Food Comics and Manga

I’ve been reading a lot of food-focused manga and comics recently. Maybe I’m just a hungry person? I do like food, but really, while these manga and comics share the culinary theme they span some wildly different story-telling territory; from D&D-esque dungeon crawlers, to queer slice-of-life stories, to cooking competitions. Some of these stories even include actual recipes (though a few use fictional ingredients).

Delicious in Dungeon by Ryoko Kui
Follow a band of adventurers as they attempt to rescue a party-member from the dungeon’s infamous red dragon, but not before killing and cooking up other monsters along the way. You can try to make these recipes at home, but you’ll have a difficult time finding all of the ingredients…

Get Jiro! by Anthony Bourdain
The late chef’s first foray into comics writing sees Jiro, who wants nothing more than to be a traditional sushi chef in a futuristic LA, get dragged into murder and mayhem, as culinary crime families vie for his services in order to sustain their trendy menus. Pure Bourdain.

Oishinbo, A La Carte by Tetsu Kariya
The 10th longest running manga, Oishinbo (a Japanese portmanteau of “delicious” and “someone who loves to eat”) follows the adventures of culinary journalist Shirō Yamaoka and his partner Yūko Kurita over the course of 111 volumes. In the English language, Oishinbo is collected in thematic “best-of” editions, such as Sake, Ramen, Japanese Cuisine, and the Joy of Rice.

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
A memoir that depicts moments of chef Lucy Knisley’s life through the sense-memories connected to the foods and meals she was making and enjoying at the time. This food-centered memoir ends each chapter with an illustrated recipe, some family dishes, and some Lucy’s imaginative concoctions.

Rutabaga the Adventure Chef by Eric Colossal
This all-ages adventure, akin to Delicious in Dungeon, sees chef Rutabaga and his magical pot, Pot, follow their new warrior compatriots around a medieval land in search of the most interesting monsters and ingredients to cook up. Saving the day by slaying the dragon is left to the professionals, but Rutabaga and Pot make sure they’ll never have fight on an empty stomach.

What Did You Eat Yesterday? by Fumi Yoshinaga
In this slice-of-life narrative cookbook, we follow the day-to-day goings on of a gay Tokyo couple, through the lens of intricately prepared meals. After a hard day at work, or an awkward interaction with parents, we meet Shiro and Kenji at the dinner table, where they sort through their lives and emotions, while enjoy delicious home cooked meals. The story integrates food by actually taking readers through the process of preparing meals in great detail, with recipes listed at the end of the chapters.

Prepare yourself for the holiday season and 2019 with these delectable food-themed manga and comics in The Seattle Public Library collection.

~ Posted by Mychal L.

Seattle Rep’s IN THE HEIGHTS: Beyond the Theatre

Seattle Repertory Theatre presents IN THE HEIGHTS by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes from November 23 – December 30, 2018. Librarians at Seattle Public Library created this list of books, films, and music to enhance your experience of the show.

In the Heights blends hip-hop, jazz, pop, salsa, and merengue to tell a story set in the Latinx community of New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood. For more stories of Latinx folks making their way in New York City check out Julia Alvarez’s classic novel How the García Girls Lost Their Accents or the 2018 National Book Award winning The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo.

Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue is the first play in Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Elliot Trilogy, which examines the legacy of war through three generations of a Puerto Rican family. This play was a runner up for the Pulitzer Prize. Water by the Spoonful, the second play in the trilogy, won the prize in 2012.

The original Broadway cast recording of In the Heights showcases Lin-Manuel Miranda’s stunning music and lyrics. For more of Miranda’s music listen to the Broadway sensation Hamilton: An American Musical or the soundtrack to the Disney animated musical Moana.

The documentary From Mambo to Hip-Hop: A Bronx Tale provides a fascinating look at the history of many of the musical styles featured in In the Heights. The essays included in Salsa World: A Global Dance in Local Contexts focus on Salsa Dance in specific locals to examine the ways Salsa has spread across the world.

For more suggested reading, listening and viewing, check out this resource list.

~ Posted by Richard V.

10 Novels We Loved This Year

We love all of the end-of-year “top ten” book lists, but the ones we use to guide our own reading  (and gift giving) are always the ones prepared by librarians. These lists tend to have a wider range of titles, genres, and distinct voices. They’re not necessarily bestsellers (although six on this list were Peak Picks) and they’re not all award-winners (although they should be). What they are: Well written, excellent books that librarians loved — and love to share with readers.

We asked our adult services librarians to nominate/vote for their favorite novels to recommend (all published in 2018). Here are 10, starting with our top pick and then going in reverse alphabetical order,  because we liked the way the covers looked this way, which is so un-librariany …

Let’s start the list with the book that was mentioned and championed most by Seattle librarians. The intersecting stories in Tommy Orange’s There There, his character-driven debut novel, chronicle the lives of Native Americans living in Oakland, California. Seventy percent of Native people live in cities in the U.S., yet contemporary fiction rarely focuses on that experience. Novelist Colm Toibin reviewed it in the New York Times when it first came out, and the NYT headline said, rightly so, “Yes, Tommy Orange’s New Novel Really Is That Good.” It is.

