Check out this month’s staff picks from the Betty’s Books crew!
November Staff Picks!
In Ducks, Kate Beaton recounts two years she spent in her early twenties working to pay off her student debt in the oil sands in Northern Alberta. Through the lens of her own experience, Beaton conveys how the harsh capitalist environment brings out the worst in people–especially men. Anything vulnerable or delicate, such as the ecosystem, women’s bodies, or the pursuit of happiness beyond money are bludgeoned by the machines of industry and corporate greed. Though many of the stories Beaton shares center on specific people, her skillful critiques are of the systems harming these people rather than of the individuals themselves. The grayscale images take their time unspooling the everyday conversations and experiences she had as well as splashing massive machinery and stunning landscapes across the page. If you’re a Beaton fan like me, you’ll revel in finding Easter Egg references to Hark a Vagrant and The Princess and the Pony, and enjoy the familiarity of her humor and voice despite the stark and often gutting story unfolding. This book is a must read for fans of literary graphic novels and graphic memoirs. Even if you’ve only ever read Persepolis, Maus, and Fun Home, this graphic memoir should be next on your list.
This has got to be one of my favorite releases of the year. In reviews it had Alice Oseman, Molly Knox Ostertag, and Tillie Walden gushing, and for good reason! Thieves puts a unique, authentic sapphic romance at its center, but unfurling from that center is a vividly realistic portrayal of teenage-hood in all its clumsy, awkward fumbling. Lucie Bryon expertly takes these characters apart before allowing them to piece themselves back together in one of the most naturalistic displays of character development I’ve seen in a graphic novel in quite a while. I found myself rooting for these girls despite their many mistakes, almost like an older sister who knows she must sit on the sidelines letting a younger sibling learn from their errors. All in all, Thieves is a fantastic addition to the growing queer literary graphic novel canon, and one that I highly recommend for almost any reader.
Do you want to turn your brain off and live in a 70’s album cover during Thanksgiving? Then check out The Lone Sloane series by Phillipe Druillet. A breezy Euro read filled to the brim with nonsense and non-euclidean architecture as you follow Sloane and his attempts to get back to where he needs to be. It’s quite a head-trip to see you through this fall!
Going into this series I was expecting side stories and filler that didn’t add much to the actual world. Boy was I wrong. It takes off right where the series ends and expands so much into the world. Giving a lot of information and fun things to be added to the world of Avatar. Gene Luen Yang is an amazing creator that delivers amazing stories every time he puts pen to paper.
In the hilarious seventh book of this blockbuster graphic novel series, Narwhal wishes to see a unicorn — and actually becomes one!
When Jelly wonders what a unicorn is, Narwhal explains that they’re pretty much narwhals of the land (!) — and then gets carried away with a grand plan to see one. With the help of Star, Narwhal’s wish comes true in the wildest, weirdest way: Narwhal gets some land legs and takes their first step ashore. After some wibble-wobbling and a bit of practice, Narwhal is soon galloping along in search of unicorns, though Jelly is a little land sick. Before they know it, Star has the duo blasting off to a magical planet where everyone is a unicorn! But Jelly’s out-of-this-world adventure makes him feel out of his comfort zone, and he wishes he were at home . . . can Narwhal cheer Jelly up and also party down with their new unicorn pals?
From the celebrated team behind Creepy Carrots!, Aaron Reynolds and Caldecott Honor winner Peter Brown, comes a hilarious (and just a little creepy) story of a brave rabbit and a very weird pair of underwear.
Jasper Rabbit is NOT a little bunny anymore. He’s not afraid of the dark, and he’s definitely not afraid of something as silly as underwear. But when the lights go out, suddenly his new big rabbit underwear glows in the dark. A ghoulish, greenish glow. If Jasper didn’t know any better he’d say his undies were a little, well, creepy. Jasper’s not scared obviously, he’s just done with creepy underwear. But after trying everything to get rid of them, they keep coming back!