Solanin is a young adult manga written by Inio Asano. First written in 2006, it has been reprinted last year with an additional epilogue. Solanin is a critically acclaimed manga that depicts the lives of twenty-something millennials living in Japan. The characters in the book have recently graduated from college and are attempting to find themselves and their place within Japanese society. The prescient ennui of fretting by the characters for their futures within Japanese society permeates this manga. The characters battle between what is expected of them by society and what they feel they should be doing with their lives. At first the protagonists feel the choice is binary; either they should grow up and get jobs or drop out and fulfill their passion for music. By the end of the manga we have observed the character’s growth through personal loss and see them triumph over the need to feel alive because they have recognized that their daily actions do have meaning. (Submitted by Shane)
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Wow, I am so grateful that I am alive now, in a time where buzz words like truth and reconciliation and people suggesting what to read for Aboriginal History Month is occurring. However Aboriginal History Month is in June and this is something to be read now and reread often.
I just finished reading Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection. Volume 2 (after I read Vol. 1 of course) and I just can’t wait to share these amazing Graphic Novels with everyone. These must read works are all about NOW with a never before seen collaboration of top names, Buffy Saint-Marie, Richard Van Camp, Tanya Tagaq, Jeffrey Veregge, Elizabeth LaPensée, Ph.D, and so many more. One can just skim through and enjoy the art or a quick 2 page story. Or immerse yourself in top notch art and wordsmith, this is fun, this is challenging, you just might learn something and if you are still hungry for more the forward, introduction, afterword and biographies are eloquent and bursting with information and hints on where to find more work from all of these amazing creative minds as well as how to be an alley and support more works like this.(Submitted by Inti)
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This short graphic novel was written in 2008. It is hard to believe the beginning of the Great Recession is almost 10 years old. For most Millennials this is a forgotten period. Stargazing Dog, written at the start of the economic crises, takes us on a journey about two lives caught up in the economic uncertain time. One is a divorced middle aged man and the other a middle aged Shiba Inu. We usually think of the economic crises of the last decade as effecting mainly North America but this story is set in Japan. As the author states it was written to challenge the theory of “adapt or die”. No doubt this is the saddest graphic novel I have read and is a must read for anyone who has loved a dog. It is a short, but extremely powerful story which although can be read in a few minutes the impact it leaves will remain for some time. (Submitted by Shane)
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As she approaches her sixteenth birthday, Sabrina Spellman faces an impossible choice: accept her birthright and become a witch, or choose to live her life as a mortal and experience real love with her sweetheart, Harvey. A simple enough premise, but throw in two deranged aunts, an undead demoness bent on blood revenge, a talking cat with his own agenda, and a visiting cousin who may not be as innocent as he appears, the approach here is wildly thrilling. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina isn’t for everyone. For starters, it is incredibly dark: it deals with witchcraft, and not your run of the mill, Bewitched, wart on the nose, riding a broom kind of witchcraft, either: it’s more ‘bride of Satan,’ human sacrificing, end of the world inducing, demon unleashing, ancient ritual invoking kind of witchcraft, the kind that really spooks you through and through. The writing is incredible, the drawings are atmospheric and chilling, and as a super fan of the new CW show Riverdale, I was elated to see that there is a connection between Sabrina’s Greendale and Archie’s Riverdale universes. I couldn’t put this graphic novel down, and that’s saying a lot for someone who doesn’t particularly like graphic novels! I was so engrossed in this that I pre-ordered the next book. I can’t wait to follow this scary story even further! (Submitted by Mandi)
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Written in 2007, 5 Centimeters Per Second by Makoto Shinkai, is a Manga novelization of an anime movie by the same name. The manga is illustrated by Seike Yukiko. The story is set in the early 1990’s when cellphones and email have not gained widespread use. This is an important plot device in this tale of unrequited love, missed meetings, and miscommunication.
The protagonist is Takaki Tono who falls in love with Akari Shinohara when they are still in elementary school. The story follows Takaki’s loss of contact with Akari due to it being a long distance relationship and his journey trying to restart their communication and relationship into adulthood. (Submitted by Shane)
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The Secret Path, written by Gordon Downie (from Tragically Hip) and illustrated by Jeff Lemire, devastated me, just reflecting on the tragic story of 12 year old Chanie Wenjack makes me want to cry. This book so beautifully and powerfully tells the story of his life and untimely death in October of 1966. And yet, it is books or art or the intricate dance of both, that heal and make us grateful that we allow ourselves to be tender, to feel, to cry, and to be real. To regret what was done in the past and be inspired to insure that the future is a better place for our children. My heart aches as I wish, with all of my being that I could travel through time and space, to help Chanie home: to be with his loved ones and to share Batman #189 with him in the summer of 1967.
The residential schools were a dark chapter in history, just like the concentration camps were a dark chapter in history, I am grateful for books that remind us of what I pray we as a world population moving beyond the mistakes of our past will never let happen again and inspire me for what we all can bring about in the next 150 years with respect, love and tears. (Submitted by Inti)
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This fun graphic novel received a laundry list of well-deserved awards in 2015 and is recommended for fans of Raina Telgemeier’s Smile. When twelve-year-old Astrid is dragged to yet another one of her single mom’s “cultural experiences,” it turns out to be roller derby, to see strong, empowered women. Astrid falls in love with the game and is sure her best friend Nicole will sign up for summer skate camp with her. But the girls are about to enter junior high and everything is changing. Nicole is interested in boys, makeup and ballet and she’s going to dance camp. Suddenly without her best friend, Astrid focuses on improving her (rather abysmal) derby skills so that she can play in a real bout. But does being so hardcore mean she’ll lose her new derby friend, Zoey? I’m intrigued by roller derby, so I really liked that the author plays for the Portland Rose City Rollers and used her experience to bring the game to life with costumes, terminology and cool names (Jamieson’s alter-ego is Winnie the Pow – how awesome is that?) (Submitted by Gayle).
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