Quarantine life has posed many alternatives for us to consider–from how we work, to how we cope with stress–and this is especially true with reading habits. I have been reading a lot more, often for hours at night to decompress. Some days, though, I am not in the mood for heavy reading, but want to enjoy some literary entertainment with the fast accessibility of a movie or TV show. Graphic Novels have always filled in this gap for me insofar as they occupy the disparate space between abstract language and strict visual signfier; graphic novels fuse the signifier and signified seamlessly for an engaging literary experience that has the depth of a novel with the visual cues of the best visual mediums. Below is nine recommended graphic novels that I’ve read separated according to general age range. I encourage teens and adults to read “down” from their age group as these picks transcend their audiences’ age range.
In these uncertain times, I find myself wanting to turn to happy books. While romance is often criticized for being shallow and idealistic (trust me, I’ve heard it all before), I think it’s the perfect escape. I will admit that some plot points are cheesy but I like the idea that there’s a guaranteed happily ever after. I also find that main characters, especially in more recent novels, tend to be feminist and recognize that love does not solve all of their problems. If you’re looking for a happy escape like I am, feel free to check out any of my suggestions below! They’re all available on Hoopla, free and without wait times. The only condition is that you’re limited to ten titles a month, so I would choose wisely.
Crazy Stupid Love by Amanda Heger: This rom-com has a fantasy twist in which the descendants of Greek gods live on earth. It’s been described as “Percy Jackson for romance fans” and it’s probably the best pitch I’ve ever heard.
When one thinks of literary novels, they almost never think about graphic novels or comics being included on the list. That may seem obvious but I like to think differently. Pictures often help convey emotions, elements that words can’t easily describe. Not only do I usually recommend graphic novels for reluctant readers, I also recommend them for those who consider themselves well-read. Illustrations can greatly enhance a work and there are so many beautiful graphic novels. In addition, there are so many comics that are thoughtful with great characters. When you think of comics, you often think about superheroes in silly capes and dorky catchphrases. Though I love those two things, there is also a wide range of comics (even superhero ones!) that are genuinely written and drawn in a beautiful way.
That said, I thought it’d be fun to create a short list of some of the graphic novels I’ve read and that I recommend. All of them are available on Hoopla, so they’re instantly available now with your library card! All of the links below will take you to the Hoopla page so you can start reading.