Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Best Two-Person Literary Costumes

It’s been two years since I last compiled literary Halloween costumes to spotlight on this blog. That’s how long it has taken me to recover from the sheer cleverness and creativity of those bookish ensembles. But recover I have, and now I’m hungry for more!

The aforementioned blog entry featured a costume of Dr. Watson, earning the “Best Supporting Costume” for excellence in accepting the role as living prop. What I failed to realize at the time was that I had unintentionally spotlighted Sherlock Holmes as well. That’s right. My “Top Ten” is really a “Top Eleven,” and I could have been sharing twice as much costumey goodness the whole time!  Well, I’ve learned from my mistake this year. Prepare yourself.

Good vs. Evil

One way to make your two-person costume set memorable is to pair up a protagonist with their antagonist. This works well for all ages and all types of relationships. That said, you better be comfortable in your relationship before you suggest that your significant other personifies absolute Evil for Halloween. Here are a few of my favorite literary Good Vs. Evil costumes:

Queen Jadis and Aslan from The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis

Many people are familiar with The Chronicles of Narnia, but I’ve found that The Magician’s Nephew, the first in the series, doesn’t get a lot of love. As a prequel, it focuses on the roles that Aslan and the evil Queen Jadis (who later becomes the White Witch) play in the creation of Narnia. Lewis wrote it shortly after completing The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to answer a friend’s question about the conspicuously modern lamp-post in Narnia. I guess it’s easy to forget about the prequel once the Pevensie children burst through the wardrobe, gallivant around Narnia, and become kings and queens.

These costumes take inspiration from the movie adaptations, but I don’t fault them for that. What I appreciate about this set is that, separately, each individual has a great costume. No need to stick by each other at all times so that others will get it! Of course, Aslan would just be a lion at that point.

Ursula and Ariel from The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen

Most people are familiar with The Little Mermaid from the popular 1989 Disney adaptation, which these costumes epitomize. That’s probably for the best, as Hans Christian Andersen’s original tale is much darker than its animated counterpart. In fact, I would advise anyone who loves happy endings to keep some distance from Andersen’s works. They tend to be downers.

These costumes, however, are delightful. The only thing better than being a villain for Halloween is making your little sister be the villain for Halloween!

But, in all seriousness...  Can you imagine the patience and perseverance one must possess to even attempt to completely paint a toddler’s face like that? 

Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf from the classic children’s fairy tale

One surefire way to make an impression on Halloween is to dress as a character that is immediately recognizable to everyone. Fairy tales are ideal for this tactic, because they have been handed down through the generations for centuries. Red Riding Hood, for example, was popularized by the Grimm Brothers, but its origins can be traced back to a 10th century Italian folk tale. Stories don’t hang around that long if they don’t make an impact.

We have another sibling rivalry on our hands with these costumes, and again the younger child is the arch adversary. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that this a tried-and-true recipe for adorableness. If these two were trick or treating at my house, I would probably upend my candy bowl into their bags and call it a night.

On the Same Side

Another workable option for a 2-person costume set is to be teammates! Whether your aim is to display closeness and camaraderie or simply to discourage animosity among small children, being on the same side as your costumed companion can be just as fun as pretending to be enemies. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

Thing One and Thing Two from The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

As the younger of two children in my family, I am very familiar with Thing One and Thing Two. Those were among the nicknames used by my parents for my sister and me (and the parents of all two-child households, I imagine). You can’t really fault them, as the Things are the spirit of young children cast in ink—wild and carefree, with a penchant for chaos. As long as parents don’t store their children in a large red crate like the Cat does, it’s all good.

Check out these little ladies’ interpretation of the Things. I love when people get creative by adding their own flair to a character’s appearance while remaining loyal to the original design.

No, the Things did not wear bows or tutus in the book, but now I kind of wish they had.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Where the Main Character is a Law Enforcement Officer

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme started on the Broke and the Bookish blog.
They set the topic, we make the lists. Visit their site to see more on this topic
This could be a pretty straightforward list, since a large proportion of the mystery novels published have this as a feature. At points I’ve tried to interpret my brief kind of expansively, if only because I think it will make things a bit more interesting, but at an even more basic level I’ve tried to find books that do something either different than the run of the mill in this genre, or do it better than them. It’s easy to write a detective novel (just come up with the ending and work backward). Writing something that takes the reader somewhere new within this format is something else altogether.

