Resolve to Read: Colonial or Postcolonial Literature

As we mentioned here previously, we here at the Library are Resolving to Read (more…different….) in 2018, and tackling both Book Riot’s and Scholastic’s 2018 Reading Challenges.  In the hopes of encouraging you to broader your literary horizons along with us, here are some suggestions for books that fall within the categories of the various challenges.

Today’s Challenge: Book Riot 2018 Read Harder Challenge
Category: A Work of Colonial or Postcolonial Literature

A British cartoon showing imperial officers sitting atop a throne of biscuit boxes, forcing native African to bow before them–an image that largely sums up the history of imperialism in Africa

First off, what precisely does “colonial literature” or “postcolonial literature” mean?  Book Riot tackled this question in their post on the subject, but I think we could get a little more nuanced in our discussion.  Typically, “colonial literature” refers to a work written during a period of time when one country was actively participating in the colonization or imperialistic exploitation of another geographic area.  For the record, colonization means that the imperial power sent its people to live in a different place (such as the British sending British people to live in South Africa or parts of what is now the United States), but there are many sites that experienced colonialism even if they were not formal colonies.  These include places like Puerto Rico, which is governed by the United States but not granted statehood, or Nigeria, which was largely ruled without British inhabitants, but was instead a site of palm oil extraction and cash-cropping.  Colonial literature is traditionally written by the colonizers–that is, the Europeans or Americans who held the power and engaged in the practice of colonizing or exploiting another geographic area.

To use an example: Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is a stunning, disturbing piece of Colonial Literature, because  it A) Takes place within a site of empire (Africa) B) Discusses the practices of imperialism (in this case, both the economic and the social aspects) and C) Does not discuss a world without empire.  Conrad isn’t making an argument that everyone would be better off without empire.  He is critiquing the process and commenting on its results, but his world is one where empires exist, without question.

It is in their definition of “Postcolonial Literature” that I really want to complicate things.  Typically, Postcolonial Literature is literature written after the period of direct colonization or imperialism ends, typically by a member of the colonized people.  That is, after a country has been declared independent by their imperial rulers–for example, Uganda was declared independent of Britain in 1962, while Algeria was declared independent of France in the same year.   But that doesn’t mean that any book written in Uganda or Algeria after 1962 (or any other site of empire) is a work of post-colonial literature.  Because, in fact, “postcolonial” refers not only to a moment in history, but to a way of thinking.  Postcolonial thinking is able to understand the abusive power relationship between the colonizer and the colonized and harm it does to both peoples within a historic context.

There are two big problems with the phrase “post-colonial”.  The first is that it implies to many that the “colonial” period ended.  While this may be true in practice, many sites around the world are still grappling with the trauma, the structural inequalities, the cultural ruptures, and social stigmas that colonialism and imperialism imposed on them.  The second problem with “post-colonial” is that is that it insists on a “colonial period.”  This phrase, first, subtly reinforcing that harmful power relationship by invoking it constantly.  A number of books written by authors from countries that were once colonies or sites of empire get labeled as “post-colonial” when they have nothing to do with the imperial relationship.  They get that label based on their country’s and people’s history.  For example, R. K. Narayan‘s novels set in South India deal very little at all with issues of empire or imperialism, yet are often put forward as “postcolonial works.”  And that is a unjust as the imperial project itself.  Second, a number of books that are considered “postcolonial” in their arguments and insight, were written during the actual period of empire, like Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.  So we need to be careful with our use of the term “post-colonial” and make sure it applies to works that specifically address the problems and effects of imperialism.  These problems can be structural, political, personal, economic, cultural, or social.  But just because a book was written in India doesn’t make it a work of post-colonial literature.

As all these words might imply, fulfilling this part of the Book Riot challenge might not be easy, but it’s an incredibly impactful and eye-opening one.  The complex  issues of imperialism a very much still a part of our world and our lives, and literature allows us to access these issues in a deeply personal and meaningful way.  And, on top of that, there are some darned good books in these categories to be read!  So let’s get started…here are just a few recommendations to get you started on your exploration of colonial and post-colonial literature!

 Half a Yellow Sun : Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s multiple-award-winning book is set in Nigeria years after independence, and deals with the conflict and violence that resulted from years of British interference in Nigeria, the struggle that many of the colonized people in Nigeria endured trying to relate to each other, and the way education systems in colonized sites isolate, differentiate, and, yet, offer the potential for colonized people to escape the hardship of their lives.  It’s a difficult, beautiful, intelligent, and eye-opening book that makes really big, political issues both understandably and movingly human.

