Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

Same Difference

October 24, 2012

Author/Illustrator:  Derek Kirk Kim

Title:  Same Difference

Genre/Format:  Realistic Fiction, Graphic Novel

Publication Date:  2011

Number of Pages:  90

Geographical Setting:  California (Oakland, Pacifica)

Time Period:  2000 (flashbacks to 1993)

Series:  N/A

Plot Summary:

Same Difference first appeared in the collection, Same Difference and Other Stories, which won both the Eisner and the Harvey awards when it debuted in 2004.  Here reissued as a stand alone graphic novel, Same Difference introduces Simon Moore and Nancy Kim- two Korean-American friends in their twenties living in Oakland, California. A trip to Simon’s hometown (Pacifica, CA), spurred by Nancy’s desire to see Ben Leland (a stranger whose love letters she has been secretly reading and responding to) leads to unexpected reunions with classmates from high school.  In both artwork and storytelling, Same Difference depicts the humor and poignancy of people trying to figure out where they are in their lives and what they want from the future- discovering that while our past mishaps may influence who we are today, they need not define us entirely.

Subject Headings:  Humorous stories, interpersonal relationships, friendship, Korean-Americans, graphic novels.

Appeal:  Humorous, poignant, reflective, regrets, missed opportunities, love letters, stereotypes, multicultural characters, friendship, awkward teenage relationships, rediscovery, growth, characters in their twenties.

Three appeal terms that best describe this book:  Humorous, reflective, friendship.

Similar Authors and Works:

Three Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1. Happy Birthday or Whatever: Track Suits, Kim Chee, and Other Family Disasters by Annie Choi

Readers who enjoyed the humor of Same Difference, and its depiction of modern Korean-American characters may enjoy this book- a witty and funny collection of stories and anecdotes about growing up and being Korean-American.

2.  Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels by Scott McCloud

Readers interested in learning how to create stories in a graphic novel format may find this book a useful resource for getting started.  It covers theory and design principles involved with mixing words and art in storytelling, along with exercises and examples to motivate and inspire its readers.

3.  Other People’s Love Letters: 150 Letters You Were Never Meant to See by Bill Shapiro

A collection of real love letters of all sorts comprise this book- written on napkins, in e-mails, via traditional pen & paper, etc.  The messages range from funny and sweet to sad and sincere.  In Same Difference, Nancy reads the letters of a stranger, imagining the life and love of the author.  Other People’s Love Letters gives readers a similar glimpse into the personal relationships of others.

Three Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1.  The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank

This collection of stories centers around Jane Rosenal, beginning at the age of fourteen and continuing into her twenties.  Both Same Difference and this book follow the humor and drama of characters as they learn about themselves and their relationships during their twenties.

2.  Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence by Nick Bantock

A story unfolds in a series of illustrated letters and postcards between Griffin Moss, a card-designer living in London, and Sabine Strohem, a mysterious woman living in the South Pacific.  Readers who enjoyed Nancy’s pursuit of a stranger, whom she came to know through his letters in Same Difference, may find the romance and mystery of this book appealing.

3.  Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine

Ben Tanaka is a Japanese-American man in his twenties living in Berkeley, California, who travels cross-country in pursuit of love.  Though more melancholy in tone than Same Difference, both stories are graphic novels involving relationships, cultural identity, and self-discovery.

Name:  Nicole

Mama Dearest

April 25, 2010

Author: E. Lynn Harris

Genre: African American/GLBTQ

Publication Date: 2009

Number of  Pages: 387

Geographical Setting: New York City

Series: Yes. Third in the Basil and Yancy Series

Plot Summary: Singer and actress Yancy Harrington Braxton is finishing a low-budget tour of Dreamgirls, but she is determined to reclaim her stardom. She thinks the best way to achieve this is to star in her own reality T.V. show. This is not easy when she is surrounded by people who will stop at nothing to make sure she does not succeed. Her scheming, conniving, just been released from prison, mother Ava, does not want Yancy to succeed in anything, which is not surprising as it was Yancy who sent her mother to prison when she testified against her in a shooting incident, and Ava is not about to let Yancy forget it! Ava lets Yancy believe that she has set her up with a T.V. producer, but it turns out he is a drug dealing criminal. Yancy’s involvement with this criminal lands her in prison until an unknown benefactor posts bail for her. Yancy is amazed that somebody would make such a kind gesture and it makes her even more determined to change her diva ways and become a better person. Yancy is surrounded by a cast of colorful characters, including Dani, one of the young gay men in her Dreamgirls cast. Dani and Yancy have a strong friendship and are always there for each other. We meet other lovers and ex-lovers of both Yancy and Ava along the way, one of them being Basil Henderson a bisexual NFL tight end who appears in the other books in this series.

