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The Charles Dickens of graphic novels. Plus, new work from Joan Didion and a vegetarian baking book

click to enlarge Habibi
  • Habibi

GRAPHIC NOVEL
Habibi

If you’re intrigued by graphic lit but don’t know where to start, pick up Craig Thompson’s 2003 book, Blankets. You will fall in love. Thompson, a Portland artist, plays with stories of love and faith, and his new book, Habibi, continues with a similar theme. Thompson put the last seven years into composing Habibi, a fairy tale of two child slaves who are separated only to meet again later in life. Though Thompson keeps the story’s location ambiguous, he makes clear comments on the similarities between Islam and Christianity. After reading the 672-page graphic novel, one reviewer called Thompson the “Charles Dickens of the genre.”

BOOK

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Blue Nights

The first Joan Didion book I read was her 1968 masterpiece, Slouching Toward Bethlehem. It forever changed me — as a writer, a reader and a person. One of the greatest practitioners of “New Journalism,” Didion, in recent years, has turned her pen on herself. In 2006, she chronicled her mental collapse after the sudden death of her husband in The Year of Magical Thinking. And this week, she releases another memoir: Blue Nights, which observes her relationship with her daughter, who died just months after her husband. She told New York magazine last week that after the two tragedies, she “was no longer afraid to die. I was now afraid not to die.”

COOKBOOK

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Vegan Pie in the Sky

Turns out the hippies were right all those years. Veganism — the nodairy, no-meat, no-animal-product diet — is becoming more and more mainstream. And if you’ve ever said “I could be vegan, but I just love pie,” you’re in luck. Vegan cookbook superstars Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero just released their latest book: Vegan Pie in the Sky. The 240-page tome is filled with recipes for dairy-free delights, like basil peach pie, banana cookie cream pudding pie, salted maple pecan pie, and brownie bottom peanut butter cheesecake.

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