Memoirs that are written in colour and ink.

Graphic novels and memoirs. These aren't books. These are a feast to the eyes.
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American Widow

by Alissa Torres

About the book:  "At the heart of "American Widow" is the notion of Sept. 11 as a personal, rather than a national or political, tragedy, which, this achingly tender work reminds us, is exactly what it was." -- LA TimesWant to honor those who passed during 9-11? Turn off the stupid documentary glorifying all of those images we've seen over and over, and read this sincere account of how that fateful day effected one person that represents all of us.” — Aint It Cool News“[A] raw, occasionally maddening, bracing graphic memoir… Unbearably moving.” — The New York Times Book Review“Reading it, you feel that Torres could be your friend or neighbor; she makes an epic tragedy intimate.” — NewsdayOn September 10, 2001, Eddie Torres started his dream job at Cantor Fitzgerald in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The next morning, he said goodbye to his 7½-months-pregnant wife, Alissa, and headed out the door.In an instant, Alissa’s world was thrown into chaos. Forced to deal with unimaginable challenges, Alissa suddenly found herself cast into the role of “9/11 widow,” tossed into a storm of bureaucracy, politics, patriotism, mourning, consolation, and, soon enough, motherhood.Beautifully and thoughtfully illustrated, American Widow is the affecting account of one woman’s journey through shock, pain, birth, and rebirth in the aftermath of a great tragedy. It is also the story of a young couple’s love affair: how a Colombian immigrant and a strong-minded New Yorker met, fell in love, and struggled to fulfill their dreams. Above all, American Widow is a tribute to the resilience of the human heart and the very personal story of how one woman endured a very public tragedy.


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Awkward and Definition: The High School Comic Chronicles of Ariel Schrag

by Ariel Schrag

About the book:  Ariel Schrag captures the American high school experience in all its awkward, questioning glory in Awkward and Definition, the first of three amazingly honest autobiographical graphic novels about her teenage years. During the summer following each year at Berkeley High School in California, Ariel wrote a comic book about her experiences, which she would then photocopy and sell around school. Some friends thrilled to see themselves in the comic, others not so much, but everyone was interested. Awkward chronicles Ariel's freshman year, and Definition, her sophomore year. With anxiety in excess and frustration to the fullest, Ariel dives in -- meeting new people, going to concerts, crushing out, loving chemistry, drawing comics, and obsessing over everything from glitter-laden girls to ionic charges and the constant pursuit of the number-one score. Totally true and achingly honest, with every cringe-inducing encounter and exhilarating first moment documented -- Awkward and Definition is an unflinching look at what it's like being a teenage girl in America.


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Bannock Beans and Black Tea: Memories of a Prince Edward Island Childhood in the Great Depression

by John Gallant,Seth

About the book:  A stark, brutally honest memoir illustrated by one of the world's great cartoonists. This is a gripping and poignant memoir recounting one boy's experiences of deprivation and poverty growing up in a rural farming village during the Great Depression. The short stories are written by John Gallant and illustrated by his son Seth, better know to many as the New Yorker illustrator and award-winning D+Q cartoonist behind the books It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken and the sumptuous Vernacular Drawings. Written with a concise honesty and clarity, the stories reveal the sad reality of a boy growing up in brutal social and economic conditions.


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Soldier's Heart: The Campaign to Understand My WWII Veteran Father: A Daughter's Memoir (You'll Never Know)

by Carol Tyler

About the book:  In this multigenerational graphic memoir, underground cartoonist Carol Tyler examines how WWII traumatized the Greatest Generation and those that followed.Soldier’s Heart is a sophisticated graphic masterpiece about the damaging effects of war on soldiers and the toll it can take on families.Many soldiers come back from war and never talk about it -- especially those from the Greatest Generation. Thus was the case with S/Sgt. Charles W. Tyler, who late in life began to open up to his daughter Carol. By looking at him, you would never know that he was wounded in combat, but as she states at the beginning: “Not all scars are visible.”The narrative unfolds over 364 pages of masterfully crafted drawings. Stunning ink and color washes weave through the decades: Tyler examines the past in sepia, confronts reality in stark black & white and uses rich color to convey the moods and fragility of the present. She overlays her father’s memories with her own, while struggling to understand her troubled life: a failed marriage, a teenage daughter on the edge, and an elderly father and mother. Literate, emotionally engaging and historically accurate, Soldier’s Heart is a magnificent achievement.Soldier's Heart collects Tyler's hardcover series You'll Never Know, serialized between 2009 and 2012, and contains nearly thirty new pages of additional content. Full color illustrations throughout


