When's the last time you read a comic book? Oh, right, the term now is "graphic novel" — as if calling them "comics" was somehow undignified or not sufficiently intellectual. But the problem with "graphic novel" is that it's far too limiting — because, sure, while all comics are graphic, many of the smartest and most exciting examples don't even remotely resemble novels. In fact, I'm about to recommend five books that — each for its own reason — can only be called comics, representing a wide range of literature being produced in what is truly a golden age.
Mary Louise Kelly used to cover the national security beat for NPR, but lately she's turned her attention to teaching and writing fiction. Her new novel, Anonymous Sources, followsrookie journalist Alexandra James as she investigates a shady banana shipment and a clandestine nuclear plot. The tale is fiction, but it draws on Kelly's own experiences reporting on the spy beat, including things she couldn't say when she was a journalist.
Once upon a time, it was MySpace. (Huh. Turns out you can still link to it.) Then Facebook happened. And Twitter. And beyond those two dominant social-media platforms, there are a host of other, newer options for staying in touch and letting the digital universe get a look at your life. And for certain kinds of sharing, some of those other options make more sense to tech-savvy teens than the Big Two do.
Mitch Albom is famous for writing heartwarming best-sellers like Tuesdays With Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. As a member of The Rock Bottom Remainders, he plays keyboard and shows off his Elvis impression.
Credit Joseph Peduto / Courtesy of Coliloquy
Given the number of books sold by members of The Rock Bottom Remainders, it's not necessarily a slur to say that their writing gifts far outshine their musicality. Here, drummer Josh Kelly and guitarist Roger McGuinn (at center) join authors Amy Tan, Stephen King, Greg Iles and Dave Barry.
Credit Courtesy of Coliloquy
Hard Listening is divided into easily navigable chapter-like sections.