Madeline Miller, Little, Brown and Company 2018
Every once in a while I read a book that grabs me and doesn’t let go. Circe tells the story of the witch of The Odyssey, who kept Odysseus captive and turned his men into pigs. Madeline Miller does a wonderful job of weaving different tales from Greek mythology into a sweeping epic spanning centuries. Every facet of the book shines like a dark jewel: the Gods and their fickleness, the passions of youth and their harsh lessons, and between them all, the search for freedom through power.
“I thought once that gods are the opposite of death, but I see now they are more dead than anything, for they are unchanging, and can hold nothing in their hands.”
― Madeline Miller, Circe
This book brims with raw, dangerous power. I run my fingers along the edges and expect to feel teeth. I heartily recommend it!
Mark Siegel, First Second 2012
My friend Mark Siegel wears many hats— He’s the creative and editorial director at First Second (where my most recent graphic novels are being published), as well as an award-winning author and illustrator. In this dark tale, Captain Twain recounts his encounter with a mermaid on the Hudson river, and the tragedy that followed. The mixture of late 1800’s history and fantasy are exactly my cup of tea!
The paper is slightly rough and pulpy, which gives the art an underground comic quality, like you’re reading something forbidden. And indeed this book deals in the forbidden— forbidden knowledge, forbidden desires. I’d recommend this to an adult audience who enjoys a spooky mystery!
The 99% Invisible City
Roman Mars, Kurt Kohlstedt, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2020
This is a book that I bought as a Christmas present for my partner. I was really eager to read it, but I did the respectable thing and waited a few months before plopping it on my own bedside table. As the byline says, the book sheds light on the hidden workings of the modern city, from subway venting systems that masquerade as townhouses, to lamp posts designed to fall away from traffic when struck. The chapters are broken down into different sections that you can read in any order you like, which is nice. I found the writing hits a perfect note between informative and engaging.
Definitely my type of book! One thing I’ll say though, is while I appreciate the use of illustrations in the book, I would love some photographs in certain areas.