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by Bruce Springsteen

About the book:  Read David Axe's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.The war memoir as graphic novel-an utterly unforgettable and highly original look at war in the 21st century. Street battles with spears and arrows in sweltering East Timor. Bone- jarring artillery duels in Afghanistan's mountains. Long patrols on the sandy wastes of southern Iraq. For four years, war was life for David Axe. He was alternately bored out of his mind and completely terrified. It was strangely addictive. As a correspondent for The Washington Times, C-SPAN and BBC Radio, Axe flew from conflict to conflict, reveling in death, danger, and destruction abroad while, back in D.C., his apartment gathered dust, his plants died, and his relationships withered. War reporting was physically, emotionally, and financially draining-and disillusioning. Loosely based on the web comic of the same name, with extensive new material, War Is Boring takes us to Lebanon and Somalia; to arms bazaars across the United States; to Detroit, as David tries to reconnect with his family-and to Chad, as David attempts to bring attention to the Darfur genocide.Watch a Video


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The Voyeurs

by Gabrielle Bell

About the book:  "The Voyeurs is the work of a mature writer, if not one of the most sincere voices of her literary generation. It's a fun, honest read that spans continents, relationships and life decisions. I loved it."—Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library"As she watches other people living life, and watches herself watching them, Bell's pen becomes a kind of laser, first illuminating the surface distractions of the world, then scorching them away to reveal a deeper reality that is almost too painful and too beautiful to bear."— Alison Bechdel, Fun Home"A master of the exquisite detail, Bell provides a welcome peephole into our lives."—Françoise Mouly, The New Yorker"I don't think I could tolerate her if she wasn't so talented."—Michel Gondry, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindThe Voyeurs is a real-time memoir of a turbulent five years in the life of renowned cartoonist, diarist, and filmmaker Gabrielle Bell. It collects episodes from her award-winning series Lucky, in which she travels to Tokyo, Paris, the South of France, and all over the United States, but remains anchored by her beloved Brooklyn, where sidekick Tony provides ongoing insight, offbeat humor, and enduring friendship.Gabrielle Bell's work has been selected for the 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011 Houghton-Mifflin Best American Comics and the Yale Anthology of Graphic Fiction, and has been featured in McSweeney's, The Believer, and Vice magazines. "Cecil and Jordan In New York," the title story of her most recent book, was adapted for the screen by Bell and director Michel Gondry in the film anthology Tokyo! She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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Two Cents Plain: My Brooklyn Boyhood

by Martin Lemelman

About the book:  Martin Lemelman's elegiac and bittersweet graphic memoir Two Cents Plain collects the memories and artifacts of the author's childhood in Brooklyn. The son of Holocaust survivors, Lemelman grew up in the back of his family's candy store in Brownsville during the 1950s and '60s, as the neighborhood, and much of the city, moved into a period of deep decline. In Two Cents Plain, Lemelman pieces together the fragments of his past in an effort to come to terms with a childhood that was marked by struggle both in and outside of the home. But his was not a childhood wholly without its pleasures. Lemelman's Brooklyn is also the nostalgic place of egg creams and comic books, malteds and novelty toys, where the voices of Brownsville's denizens―the deli man, the fish man, and the fruit man―all come to vivid life. Between the lingering strains of the Holocaust and the increasing violence on the city's streets, Two Cents Plain reaches its dramatic climax in 1968, as Lemelman's worlds explode, forcing him and his family to re-create their lives. Through his stirring narrative and richly rendered black-and-white drawings, family photographs, and found objects, Lemelman creates a lush, layered view of a long-lost time and place, the chronicle of a family and a city in crisis. Two Cents Plain is a wholly unique memoir and a reading experience not soon forgotten.