Nervous Conditions:  Tsitsi Dangarembga’s novel about two cousins growing up in Zimbabwe highlights the bizarre disparity between people depending on their relationship to imperial power, as well as the implicit misogyny inherent in imperial spaces.  In post-colonial Rhodesia (the name of the nation now known as Zimbabwe), Tambu, whose family is reeling from the death of her brother, is invited to her uncle house to attend school with her cousin, Nyasha.  The opportunity is a life-changing one, but, as Tambu will discover, is a dangerous one–especially for Nyasha, whose experience within the colonial school system is one of the most heartbreaking depictions of imperialism I can remember reading.

Passage to India: E.M. Forster’s novel is one that was, for years, considered a very early work of postcolonial fiction because it discusses the Indian independence movement, but recently, a number of readers and scholars have argued that Forester’s inability to escape his own European viewpoint makes it much more a colonial novel (which shows just how tricky this category can be!).  The story focuses on around four characters: Dr. Aziz, his British friend Mr. Cyril Fielding, Mrs. Moore, and Miss Adela Quested, and the alleged assault of Miss Quested by Dr. Aziz.  Dr. Aziz’s trial brings the racial tensions in India to a boil, and leaves all the characters forever changed.  This is a challenging book that, as mentioned, is still a hot topic of literary discussion today, making it all the more worth the read.

The Man Who Would Be King: Rudyard Kipling was an imperial supporter throughout his life, even if his support was a bit ambiguous and laced with criticism in some places.  Though Kim is probably his best known work of colonial fiction, this story really drives the hubris and absurdities of imperialism home in a story that is still exciting and unsettling to this day.  Told by an unnamed narrator (Kipling himself for all intents and purposes), the story focuses on two British adventurers,  Daniel Dravot and Peachey Carnehan, who decide that India isn’t big enough for them, and set off to cheat and wheedle their way into becoming Kings of a remote area of Afghanistan (at that point a British protectorate).  Two years later, the narrator encounters Carnehan again, alone, and burdened not only with an incredible story, but with the crown that Dravot once wore on his head.  There is nothing very heroic at all about the two protagonists of this story, so don’t expect a heroic narrative here.  But it is emblematic, first of the kind of violence and arrogance that imperialism could inspire, and second of the kind of audacious, grand-narrative style fiction that was popular back home in England, that both made people frightened of natives while dreaming of conquering their land.

From the Teen Room!

Reviews From The Fiction Shelf

Release by Patrick Ness

Ness returns with another intriguing novel inspired by Mrs. Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, as we follow Adam Thorne on what seems to be an ordinary day…that is until a prick from a rose changes everything. While I would love to write an in depth synopsis of this novel I’m unable to find the right way to walk through it for new readers. Why? The story has a sense of the bizarre and mystical while also being a slice of life story. The beginning took me a while to get through, but significantly picked up halfway through. The romance scenes between Adam and his boyfriend Linus are beautifully tender and realistic, which some YA novels don’t always get right, and the “Queens” scenes are mystifying and exciting. So should you read it? Yes. Absolutely! If you’re looking for something a little different and love YA then you are going to be in for a treat. Happy reading!

 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

As I’m sure everyone has heard, Clines 1980’s, pop-culture, gamer, nerdtopia novel is coming to life in theaters and the responses seem to have a huge divide. When I first saw the trailer I was bombarded by an oversaturation of nerd gamer culture and CGI, so naturally, I was a little overwhelmed. After my second viewing I figured reading it was worth a shot to see what all the hype is about. My ruling? It’s mostly just hype. While the premise of the story was impressive and exciting, the world-building and storytelling just wasn’t there. Throughout the story of Wade Watts journey to uncover the biggest easter egg in the online world of OASIS, we get glimpses of interesting backstory that boasts promises of exciting story arc… and then you get an enormous info dump of old school 80’s nerd trivia that really takes you out of the enchantment of this really cool virtual world. A lot of this extra “info fluff” is unnecessary to the story and the novel could have easily cut about 100 pages to create a less long-winded adventure. Throughout the rest of Cline’s novel the story just pats itself on the back for nerd elitism against “noobs” and “fake gamers” which is the exact opposite of what we need in today’s culture towards female/younger/new gamers. All in all, I was unfortunately not impressed. My opinion, however, is if you are into all things geek (especially that old school 80’s nostalgia) then give this story a go! Maybe it will resonate differently with you! Happy reading!

