Monday, May 16, 2016

Nonfiction Graphic Novels

Many readers do not think about graphic novels as nonfiction resources, but there are many great memoirs and nonfiction graphic novels which combine educational enrichment with great art. Here are a few of our new nonfiction graphic novels available at the Peter White Public Library.  

Age of Selfishness: Ayn Rand, Morality, and the Financial Crisis
By Darryl Cunningham
Many people would not consider books about economics and philosophy to be engaging reads; however, in Age of Selfishness: Ayn Rand, Morality, and the Financial Crisis, Darryl Cunningham delivers a concise narrative of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of objectivism and it’s connection to the economic meltdown of 2008. For those unfamiliar with Rand and her philosophy, the book is broken down into three parts, “Ayn Rand”, a biography, “The Crash”, a look at Alan Greenspan’s interpretation of Rand’s philosophy and how it led to the 2008 financial crisis,  and “The Age of Selfishness”, an exploration of the aftermath of the meltdown and commentary of those who follow Rand’s philosophies and principles. Cunningham has written several nonfiction graphic novels including Science Tales: Lies, Hoaxes and Scams, How to Fake the a Moon Landing, and Psychiatric Tales. Be sure to check them out for intriguing and thought provoking reads.

Out on the Wire: the Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio
By Jessica Abel
Podcasts, downloadable radio like programs, have become increasingly popular as a way to hear interesting stories and learn more about a vast array of topics. Some tell narrative stories about fictional lands and are close cousins to old time radio dramas while others craft expertly researched and written news pieces. In Out on the Wire, Jessica Abel draws on the creative minds behind the podcasts Serial, This American Life, and Radiolab to explore the techniques and tricks of these impeccable story tellers. What is very interesting about this book is the use of the graphic narrative to explore an auditory experience. Author/illustrator Jessica Abel has been creating comics for over 25 years and uses her storytelling expertise to complement the master storytellers in the podcasts she explores. 

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace & Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer
By Sydney Padua
Breakout graphic novelist Sydney Padua’s The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace & Babbage takes a comical and informative look at the relationship between Ada Lovelace, Charles Babbage, and the first computational code. Many people have heard of Lovelace and Babbage in relation to computers, but this unique comic embellishes on their adventures while teaching the history and science behind their inventions. The art is wonderfully whimsical and Padua’s research, including biographical research and correspondences, provide a wonderfully twisted story for this alternative steampunk history. For those who like non-fiction with a fictional twist, this is a great graphic novel for you.

The Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures
By Phoebe Gloeckner
This autobiographical graphic novel is, at times, uncomfortable to read but presents a coming of age story many of us can relate to on some level. Meet Minnie Goetze, a fifteen-year-old girl growing up in 1970s San Francisco. Left to her own devices by her absent and narcissistic mother, Minnie dives into the adult world of drugs, sex, and out of control behavior. This mixed media graphic novel includes pages from a teenager’s diary, long form prose and traditional comic book panels. Graphic novelist Phoebe Gloeckner got her start as a medical illustrator and is currently a professor at the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design.

Steve Jobs: Insanely Great
By Jessie Hartland
Whether you own an iPhone, have seen the Steve Jobs movie, or love Pixar films, Steve Jobs: Insanely Great is a fast paced, in-depth look at the life of Steve Jobs. This graphic biography follows Jobs from his birth and adoption to his rebellious young adulthood and his relationships which challenged and complemented his intellectual prowess. While many biographies of Jobs’ life could seem more like computer science textbooks, what makes Hartland’s book accessible is it’s ability to seamlessly define and explain complex terms and theories with ease. The pages are jam packed with amazing illustrations and dense text. Geared to teenagers, this book is sure to impress and inspire teens and adults alike.

--Tracy Boehm, Technical Services Librarian 

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