I spend a lot of time thinking about books.
This probably isn’t surprising, for anyone who knows me, and I do devote a lot of time on this blog to reviewing books I’ve read and listing how many books I read each year.
Now that I’m at the tail end of my graduate publishing program, though, I’ve got enough of a foothold with my friends to know what sort of books I should loan them. A couple days ago, I loaned out a few books to a friend that I really enjoyed, and in the name of sharing a wide array of voices and experiences, I tried to pick almost all books about or write by diverse authors.
There were a lot of books in the bag I handed her, so I can’t remember all of the titles I included, but you can read a little about three graphic novels I loaned her after the jump.
Battle Royale: Angels’ Border by Koushun Takami
I am… embarrassingly in love with the cult classic novel Battle Royale from the turn of the millennium. I’ve even written about it. Battle Royale is the story of a class of ninth graders set to participate in the titular death match, and it introduces readers to each character’s life, circumstances, and desire to live — often right before their life cuts short.
The friend I loaned the books to recently read Battle Royale for the first time (largely because I gave her a copy), and I thought she might enjoy Angels’ Border, a manga that follows — in more detail — the lives and motives of the girls in the lighthouse. I’d reviewed the manga in the past, and in my opinion it’s a great continuation of the story.
For those readers who haven’t seen the 2001 film, you should check it out. It’s available now on Netflix.
Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson
I’m actually pretty ashamed that I hadn’t read this any earlier, but I received a copy for Christmas and absolutely loved it. This was originally recommended to me by my friend Roman, who’s pretty good at recommending graphic novels.
The new Ms. Marvel is Kamala Khan, a second-generation American teenager at odds between feeling caught in her parents’ expectations, wanting the freedoms of other girls she knows, and knowing her family loves and cares about her. While I’m not Pakistani-American like Kamala, I really identified with her in many ways, from her side-eyes at the limitations her parents set for her because they weren’t raised in American culture to her frustrations with other high school students.
Even with the diversity of experiences involved in actually reading Ms. Marvel, G. Willow Wilson’s writing is hilarious, and I wanted to recommend it to my friend just for the humor of it.
The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
The third in what’s become a list of diverse graphic novels, The Complete Persepolis contains both volumes of Satrapi’s tale of her experiences as a young woman during the revolution in Iran. I’ve had this recommended to me many times — my copy is actually a gift from a friend — and it’s one of my favorite graphic novels that I’ve ever read.
Before I read Persepolis, I never really had a good understanding of the revolution, which happened in the 80s. But the graphic novel explains not only what happened during the revolution, but also takes a look at different effects it had later on.
I think Persepolis is a very important book to read, especially for people who just haven’t had the exposure to anything about Iran, which is why I really wanted my friend to read it.
What diversity-focused graphic novels do you think everyone should read?