Category Archives: Book Lists

Goth Books & Graphic Novels – an incomplete list

Novels

Anne Rice: The Vampire Chronicles, Mayfair Witches
Bram Stoker: Dracula, Lair of the White Worm
Ellen Schreiber: Vampire Kisses
Gena Showalter: Oh My Goth
Serena Valentino : Generation Dead
Neil Gaimal: Coraline, The Graveyard Book, American Gods, Anansi Boys, Neverwhere
L.J. Smith: Night World
Mary Shelley: Frankenstein
Mervyn Peake: Gormenghast
Edgar Allan Poe: The Fall of the House of Usher
H.P. Lovecraft: The Cthulhu Mythos
Edward Gorey: Gashlycrumb Tinies
China Mieville: Un Lun Dun
P.C. Cast: House of Night
Cherie Priest: Four and Twenty Blackbirds
Barry Lyga: The Astonishing Adventures of Fan Boy and Goth Girl, Goth Girl Rising
Laini Taylor: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Graphic Novels

Sandman – Neil Gaiman
Death: The Time of Your Life & The High Cost of Living – Neil Gaiman
Johnny the Homicidal Maniac – Jhonen Vasquez
Squee’s Wonderful Big Giant Book of Unspeakable Horrors – Jhonen Vaasquez
Gloomcookie – Serena Valentino
Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl – Roman Dirge
Oh My Goth – Voltaire
Courtney Crumrin – Ted Naifeh
Emily the Strange
Nemi – Lisa Mhyre
Hellboy – Mike Mignola
Locke and Key – Joe Hill
Clubbing – Andi Watson
The Crow – James O’Barr

Please feel free to suggest additional titles in the comments field.

The Holocaust: Graphic Novels

The term Holocaust, originally from the Greek word “holokauston” which means “sacrifice by fire,” refers to the Nazi’s persecution and planned slaughter of the Jewish people. The Hebrew word HaShoah, which means “calamity” or “devastation” is also used for this genocide.

The thought of what was wrought between 1933 & 1945, not just to the Jews but also to Gypsies, homosexuals, people with disabilities and many others is almost impossible to comprehend. It was inhumanity of a scale that dwarfs the imagination. I have known about what happened for years, it is taught in schools, many volumes have been written about what happened but until I visited the Holocaust exhibit at the Imperial War Museum several years ago, my knowledge was academic. Seeing the pile of shoes in the exhibit and the clothes worn by the inmates of the camps and everything else displayed there affected me so much that I am actually frightened by the thought of going back in to the exhibit.

In 2010 I was working for Brent Libraries and for Holocaust Memorial Day we were fortunate to have artist Maurice Blik a survivor of Belsen come in to Willesden Green Library to give a talk to a combined group from local secondary schools. I wept as I listened to him speak of his experiences as a child and the loss of his younger sister. He is a phenomenal artist and also a fantastic speaker.

That brings me on to graphic novels, it has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words and that is true of comic books. The belief that comics could be more than disposable entertainment had already begun to change when Art Spiegelman’s Maus: a Survivor’s Tale was published, but it was this book more than many of the other graphic novels published in the late 1980’s that helped change that supposition.

Maus is the tale of Art Spiegelman’s troubled relationship with his father Vladek, a Holocaust survivor, and, through his conversations with his father the story of his family’s experiences of Hitler’s Final Solution. In Maus the Jews were represented as mice, the Germans as cats (Katzies), the French as Frogs and so on. Maus has been described as ‘the most affective and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust’ by the Wall Street Journal and after over 20 years of publication it is still a powerful and moving narrative of the Holocaust and the effect it had on the survivors. Art Spiegelman won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 after the second volume had been published. A companion volume entitled MetaMaus was published in 2011.

 

In the pages of METAMAUS, Art Spiegelman re-enters the Pulitzer prize-winning MAUS, the modern classic that has altered how we see literature, comics, and the Holocaust ever since it was first published twenty-five years ago.
He probes the questions that MAUS most often evokes – Why the Holocaust? Why mice? Why comics? – and gives us a new and essential work about the creative process.

Auschwitz by Pascal Croci begins and ends in a squalid room in former Yugoslavia in 1993, another graphic novel rendered beautifully in black & white, Auschwitz is a fictionalized story of an elderly couple trapped in the midst of the civil war that presaged the breakup of Yugoslavia. They relive their memories of being trapped in Auschwitz and what they had to endure to survive. Pascal Croci interviewed a number of survivors to make sure that his story was accurate, and based a number of incidences within the book on events that happened to his interviewees during the war. Auschwitz is relatively short – only 70 pages of story but it is no less harrowing for its brevity, it also contains background information to the creation of the book, including extracts from transcripts of the interviews and a glossary of terms used.

