A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{September 1, 2013}   Comics and manga of the week (103 & 104)

aya-de-yopougonAozora Yell, volume 3 (French) by Kazune Kawahara

  • Tsubasa has finally gotten over her failure at the concert and is working hard to improve her trumpet skills. She will nee d all the practice she can get id she wants to encourage her friend Daisuke. Injuries of his upper classmen have put him on the field during an important baseball game before he is ready and the stress is really getting to him. A sweet,  innocent romance full of the sweat and passion of a good sports manga.

Aya de Yopougon, volume 1 to 4 (French) by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie

  • I’ve been meaning to pick up this series for quite a while but the new movie (released in France and not yet available here) gave me the extra push I needed. This is basically the story of Aya, a young woman growing up in the Ivory Coast in the 80s, and the people who surround her. It is a slice of life drama dealing with everything from Aya’s desire to become a doctor (and the sexual harassment she faces at university) to romantic entanglements, unwanted pregnancies and homosexuality. The art is beautiful, the characters and story engaging and it is always a joy to me to see Africa through the eyes of someone who actually lived there. It is a part of the world that I still know too little about. These books weren’t cheap but, if you ask me, they were worth every penny.

Billy Bat, volume 7 (French) by Naoki Urasawa

  • Kevin Yamagata races to prevent Kennedy’s assassination  (which he himself predicted in the pages of his comic) but fears it might be hopeless. Meanwhile Jackie, a young Japanese American who also sees the mysterious Billy Bat, is searching for Kevin and an answer to her visions. A thriller as only Urasawa can write. I can’t wait for more.

I’ll Give it My All Tomorrow…, volume 5 by Shunju Aono

  • The final volume about this lazy, self-absorbed middle aged man who decides to abandon all in order to become a manga artist is like the other four volumes, lackluster with a few interesting bits. If you’ve made it this far, might as well finish the series but there is much better manga out there.

Kids on the Slope, volume 2 (French) by Yuki Kodama

  • It’s 1966 and Kaoru is growing closer to the bad boy Sentaro through their exploration of jazz. When Sentaro falls for a beautiful new girl at school, Kaoru sees an opportunity to get rid of his rival for Ritsuko’s love. But he is not ready for the consequences of his actions. A bittersweet story of friendship, love and music taking place in a time period rarely addressed in manga. Definitely worth a read.

Library Wars, Volume 10 by Hiro Arikawa

  • The library forces go to Iku’s home town in order to prevent an attack on a museum. There she faces bullying and, worse, discovery by her parents who don’t approve h=of her belonging to the armed forces. Iku shows remarkable strength and courage in the face of these challenges. She has really grown a lot since the first volume. This series has a special place in my heart because it is about libraries and the fight against censorship but the characters and the challenges they face make for good reading regardless.

No Longer Heroine, volume 2 (French) by Momoko Koda

  • Hatori has had to admit that her childhood friend Rita finally has a serious girlfriend and that she is not the heroine of his love story. She tries to move on but 5 years of one sided love are hard to forget. Enter Hiromistu, a gorgeous lady’s man who is determined to show her that love doesn’t exist. And despite her best efforts, she doesn’t really want to resist him. This is another interesting shojo manga by the author of Switch Girl that shows us that love doesn’t always work out like in shojo manga…. and acting as though it should is a bit creepy.

Parmi Eux, volume 9 (French) by Hisaya Nakajo

  • Sano meets his brother at a track and field meet and the two begin to mend their relationship. However, his father’s arrival awakens his bitterness. We begin to get an inkling of the events that led Sano to leave home. Meanwhile Mizuki wants to support the boy she loves and mend his relationship with his family but she also has to deal with her friend Nakao’s feelings of love for her. A beautiful hardcover, double volume edition of a classic gender bending series (better known as Hanazakari no kimitachi he). Well worth the price.

Piece, volume 6 (French) by Hinako Ashihara

  • In this volume we learn more about the mysterious Narumi’s childhood and why Muzuho’s friend Remi is suddenly investigating the case on her own. I have trouble calling this series a romance. It is a mystery that concerns a dead girl’s past and the complex feelings and relationships of the characters (be these friendly, romantic, familial or even antagonistic). Don’t start at this volume, you won’t understand anything but go back and get caught up in the mystery.

Young Avengers, volume 1: Style > Substance by Kieron Gillen

  • Young Avengers is back! With Young Loki! *overcome with fangirlish glee* Ahem. Sorry about that. Loki (in his own twisted way) reunites the Young Avengers, along with Miss America and Marvel Boy, in order to fix a crisis that Wiccan caused with a well-intensioned misuse of his powers. It is funny and action packed and breaks the forth wall once or twice to amazing affect… basically it is everything I have come to expect of Young Avengers and Gillen. Plus I love Wiccan’s new costume. 🙂

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