1. P. D. James, Devices and Desires
P. D. James was probably the best known British mystery writer of the 20th Century (not named Agatha Christie). A very large proportion of her books were dramatized by the BBC, in addition to being pretty much instant bestsellers. Her main character, Adam Dalgliesh, is a poetically inclined police commander. He’s interesting because he’s more soulful than your average homicide cop, with a team of crack investigators working with him. Devices and Desires is set on the bleak Norfolk coast and is one of those novels about otherwise respectable people living lives of quiet desperation (or lingering hatred) who finally snap, but do so in secret. As with all of James’s novels (this is the 8th Dalgliesh novel but you don’t have to read them in order) it’s carefully plotted, but more about looking into human souls and finding out what motivates people. Of all the detective series in the world, this gets my vote as the best.

2. Dan Fesperman, Lie in the Dark
This is one of those books that I try to recommend to as many people as possible, since it seems to have flown under a lot of people’s radar. It’s set in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war, an interesting place to set a murder mystery since at that point the value of individual human lives was at a pretty low ebb. Vlado Petric is a homicide investigator living in a partially bombed out house and trying to keep his department functioning in a society that’s falling apart. The central problem of this book is the question of what counts as a murder in the middle of a war and how can people be held accountable to civilized law at times when occupying armies can decide to ignore laws altogether. This is a dark book that stretches the concept of the murder mystery in interesting ways.

3. Craig Johnson, The Cold Dish
Set in the fictional Absaroka County, Wyoming, Johnson’s The Cold Dish is the first in his series centered on Sheriff Walt Longmire. I really love these books (and the television series first done by A&E and then picked up by Netflix). They have a sense of place that suffuses every pore. The county seat adjoins a Western Cheyenne reservation, and Johnson’s books draw a lot of interesting material from the ways that the problems of the reservation and those outside it interact. If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to live in the small town west, or if you’ve ever lived there and want to go back, these are great books to get you there.

4. Kim Stanley Robinson, New York 2140
New York 2140 is a work of speculative sci-fi, set in a point in the medium term future in which the seas have risen to such a point that the lower half of Manhattan has been swamped. Robinson includes several overlapping plotlines, one of which centers on an NYPD inspector, Gen Octaviasdottir, tasked with investigating corruption in a city in which the rising seas have created some question about which rules apply where. This is one of the leading exemplars of a new genre that’s being called “climate fiction,” in which sci-fi engages in the thing that it does best, throwing out ideas about how future changes might interact with the way that people live now. New York 2140 moves at the pace of a thriller, and it has a lot of interesting stuff over and above the law enforcement, but it all fits in to the theme of how the rules of the game will change when the board it’s being played on gets rearranged.

5. Ian Rankin, Knots and Crosses
Getting back to the soulful detective theme, Ian Rankin’s John Rebus is one of those beautifully flawed characters that are a feature of modern detective fiction. He’s a former paratrooper who has problems with alcohol, perhaps not so bad as others one could name (such as the occasionally comatose Jack Taylor from the series of novels by the Irish writer Ken Bruen), but it does complicate matters. He also has serious problems with authority, and negotiating his relationship to his superiors is a big theme of these books. He has remarkably expansive taste in music. Lots of homicide investigators are portrayed as listening to jazz as a shortcut to making them seem deep. Not that many are shown passing out to the dulcet tones of Mogwai. Knots and Crosses is an entertaining mystery with a creepy serial killer at its center and the dank and dirty street of Edinburgh as its backdrop. Another great thing about this book is that, if you like it, there are 20 more in the series.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Top Ten Books on Mary and Ariel's Fall TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme started on the Broke and the Bookish blog.
They set the topic, we make the lists. Visit their site to see more on this topic

Secrets in Death – JD Robb
Just out September 5, is Robb’s 45th In Death book… and I have read each and every one of this futuristic police romance series. The series revolves around Eve Dallas, a NYC police lieutenant. In Secrets in Death, Eve is having dinner with a colleague when Larinda Mars, gossip columnist and blackmailer, is murdered in the restaurant. Even though Eve disliked Larinda, she is intent on finding the murderer and seeing justice done. (FYI: JD Robb is a pseudonym for Nora Roberts.) 