Six Book Sunday!

Due to some scheduling changes this week, beloved patrons, we weren’t able to bring you our typical Five Book Friday post–and for that, our apologies.

As a way of making amends, we offer you this, our Six Book Sunday selection, which brings you a sensational sampling of the books that have sidled onto our shelves this week, and cannot wait to begin the week in your company!

Tempest: Beverly Jenkins is a master of historical romance, and redefined the genre as one that could represent the lives and stories of Black women and men with beauty, passion, and dignity.  And this new book continues to cement her legacy as one of the most important romance writers of our generation.  What kind of mail-order bride greets her intended with a bullet instead of a kiss? One like Regan Carmichael—an independent spirit equally at home in denims and dresses. Shooting Dr. Colton Lee in the shoulder is an honest error, but soon Regan wonders if her entire plan to marry a man she’s never met is a mistake. Colton, who buried his heart along with his first wife, insists he only wants someone to care for his daughter. Yet Regan is drawn to the unmistakable desire in his gaze. Regan’s far from the docile bride Colton was expecting. Still, few women would brave the wilds of Wyoming Territory for an uncertain future with a widower and his child. The thought of having a bold, forthright woman like Regan in his life—and in his arms—begins to inspire a new dream. And despite his family’s disapproval and an unseen enemy, he’ll risk all to make this match a real union of body and soul.  Publisher’s Weekly gave this book a starred review, cheering that “Legendary historical romance author Jenkins brilliantly touches on painful, significant historical and cultural references… the amusing dialogue, lively characters, and vivid descriptions of the Old West make this even-paced romance a winner.”

Why You Eat What You Eat: The Science Behind Our Relationships With Food: Acclaimed neuroscientist Rachel Herz, whose concentration in emotions and perception, has the power to make even the most complex mental processes understandable and fascinating, and in this book, she brings all her power to bear to help us understand precisely why we consume and crave the edibles that we do; for example: why bringing reusable bags to the grocery store encourages us to buy more treats, how our beliefs can affect how many calories we burn, why TV influences how much we eat, and how what we see and hear changes how food tastes.  She also discusses useful techniques for improving our experience of food, such as how aromas can help curb cravings and tips on how to resist repeated trips to the buffet table.  A book for foodies, science buffs, and those with New Years’ Resolutions to keep, this book will also help you understand how and why you taste what you taste, as well as how you can get even more out of the food you eat.  As Kirkus Reviews points out, “One of Herz’s major strengths is her skill at creating catchy phrasing to convey complicated scientific theories and experiments.”

Two Girls Down: We’ve already received some stellar staff reviews for Louisa Luna’s thriller, which echoes the rave reviews it’s been receiving from critics across the country.  When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires an enigmatic bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to help find the girls. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing OxyContin and meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan. Cap is a man trying to put the scandal of his past behind him and move on, but Vega needs his help to find the girls, and she will not be denied.   With little to go on, Vega and Cap will go to extraordinary lengths to untangle a dangerous web of lies, false leads, and complex relationships to find the girls before time runs out, and they are gone forever.  At once a police procedural and a gripping thriller, this book is full of vivid characters and gripping suspense that earned a starred review from Booklist, who hailed it as “An outstanding neo-noir, introducing enigmatic bounty hunter Alive Vega, a perfect female incarnation of Jack Reacher…Vega springs to life in the hands of this immensely talented writer…This is a must-read for fans of strong female protagonists”

A State of FreedomNeel Mukherjee is a powerfully talented novelist, who digs into some truly complex philosophical theories while still producing books that are entirely accessible, deeply meaningful, and throughly fascinating.  In this newest release, he takes on the issues of displacement and migration, with a story of five intertwined lives, from a domestic cook in Mumbai, to a vagrant and his dancing bear, to a girl who escapes terror in her home village for a new life in the city.  Set in contemporary India and moving between the reality of this world and the shadow of another, this novel of multiple narratives―formally daring, fierce, but full of pity―delivers a devastating and haunting exploration of the unquenchable human urge to strive for a different life.  A haunting description of displacement, as well as an uplifting story about life and redemption, The Wall Street Journal called this novel “Exquisitely written, cleverly structured, powerfully resonant to the very last line. . . . A profoundly intelligent and empathetic novel of privilege and poverty, advancement and entrapment.”

