Literary

Cynthia Clark Harvey's List of Graphic Novel Must-Reads (Before You Check Out This Year's Bestsellers)

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3. The Voyeurs by Gabrielle Bell; Uncivilized Book Don't let the title worry you after reading the previous entry. The title in this memoir refers to voyeurism in its modern non-pornographic "reality" TV sense.

Bell, who has had work selected for the 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011 Best American Comics anthologies, brings an extreme level of self-contemplation and self-exposure to her work. This book, an illustrated diary of four years in Bell's life, made me squirm in recognition more than once. "August 12th -- 'Back home I started to read my old journals and was suddenly struck by the overwhelming banality of my life.'"

Yep, yep, uh-huh, uh-huh. I'm now a junkie of Bell's 'semi-autobigraphical' comic "Lucky." Making me one of her voyeurs, I guess.

2. Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol; First Second Found in the teen section of Phoenix Public Library, this book is pure enjoyment, and there isn't anyone over the age of 12 who couldn't enjoy it. It's a quick-moving story with distinctly drawn characters.

Brosgol, a Russian immigrant to the United States, charmingly riffs on how to avoid acting "fobby" (fresh off the boat) in the cutthroat world of high school. Add to these a new best friend who happens to be a snarky teenage ghost girl, a murder mystery, and young romance. This is Brosgol's first book and it's a winner. I'm looking forward to more from her.

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Cynthia is a freelance writer/artist living in Phoenix. Reading comics has been a lifelong pleasure for Cynthia; creating comics is a more recent pursuit. Cynthia's other job is framing art.