‘Tis the season to … relax and read a graphic novel? We all need a bit of time off from the holiday hustle, so here’s what we are reading in our spare time. Grab a glass of eggnog and read along—and tell us what you have been reading lately in the comments section.
Robin Brenner: I’ve been doing a lot of running around (as I think has everyone) but I was able to sit down and get about half-way through the second volume of Linda Medley’s Castle Waiting. I was so very happy to see the next installment out in hardcover, meaning I could buy it for my library and for myself. The best part of this original fairy tale series, for me, has always been the characters and the gentle pace. We think of fairy tales as being magical, occasionally frightening, and often full of destinies on a grand scale. However, the great charm of Castle Waiting is that while it can be magical (and even has its darker moments of character), the main point is following the inhabitants of the title castle through their everyday joys and woes. It’s about family, friendship, and finding refuge. As the story continues, the character development is rich and filled with fascinating clues about their histories. Glimpses of everyone’s backstories are deftly layered in with the jokes and easy interactions that define a family made of misfits who find belonging in each others’ company. The only sad note is that one, this volume doesn’t conclude with any major resolutions to the plot lines launched, and apparently Medley is taking a break from Castle Waiting now. Thus there will be no new volume any time soon.
Esther Keller: Reading has been a bit slow for me these days, but while feeding the baby, I got in the December issue of Life With Archie. I’m still not sure about the “kid” appeal (maybe these have more teen appeal or a “20 something appeal”), but I think that the Archie married to Betty vs. Veronica has a real “soapy” (as in soap opera) feel. There are a number of simultaneous story lines going on in each version and it’s been fun to see how the gang has entered into adulthood in each version.
I also got to read bits and pieces of the Archie Americana Series: Best of the Eighties Book 2. Reading this really brought back to my elementary school days, when reading Archie Comics was a staple of my reading diet. For all I know, I read some of these stories back in the day. This is a great look back at how Archie was for adult readers like me, but I already have some of the series in my library and I know it holds plenty of appeal to young readers today. They appreciate the look back at how things were—and comparing how Archie lives on today. A great all around read.
Brigid Alverson: We have been having a lot of family events lately, so I’m seeing a lot of my nieces, ages 5 and 8, and my nephew, age 11. They love coming to my house because I always have new comics for them (and junk food!), and their favorites are solidly traditional: Archie and superheroes, especially Spider-Man. But lately the one comic they have been asking for most often is Scott Christian Sava’s My Grandparents Are Secret Agents—the older two actually fight over it. It is a lively, funny book that takes elements of ordinary life and makes them more interesting, so I can see why they are tickled by it. This would be a great stocking stuffer for any kid in that age group.