Empty Grave – Jonathan Stroud 
On September 12th, the fifth book in the middle-grade Lockwood & Co. series was released. Lockwood and Company, the preteen ghost hunting agency, wants to know if Marissa Fittes’ body is in the family mausoleum or if there is something nefarious going on. So, the group is going to break in and see if the body is still there or whether is it an "Empty Grave." The Lockwood and Co. books are a fun romp following a group of preteen ghost hunters (because only the young can see ghosts) and it is entertaining watching them try to handle the duplicitous world of ghosts and adults. 

Archangel’s Viper – Nalini Singh 
September 26th heralds the release of the 10th book in Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series. These paranormal romances follow the relationships between New York City’s humans, vampires, and the archangel who rules them all. Archangel’s Viper takes a look at Sorrow, a human who was bitten by a deranged angel and who now is developing strange unknown powers, and Venom the vampire charged with watching and protecting her. While these books should probably be read in order, I anticipate the 10th book in the series to be a wonderful, fun, well-written, slide into romance.   

This Darkness Mine – Mindy McGinnis 
Oooooh. I love Mindy McGinnis. She has an amazing way of writing dark fiction and I am breathlessly anticipating her new teen contemporary novel coming out on October 10th.  In This Darkness Mine, Sasha Stone loves her perfectly normal life. The only abnormal thing that has happened to her occurred before she was born, when Sasha absorbed her twin sister in the womb. But, soon Sasha starts having blackouts, losing time, and having memories of things she would never do. What is happening?  How did Sasha’s life become not quite so perfect? 

Language of Thorns – Leigh Bardugo 
Leigh Bardugo is known for writing image rich fiction, which tell fantastic tales that stir the soul. Language of Thorns is Bardugo’s collection of 6 short fairy tale retellings. I am very excited to see what tales she is going to twist up into well-written and engaging pretzels. 

Into the Bright Unknown – Rae Carson 
October 10, the 3rd (and final) book in the Gold Seer Trilogy (Teen) is going to make an appearance. This fantastic historical fiction series is set during the Gold Rush, where Leah Westfall’s ability to sense gold has helped her and her friends find rich land in California Territory. But, people want to use Leah’s ability and keeping the land they have staked will be a dangerous adventure. I really enjoyed the first two books in this series. I don’t normally like historic fiction, but the characters and adventure keep you reading. I am really looking forward to seeing how this series concludes. 

John Green is one of my favorite people in existence, so I’m pretty excited to read his newest novel when it comes out in October. Like his mega-hit The Fault in Our Stars, this books centers around a teenage girl who is struggling with illness. In this case, the protagonist, Aza Holmes, is investigating the disappearance of a billionaire with her best friend Daisy, while also coping with obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety. It should be a fascinating read, as Green revealed in 2015 that he has struggled with these exact illnesses since childhood. I anticipate that Turtles will be his best novel yet.

This one has been on my TBR since it came out in May. Touted as Pretty Little Liars meets The Breakfast Club, the book starts with five students entering detention, each representative of a different high school stereotype. However, instead of bonding and giving each other makeovers to the tune of cheesy '80s music, one of the students winds up dead by the time detention is over. Each of the other four students has a plausible motive, so they become the prime suspects. As the title suggests, one of them is not being entirely truthful. Who doesn’t love a good mystery?

When I was in middle school, I went through a phase where I was obsessed with space. This obsession was dashed one day when, looking up at the night sky, I felt an overwhelming claustrophobia and had a mini existential crisis. Then, I took a physics class in high school and discovered it’s not exactly my strong suit. Nowadays I just love learning, and I think I’m ready to tackle the topic of space again. Like Carl Sagan and Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson is devoted to explaining the wonders of science in layman terms, so I trust him to guide me on this journey!

Stephen Colbert’s Midnight Confessions by Stephen Colbert
This humorous book is based on the popular recurring segment from The Late Show, where host Stephen Colbert pokes a bit of fun at his real-life Catholic faith by “confessing” his “sins” to his audience, under the pretext that his busy celebrity status prevents him from going to real confession on a regular basis. Of course, these confessions are really jokes for a comedic late night television show. For example, one of my favorites is: “If I'm really honest with myself, I'm never quite ready for some football.” It’s one of my favorite segments on any show, so you can imagine how excited I was to learn there will be a book that collects and illustrates some of Colbert’s favorite confessions as well as confessions submitted by his audience members.  

