I am a huge fan of graphic novels, manga, and audiobooks, all examples of “non-written” novels. They are simply different methods of storytelling and these can get to you in a way that text based novels can’t always: manga or graphic novels appeal to your eyes with their images, either black and white or color; audiobooks tap into our sense of hearing and allow our eyes to rest, almost making it easier for our minds to imagine the scene playing out “on the page”.
I have so many different favorites to share, but I’ll try to narrow it down to just five for this week.
1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Narrated by Kate Burton
This is one of my favorite novels of all time to begin with, but when I heard this unabridged adaptation by Kate Burton, it took my admiration to a whole new level. Kate Burton does an amazing job in bringing these simple people to life. Her subtle accents are very good, from the Brooklyn to the Irish. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for any audiobook recommendation.
2. Herbie’s Big Adventure by Jennie Poh
This was an adorable picture book whose art impressed me. It’s about a young hedgehog named Herbie who is learning what it means to grow up and learn his own boundaries and what he’s comfortable with.
3. Chew Vol. 1: Taster’s Choice
Written by John Layman, Illustrated by Robert Guillory
Chew was such an odd book for me to read because the story was unique: the main character, Tony Chu, is cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from anything he eats. This makes him a great detective, although his superiors are often jerks and make him eat some rather unsavory items to get to the bottom of a case.
This series has a wide range of characters that Tony comes across that make the series even more fun, my favorite being Poyo the fighting chicken.
4. Dramacon by Svetlana Chmakova
This was the first book I ever read by Svetlana and it made me a fan of all her future work. She has a great style that’s reminiscent of Japanaese manga or anime but it wholly her own. This Ultimate Edition has an extra chapter that revolves around two characters from the three volume series, so I would recommend getting this for the extra material.
5. Alice 19th by Yuu Watase
Manga is one of my favorite forms of storytelling. While there might be some similarities between different artists, in that you can recognize manga vs. American comics or Korean style comics, when you begin to read individual artists you find their individual flairs. Yuu Watase has a particular flair, for example, with the faces of her characters and the costuming of her heroes.
Alice 19th is a great series for these reasons and also because the story tells of Alice, a girl who finds out that words have power and it’s a power that needs to be wielded wisely or you never know what might happen to those who bear the brunt of them.