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape TomorrowCharles C. Mann is making a career for himself writing sweeping, yet accessible histories–and this book is another feather in his cap.  In this book, Mann turns his focus to Norman Borlaug and William Vogt, two twentieth-century scientists who were both focused on how the earth and its human population would survive together into the twenty-first century.  Mann identifies two branches of thought, which he coins “wizards”, like Norman Borlaug and his followers, whose research centered on how technology would produce modern high-yield crops that then saved millions from starvation.  The other are the ‘Prophets’, like William Vogt, a founding environmentalist who believed that in using more than our planet has to give, our prosperity will lead us to ruin. Mann delves into these diverging viewpoints to assess the four great challenges humanity faces–food, water, energy, climate change–grounding each in historical context and weighing the options for the future.   As much a look to the future as it is an assessment of the past, Mann’s book is a well-balanced consideration of our place on the planet that earned a starred review from Library Journal, who called it “A sweeping, provocative work of journalism, history, science and philosophy.”

The Infinite Future:  Are there other readers out there who hear that the premise of a new book involves lost masterpieces, mysterious authors, heroic librarians, writers, and historians, and simply must sit down and read this book right the heck immediately?  If so, this book is absolutely for you.  In the first part of this book, we meet Danny, a writer who’s been scammed by a shady literary award committee; Sergio, journalist turned sub-librarian in São Paulo; and Harriet, an excommunicated Mormon historian in Salt Lake City, who years ago corresponded with the reclusive Brazilian writer named Salgado-MacKenzie.  These three misfits ban together, determined to determine the identity of this legendary writer, and whether his fabled masterpiece–never published–actually exists. Did his inquiries into the true nature of the universe yield something so enormous that his mind was blown for good?  In the second half, Wirkus gives us the lost masterpiece itself–the actual text of The Infinite Future, Salgado-MacKenzie’s wonderfully weird magnum opus that resonates in the most unexpected ways with the characters’ quest.  Part science-fiction, part academic satire, and part book-lover’s quest, this wholly original novel captures the heady way that stories inform and mirror our lives.  There are a number of authors drawing comparisons between Tim Wirkus’ book and Ursula K. Le Guin, with the incredible Paul Tremblay saying ” I’m having a difficult time being clever in the shadow of having read Tim Wirkus’s magnificently audacious The Infinite Future. How about this: it’s a book about the power and melancholy magic of the stories we tell and of the stories we live.”

 

Until next week, beloved patrons–happy reading!

“Grown-Ups” Can Read YA Books, Too!

This week, our friends at the Swampscott Library announced that they are launching a book group for adults fans of YA books.  This is such exciting news, not only because it’s always fun to meet other reads who share your bookish passions.  It’s also important to help remind readers that anyone can read any books that they enjoy, regardless of where they are shelved in the Library.  Here’s the announcement from Swampscott (click on the announcement to read a larger version):

 

Looking for some books to suggest at the meeting?  Or looking to start exploring YA books for yourself?  You can start by checking out the stellar suggestions from the devoted staff of our Teen Room, as well as some the sensational books below:

The Death and Life of Zebulon FinchZombies?  Check.  Historical fiction? Check. Rollicking adventure? Check.  Thoughtful consideration about what actually makes us human?  Surprisingly enough…check.  Daniel Kraus’ 2-part saga stars Zebulon Finch, who is gunned down by the shores of Lake Michigan–and suddenly reanimated into his wild and raucous second life. Zebulon’s new existence begins as a sideshow attraction in a traveling medicine show. From there he will be poked and prodded by a scientist obsessed with mastering the secrets of death. He will fight in the trenches of World War I. He will run from his nightmares—and from poverty—in Depression-era New York City. And he will become the companion of the most beautiful woman in Hollywood.  This is a phenomenally ambitious novel that takes all the elements of the “great American saga”, and injects them with…well….zombies…as well as humor, heart, and plenty of kick-ass action.