Rhett & Link’s Book ofMythicality by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal
I am super excited about this one, you guys. Every morning, I am among the hundreds of thousands of people who tune in on YouTube to watch Good Mythical Morning—a daily talk show made by the “Internetainers” Rhett and Link. Now, these award-winning best friends and comedians are putting out their first book! With the subtitle “A Field Guide to Curiosity, Creativity, and Tomfoolery,” you know you’re in for a good time. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Top Ten Books of my Childhood/Adolescence

Throwback Freebie- Top Ten Books of my Childhood/Adolescence

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme started on the Broke and the Bookish blog.
They set the topic, we make the lists. Visit their site to see more on this topic

We all have those books from our childhood that influenced us or even shaped us into the adults we are today. When I started putting this list together, I was surprised at how easy they all came back to me. Starting with the picture books I remember my mom reading to me up to the books that I would sneak and read during class in middle school, these are the top ten books that influenced me in my childhood and young adulthood.

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
This book is the earliest memory I have of my mother reading to me. Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare compete to see who loves who the most. It is such a sweet story to share with a little one you love. When I had my son it was the first book I bought for him.

Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister 
I am not sure where I first encountered this book, but the story of the little fish who gives away all of his beautiful, glittery scales in order to make new friends has stuck with me. It has a great message about giving to others.

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder 
It actually surprised me that this book came to mind when I was contemplating this list, but I remember really enjoying it as a kid. The Ingalls family’s everyday life on the prairie was somehow captivating to me at that age. I still tend to recommend this series to children looking for historical fiction.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
I distinctly remember this story as my first experience with an audiobook. I was in the fourth grade and we listened to the book on tape as we followed along in physical copies. I remember the fantasy aspects of this well-known novel really having an impact on me at the time; along with the audiobook narration, this story came to life for me.

Are you there God, it’s me Margaret? by Judy Blume 
I discovered the amazing work of Judy Blume at the age when life starts rapidly changing. Are you there God, it’s me Margaret? has controversial themes like religion, puberty, and sex. Because of this, it has been frequently challenged as inappropriate for young readers. But as someone who read this during my preteen years, I think this book provides an important resource for girls with questions about the changes that take place at that age.

Blubber by Judy Blume
Another influential book by Judy Blume, Blubber, may be the book that impacted me the most as a child. Bullying has become more talked about in recent years but it is not a new concept. This book tackles this tough issue when a heavy set girl named Linda is nicknamed “blubber.” This book hit home for me as a child who struggled with weight gain.

Holes by Louis Sachar  
I actually read Holes after seeing the movie adaptation in middle school. I don’t know how I missed out on the book up until then but it is so much better than the movie. I wish I had been able to experience the story in book form first, but the impact was still there.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
There isn’t much to be said here. I was a child in the era of Harry Potter and these books, especially the first in the series, made me love reading even more then I already did. My experience with these books is similar to so many others my age, and kids are still being entranced by them today.

The Body by Stephen King
In stark contrast to the rest of this list, the next two books are of the horror variety and are both written by Stephen King. Stand by Me was my favorite movie from around the age of 10 and to feed my obsession my mom introduced me to The Body, the short story that the movie is based on. This story is not as scary as most of Stephen King’s work, it is much more about a group of best friends coming of age together. I still love the movie and the story and will revisit them periodically.

IT by Stephen King
Once my mom introduced me to Stephen King I was hooked. He is her favorite author and quickly became mine. I read IT around the age of 12, too young probably, but the kids in the story are around that age and I identified with them. That said, the book terrified me and kept me up at night on several occasions. The 1990 TV movie with Tim Curry was also a favorite of mine. I just recently saw the remake that came out this month and it was scary, fun, and the kid actors are amazing.

So there you have it, my childhood in books. What books defined your childhood?

~Ragan S.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Librarians' Line-Up: Favorite Recent Non-Fiction Read

For this round of the librarians' line-up, we're talking non-fiction. We mostly talk about fiction books on here, but I promise, we do read non-fiction too. Check out our favorite recent non-fiction reads below!

