Fall is a busy season in the publishing world, which means plenty of new arrivals are hitting the shelves! For readers looking for a little change of pace—and a more visual reading experience—we've rounded up our favorite graphic novels and memoirs that will bring a little color into these increasingly gray days.
ADVICE FROM YOUR BETTER SELF
From The New Yorker cartoonist and author of the graphic memoir Cancer Vixen comes this satirical send-up of the New York media world. Self-serving Ann Tenna runs a celebrity gossip site that would make writers at TMZ blush, but a fateful car crash on her birthday leaves her unconscious and clinging to life. In a Christmas Carol-style chain of events, Ann leaves her body and comes face-to-face with her higher self, who takes her on a reflective journey through her most cringe-worthy life choices. Marchetto's laugh-out-loud and out-there tale is filled to the brim with pop culture references and lush artwork, making this one cosmic trip worth taking.
THROUGH THE LENS OF CHILDHOOD
French author Riad Sattouf chronicles his childhood as the son of a French mother and Syrian father in his playful yet brutally honest graphic memoir. Sattouf was adored and doted on by his father, an academic and firm believer in pan-Arabism and the importance of education for the Arab people. Years living in Gaddafi's Libya—where each citizen was guaranteed housing, but squatters frequently took claim of the Sattouf's various residences and a later stint in Assad's Syria—take a toll on the family's bright-eyed idealism. At first called a little angel for his flowing gold locks, Sattouf is later insulted for his "ugly yellow Jewish hair," and he must come to terms with his feelings of being an outsider in a part of the world his father so badly wants to make theirs.
It's almost impossible to have a conversation about the evolution of graphic storytelling without dropping Stan Lee's name at least a few times. One of the most influential creators in the comic world (Spider-Man, Iron Man and the X-Men, to name a few) tells his own story in the unmistakably zippy style he's known for in his new autobiography. Starting from his childhood in a Depression-hit Manhattan, Lee chronicles his first meetings with collaborators Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, but his moments of pride are balanced by shocking, painful recollections of his personal losses and family struggles. For fans of the Marvel brand and the wide world of superheroes, this is a well-executed autobiography that should not be missed.
RACING TOWARD SHAMBALA
This innovative hybrid is a captivating tale that weaves sections of prose alongside pages of comic panels for an action-packed story. Set during World War I, this immersive read will satisfy fans of classic good vs. evil adventure stories. The globe-trotting action follows an underground group of explorers sworn to seek out and solve the world's greatest mysteries, and in this volume, the Guild must travel to the golden city of Shambala from Buddhist mythology. If you're a fan of Indiana Jones, then this book will satisfy your desire for a little nostalgic fun.
Peruvian-born and acclaimed author Daniel Alarcón is known for his gorgeously rendered prose that draws frequent comparisons to Steinbeck, Nabokov and Roberto Bolaño. In his first graphic novel, he expands upon his short story, first published in The New Yorker in 2003, which follows a young Peruvian journalist in the wake of his father's death. After discovering his father's secret second family at his funeral, Chino is sent on a strange, almost absurd reporting assignment: write a feature on Lima's street clowns. What follows is Chino's tender recollections of his early childhood, interspersed alongside his increasingly sad observations of the poor working clowns. Stark visuals from Sheila Alvarado make this forelorn, moving work of literary fiction come to vivid life.