 

 

Eric Heuvel is the author and illustrator of A Family Secret, using the ligne claire style of drawing pioneered by Herge the creator of Tintin to illustrate the book, he tells the story of Jeroen, who, while searching in his grandmother’s attic for items to sell at a flea market finds a scrapbook created by his grandmother in 1936. On enquiring about what it was about, Helena starts telling her grandson about her youth in Amsterdam in the 1930’s and the arrival of Esther, a young Jewish girl, and her family.
A Family Secret is a wonderful example of a family split apart by politics and duty, viewed from the perspective of Helena who is telling the story. Using a child’s view for the narration gives the tale of the invasion of Holland and the indignities heaped on the citizens of Amsterdam and the Jews in particular. Helena’s father was a police officer and after the German occupation he had to become involved in clearing the Jews from Amsterdam and one evening he has to round up Esther’s family.

 

The Search, also by Eric Heuvel is a companion volume to A Family Secret and tells the story of Esther, and what happened to her before and during the war. Both volumes are told via flashbacks from contemporary Holland and America and focus more on what happened to Jewish families during and after the war and how some survived.
Out of all the graphic novels I read it was A family Secret and the Search that affected me the most, I found myself welling up whilst reading, this was in part due to my being a massive Tintin fan and seeing similar much-loved artwork being used to illustrate a heartbreaking story, these books are also the most positive, sad as they are.

A Family Secret and The Search are published by MacMillan, Teaching guides for both books are available from the US site.

 
 
Not all the graphic novels are black & white, Marvel Comics published a five issue mini series called Magneto: Testament, this is the backstory of Magneto, the greatest foe the X Men have ever faced. At first I questioned the idea of wedging a comic book villain into the story of Auschwitz and the events leading up to the final solution. It is not a super hero story, it is a story of the Holocaust and a boy who has to grow up quickly in the midst of the most inhumane conditions to not only survive but save the woman he loves and himself.
Writer Greg Pak and artist carmine Di Giandomenico bring you this heartbreaking and historically accurate look at one of the most popular characters in the X-Men canon.
Magneto: testament also contains extensive notes at the back of the book about the creation of the book and historical facts about Auschwitz as well as topics for group discussion.

 
 

Marvel Comics is not alone in publishing a Holocaust comic book, DC Comics published the amazing what if… story by Joe Kubert, titled Yossel April 19, 1943.

In 1926 Joe Kubert’s family tried to emigrate to America, but owing to the fact that his mother was pregnant with him at the time, their request was denied. Fortunately not willing to give up his family tried again shortly after his birth and they were successful with their second attempt.
With Yossel, Joe Kubert imagined what his life would have been like if his family had not made their second attempt.
As he wrote in his introduction:

If my parents had not come to America, we would have been caught in that maelstrom, sucked in and pulled down with the millions of others who were lost…
The usual procedure in cartooning is to do the initial drawings with pencil, then to apply ink over the pencils with brush and pen. The pencil drawings are then erased, leaving only the ink rendering.
The drawings in this book are pencil drawings…

As a concept the idea of a comic book composed of rough sketches does not sound too appealing, but when you open the book that does not matter anymore! You forget that these are only rough sketches; the sense of movement in them is amazing. I think that so much vitality would have been lost if they had been inked and coloured.
Again this is a fictionalised account of what might have happened to Joe (Yossel) and his family had they not left Poland. The date in the title is significant; the 19th April 1943 is the date of the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The Germans thought that they would be able to put down the revolt by the by then starving Jews in the ghetto in three days, but they were in for a shock, although poorly armed and hemmed in the Jews resisted until the 16th of May making the Nazi forces pay in blood for each foot of ground they took.

I have recently come across two biographies involving the Holocaust, the first the story of Lily Renée who was fortunate enough to be evacuated to England but her story is no less interesting – her ordeal as a refugee in England was one shared by many who escaped. The second is the official graphic biography of Anne Frank, adapted from her diaries and other works documenting her families life in Germany and Holland.

lily-reneeIn 1938, Lily Renée Wilhelm is a 14-year-old Jewish girl living in Vienna.

Her days are filled with art and ballet. Then the Nazis march into Austria, and Lily’s life is shattered overnight. Suddenly, her own country is no longer safe for her or her family. To survive, Lily leaves her parents behind and travels to England.

Escaping the Nazis is only the start of Lily’s journey. She must escape many more times – from servitude, hardship, and danger. Will she find a way to have her own sort of revenge on the Nazis? Follow the story of a brave girl who becomes an artist of heroes, and a true pioneer in comic books.
 
