30. April 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Multicultural Fiction

A Bride's Story #1 by Kaoru Mori, read by Courtney, on 04/26/2012

The first installment in this manga series takes us to nineteenth-century Central Asia where we meet a young groom, Karluk, and his older bride, Amir (8 years his senior). As is custom, she moves in with his family and succeeds in impressing everyone with her many talents (archery, cooking, etc.) and generally amiable disposition. It is unusual for a groom to marry a woman so much older, so this marriage is really more of a practical partnership than a love arrangement. In many cases Amir seems closer to a mother figure or older sister than a wife. Interspersed with the main story are lovely little episodes of daily life. The artwork is stunning; I haven’t seen such elaborate detail rendered in black and white in some time.

15. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Andrea, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Multicultural Fiction, Romance

Habibi by Craig Thompson, read by Andrea, on 03/14/2012

HabibiThere is not enough space or time to describe how much I enjoyed this book. I can pretty much see myself prattling on about this book for years to come. Chock full of symbolism, parallelism, comparisons and contrasts, Habibi (my love) is a tale of loss and pain, but most importantly (I know it’s cliche) the power of love. Dodola, a child bride, is captured by slavers who murder her older husband. On the run, she rescues a younger slave boy, Zam, and the two become refugees together. They find a wrecked ship they decide to call home in the middle of the desert between where they escaped and the large city/corporation of Wanatolia. Dodola raises Zam as her son, and to feed them both, she prostitutes herself to the caravans that pass by their hiding place. The bond between these two becomes unbreakable even when they become separated. The Arabic calligraphy throughout the book is very interesting and the connections made between reader and Thompson’s pen can pretty much (in my humble opinion) be described as nothing less than epic.

19. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Multicultural Fiction · Tags: ,

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, read by Angie, on 01/07/2012

This is a wonderful book about a young girl (Sal) coming to terms with her mother leaving her and her father. She relives her mother’s journey through a roadtrip with her grandparents and comes to terms with it through the story of her friend Phoebe. Phoebe is a bit crazy and overdramatic but I liked her as I liked all the characters in this book. It is a beautiful story about sorrow and loss and forgiveness. The language just flows so beautifully as you read it; you can almost hear someone telling the story to you as you travel. Very enjoyable.

19. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Multicultural Fiction

Habibi by Craig Thompson, read by Courtney, on 01/15/2012

Whoa. This was epic. On the surface, it’s a story about a young girl, Dodola, sold into slavery who manages to escape with a little boy, Zam, into the desert. She lives with and raises Zam for nearly 9 years, trading her body for food when the Bedouin caravans come by. They find a relative peace in the desert until Dodola is kidnapped by the Sultan’s men and brought to the palace as a consort. In his abandoned anguish, Zam sets off to find his beloved Dodola. His story becomes dark as well. By the time they meet again, they have both been through some of the worst times imaginable. From this sadness arises a new sense of hope and love.
So, the story is harrowing and intriguing, but it is also interspersed with stories from both the Quran and the Old Testament (often pointing out the differences in the details). It draws connections between the characters in the book and the spiritual personages to whom they feel connected. Themes of language, water and numbers are also prevalent throughout. This graphic novel is a rich tapestry that could give a college level class discussion fodder for weeks.