2018 Reading Challenge: Graphic Novels

Here's our first installment of our short guides to the 2018 Bookshelf Reading Challenge! If you've never read a graphic novel before, it can be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, the graphic novel genre offers so many different kinds of stories, from classic superheroes to literary memoirs. Here are a few of our favorites:


1. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (Alison Bechdel): Chris and Kate both enjoyed Bechdel's graphic memoir about her relationship with her late father (Chris even teaches Bechdel's books in his classes at FSU). In her memoir, Bechdel explores both her father's and her own decisions to come out to their family, as well as her upbringing in the funeral home run by her parents.

2. An Age of License: A Travelogue (Lucy Knisley): Kate and Annie both love Lucy Knisley's graphic novels. An Age of License is Knisley's illustrated journal documenting a trip to Europe. In contrast to the depth of Fun Home, An Age of License is much lighter. Annie also loved Knisley's other travelogue, Displacement, and Kate adored Knisley's food memoir, Relish

3. Last Things (Marissa Moss): One of Annie's favorite books of 2017, Last Things is a heartbreaking but beautiful graphic memoir about Moss's husband's diagnosis of ALS and his eventual passing. From the jacket: "This is not a story about the redemptive power of terminal illness. It is a story of resilience - of how a family managed to survive a terrible loss and grow in spite of it."

4. Nimona (Noelle Stevenson): Another of Chris and Kate's shared favorites! Nimona is the story of a shape-shifting girl named Nimona who appoints herself the sidekick to supervillain Lord Blackheart. This book is utterly charming. (Bonus recommendation: Noelle Stevenson was one of the creator's of Kate's all-time favorite graphic novel series - Lumberjanes.)

5. Black Panther, Vol. 1 (Ta-Nehisi Coates) and Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1 (G. Willow Wilson): It's difficult to choose one Marvel graphic novel to recommend, so I chose two. For those of you who are new to comic books, single issues are often collected in groups of 4-6 and published as books. Each of these books contains the first five issues of Ta-Nehisi Coates' Black Panther and G. Willow Wilson's Ms. Marvel. Both are favorites of Chris and Kate (you guessed it)! 

Let us know if you've read any of these, or if you'd like more graphic novel recommendations! We have plenty more where these came from. Happy reading!