Sunday, July 31, 2016

Becoming Unbecoming

Written by: Una

First line: My name is Una.

Why you should read this book: Stark, powerful, and unique, this graphic novel recreates the evolution of the author's understanding of sexual violence, beginning at the age of ten, weaving together the story of a serial killer terrorizing her region and the story of the repeated sexual assaults perpetrated upon the author by older men. While sexism and incompetence bungle the police investigation and keep the killer on the streets years after he might have been caught, Una's experience causes her community to slut-shame and ostracize her, so that her further victimization creeps into every aspect of her life. As she grows into an artist, she comes to learn the truth about sexual violence, both as it affected her own adolescence as well as it impacts the planet at large.

Why you shouldn't read this book: Trigger warning for an entire book about sexism and sexual violence.

The Case of Alan Turing: The Extraordinary and Tragic Story of the Legendary Codebreaker

Written by: Eric Liberge and Arnaude Delaland

First line: Who am I?

Why you should read this book: Framed by the knowledge of his suicide and colored with the theme of the poisoned apple, this book tells the life story of genius code breaker and computing machine inventor Alan Turing, whose work breaking the German's Enigma helped bring World War II to a close. Intelligent, unusual, and well aware of his queer identity from a young age, Turing lived by his own rules and made great leaps in technology while hiding his sexuality from Britain's draconian laws against same sex relations. This lovely book treats its subject with compassion and honesty.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You always root for the Nazis. 

Batman Arkham Scarecrow

Edited by: Whitney Ellsworth et al. 

First line: Across the Batman's horizon moves a new and terrible figure--a fantastic figure of burlap and straw with a brain--cunning and distorted!

Why you should read this book: This retrospective volume collects a dozen comics spanning the past eight decades, all featuring the protagonist Scarecrow, a demented supervillain obsessed with fear. Motivated primarily by money, which he wants to buy more books and persuade others to stop picking on him, the Scarecrow is a psychology professor with, apparently, a strong background in chemistry, who uses drugs to induce fear in his victims (and, in one story, to completely eradicate their fear). Batman, the man who has mastered fear and counts it among his arsenal, defeats him again and again, in a variety of stories and styles that highlight the development of the character and medium over the years.

Why you shouldn't read this book: Some of that Comic Code era storytelling is pretty castrated.