 
 
 

Anne-Frank-graphic-biographyDrawing on the unique historical sites, archives, expertise and unquestioned authority of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, the New York Times bestselling authors Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon have created teh first authorised graphic biography of Anne Frank. Their account is complete, covering the lives of Anne’s parents, Edith and Otto, Anne’s first years in Frankfurt; the rise of Nazism; the Frank’s immigration to Amsterdam; war and occupation; Anne’s years in the Secret Annex; betrayal and arrest; her deportation and tragic death in Bergen-Belsen; the survival of Anne’s father; and his recovery and publication of her astounding diary.

 
 
 
 
Maus is already a staple in many library collections with the other titles not being as well-known but also deserving a space.
 
 
The Holocaust was not the only attempt at genocide in the 20th century, but it is the most well-known and reviled. To learn more about this and the Armenian Genocide, Rwanda, Darfur, Cambodia and others visit http://www.hmd.org.uk/

100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader

Courtesy of Bitch Magazine’s Bitch Community Lending Library

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Post of the Living Dead

I love and hate zombies in equal measure and for the same reason, they are the most frightening of all the things that go bump in the night! They were the first monsters to give me nightmares as a child – I blame Peter Haining who edited a book called Zombie back in the 1980’s. This was an anthology of classic and modern (for the’80’s) zombie short stories. Zombie lead me on to the novelisation of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead – In a world where life is a commodity, where survival is bought with guns, and where satisfaction is having free run of a department store, the dead will finally rule us all . . . this was the book that gave me nightmares, in my defence I was 12. That is me on the left, if you would like to become zombielicious go here: Diary of the Dead Facechanger Files

Zombies are back in fashion and have been for a few years now.

In YA novels you can read the Beautiful Dead series by Eden Maguire – Not alive. Not dead. Somewhere inbetween lie the Beautiful Dead.
jonasarizona

The first two books in the series have been reviewed on Teen Librarian and can be viewed here


The Enemy
& The Dead by Charlie Higson, two spine chilling books set in a London that we recognize but peopled by the survivors of a sickness that infected every parent, policeman, politician – every adult fell ill.

The lucky ones died. The others are crazed, confused and hungry.

Only children under fourteen remain, and they’re fighting to survive.

Now there are rumours of a safe place to hide. And so a gang of children begin their quest across London, where all through the city – down alleyways, in deserted houses, underground – the grown-ups lie in wait.

But can they make it there – alive?

Generation Dead by Walter Daniels

fohatForest of Hands and Teeth and the Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan The Forest of Hands and Teeth was also reviewed on Teen Librarian here

Monster Island by David Wellington

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Graham Smith is the story of Pride & Prejudice with added zombies (a post about classic & monster mash-ups will follow soon)

So Now You’re a Zombie: A Handbook for the Newly Undead
by John Austin

Not even the Star Wars Universe is free from the undead, Death Troopers by Joe Schreiber tells the tale of an Imperial Prison Barge that finds a derelict Star Destroyer floating in space. A baording party goes aboard to investigate but only half come back…

Not YA books but will still get a readership Max Brooks has written two books dealing with Zombies:

The Zombie Survival Guide a must-have guide to surviving the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse

World War Z – an oral history of the start, duration and aftermath of the Zombie Apocalypse


Zombies: a record of the year of infection by Don Roff is a detailed account on one man’s attempt to survive the Zombie Apocalypse.

Zombies have also lurched onto the pages of comic books, currently the best-known zombie comic series is The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman – possibly the most successful black & white comic book in the world today. The Walking Dead has also been turned into a televisions series and is currently being shown in the UK.

Other zombie comic books worth a look include:

Raise the Dead by Leah Moore and John Reppion.
Black Gas by Warren Ellis
Marvel Zombies

Booktrust Teenage Book Prize

The shortlist for the Teenage Book Prize was released yesterday.

Launched in 2003 to recognise and celebrate contemporary fiction written for teenager, the prize (which is judged by a mixed panel of adults and teenagers) has in the words of former judge Matt Whyman ‘fast become the benchmark for quality young people’s fiction in the UK.’

The Booktrust Teenage Prize 2009 shortlist is
:

Auslander by Paul Dowswell (Bloomsbury)
It’s 1942 and Peter is seized from an orphanage in Warsaw by Nazi soldiers, only to be classified as an Aryan and adopted by the prominent Nazi Professor Kaltenbach. Peter is expected to perfectly embody the values of the regime, but he has his own ideas on how to undermine its horrific pursuit of perfection.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Bloomsbury)
This chillingly fantastical tale is Gaiman’s first full-length novel since his internationally bestselling and highly acclaimed Coraline. Bod is alive…but his friends are not. Raised by ghosts, werewolves and other ethereal graveyard inhabitants, how will Bod reconcile the world of the living and the dead?

Ostrich Boysby Keith Gray (Definitions)
Left despondent after the funeral of their friend Ross, three friends – Kenny, Sim and Blake – steal Ross’ ashes and embark on an epic journey in search of a more fitting memorial. Described as a “modern classic”’ (Jake Hope, The Bookseller), this tale explores deep friendship and devastating loss.