The Odds of Loving Grover ClevelandIt’s hard to explain how a novel about grief, mental illness, psychological conditions, and acute loneliness can be both funny and charming, but Rebekah Crane pulls it off beautifully in this one.  Sixteen-year-old Zander Osborne has been sent against her will to Camp Padua, a summer camp for at-risk teens.  Zander is convinced that she doesn’t, and will never, fit in here; not with her cabin mate Cassie, a self-described manic-depressive-bipolar-anorexic. Not with Grover Cleveland (yes, like the president), a cute but confrontational boy who expects to be schizophrenic someday, and not with Bek, a charmingly confounding pathological liar.  But slowly, as the summer wears on, Zander finds herself at home within this group, and falling just a little bit for Grover.  Is it possible she could actually be happy?  What does happy even look like?  And what will it require of her?  If you’re looking for a book that tackles the tough stuff with humor, and has the courage to make the most difficult characters lovable, then this is a read you shouldn’t overlook.

Dreamland BurningOne part murder mystery, one part social commentary, and all together compelling, Jennifer Latham pulls off a dual-narrative book that is well-balanced and truly powerful.  When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the present and the past.  Almost a century before, a misguided violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what’s right the night Tulsa burns.  Latham brings the horror, the hatred, and the inescapable reality of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot to vibrant and violent life in this book, making a commentary that is as timely as her book is spellbinding.  Readers who enjoyed the historic elements of Dennis Lehane’s The Given Day will love this story, which partly set during the same time period.

Ursula K. Le Guin, 1929 – 2018

“We’re each of us alone, to be sure. What can you do but hold your hand out in the dark?”

Today, we remember the life and work of Ursula K. Le Guin, who passed away yesterday at the age of 88.

As The New York Times reports, she was born Ursula Kroeber in Berkeley, California on Oct. 21, 1929, the youngest of four children and the only daughter of two anthropologists, Alfred L. Kroeber and Theodora Quinn Kroeber.   She grew up fascinated by mythology from around the world, and science fiction.  She turned away from science fiction, however, when she realized how many of the stories were about men as soldiers, adventurers, and plunderers.

She graduated first from Radcliffe College in 1951, and then from Columbia University, where she earned a master’s degree in romance literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.  She traveled to Paris in a Fulbright fellowship, and there she met the man who would become her husband, another Fulbright scholar, Charles Le Guin, who survives her.  The two settled in Portland, Oregon, and Ursula remained at home to raise their children.  She wrote five unpublished novels before turning to genre fiction.  Science fiction, the genre she adored as a child.  But now, Le Guin began to reinvent the genre, using her works to question western conceptions of gender, race, and power.

A devoted feminist, Ursula K. Le Guin, along with writers like Octavia Butler, burst open the science fiction genre, showing its true power to help us reimagine and reshape our own world.  She will be missed.  But, lucky for us, her words, her humor, and her insight lives on—on our shelves, and in our hearts.

Love What You Love

Conversations about books are some of my favorite conversations.

Via https://3appleskdk.wikispaces.com/

recent discussions among some book-minded companions led to a fascinating discussion the other day regarding “books that you love but that are in some way objectionable to others.”  It’s a tricky subject, and one with which a lot of readers tend to grapple, especially as they grow up, and realize that the books they loved at one stage of their development might not fit them and their world view now.

Let’s use my own experience as an example: It’s something of an open secret that I love Jane Eyre.  It’s a book that enchanted me as a fourteen-year-old first discovering early Victorian literature, and one that sustained me in high school amidst all those books I had to read.   But, as an older reader, out of high school and navigating what we usually call “the real world,” I began to realize how whiny, self-centered, and, let’s be honest here, how reckless and dangerous his behavior was.  Secrets aren’t sexy, Edward.  Especially when they involve fire, bleeding, and/or locking people up in towers.  (To be fair, I would argue a great deal of the Rochester mystique is a product of more recent times, but still…).  But, after some soul searching, I realized that I could, and still did, love Jane Eyre.  Because, as I grew older, I began to really appreciate just how strong, how self-reliant, and how confident Jane had to be in herself to survive in the world she did, and to protect herself from Rochester’s more harmful tendencies.  Jane Eyre herself became one of my favorite characters all over again as a grew up, even as I got more and more fed up with Rochester’s fragile ego and his ceaseless emoting.

