Get Graphic Series: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Have you always wanted to read a classic, but find yourself picking up the latest beach read instead? I have a solution for you! Classic adaptations is our final topic in the Get Graphic Series. I have read many classics in my life; mostly from high school and college. I find my self now that I am older, forgetting the details of them. That’s why I like classic adaptation graphic novels. They are great at refreshing my memory of the classic I read long ago- and they are much shorter!

One of my favorite classics, Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, was made into a graphic novel in 2020. It follows the story of Billy Pilgrim who has come unstuck in time. Traveling from his POW camp in World War II Germany to his Lions Club Meeting years later, Billy Pilgrim has no control over where he ends up next. And then in 1967, Billy Pilgrim travels to the alien world Tralfamadore. This is where he learns about time and how time “simply is.”

Ryan North and Albert Monteys create a Slaughterhouse-Five universe. They give faces and backstories to Vonnegut’s characters. They add timelines and comic strip like panels to give life to the numerous settings. This classic adaptation is never boring with the way North and Monteys portray it.

Several classics have been made into graphic novels. Here are a few we own at the library if Slaughterhouse-Five isn’t your first choice: 1984 by George Orwell, Anne Frank’s Diary by Ari Folman, Kindred by Damian Duffy, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, or The Great Gatsby by Fred Fordham.

So it goes.

The Roads to Rebecca

Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca is a classic novel for very good reason — the suspenseful tone, the clever writing style, and compelling characters all make it a story for the ages. The original novel was published in 1938, and was turned into first a play in 1939, a film in 1940, and most recently a Netflix film released this year. If you’re not already aware (and let’s be honest, obsessed) with this story, here are some details about it and some different ways to experience it.

First, the basics: a young woman falls in love with an older man, Maxim De Winter, while working as a companion to a rich American woman in Monte Carlo. After a whirlwind romance, they marry and return to his estate, Manderley. Once they arrive, the young woman discovers the house is a monument to her husband’s deceased first wife, the Rebecca from the title. The house’s habits, decoration, and staff all bear her stamp, including a sinister housekeeper who undermines our insecure narrator at every turn, bullying her with stories of the glamorous Rebecca. In mounting distress, the narrator struggles both to escape Rebecca’s shadow and to uncover the dark secrets her husband is keeping from her about his past. Eventually, he confides in her, but that may only cause them more problems…

What I love about this book is how the writing style underscores the plot — the narrator is given no name other than Mrs. De Winter, while her predecessor Rebecca is not only named but is the book’s title. The narrator’s identity is literally erased, insignificant compared to Rebecca. Also, the story is told as a flashback, giving the reader enigmatic hints of the book’s ending long before it arrives – much as the narrator learns about Rebecca in mysterious bits and pieces.

Intrigued? Check out the book or the film version (or any one of the several available) from the library. But wait, there’s more!

Also released this year was a YA novel which retells the Rebecca story in a modern setting, to chilling effect. I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick echoes Du Maurier’s twisty plot full of drama, chills, and unexpected revelations. In this case, the story is about Anna, who comes to the Hamptons to spend the summer working as a nanny. She’s hoping for a fresh start but finds herself instead overshadowed by Zoe Spanos, a local girl who recently went missing, and who looks a LOT like Anna… Slowly, the mystery of Zoe Spanos takes over Anna’s life until she’s sure they’re linked by a dark connection. But did Anna really kill her? And how can she find the truth?

This is far from the only retelling of or companion to this iconic story, of course. There’s also Rebecca’s Tale, The Winters, Mrs. De Winter, In Her Shadow, and more. If you like atmospheric mysteries, thrillers, or marriage stories, check out any of these titles from the Rebeccaverse.

Reading Challenges for 2016

Read 2016

It is a new year and the perfect time to start a reading challenge. I struggle at times with what to choose, because there is so much out there to read, and my time is limited. A reading challenge consists of following a set of specific reading guidelines over a certain period of time. The reading criteria all depends on the kind of reading challenge it is. You can usually find a local summer or winter reading challenge at your public library where you can read for prizes. But there are other reading challenges that you do for fun or to broaden your reading repertoire. There may be a requirement on your reading challenge for a type of book you would have never picked up on your own, but for the sake of the challenge you give it a try. It could be the best or worst thing you ever read, but that is the fun of the challenge. You just never know what you will have to pick up. In this blog are a list of reading challenges that span the entire year. They are different so you can pick out one that appeals to your style or current interest.

Committing to a year long challenge is great for keeping you reading, and for guiding you on what to read next. I’m not quite sure which one I will pick, but I will be participating in one of these challenges. I hope your year in reading is a good one!

Bustle Reads Challenge 2016 Read books by women and writers of color. Includes 20 book categories to complete.

Modern Mrs Darcy 2016 Reading Challenge Read one book a month. Categories are broad and leave room for you stay in your comfort zone if you want to.

The 2016 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge  Challenge consists of 24 books and includes a downloadable chart to keep track. A wide range of books are covered including read a play and read a food memoir. Definitely a challenge that will get you out of your comfort zone.

Popsugar Ultimate  2016 Reading Challenge  If you read a lot, this may be the challenge for you! This list includes 40 different categories and you won’t find any books that you can read in a day. Unless you read very fast! But there are a slew of fun topics like read a book written by a celebrity. 

Challies 2016 Reading Challenge This challenge is pretty cool because it has a challenge for every reader! The Light Reader challenge is the first of four different challenges and consists of 13 books for about 1 book every 4 weeks. The Obsessed Reader is the fourth and most difficult, with 104 books! That’s 2 books a week folks. There are two other challenges that fall somewhere in between light and obsessed.

Daring to Live Fully Reading Challenge I liked this challenge because it gives you book suggestions under each category to get you started. There are 12 books on list which makes it very doable.

Back to the Classics Reading Challenge As the name suggests, all the books in this challenge are considered “classics”. Site gives detailed explanation of each category and one book recommendation.

2016 Diversity Reading Challenge  These are books either written by or about a person of diversity. Two categories include a book in which a character suffers from a mental illness and a book with a LGBT main character. There are 12 categories.

Intrigued? The Davenport Public Library is about to launch their own online reading challenge! It will be a low-stress, no obligation way to expand your reading horizons and maybe help you find your next great read! Watch this space for details coming next week!