The Ant Colony by Jenny Valentine (HarperCollins)
33 Georgiana Street is home to an eclectic and chaotic assortment of runaways and misfits. Their disparate lives only briefly cross paths as they each purse their isolated existence; no questions asked. Yet below the surface everyone has a secret to hide.

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant (Puffin)
Intrigue and eerie mystery lie at the heart of Grant’s captivating debut novel, which entwines ancient German folklore with contemporary life-changing tragedy. The disappearance of ten-year-old Katharina reduces the small German town of Bad Munstereifel to panic. Only young Pia is determined to discover the truth.

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness (Walker)
The second sci-fi fantasy novel in the ‘Chaos Walking’ trilogy and sequel to the Booktrust Teenage Prize-winning The Knife of Never Letting Go, this fast-paced thriller continues the adventures of Todd and Viola. Fuelled by tension and mistrust, the pair find themselves on opposites sides of a civil war in this work of dystopian fiction.

SelfMadeHero Press Catalogue

Myebook - SelfMadeHero catalogue 2009 - click here to open my ebook

Adult books for Teen readers

The following list is composed of adult books that are suitable for Teen readers. The list is dynamic and will grow as titles are added to it. If anyone has suggestions of titles that should be added please let me know at editor@teenlibrarian.co.uk

50 Cent From Pieces to Weight (Simon & Schuster, 2005)

Controversial? Maybe, but 50 Cent is still hot in hip-hop and one of the world’s biggest music stars. Dealing with his tough start in life, this autobiography presents some hard-hitting issues and is only suitable for older teens. Slick presentation and compact size make this a rare opportunity to provide an attractive autobiography that’s current enough to appeal to our younger customers.

Brooks, Max The Zombie Survival Guide (Gerald Duckworth, 2004)

This hilarious book guides readers towards developing the survival skills we’re all sure to need when that inevitable zombie invasion happens. Great for those into horror movies and/or satire, but references to firearms make this best for older teens.

Brown, Dan Angels and Demons (Corgi, 2003)

Not exactly new, but kids who got inspired by the publicity surrounding the Da Vinci Code movie release, may well want to check out Robert Langdon’s first adventure in this great novel.

de Mey, Jorgen The Action Hero Workout (Rodale, 2005)

A guide to looking great Hollywood style! This exercise manual is sure to appeal to teenage boys. Also listed in Bertram’s Pimp My Read promotion (best name for a reading promotion ever!)

King, Stephen Cell (Hodder, 2006)

Mobile phones and zombies – what other combo could get kids to grab a book this big? Add the clout Stephen King still carries as a world renowned horror author and you’ve got a great reason to buy an extra copy of this adult title for display to older teens.

Ross, Alex Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross (Titan, 2005)

This lavish art book will grab the attention of creative teenagers or those that enjoy graphic novels. In fact this impressive, large format volume looks so good from cover to cover that it’s hard to resist a sneaky peak at it when its actually not on loan. Undeniably stylish, this book demonstrates a willingness to try something different.

Sparks, Nicholas The Notebook (various editions)

Got a copy of this that’s not issuing in Adult Fiction? Well – transfer it to your teens area where movie loving kids, especially girls, will snap it up. The film version was a big hit on DVD and remains popular with a young audience who are propelling it towards becoming a cult romance of Dirty Dancing proportions.

Books about Manga

<p>Add a little extra buzz to your manga collection with some books about the genre to complement the actual manga you provide!  Here are some suggestions!</p>

<p><b>The Art of Drawing Manga</b> by Ben Krefta (Foulsham, 2003)</p>

<p>This attractive large format book looks great on display shelves.  It also gives easy to follow step-by-step instructions that can get pretty much anyone drawing great manga style pictures!</p>

<p><b>Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics</b> by Paul Gravett (Laurence King, 2004)

This in-depth exploration of manga is great for devout otaku who want to learn more, but the lavish artwork throughout makes this an attractive prospect for the manga-curious too.</p>

<p><b>The Anime Companion (volumes 1 and 2)</b> by Gilles Poitras (Stone Bridge, 1999/2005)</p>

<p>Part of what appeals to many manga readers and anime viewers is how uniquely Japanese the images and stories are.  These books help otaku decipher the cultural references that are predominant in most series and give everyone else a unique insight into why anime and manga appeal so much to so many!</p>

<p><b>Digital Manga Tecniques</b> by Hayden Scott-Baron (A&C Black)</p>

<p><b>Draw Manga</b> by Sweatdrop Studios (new holland)</p>

<p><b>Drawing Manga</b> by Selina Dean (harper collins)</p>