Comic Book Cool Cats

It’s kitten season (April-October) and cats are absolutely everywhere right meow, including in just about every type of comic book or manga story you could imagine.

In Cat Massage Therapy by Haru Hisakawa, world weary workers find relief from the most unexpected of feline massage professionals.

Catboy by Benji Nate sees Olive’s wish to hang out with her cat Henry “like a person” come very precisely true, when her best cat friend becomes her best cat-person friend. Adulting and style abound in this hilarious and beautiful collection of the weekly webcomic.

A Man and His Cat by Umi Sakurai is really all in the title. An older gentleman adopts a seemingly unwanted cat from a local pet store. Does each have what the other is looking for? Read on and find out in this purrfect slice-of-life manga!

In the expansive world of steampunk, magic, and animal human hybrids of Monstress by Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda, and Rus Wooten, cats play a powerful and central role: as both historian poets as well as secret guardians of order and peace.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples is perhaps the most popular non-superhero adult audience comic book in the last decade: a dramatic, gorgeous space adventure, full of action, heartbreak, and treachery. Lying Cat, however, cuts through all of the chaos and the spin, and will notify you, in fact, if you are “lying.”

Check out these feline tales and more in this booklist

~ posted by Mychal L.

The year in Asian American & Pacific Islander fiction

Each May, in recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we take a look at the past year’s novels and short stories from AAPI authors. You’ll find the full list of recent AAPI fiction here. To get you started, here are some highlights from this year’s list:

The Family Chao, by Lan Samantha Chang. When Big Leo – founder of Fine Chao, the best Chinese food in Haven, Wisconsin – dies under mysterious circumstances, suspicion falls on his three variosly assimilated sons, James, Ming and Dagou, in a perceptive and poignant Chinese-American rendition of Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.

Nuclear Family, by Joseph Han. What – or who – possessed Korean Hawaiian Jacob Cho to attempt to cross over into North Korea? Back home at their Honolulu plate lunch restaurant, rumors fly that he must be a spy – a suspicion that seems all too true when on January 13, 2018, sirens suddenly blare, (falsely) alerting the island to a rain of incoming ballistic missiles.

Circa, by Devi S. Laskar.  Coming of age in Raleigh, North Carolina, Bengali-American teenager Heera Sanyal feels the American Dream slip from her grasp when her best friend is killed by a drunk driver, leaving her both trapped and solaced by the clasp of her family’s traditions.

Auē, by Becky Manawatu. It is a cry of dismay, or distress, and for Taukiri, “auē” is almost a kind of music, telling of his traumatic upbringing, and calling out towards a hope that things might someday get better. This award-winning new novel sings with raw, lyrical power of the contemporary Maori experience.

Under Lock & Skeleton Key: A Secret Staircase Mystery, by Gigi Pandian. In this delightfully quirky locked-room mystery series debut, out-of-work Las Vegas magician Tempest Raj stumbles over the corpse of her stage double, and it seems the only answer lies in a family curse that claimed her own mother’s life – or did it?

The Verifiers, by Jane Pek. Claudia Lin’s detective work is confined to checking up on the veracity of online dating profiles, until one of her clients suddenly turns out to be an imposter, and then turns up dead, and the mystery buff can’t resist jumping in with both feet.

The Immortal King Rao, by Vari Vauhini. Did Athena’s billionaire father escape from his doomed existence as Dalit, on the lowest run of India’s caste system, only to perpetuate and perfect those same social inequities when he struck it rich in Seattle’s heady tech scene? A thought provoking dystopian thriller.

Siren Queen, by Nghi Vo. When budding starlet Luli Wei discovers that the Hollywood studio system is an predatory gothic nightmare, there is only one solution: she must become the biggest monster of them all.

To Paradise, by Hanya Yanagihara. Spanning three centuries from 1893 to 1993 and 2093, this ambitious epic explores our quest for love and fulfillment against a steadily darkening backdrop of isolation, xenophobia and ecological decline.

We’ve just scratched the surface here, so check out our full list of recent AAPI fiction here.

     ~ Posted by David W.

“We Hereby Refuse” – Sharing the History of Japanese American Resistance, 80 Years Ago

We Hereby Refuse

Just over 80 years ago, on March 30, 1942, more than 200 Bainbridge Island residents were expelled from their homes and forcibly relocated and incarcerated in American concentration camps. They were among the first of the 120,000 Japanese Americans – according to a recent story in the Seattle Times – who were incarcerated during World War II solely on the basis of race.

In May 2021, a groundbreaking graphic novel was published that shared a lesser-known story of that mass injustice: resistance. Published by the Wing Luke Museum and Chin Music Press, “We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration,” authored by Frank Abe and Tamiko Nimura and illustrated by Ross Ishikawa and Matt Sasaki, wove together an epic narrative of three Japanese Americans who refused to submit to imprisonment in American concentration camps without a fight.

Want to learn about this remarkable graphic novel and the story behind it? Watch the YouTube recording of the Library event that celebrated its publication, hosted in partnership with the Wing Luke Museum, Densho and Elliott Bay Book Company.

Moderated by Tom Ikeda, Executive Director of Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project, this must-see event gathered panelists including “We Hereby Refuse” authors Frank Abe and Tamiko Nimura, and artist Ross Ishikawa, as well as Wing Luke Museum board member Diane Sugimura. Continue reading ““We Hereby Refuse” – Sharing the History of Japanese American Resistance, 80 Years Ago”

Teen Women in History

March was Women’s History Month, but it’s always a good time to reflect on the accomplishments and lives of women in the past. Here are seven stories about teens and young women through history.

Jazz Owls by Margarita Engle follows Marisela and Lorena, two jazz owls – young women who work all day to support the war effort and dance all night to deal with the stress of living during World War Two.  When the authorities crack down on the Latino population for their night clubs, wild music, and loose suits, murder follows, and the girls worry particularly about their brother Ray.

They Went Left by Monica Hesse starts with a promise from Zofia to her younger brother when they are liberated from a German concentration camp.  But how in the world will she locate him amongst the millions of refugees?

In The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee, Jo Kuan hides her identity as a Chinese-American cleaning girl while writing an anonymous advice column that gains enormous popularity and some unwelcome attention. Continue reading “Teen Women in History”

Peak Picks Turns 5 — and 25 Most Popular Books Since 2017

Peak PIcks
Selections Services’ Elena Gutierrez, who led the design of the Peak Picks collection in 2017, connects with a new Peak Pick

Blow out the candles! Peak Picks, The Seattle Public Library’s highly popular collection of books you can check out with no holds and no wait, turns 5 this month. Launched as a pilot project in May 2017, Peak Picks expanded to all 27 Library locations by the end of 2017. Since its start, more than 75,000 readers have checked out more than 700,000 copies of Peak Picks titles.

Funded by the 2019 Library Levy, Peak Picks is designed to make more copies of popular, high-interest adult fiction and nonfiction books immediately available to patrons. It was popular from the start. Continue reading “Peak Picks Turns 5 — and 25 Most Popular Books Since 2017”