego, CA where she directs the Liberal Studies program at San Diego State University. She writes for the Ann Arbor-based children's non-fiction company Cherry Lake Publishing. The library also has a unique deal with Cherry Lake and our library card holders have access to digital PDF copies of their books.

This is part of the monthly Emerging Writers Workshops, which offer support, learning, and advice for local authors. Each month, two weeks after the workshop, there is a meet-up where the instructors will read samples of your work and offer advice and assistance in a casual, supportive atmosphere.

Do you have a completed manuscript? Consider submitting it to the Library's imprint, Fifth Avenue Press: fifthavenue.press.

Emerging Writers Workshop: Living a Writer’s Life

Monday September 11, 2017: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Westgate Branch: West Side Room

This event is intended for grade 6 - adult

In our fast-paced world, finding time and space to write isn’t easy. Nor is it easy to conquer writer’s block, self-doubt, and distractions. In this workshop, Bethany Neal and Alex Kourvo will show you how to set up a realistic writing schedule, smash through blocks, and kick self-defeating behaviors to the curb. No matter your obstacles, it is possible to have a balanced, fulfilling writer’s life!

This is part of the monthly Emerging Writers Workshops, which offer support, learning, and advice for local authors. Each month, two weeks after the workshop, there is a meet-up where the instructors will read samples of your work and offer advice and assistance in a casual, supportive atmosphere.

Do you have a completed manuscript? Consider submitting it to the Library's imprint Fifth Avenue Press fifthavenue.press.

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