Poets & Writers (July/August 2015) – The newest issues of Poets & Writers magazine contains a wealth of information and so many good articles. Favorites were about Detroit’s Inside Out literacy program, a blurb about a graphic novel version of Swann’s Way, “A Conversation with Four Literacy Agents,” and “Rethinking Poetic Citizenship,” which highlights how undocumented people are barred from the writing world. Overall, it was a great issue.
The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen (2014) – This graphic novel introduces us to The Pantheon, a group of 12 gods who are reborn every 90 years so they can inspire humanity, be pop culture icons, burn heavy, and die within two years. Our protagonist is Laura, a university student whose life revolves around the gods. At a concert for Amaterasu, she meets and befriends Lucifer and subsequently tries to help her when she’s framed for murder. It’s a fun, gorgeous series with great characters.
The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 2: Fandemonium by Kieron Gillen (2015) – This volume shows Laura dealing with the loss of Luci and trying to figure out if she does have any sort of godly powers. We meet several new gods, including Inanna and Dionysius, and the ending is amazing. This volume really ramps it up and turned me into a die-hard fan. Recommend recommend recommend.
ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times by Andrew MacLean (2015) – This short graphic novel details Aria’s, our protagonist, time on Earth as she attempts to locate an ancient article, rebuild a busted robot, flee from the insane and blood-thirsty natives, and keep her cat Jelly Beans from running off. It’s a fun little volume with expressive and engaging art. Its only problem is that there isn’t much character development (too short) and the ending seems forced. Still, quite good.
Tweed’s Magazine Issue 2 (2014) – The newest issue of Tweed’s focuses primarily on essays and interviews, often about Muslim, religious, and Middle Eastern topics. My favorite articles were “Who We Are” by Reza Aslan (seriously, look him up) and “Breaking the Code of Silence” by Lipika Pelham. I really loved the first volume, but I found this one a bit thin and light on the fiction, and the back third was actually pretty boring. They’re also having trouble getting out the third issue, so I’m worried this magazine won’t last. Still, I’d grab the first issue at least – it was incredibly good.
Saints (Boxers & Saints #2) by Gene Luen Yang (2013) – This companion graphic novel to Boxers followes Four-Girl, the unwanted daughter of a poor farming family as she tries to find her way, know her own worth, and discover Christianity. It’s through Christianity that she’s finally given a name, Vibiana, but her faith separates her from the rest of her family and puts her on the receiving end of the Boxer Rebellion. This is a great volume with a lot of empathy for both sides. I have to buy it and Boxers.
Iceland by Barbara A. Somervill (2013) – This short children’s book about Iceland gives us numerous quick facts about the country, including its history, its past and current publishing trends, its food, its holidays, and brief vignettes on Icelandic life. It was surprisingly informative and a great starter for information about Iceland, especially if you’re a child or largely ignorant about the country.
Hana-Kimi (For You in Full Bloom) by Hisaya Nakajo (1996 – 2004), ch. 60 – 91. At this point, the story is really revving up for something with both Mizuki and Izumi knowing that they love each other but not knowing that the other person loves them. We also meet Shin, Izumi’s younger brother, and the two go head-to-head at a high jump event. Finally, we’re about to meet the Sanos’ father and get some family drama. It’s all very exciting.
Ongoing manga series:
Shokugeki no Soma (Food Wars!/Soma’s Cooking Battles) by Yuto Tsukuda (2012 – ongoing), ch. 129 – 130. These two chapters chronicle the end of the Harvest Moon Festival when Soma unveils his final dish, the Lion’s Head, and finally gets to compete head-to-head with Terunori with his cooking. The ending is a bit trite, but it’s all good fun.