Similarly, a friend related that they had grown up adoring Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, and that they still turned to it when life was being difficult and they needed something familiar to love.  Stephen King is a sensational author and a super guy, but, as my friend noted, Stephen King doesn’t do very well writing about people of color.  They tend to fall pretty hard into the character trope known as the “Magical Negro” trope (Note: the word ‘negro’ is used to denote the archaic view of Black people that this trope embodies).  Briefly put, “Magical Negroes” are characters (created by white authors) who are generally (though not always) outwardly or inwardly disabled as a result  of discrimination, disability or social constraint, and who appear to save the white protagonist through magic.  In other words, they are not human in the same ways that white characters are human.   In the Dark Tower series, Odetta Susannah Holmes is a”Magical Negro”; she is disfigured by a subway train after a white man pushes her onto the tracks.  She suffers from a magical kind of personality disorder in which she embodies two people (each figured and disfigured by American racism) and she is repeatedly victimized to save Roland, who is a white male in the novel.

This is not in any way, shape, or form to imply that Stephen King is a racist.  Far from it.  But it does indicate that he might not be the expert on creating realistic, thoughtful characters of color.

But sometimes, it can be an issue with the author.  Another book brought up in this discussion was Orson Scott Card’s classic sci-fi novel Ender’s Game.  This is a novel that shaped the childhoods of many, and is still beloved by readers around the world.  However, it’s very difficult for many readers to reconcile their love of this book with the knowledge that Orson Scott Card himself holds very public, anti-gay and xenophobic views.  For those who find these views troubling, spending money on purchasing an author’s work can be difficult. It can also be difficult to separate the author’s views from one’s love of the books they write.

So what is a reader to do?

First and foremost, love what you love.  If a book or a film or a song has personal meaning for you, helps you to grow, or guides you through a dark time, or makes you a better person, then you deserve that thing in your life.  As The Velveteen Rabbit taught us, the things we love become real, and become a part of us and who we are.  I became a stronger person by reading Jane Eyre, even as I learned not to put up with whiners like Rochester.  My friends learned fortitude and strength and insight from the books they loved, above and apart from the problematic aspects of their construction and their authorship.  This does not mean to be blind to their faults or shortcomings, but, instead, to love the thing for how it helps you.

Secondly, as in so many other matters, the library can help you in these circumstances.  For example: do you love an author, like Stephen King, who may not be the best at portraying people of color (…or women? …or another group of people?)?  Why not come to the Library and learn about some authors who do?!  Use your favorite author or series as a jumping-off point to explore other works of literature than can become new favorites.  In the case of the Dark Tower series, we might recommend books by N. K. Jemisin, or Nnedi Okorafor, for example.

Finally, the library is a super-terrific place to access material that you might not otherwise want to contribute your hard-earned dollars.  As we discussed in our post on Fire and Fury, you can have your literary cake and eat it took by borrowing the book from us.

Ultimately, it’s a win-win-win situation when you come to the Library and learn to love the things inside it.  And we are here to help you find the books and films and music that you can and will love, and that will help you be better.  Just keep loving what you love, and we’ll be here for the rest of it.

 

From the Teen Room!

2017 Manga To Check Out!

This years releases truly were ones for the books (pun wholeheartedly intended), with so many new and upcoming authors, series continuations, and incredible new stories from authors we know and love. The Teen Room’s Manga section was amped up this year with new series that readers who love graphic novels, fantasy, and action packed stories will love! Check out our top new manga picks for 2017!

 

Erased by Kei SanbeYou follow Satoru Fujinuma, an unpopular manga artist, who has the ability to go back in time to fix terrible incidents before they even happen. This ability (known as “re-run”) creates conflict in his everyday life of delivering pizzas and avoiding human contact. Satoru’s antisocial behavior and boring life can start the story out a little bland but as the story progresses readers will find an involved and intriguing story! The manga’s popularity has sparked enough interest for a Netflix original show!

 

Vampire Knight: Memories by Matsuri Hino: A long awaited companion and sequel to the original Vampire Knight manga that follows the time during Kaname’s 1000 year slumber. These stories dive into Yuki and Zero’s lives in the past and also follow the stories of Yuki’s children and Kaname in present day. This manga boasts the same style of beautiful gothic artwork as the original and an incredibly rich storyline that will leave readers wanting more!

 

Tokyo Ghoul: re by Sui Ishida: The sequel series to the original Tokyo Ghoul follows Haise Sasaki and his elite squad of half ghouls training to be expert Investigators while he battles inner turmoil with is own ghoul powers. There is praise to be given for the outstanding artwork and framing that Ishida is known for as well as the attention to detail to tie in the original series. With twists and turns and a character you can’t help but root for this new series is gaining popularity and can be expected as a huge success!