1book140's August Reads: Vote for 2 Unmissable Graphic Novels
Choose two of six works in a visual format—one new and acclaimed, one relevant to current events—for our Twitter book club's August read.
A box labeled "stories," an apple by any other visual style, a black reporter passing with an assumed identity, and an illustrated guide to (almost) all literature are among the beautiful and evocative graphic novels up for vote at #1book140, our Twitter book club.
Readers have suggested several dozen amazing graphic novels to read in August. I should have expected it, since you tried to read four graphic novels in one month last time.
This month we're reading two books, so you get two votes. The first vote is on recent, notable graphic novels. The second vote is for more topical comics.
Vote twice, below. Voting closes Tuesday at noon. Once we select the books for August, I'll announce the results post a schedule here at The Atlantic and on our Twitter hashtag, #1book140.
Vote One: Notable Graphic Novels Within the Last Five Years
Building Stories by Chris Ware just won four Eisner awards at Comic-Con last week. The graphic novel comes in a box that includes 14 components that can be read in any order. If you vote for this, our reading schedule will almost certainly have to be an infographic. This story set in New York City is worth the effort.
Asterios Polyp, by David Mazzucchelli, is "a satirical comedy of remarriage" and "a treatise on aesthetics and design and ontology" according to Douglas Wolk in the New York Times. It's also gorgeous and showy; one page shows a single apple drawn in sixteen different visual styles.
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, TIME Magazine's book of the year in 2008, is a memoir set in rural Pennsylvania about the discovery that she was a lesbian and her father was gay. The TIME review calls it "a masterpiece about two people who live in the same house but different worlds, and their mysterious debts to each other."
Vote Two: Topical Comics
Incognegro by Mat Johnson is the story of a black New York reporter who takes on one last story, passing as white to investigate lynchings in 1930's South. Why is it topical? Trayvon Martin.
The Influencing Machine, by Brooke Gladstone and illustrated by Josh Neufeld, is one of the best, most readable introductions to the role of media in society. Gladstone is host of the weekly WNYC show On The Media, a show that explains and comments on everything from the state of health science reporting to the alleged bias of NPR. Why is it topical? Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning.
The Graphic Canon, Vol. 1: From the Epic of Gilgamesh to Shakespeare to Dangerous Liaisons edited by Russ Kick, illustrates around 60 famous works of world literature with art by a deeply talented team of artists including Will Eisner, Robert Crumb, and Molly Crabapple. If you vote for this book, we'll read the first volume in August. I'm buying the box set in either case.