Thursday, 22 October 2015

Comics that taught me more than school did

I was never big on subjects like social studies or biology, I didn't know which was the 'good' Korea, or who David Attenborough was (I know now, don't worry). Let's face it, most school subjects have the ability to suck the joy out of someone's curiousity, and as a teenager I didn't care about what I didn't know.

And then, one day, I found a comic book about Jane Goodall, and two other women I had never heard of - Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas - and their work with primates. I read it - and I learnt something. I knew Jane Goodall was a scientist who was obviously really important, somehow, but I never really bothered to find out why (gasp) - which is why I was surprised about how interesting the comic was. And so I dug deeper into our catalogue for something a little, well, deeper than your average superhero comic.

Sure, some/most of it is biased, some of it is fictional ('based off a true story') - comics (or graphic novels) are often more personal and about the author - but I know more about things than I did before, and that, to me, is a win. I'm learning about what civilians thought about the introduction of 'the veil' in Iran - not how the news or internet portray it, but by someone who actually was there in that time. Or what happened after the Hiroshima bombings, even ten years later. Or what particle physics really is. So, if you're looking to learn a bit more about what's going down in Israel (without the vague news reports), or who the heck is Dian Fossey and why was she so great, take a look. And keep looking. We have plenty of graphic novels and illustrated books on stuff that you could have probably learned if you had bothered to listen in Social Studies (not me), and a lot more they wouldn't teach you.

Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi
"Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life" - Marjane Satrapi shares with us the good and bad about the religon and law in Iran, and how they, with other things, affected her as a child growing into a young woman. An in-depth look into her personal life, Satrapi doesn't spare details as she looks back on how she got where she is now, and what she and others went through (and still do). Also a film, if that's more appealing!

Strange Fruit. Vol 1. Uncelebrated narratives from black history - Joel Christian Gill
"A collection of stories from African American history that exemplifies success in the face of great adversity." - This graphic novel is about multiple African Americans and their amazing stories that never made it into any history book. An insightful look into the life of the people who did what did what they had to to survive, and some recognition (finally) for their hardships.

How to understand Israel in 60 days or less - Sarah Glidden

"A charming memoir and a sensitive examination of a highly-charged issue, Sarah Glidden presents an account of her 'Birthright Israel' tour." - Glidden goes to Israel as a Jew who refuses to accept what is happening and has happened between the Jews and the Arabs. She finds out what the difference is between reading about her 'birthright' in books and articles, and experiencing it firsthand herself - as well as finding out the difficulty of coming to terms with her beliefs and identity.

Primates: the fearless science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas - Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks
"These three ground-breaking researchers were all students of the great Louis Leakey, and each made profound contributions to primatology--and to our own understanding of ourselves." - This nonfiction graphic novel shares the history of these significant women scientists and how they became such influences, giving you a quick read that is sure to be informing - but not boring!

Hark, a vagrant! - Kate Beaton
"Hark! A Vagrant takes readers on a romp through history and literature—with dignity for few and cookies for all—with comic strips about famous authors, their characters, and political and historical figures, all drawn in Kate Beaton’s pared-down, excitable style." - If you haven't heard of Beaon's insanely hilarious and popular webcomic, Hark! A Vagrant, you will have surely seen it somewhere before (and if not, you will soon!). A much lighter take on what were some pretty dark times, Beaton shines a light on the important people of history - and it's usually not as romantic as we think (although not all of the comics are 'educational', you'll still have a good laugh). Also, sexy Batman. Her newest collection of comics, Step Aside, Pops, is also in our collection - though you'll have to go on the waiting list for that one! 

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Cool cosplay for Halloween

As Halloween sneaks upon us, it is time to think about what cool costume you are going to wear for that party, that cosplay event or even trick or treating. As in most areas of my life, I'm always looking for ways to incorporate all things geeky, and Halloween costumes are the perfect opportunity!

Will I be a gender-swapped Joker? Or maybe a classic Harley Quinn? I know my boys will always want to be someone from Star Wars (Palpatine is the current favourite). Perhaps you are looking for something to wear to Armageddon, which is also almost upon us. Our library collections are the perfect place to start your search for the ultimate costume or cosplay.

Quite possibly one of the best places to start would be with 1000 incredible costume & cosplay ideas : a showcase of creative characters from anime, manga, video games, movies, comics, and more! by Yaya Han, which is just jam packed full of awesome costume ideas. From Speed Racer to Battle Angel Alita, Captain Jack Sparrow to R2D2 and many many more. This is a wonderful book to get you all inspired, but note that it doesn't have tutorials on how to make the costumes.

However, Geek knits : over 30 projects for fantasy fanatics, science fiction fiends, and knitting nerds by Joan of Dark aka Toni Carr totally has you covered with a vast range of actual knitting patterns designed to help you 'embrace your inner geek'. I really really need someone to make me a George R R Martin Dire Wolf, a Communicator Purse and a pair of Cthulhu Gloves. Anyone? Guess it's time for me to take up knitting!

I was pretty excited to come across Geek mom : projects, tips, and adventures for moms and their 21st-century families by Natania Barron, as it looks to be the perfect Mum Manual for me :). It says that it 'explores the many fun and interesting ways that digital-age parents and kids can get their geek on together'. As well as helping you to come up with some thrifty Halloween costumes, there are also loads of other cool things, such as hobbit feasts, magical role-playing games and home science experiments. I need this book pronto!

The fangirl's guide to the galaxy : a handbook for girl geeks by Sam Maggs is just one of the best books ever! With chapters on how to rock awesome cosplay, write fanfic with feels, defeat Internet trolls, and attend your first con, what more could you want?

Lastly, in The big book of Halloween fun by Susie Johns, there are loads of more traditional costume ideas which could easily be adapted to be geektastic. The Eezy Zombies just scream Walking Dead, the Mucky Medieval Peasant would be totally be at home in Westeros, and any Harry Potter fan will love the Wonderful Wizardly Warlock. My personal favourite is the Truly Terrifying Mummy, which brought back many happy memories of The Mummy and Brendon Fraser *happy sigh*.
Not only does this book have loads of costume ideas, it also covers you for Pumpkin carving and Halloween crafts, fiendish food and drink ideas and even some games for your younger Halloween participants. I can't wait to whip up a batch of skeleton popsicles and wicked witch hats!