For our anniversary book club we read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and most of us were impressed by the book and the images and did mind telling everyone that it had us bawling our eyes out. We’ll be recommending two other books for you, one other YA book and one that is for adults and we’ll have some discussion questions near the end to use for your own book club.
If you’re looking for another illustrated gem, but don’t want to go full-blown graphic novel we’d recommend anything by Brian Selznick and especially his latest book The Marvels.
In The Marvels, two seemingly unrelated stories – one in words, the other in pictures – come together. The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle’s puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries.
Import Artifacts deals with a different type of grieving, the grief of a lost relationship, but does so through images of things owned together.
Auction catalogs can tell you a lot about a person–their passions and vanities, peccadilloes and aesthetics; their flush years and lean. Think of the collections of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Truman Capote, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
In Leanne Shapton’s marvelously inventive and invented auction catalog, the 325 lots up for auction are what remain from the relationship between Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris (who aren’t real people, but might as well be). Through photographs of the couple’s personal effects–the usual auction items (jewelry, fine art, and rare furniture) and the seemingly worthless (pajamas, Post-it notes, worn paperbacks)–the story of a failed love affair vividly (and cleverly) emerges. From first meeting to final separation, the progress and rituals of intimacy are revealed through the couple’s accumulated relics and memorabilia. And a love story, in all its tenderness and struggle, emerges from the evidence that has been left behind, laid out for us to appraise and appreciate.
Possible Discussion Questions:
– Conner gets treated differently by everyone that knows that his mother his ill. Is this the right decision?
– Does the bullying or the kindness bother Connor more?
– What do you think of the adults in this book?
– Would you enjoy the company of the monster?
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