Alphabetical Index of First Second

Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas

This science biography about three anthropologists who lived with primates is astounding. I’ve heard of Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey before, but I didn’t realize just what they accomplished. Primates brings their discoveries to life. In 1960, Goodall lived in Africa for a long-term observation of chimpanzees. It’s a good thing that she didn’t mind spending a lot of time alone, doing nothing but watching animals, because she discovered them using tools. That was a revelation, since until that time, […]

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Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

I have wanted, for several months, to tell you how much I enjoyed reading Lucy Knisley’s new food autobiography, Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, as I hoped I would. However, it was so good that I was afraid to try telling you how and why; I didn’t feel that any of my words could live up to the book’s quality or capture how much I enjoyed the read. Relish explores food as memory and meaning. In chapters punctuated with […]

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Tune: Vanishing Point

I wish I’d paid more attention to the book information that says “first volume of a series”. I somehow was expecting Tune: Vanishing Point to conclude in this book, or even to reach a satisfying stopping point. I don’t think it did. There may not be a volume two for another few years, and by that point, I won’t remember much of this one. It also takes the story a long time to get started. I don’t think it’s spoiling […]

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Adventures in Cartooning: Christmas Special

Ready for Christmas? No, I’m not either, but distribution vagaries and selling seasons mean that the Adventures in Cartooning: Christmas Special goes on sale next week. I didn’t read the first Adventures in Cartooning book, but I suspect it had the same mix of charm and cheerleading for comic creation. The art’s deceptively simple, a great choice for a book with the message, “you, too, can and should draw comics.” It’s got a lot of detail, though, which instantly throws […]

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Baby’s in Black

Baby’s in Black tells, as the subtitle says, the story of Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and the Beatles. Stu was known as the “fifth Beatle”, playing bass for the band until he took up with Astrid, a German photographer, during the Beatles’ time in Hamburg. He passed away just a few years later. Arne Bellstorf‘s version of this classic rock-and-roll story was published last year in Europe by SelfMadeHero. It’s told from Astrid’s perspective, and Bellstorf interviewed her as background. […]

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Friends With Boys

I’m a big fan of Faith Erin Hicks’ work, so I knew I’d love her new graphic novel, but I had no idea how much. With Friends With Boys, Hicks has developed into a cartoonist you need to be reading. Drawing on her own home-schooling experiences, but not sinking into autobiography, Hicks tells the story of Maggie, the youngest of four siblings and the only girl in the family. They’d all previously been taught by their mother, but she has […]

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Same Difference

Derek Kirk Kim’s Same Difference was originally self-published in 2003 (with the aid of a Xeric Grant) and distributed by the now-defunct Alternative Comics. Then Top Shelf picked it up and republished it in 2004. Now, First Second has brought the story back into print in an attractive hardcover edition with a distinctive dust jacket of transparent plastic. (In the book cover, shown here, the fish are printed on the overlay, with the figures on the book itself, giving a […]

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Americus

Books can be keys to fostering imagination and new ideas, and some people hate that. Americus, by MK Reed and Jonathan Hill, dramatizes the conflict that occurs when a lonely boy’s favorite fantasy series is targeted for censorship in his small Oklahoma town. There’s even an heroic librarian, to charm those of us who love books and their keepers. Neil and his best friend Danny are mesmerized by the series “Chronicles of Apathea Ravenchilde, the Huntress Witch”, reading every volume […]

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