Ask me for a reading recommendation, and I will give you something by Jhumpa Lahiri. This beautful collection has a wide range of stories (set in India and the US) and subjects, linked through their search for identity and connection--or rather, at the most fundamental level, what it means to be human.
Jacob Tobia recounts their experience growing up as gender-nonconforming with wit, compassion, and self-awareness. Never excusing others' (or their own) actions, Tobia exposes insitutional and intersectional issues without simply preaching idealism. The perfect balance of humor, love, and action for change keeps the memoir's momentum running beyond the pages.
A classic in the graphic novel canon, Ghost World is a short and fun read. Clowes' depiction of women and female friendship has always struck me as refreshingly perceptive. While the film adaptation follows a different storyline, the book keeps the girls' friendship and characters central to the plot, making the book all the more impressive.
Persepolis sparked my love of graphic novels/memoirs. Satrapi's memoir begins just before the Iranian Revolution, and she documents its effects through the lens of female childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. The aesthetic black and white drawings lend the story even more power in their simplicity.
Cleverly worded and elaborately illustrated, Fun Home has become a classic graphic memoir. As she uncovers her family's (particularly her father's) history and secrets, Bechdel keeps a steady poise in her narration, entertaining us without exploiting her family or herself. If you love Fun Home, read Bechdel's second memoir, Are You My Mother?
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