When the going gets tough, get graphic novels!

“Pleasure reading should be pleasurable,” says librarian Jenny Arch in her blog Look out, honey, ‘cause I’m using technology “Not that you shouldn’t ever explore a new genre or try a book that you find a bit difficult, but if you’re 25 or 50 or 100 pages in and you’re just not that into it, then by all means, put it down and pick up something else instead! You have this librarian’s permission.” Unless you’re doing required reading for a class, she adds, there’s no sense driving yourself crazy with a book when you can be enjoying one instead.

It can be difficult to read a book your friend recommends when you’re swamped with school work. After hours with a textbook it can be hard to concentrate on an intricate novel or thought-provoking nonfiction. Are those books better left for summer reading, when you can give them your full attention?

Kemi Kodja, a finance major at UB who works at Langsdale Library, is now reading W.I.T.C.H., an Italian fantasy comic series written by Elisabetta Gnone, Alessandro Barbucci and Barbara Canepa. Kodja started reading the series for the second time in her life, this semester, after a UB writing professor asked her class to reflect on what made them love reading.

The first time Kodja read W.I.T.C.H., she was in third grade and living in Benin. Her edition was a French translation. After being inspired by her Writing

300 assignment, Kodja picked up her old French translation of W.I.T.C.H. and struggled to get through it with a French/English dictionary at her side. Mainly an English speaker now, Kodja ultimately decided to read the English translation of W.I.T.C.H. online.

Kodja likes shelving books at the library because it’s a great way to find new books to read. This time of the semester, however, she is feeling daunted by the pile of library books she has checked out.

Still Kodja wanted to stay on top of everything she had to do, so you can imagine how happy she was when she discovered The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need on Langsdale’s shelves. “The Adventures of Johnny Bunko” is America’s first business book in the Japanese comic format known as manga – and the last career guide you’ll ever need” says the graphic novel’s author, Daniel Pink, on his website. Entertaining as well as inspiring, the book can be read in an hour or two.

Readers can also find Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, another graphic novel on Langsdale’s shelves. Persepolis is considered a modern classic of the medium. The book is a memoir of a girl growing up during the Islamic Revolution in Iran. “…Full of

thematic imagery,” says book reviewer Rachel Fischer, in Library Journal. The family in Persepolis is fascinating, says Fischer. The main character is an outspoken and intelligent girl with Marxist parents. She also happens to be the great granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors. Persepolis could be an engaging way to explore memoir as well as social and political history along with human rights issues.

Similarly, students might want to check out Maus, the Pulitzer prize winning graphic novel by Art Spiegelman. Maus is a Holocaust survival story that explores the effects of experiencing the Holocaust. Other graphic novels at Langsdale include Gabba gabba hey!: the Graphic Story of the Ramones, Skim, a tale of growing up goth in the 90s and a graphic novel version of Romeo and Juliet.

To find more graphic novels at Langsdale Library, visit Worldcat at ubalt.worldcat.org.

And remember, you can always put down your book halfway through and pick up a different one.

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