The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea is a Mexican coming-to-America story set over a weekend where a family recounts family tales and lore. “The House of Broken Angels overflows with the pleasure of family. You wouldn’t be wrong to take this book as a rebuttal to Tolstoy’s happy-family dictum,” said a reviewer on NPR.

This next one has been popular in our Peak Picks collection. Freshly out of college, supported by an inheritance, our narrator in My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh has a dark and vacuous hole in her heart. She spends a year alienated from the world, under the influence of a mad combination of drugs in this blackly funny novel.

Looking for a slim book that packs a powerful punch? Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata tells the story of Keiko, a woman who through careful observation has learned to behave “properly” so she can keep her predictable job at a convenience store. One of our librarians said, “This is a thought-provoking piece of social commentary with some surprising twists and turns.”

It’s always a delight to have a new book from Seattle author (and National Book Award winner) Charles Johnson. Night Hawks is a solid set of stories that Johnson wrote over the past two decades for Humanities Washington’s Bedtime Stories project. Most stories are set in Seattle, including one based on Johnson’s late night conversations with playwright August Wilson.

In The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, a 30-year-old successful econometrician with Asperger’s syndrome feels pressure to be better at romantic relationships. So she hires escort Michael Phan to help her figure some things out. This is a saucy one — and it also got a lot of action in our Peak Picks collection.

Akwaeke Emezi won the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa and was named a “5 Under 35” Honoree by the National Book Foundation. Their debut novel, Freshwater, tells the story of Ada, born in southern Nigeria  “with one foot on the other side,” who begins to develop separate selves. When Ada travels to the U.S. for college, a traumatic event crystallizes these selves into something more powerful. Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Fiction.

Portland author Patrick deWitt delights readers once again in his whip smart, darkly comic novel French Exit (also a Peak Pick!). In the wake of scandal and financial disintegration, a wealthy Upper East Side widow and her adult son flee New York for Paris. A comedy of manners (or, perhaps, a tragedy of manners …).

Looking for a new fantasy series? Robert Jackson Bennett begins the Foundry trilogy with Foundryside. In a city that runs on industrialized magic, a secret war will be fought to overwrite reality. “This is a crackling, wonderfully weird blend of science fiction, fantasy, heist adventure, and a pointed commentary on what it means to be human in a culture obsessed with technology, money, and power,” says Publishers Weekly. 

Transcription is the newest from Kate Atkinson (and it’s also a Peak Pick). In World War II London, Juliet Armstrong works as an espionage monitor for MI5. Ten years later, she is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past – and is once more under threat.

If you, like us, want to see more of librarians’ favorite books of the year, follow along on Twitter (#LibFaves18; you don’t have to be on Twitter to see what books are being mentioned; just follow that link)  starting today, Dec. 10, as librarians from across the U.S. count down their favorite books of the year, tweeting one book per day. Your to-be-read pile is about to grow monumentally.

~ posted by Linda J. and Andrea G. 

Twenty Children’s Books We Loved in 2018

What a wonderful year for children’s books this was!   Children’s Librarians from Seattle Public Library selected Ten Amazing Picture Books and Ten Wonderful Novels and Comics that were published in 2018.  Each list is rich with stories that reflect a range of different experiences and perspectives.  Here is just a sample of what you can find on the lists:

Drawn Together by Minh Lê and illustrated by Dan Santat tells a beautiful and heartwarming tale of the power of art.  Left for the day with his grandfather, who only speaks Thai, his young English-speaking grandson expects a boring and awkward afternoon but, as the two being Continue reading “Twenty Children’s Books We Loved in 2018”

Ten Young Adult Books We Loved 2018

There are so many truly outstanding books for young people published these days that it gets more and more difficult to chose our favorites at the end of the year.   These ten, selected by the Teen Services Librarians at Seattle Public Library, stood out for their strength of writing, quality of characters, and stories that made us question the world around us.

It was an exceptionally good year for realistic fiction, especially stories that explore issues highly relevant to today’s youth. A young Latinx woman searches for an outlet for her poetry while dealing with unwanted male attention in The Poet X, the 2018 National Book Award winner for Young People’s Literature.  Adib Khorram’s debut novel, Darius the Great is Not Okay, takes an unflinching look at clinical depression as Darius spends a summer in Iran with relatives and is transformed through a new friendship with a neighbor. In A Very Large Expanse of the Sea, Tahereh Mafi’s latest novel, Islamophobia runs rampant in the years following 9/11, but might love conquer all in a suburban American high school? Continue reading “Ten Young Adult Books We Loved 2018”