Pirate Hunters by Robert Kurson. Two famous treasure hunters search for pirate Joseph Bannister's sunken ship. With only one other pirate ship ever positively identified, finding and diving a shipwreck takes courage, perseverance, intelligence, and a love of history. With two years and a million dollars on the line, this highly engaging, adventurous, and character driven story will make you root for the pirates and the men looking for what remains of them. Pirate Hunters is a wonderful, historical detective true story which I highly recommend to any reader.  
~Mary P.

The third volume of William Manchester’s biography of Winston Churchill, The Last Lion, Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965 is long, so long in fact that Manchester himself didn’t live to complete it. That task fell to Paul Reid, but the transition is seamless. It is a compelling read, especially Manchester’s narration of the years 1940 and 1941, when Britain stood alone, breasting the storm of Nazi aggression. Churchill was a peculiar fellow, but also arguably the greatest statesman in living memory. If you’re thinking about seeing the films Churchill or Dunkirk, read this first.

~John F.

The best nonfiction I’ve read recently is the award-winning March trilogy by Congressman John Lewis. I get goosebumps when I think about these books, that’s how good they are! In this set of graphic novels, Lewis gives an accessible, personal account of his experiences during the civil rights movement. Eye-opening and inspiring, to say the least.
~Ariel J.

When Jackie Saved Grand Central: The True Story of Jacqueline Kennedy’s Fight for an American Icon by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Alexandra Bioger
My pick for best non-fiction of the year is When Jackie Saved Grand Central. First Lady Jackie Kennedy was born and raised in New York. She loved everything about her city, including Grand Central Station. But one day the owners of Grand Central Station wanted to tear it down to build a skyscraper. Jackie knew that she had to stop them and save the iconic landmark, and she took her fight all the way to the Supreme Court. 

I personally was not familiar with this story, and it’s always wonderful to learn something new. I would say the best part of the book is the artwork. I’m a sucker for watercolor and gouache illustrations, and the blue, red, and gold themes are both reminiscent of Grand Central Station and tie in with the patriotic themes of the story. 
~Marilyn W.

Earlier this summer I visited some of the historic sites in the Hudson River Valley. One location in particular I found fascinating was Val-Kill, the home of first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. I wanted to learn more about her, so I picked up Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 1: The Early Years, 1884-1933​ by Blanche Wisen Cook. Full disclosure, I haven't yet finished this 600-plus page biography, but this first book covers Eleanor's privileged upbringing through the beginning of FDR's first term as president. In particular interest to me was her rocky marriage to FDR, which ended up leading her to an independent life of political activism. 
~Meredith T.

The New York Times calls Edward McLelland's How to Speak Midwestern "a dictionary wrapped in some serious dialectology inside a gift book trailing a serious whiff of Relevance." That's a pretty apt description. The first half of the book contains several short essays that are organized regionally--McLelland divides the Midwest into The Inland North (upstate New York, lower Michigan, and southeastern Wisconsin), Midland (western Pennsylvania, Ohio, most of Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Oklahoma),  and North Central (central and northern Wisconsin, the U.P., Minnesota, and the Dakotas)--while the second half is glossary of Midwestern terms. It makes for a relatable, rollicking experience. This was on full display during McLelland's recent visit to MPL as part of our author series, which kept the audience laughing and eagerly sharing their own lingual anecdotes all night.
~Travis F.

I've been trying to read more non-fiction the last few years, and I've read some stand-outs in the last year. My most recent favorite is Theft By Finding by the ever-entertaining David Sedaris. It is a collection of his diary entries from 1977 to 2002. Spanning from his twenties to mid-forties, as a reader I was able to watch Sedaris grow into the affluent writer he's become. His popular works have focused primarily on his upbringing, and this collection felt like much of the same. It was interesting to see the beginnings of the writer in his diary entries, before that even became his pursued path. The way he sees the world is intelligent as well as humorous, and I already can't wait for the next installment of these diary entries. 
~Cailey W.

My favorite recent non-fiction is Body Love by Kelly LeVeque. This is not a diet book! The author says so right up front and after quickly flipping through it, I believe her. Like many others, I have dealt with the constant struggle to eat healthy. It can all seem expensive, time-consuming, and just overwhelming in general. This book breaks down the science behind how our bodies process the food we eat in a way that is easy to understand. There is advice on how to eat in a balanced way that maximizes energy and minimizes cravings, all without obsessing over food. And if you like smoothies, there are several pages of recipes that look amazing!
~Ragan S.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Christmas in July!

