I hadn’t before read a graphic novel (or in this case, a graphic memoir), so Kristen Radtke’s Imagine Wanting Only This was new territory for me. I was drawn to this book because of its topic, rather than its format. In it, Radtke explores her fascination with architectural ruins, relating them to her own sense of the impermanence of life and her grief over losing a close relative. Never feeling rooted or settled, she travels the world visiting abandoned towns and structures as they are slowly reclaimed by nature.
Radtke tells her story in direct, unfussy language and compelling black and white drawings. In some pages, she conforms to the traditional three to nine frame comic format, and in others her drawings overlap the frame or incorporate collage or drawn-over photographic elements, giving the book a lot of life, and the reader plenty of incentive to keep turning the pages. Radtke’s story is poignant, her illustrations lovely. This book quickly hooked me and I read it in one sitting. I now consider it a favorite. This is a great entry point into the graphic book format, and I recommend it to new graphic book readers (and experienced graphic readers won’t want to miss it). Request a copy.
I listened to the audiobook on a trip up and back to Massachusetts. I’ve read a bunch of Lisa Scottoline’s books (she’s a lawyer who writes really cool mystery books), so I thought I’d try this. She’s written a series of books with her daughter and I wanted to check it out. They take turns with the chapters and they talk about their lives alone and together and all kinds of stuff that happens in between. I enjoyed this, as a lot of it reminded me of my daughter and me. Now I may look for their other books, since I enjoyed this one. Request a copy.
I knew very little about Queen Victoria. The various Queens Elizabeth are much better known to me, but I am very glad I watched the Masterpiece show on PBS. Daisy Goodwin wrote the TV show and also the book. Having seen and read both, I would recommend you do the same.
Queen Victoria was quite small, under five feet tall. She was imperious, and while an era is named after her, she was not the fierce little old lady I was expecting. Her ascension to the throne happened when she was young, and many in power at the time tried to control her. She was determined to rule wisely and make her own choices. Jenna Coleman does a remarkable job in the title roll of the show, and if you look at pictures of Victoria when she was young, there is a good resemblance. The show closely follows the book, but it is still enjoyable to check out them both.
Lord Melbourne is the Prime Minister and the Queen’s first love. Lehzen, Victoria’s governess, later advisor and companion and Dash, the dog, also lend support. Of course we must mention Prince Albert, also a fascinating character with an interest in modernization and his own difficulties being married to Royalty. With politics, romance and history, this coming of age story is most enjoyable. So do read the book and also see the DVD of season 1. Some scenes were deleted from the original Masterpiece TV show, so it may be preferable to watch it on DVD if you are able. And God save the Queen! Request a copy.