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True Story, Swear To God Archives Volume 1 (v. 1)

by Tom Beland

About the book:  One of the most acclained romance comics (six Eisner nominations) is collected in one huge tpb! Napa Valley cartoonist Tom Beland meets the love of his life, Puerto Rican journalist Lily Garcia, at a bus stop in Disneyworld. Can a long-distance romance last and who will choose to leave their hometown to enter a new world with new challenges? All seventeen issues of Beland's self-published run in now in one book, filled with humor, romance and heart...and it's all true! The PERFECT gift for that special person in your life to get them into comics.


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Trains Are Mint

by T. E. Lawrence

About the book:  Trains are... Mint


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To Teach: The Journey, in Comics

by William Ayers,Ryan Alexander-Tanner

About the book:  ''A serious book, but laced with humor... a novel approach. Required reading for all educators.''- Harvey Pekar, American Splendor''An utterly original and deliciously irreverent book...''- From the Foreword by Jonathan Kozol, Savage Inequalities''This book is a treasure chest of insight. It represents what dedicated, imaginative teaching is all about and is a blueprint for everyone who wants to explore the intimate connection between teaching and learning.'' - Peter Kuper, Diario De Oaxaca ''To Teach is hilarious serious and fabulous! A broad manifesto that will change many people's lives.''- Laurie Anderson, artist and musician ''Weaving in inspirational anecdotes and playful visual metaphors, Ayers and Alexander-Tanner's collaboration cleverly illustrates the vital importance and moral necessity of teaching.'' - Josh Neufeld, A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge''I wish I'd read this book before I started teaching and making comics a decade ago, it's chock full of practical and philosophical advice. I know this book will inspire a generation of teachers to come.''- Lauren Weinstein, Girl Stories''To Teach represents a fresh breeze in the educational and social science research community. It takes daring to reconceptualize entrenched practices and traditional modes of research.'' - Elliot Eisner, Professor Emeritus of Art, Stanford University''The perennial dance of learning that can also be teaching at its best is both brilliantly and graphically shown herein by Messrs. Ayers and Alexander-Tanner. Do keep in mind that although they can show you the right steps, you still have to listen closely to your interior music and follow its changing melodies and rhythms.'' - Gary Dumm, artist, Ego & Hubris: The Michael Malice Story, and American Splendor''To Teach is great reading not only to student teachers but to anyone who has a vested interest in our education system. I especially appreciated the smack down of the dehumanizing trend to pigeonhole every other kid with some kind of ''at risk'' syndrome! It also is a great example of how comic art is a very efficient way to communicate complex ideas.'' - Peter Bagge, comics journalist and author of the Buddy Bradley seriesThis graphic novel brings to life William Ayers s bestselling memoir To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher, now in its third edition. From Ayers early days teaching kindergarten, readers follow this renowned educational theorist on his ''voyage of discovery and surprise.'' We meet fellow travelers from schools across the country and watch students grow across a year and a lifetime.To Teach is a vivid, honest portrayal of the everyday magic of teaching, and what it means to be a ''good'' teacher debunking myths perpetuated on film and other starry-eyed hero/teacher fictions. Illuminated by the evocative and wry drawings of Ryan Alexander-Tanner, this literary comics memoir is both engaging and insightful. These illustrated stories remind us how curiosity, a sense of adventure, and a healthy dose of reflection can guide us all to learn the most from this world.This dynamic book will speak to comic fans, memoir readers, and educators of all stripes.


