November Book Club Selections!
Fall is definitely here and it gets dark early now, so what better way to spend your evening than to curl up with a good book? Well, you could also go to a Comic-Con International Graphic Novel Book Club meeting and talk about that book! Here’s what our groups read in November.
The downtown group got on their bikes and delivered the news about Paper Girls, the multi-Eisner Award-winning (Best New Series, Best Penciler/Inker) series by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang. The series focuses on a quartet of 1980s teenagers who encounter strange invaders during their morning paper route. They band together and travel through time to get to the bottom of what’s keeping them from making their appointed rounds. Our group, moderated by Marielena, pretty much universally loved Girls, including Chiang’s art, Matt Wilson’s coloring, and Vaughan’s twisty-turny coming-of-age, sci-fi and 1980s-filled storyline. Everyone remarked on the similarities to Netflix’s Stranger Things (Paper Girls was first!) and professed their love for both. And many remarked on what has become a trademark of Vaughan’s Image books: that moment when you turn the page and encounter a big 2-page spread that takes you somewhere you just weren’t expecting to go! The final verdict: we’ll all get up at dawn to ride with these Girls again and again.
As the year winds down, the Mission Valley Book Club headed to university with Giant Days. Written by John Allison and Whitney Cogar with art by Lissa Treiman, Giant Days follows 3 college freshman— happy-go-luck Daisy, cynical Susan, and Goth Esther—as they navigate the trials and tribulations of their first year away at school. Drawn like a delightful Disney cartoon, with the wit and repartee of a Joss Whedon show, Giant Days was a hit with the group. Led by moderator Christy, the group delighted in reading a comic that focused on women, and many were surprised to realize a woman didn’t write it. Everyone had fun discussing the characters’ different foibles and found themselves reflected in the characterizations and scenarios. Stories of college days (both past and present) were exchanged over delicious treats and, as a good comic should, everyone was brought closer together upon discussing it.
For the month of November, North Park selected Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods to coincide with All Hallows Eve. It definitely supplied some creepiness and got everyone in the Halloween spirit! The book contained five short stories, along with an eerie introduction and conclusion. The group, led by Adrienne, widely agreed that the art was mesmerizing and arguably contributed more to the book than the stories. Each illustration had an ample amount of detail and readers could tell how well they were thought out. While some would have preferred for the stories to have more definitive endings, others liked how it was left up to the reader to decide what ultimately happened.
Although there were varying opinions on which stories were the creepiest, the conclusion was the most unsettling part for some members since it took a classic children’s story and ended it in a much scarier way. Also, the book discussion lead to some fun conversations pertaining to childhood memories and recommendations for eerie horror films, shows and books.
The group’s December pick is Daytripper by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá.
The La Jolla group tackled the Eisner Award-winning Southern Bastards by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour. Southern Bastards takes us into the deep south—rural Alabama—and more importantly into where football rules. The story opens with the homecoming of a former citizen of the town who returned to take care of some family business, only to find that nothing had changed and he felt that he needed to clean house. Moderator Gary led the group, which discussed if we felt the story was believable and how much a town was willing to actively ignore what was going on if it meant they would have a winning team. The group felt the art and coloring really added to the gritty feel of this Southern-fried crime story. We also thought that the different shading for flashbacks helped avoid any confusion with the story line. Most people enjoyed the first story arc better, as some felt the second arc focused too much on football even though we agreed you did not have to be a football fan to enjoy this series. Many in the group are going to keep reading this.
In December, all 4 book clubs will get together and read Monstress, vol. 1, written by Marjorie Liu and illustrated by Sana Takeda.
We hope you give the gift of books during this holiday season. Remember your local comics shops and libraries, too!