We’re halfway through the year and that means there are 153 days until Christmas! You never can get started too early when it comes to celebrating the holidays, so here are my picks for entertainment to get you in the Christmas spirit.

1) Sufjan Stevens Songs for Christmas and Silver & Gold – For me, the Christmas season doesn’t start until I break out my holiday playlist. I’ll probably end up listening to “All I Want for Christmas Is You” about 100 times between November and January. But always in my rotation are Sufjan Stevens’ Songs for Christmas and Silver & Gold. Between the two albums, Stevens recorded 100 tracks, some original, some traditional. He approaches the carols in a variety of way, covering classic Christmas songs that make them fresh and fun to listen to.

2) Kelly Clarkson Wrapped in Red – Normally when choosing a Christmas album to listen to, I prefer musicians perform covers of Christmas songs I already know. But Wrapped in Red is in a totally different league. Clarkson sings a bunch of really great, original Christmas songs that have the potential to become holiday staples for years to come.

3) Debbie Macomber Dashing Through the Snow – This book is bonkers. I don’t really know what more to say about that other than it involves a young woman trying to get home for the holidays, but also she’s being pursued by FBI agents who think she’s a terrorist. In 2015, the Hallmark Channel made this into a movie. Still kind of bonkers, but in a good way.

4) Truman Capote A Christmas Memory – A nostalgic short story about a man reminiscing about the last Christmas he spent with his cousin. Buddy bonds with his older cousin baking and delivering fruitcakes and they have a wonderful time – a short reprieve from his days spent with indifferent adults. Their story is continued in the sequel, The Thanksgiving Visitor.  

5) Christmas in Boston – Honestly, is there anything better during the holidays than settling in for the night to watch a made-for-television Christmas movie? I’ve already covered my top ten Hallmark Christmas movies, so try this one. Aired in 2005 on formerly ABC Family (currently Freeform), Christmas in Boston stars Marla Sokoloff who is finally ready to meet her long time pen pal. Of course, everything goes awry, but things have a way of working out during the holidays.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Eisner Awards 2017

Comic Con is in full swing and that means the Eisner Awards are coming. These are the awards given out for creative achievement in American comic books, named for the pioneering writer and artist, Will Eisner. Here are my picks from this year’s nominees. (I've listed all the categories they are nominated for, and I hope they all win something!)

Mockingbird (Best New Series, Best Writer) – Written by novelist Chelsea Cain with art by Kate Niemczyk, this eight issue series about scientist/special agent, Bobbi Morse was on the top of my best-of list last year. It was a funny, feminist, and sharply written series. I cannot recommend this comic highly enough. John and I discuss Mockingbird on our most recent podcast – check it out

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (Best Publication for Teens) - Doreen Green AKA Squirrel Girl is about to make a big splash. The character is slated to appear in Marvel’s New Warriors a show premiering next year on Freeform, but for the past two years, Squirrel Girl has starred in her own solo series written by Ryan North and drawn by Erica Henderson. It’s a colorful, clever series that is easily enjoyed by any reader.

Wonder Woman: The True Amazon (Best Graphic Album, Best Painter/Multimedia Artist) – With the release of the blockbuster adaptation of Wonder Woman, DC has published a few new standalone graphic novels to try and introduce Wonder Woman to a new group of readers. Wonder Woman: The True Amazon is a retelling of her origin with both art and story by Jill Thompson. It’s a great place to start if you’re looking to get into Wonder Woman comics and it also boasts some of the most beautiful interiors of any graphic novel I’ve read.

Paper Girls (Best Continuing Series, Best Writer, Best Coloring) – Written by one of our favorite comic authors, Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Cliff Chiang, this series takes place in a 1980s Cleveland suburb. It’s a mystery/science fiction story starring four paper girls who face some sort of alien invasion from the future. If you liked Netflix’s series, Stranger Things you will definitely want to check this comic out.

Mooncop (Best Graphic Album, Best Writer/Artist, Best Lettering) – A lonely police officer on the moon is stuck patrolling a near abandoned colony. Mooncop captures the exhaustion and melancholy of our culture. Though Author and artist Tom Gauld takes a minimalist approach to his story, he manages to pack quite an emotional punch.

These are my picks; we'll see tomorrow if they win!