Mary Astor’s Purple Diary: The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936

mary_astor_purple_diaryThis book caught my eye because of the cover; yes I judge books by their cover. The author, Edward Sorel, is a cartoonist, illustrator, and caricaturist whose work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and many other magazines. Given his career he chose to do an illustrated biography on the actress Mary Astor after a serendipitous find while renovating his New York apartment in the 1960’s. I found it refreshing to read a bio where the author intersperses his subject’s life with anecdotes of his own; it gave a context to both. The fact that he illustrated it was icing on the cake. Many of the scandals we hear about in the entertainment field now are nothing new, it appears they have been around since there are been actors on stage – just a play being reworked and put back on view again for a new generation (Submitted by RZW)

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Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

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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Louis Riel by Chester Brown

Montreal author and illustrator Chester Brown presents the story of Canadian icon Louis Riel in this unique and gripping comic. This biography illustrates the struggles faced by the Metis people of the prairies, leading to two resistance movements against the Canadian government to form the province of Manitoba.  Brown has created an accessible and entertaining way to learn about an important part of Canadian history while also creating an exciting illustrated story that can appeal to any reader.  (Submitted by CB)

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