“Despite reading a ridiculous number of eBook versions of really great stories while at work, my April OOL goes to the paperback that spends most days in my backpack, carted around Chicago. Though I borrowed The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon from Laura because I was out of new books to read, I’m actually taking this time to participate in a really cool venture put forth by the Chicago Public Library: One Book, One Chicago. In an attempt to create a book club of epic proportions, the library puts together programming around one theme, using a book as a place to start the discussion. This year the program’s theme is “Heroes: Real and Imagined.”
The book follows the story of two cousins who create a comic book hero together while they attempt to figure out the world they live in during the second World War. I’m nearly half-way through the 600+ page book, and I’m excited to continue the journey. Between the two cousins, we get a look at the artistry and imagination of two young men in a tumultuous time in New York City. Joe is an immigrant fugitive from the Third Reich’s regime in Prague while Sammy is a daydreaming son of New York who pulls Joe along into the world of comics. The book’s structure allows the perspective to move between the two and between the past and present to tell an intricate story which allows the characters to have depth and complexity. I’ve found that this is a highly recommended book by most everyone I’ve talked to about it, and I’m excited to see where the story leads from here. ”
– Christina Casano, TV & Film Writer
“I don’t remember the last time a show yanked me in the way the CW’s fairly new baby The 100 has (pronounced ‘The Hundred,’ by the way), but holy crap. It took me awhile to get on this ride, mostly because I (like many others, I suspect) waved this show off as another boring post-apocalyptic show where a bunch of attractive teenagers are mankind’s last hope for survival, blah blah blah. I was wrong – not about the attractive teenagers part (have you seen Marie Avgeropoulos? Eliza Taylor? Bob Morley? Damn), but about the boring part. And about the ‘blah blah blah.’ The main premise is that Earth has been ravaged and destroyed by a nuclear war and the last remnants of humanity are living in a space station orbiting the planet. After 97 years in space, they’re running out of oxygen much sooner than they’d anticipated, so they send one hundred juvenile delinquents back to the ground as guinea pigs to see if the planet is survivable, or if the radiation from the nuclear fallout is too deadly for life to exist.
This show is dark. It’s intense, and it’s real, and it’s a much more ‘adult’ show than I anticipated. I mean, come on – the whole catalyst for the show is the fact that they sent one hundred underage kids to essentially die on Earth. Everyone’s actions, no matter how small, have consequences, and those consequences build and pile up on each other until you find yourself manically marathoning through season one and immediately starting the next season at 2 a.m. while stuffing your face with Goldfish. Or maybe that’s just me. ”
– Gabby Taub, Fantasy Reviewer
“My schedule as a law student has left me with very little time to enjoy, well, life, but what I miss the most is having the time to kick back with a book (or three) and read hours on end, so I’ve had to resort to other, more manageable mediums to channel my desperation to read.
Enter: comic books. I used to be more of a manga person, but during the last few months I’ve been blazing through comics and graphic novels and I’ve been left in utter and complete awe at the amazing stories and art I’d been missing out on.
My recent favorite is the Rat Queens series. Set in a world inspired by high fantasy and MMORPG games, we follow Hannah, Dee, Violet and Betty, the four unbelievably badass members of the bounty hunter guild Rat Queens, as they deal with magic, trolls, assassins, evil maniacs, religious zealots and blood, lots and lots of blood. These four ladies are strong but still realistically human, they drink, curse, and love sex, they come with diverse in backgrounds, ethnicities, sexual orientations, attitudes, religions, and even body types, and they are so ridiculously fun to read about. The comic is about 10 issues in, and, as the plot thickens and becomes even more dangerous, we are introduced to this world and the stories of these amazing anti-heroines. I adore it and would definitely recommend it.”
– Lorraine Acevedo Franqui, Staff Writer
“It’s spring cleaning season, and it’s really hard to watch subtitled anime when you’re scrubbing away at something in the kitchen instead of sitting in front of a screen. So I decided to catch up on some English-language sci-fi shows I dropped off on over the years. First up was Jericho, which I’d started watching when it first aired only to drop off later.
Jericho is the story of a small Kansas town during a domestic attack in which 23 American cities are nuclear-bombed, and the first season follows the consequences and fallout of that happening. The town suffers when it doesn’t receive imported food; they deal with mercenaries, refugees, and even all-out border war. Some episodes deal with the country dissolving into martial law and losing infrastructure like running water and working electricity, while others deal with the health effects of radiation fallout and the struggles faced by U.S. doctors working without the equipment they’ve come to depend on.
Part small-town human drama and part apocalyptic thriller, Jericho was a forerunner to shows like Revolution, and the first season is a don’t-miss (even though the protagonist’s brother is the world’s biggest jerk.)”
– Feliza Casano, Editor
What are you in love with this month?