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Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer's, My Mother, and Me

by Sarah Leavitt

About the book:  In this powerful memoir the the LA Times calls “moving, rigorous, and heartbreaking," Sarah Leavitt reveals how Alzheimer’s disease transformed her mother, Midge, and her family forever. In spare blackand- white drawings and clear, candid prose, Sarah shares her family’s journey through a harrowing range of emotions—shock, denial, hope, anger, frustration—all the while learning to cope, and managing to find moments of happiness. Midge, a Harvard educated intellectual, struggles to comprehend the simplest words; Sarah’s father, Rob, slowly adapts to his new role as full-time caretaker, but still finds time for wordplay and poetry with his wife; Sarah and her sister Hannah argue, laugh, and grieve together as they join forces to help Midge. Tangles confronts the complexity of Alzheimer’s disease, and ultimately releases a knot of memories and dreams to reveal a bond between a mother and a daughter that will never come apart.


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Spent

by Geoffrey Miller

About the book:  Everyone and everything is fodder for Matt's autobiographical comics, even having lost the love of his life for documenting his crush on her best friend in the pages of his legendary comic book series Peepshow. Matt's biggest target for ridicule, however, is himself.Wearing his neuroses and fetishes on his sleeve, he knows he is a jerk and does nothing to hide it. This humiliating honesty has made Matt a comedic genius who has been hilariously and shamelessly chronicling his pathetic existence for close to twenty years.


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Special Exits

by Joyce Farmer

About the book:  In this semi-autobiographic novel, which chronicles the decline in health and welfare of an older couple, Joyce Farmer makes the case for elder care reform; now in paperback. In the vein of Alison Bechdel or Harvey Pekar, Joyce Farmer’s memoir chronicles the decline of the author’s parents’ health, their relationship with one another and with their daughter, and how they cope with the day-to-day emotional fragility of the most taxing time of their lives. Set in southern Los Angeles (which makes for a terrifying sequence as blind Rachel and ailing Lars are trapped in their home without power during the 1992 Rodney King riots), Farmer details the slow, inexorable decline in Lars’ and Rachel’s health, and perfectly captures the timbre of the exchanges between a long-married couple: the affectionate bickering; their gallows humor; their querulousness as their bodies break down. Black & white


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Silly Daddy: The Long Goodbye

by Joe Chiappetta

About the book:  Surrealism, before it was associated with melting clocks and absurdist imagery, was an attempt to explore the subconscious in art. In Silly Daddy: The Long Goodbye Joe Chiappetta combines this exploration of the subconscious with the primitive sensibilities of an outsider artist. At times the black-and-white artwork looks like the drawings of a child. Throughout the book the art develops, though, and is slightly refined; by the end it appears more comfortable, especially when juxtaposed with the drawings of Chiappetta's 3-year-old daughter. The Long Goodbye is an autobiographical collection of important (if sometimes banal) accounts of young, inexperienced parenthood, the disintegration of Chiappetta's marriage, and his ever-deepening love and appreciation for his daughter. This comic book is spiritual in the most unpretentious way: truisms are never preached or presented as such, but through his stories, through the thoughts he shares with the reader, Chiappetta creates a sense of pathos, hope, and bittersweet love.


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Seeds

by Ken Robbins

About the book:  In July 2009, Ross Mackintosh learned that his father had contracted cancer. Beginning with the diagnosis, then taking us through the journey of his father s decline and eventual passing, Seeds is a touching tribute and powerful, autobiographical account of one man's experience, combining humor, sadness, philosophy and honesty. A portion of the royalties from the sale of this book will be appropriated for selected Cancer charities.


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Scenes from an Impending Marriage

by Adrian Tomine

About the book:  MAKING LIGHT OF NUPTIAL NARCISSMAt the behest of his soon-to-be wife, Adrian Tomine set out to create a wedding favor for their guests that would be funnier and more personal than the typical chocolate bars and picture frames. What started out as a simple illustrated card soon grew into a full-fledged comic book: a collection of short strips chronicling the often absurd process of getting married. A loose, cartoony departure from Tomine's previous work, Scenes from an Impending Marriage is a sweet-natured, laugh out-loud skewering of the modern marriage process, including hiring a DJ, location scouting, trips to the salon, suit fittings, dance lessons, registering for gifts, and managing familial demands. The most personal and autobiographical work of Tomine's career, Scenes from an Impending Marriage is a charming, delightful token of love.


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