When Yancy was in college she fell in love with Derrick, but when she discovered she was pregnant she gave the baby up for adoption. Unbeknown to Yancy Derrick adopted their baby daughter, naming her Madison B. Madison B is now a very popular and successful young singer. Yancy and Madison B discover their relationship during the making of their own realityT.V. shows. Yancy discovers she has strong maternal feelings for Madison B and realises she would really like to try and be a mother to her. But is it too late? Will the sins of  Ava and Yancy carry on from one generation to the next? Will Madison B give Yancy a chance?

Subject Headings: African-American actors and actresses; African-American women singers; African-American Fiction – 21st century; Entertainment industry; Mother and daughter.

Appeal: character centered, strong secondary characters, multiple story lines, fast-paced, dramatic, sexuallyexplicit, strong language, steamy, romantic, family relationships, friendship, glbtq, bisexual, plot twists.

3 Terms Best Describe this book:  hopeful, dramatic, character-centered

Similary Works/Authors:


1. Baby Momma Drama by Carl Weber (strong characters, plot twists, relationship issues, drug dealing, dramatic).

2. Drop Dead Beautiful by Jackie Collins (although not an African-American author, her books have strong similarities to the entertainment world as Mama Dearest. They are full of steamy sex, family relationships, hopefulness, powerful female characters, fast-paced).

3. One in a Million by Kimberla Lawson Roby (dramatic, hopeful, plot twists, family relationships, steady pace).


1. Encyclopedia of African American Actresses in Film and Television (biographical, stardom, television,entertainment world).

2. Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner (family relatsionships, hopefulness, rise to fame, parent-child relationship).

3. Freedom in this Village: Twenty-five years of Black Gayt Men’s Writing by Isaac Jackson (black, gay male literature, authors, biographies, essays).


You Slay Me

April 1, 2009

Author: Katie MacAlister
Title: You Slay Me
Genre: Romance/ Supernatural Romance
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 334
Geographic Setting: Paris, France
Time Period: Modern; Early 21st century
Series: Aisling Grey, Guardian #1

Plot Summary:
Couring a priceless golden dragon to Paris seemed like an easy job for Aisling Grey. But, she was not expecting her client ending up murdered and the sexy and mysterious Drake Vireo to sashay onto the crime scene and steal the precious aquamantile. Now Aisling was trapped in Paris and accused of murder, what is works is that Drake is not human at all; he is a wyvern dragon who will stop at nothing to claim Aisling as his mate. When prominent people of the underworld end up dead, Aisling and her demon Newfoundland dog Jim are on the case. Now she must embrace her Guardian powers and find the murdered while avoiding Drake’s seductive, masculine charms.

Subject Headings: Dragons; Murder investigation; missing persons investigation; women murder victims; supernatural romances; quests; magical arts; Paris, France; fantasy fiction

Appeal Terms: supernatural romance, series characters, first person narrative, humorous, dragons, romance, witty, magic, urban, sexual situations, man/women relationships, friendship, dramatic

Read Alikes

Witchling by Yasmine Galenorn: “The D’Artgo sisters are half-human, half-faerie sexy operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency who track down enemies, but their mixed-blood heritage causes them all kinds of problems at all the wrong times.” (Supernatural romance, other worlds, magic)

Dragon Actually by G.A Aiken: “While battling against her greatest enemies, a warrior princess is torn between her fierce desire for an arrogant knight and her feelings for a powerful dragon.” (Supernatural romance, humanized dragon)

Derik’s Baine by Mary Janice Davidson: “Werewolf Derik Gardner heads to California to destroy the reincarnation of the powerful sorceress Morgan Le Fay, only to find himself falling for Morgan’s modern-day persona, the beautiful and ditsy Dr. Sara Gunn.” (Supernatural romance, humorous)

Dragons: Heroes and Legendary Beasts in Poems, Prose and Paintings by Steve Dobell: An anthology of the legends and myths of dragons from around the world.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft by Denise Zimmermann: An easy way to learn about Wicca and how to practice its mysterious art.

Complete Guide to Faeries and Magical Beings by Cassandra Eason: “A Complete Guide to Faeries and Magical Beings is a wonderful companion for those who wish to tour an enchanted world. Cassandra Eason begins with the myths, legends, and real evidence surrounding the origins and existence of fairies and then takes us on a journey throughout the world to introduce us to the many different varieties of these mysterious beings.”

Name: Michelle