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CAPE FEAR MEMORIAL BRIDGE CLOSURE: UPDATES, RESOURCES, AND CONTEXT

NPR staffers illustrate their love for graphic novels off the 2023 Books We Love list

AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

Like to look at a story as well as read one? This year saw a number of excellent graphic novels and memoirs, and NPR's Books We Love has plenty of ideas for your next story. Today, here are suggestions from a few of our colleagues.

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CHLOE VELTMAN, BYLINE: My name's Chloe Veltman. I'm a correspondent on NPR's culture desk. My book is "Artificial: A Love Story." It's a graphic memoir by New Yorker cartoonist Amy Kurzweil. In the book, Amy describes how she and her father, famed futurist, technologist and inventor Ray Kurzweil, harnessed the power of artificial intelligence to connect with the grandfather Amy never knew.

Fred Kurzweil, the grandfather, died in 1970. He was this talented conductor and pianist from Vienna, Austria. He fled the Nazis just before Kristallnacht in 1938 to begin a new life in the United States. Through words and meticulously detailed pen-and-ink drawings, this smart and spiritual graphic memoir not only chronicles the process Amy and her father Ray go through to create a chatbot version of their forebear, but it also asks these really big questions about how we memorialize the people we love and the relationship between technology and humanity.

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NICOLETTE KHAN, BYLINE: I'm Nicolette Khan. And I work with NPR's research, archives & data strategy team. I read quite a few graphic novels this year, and "Mimosa" by Archie Bongiovanni was one of my favorites. The book explores the lives and friendships of four 30-something queer people in Minneapolis, Minn. Chris, Jo, Elise and Alex are navigating work, sex, relationships and parenting, all while trying to find joy and community through organizing a queer dance night for people over 30. I love this book because it explores how messy and complicated friendships can be, especially as people age and change and try to meet the expectations they've set for themselves and each other. It's a smart, cool, raw and funny slice of queer millennial life.

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BETH NOVEY, BYLINE: My name is Beth Novey, and I'm a producer on Books We Love. And this year I wrote about "I Must Be Dreaming" by Roz Chast. Roz Chast is a cartoonist for The New Yorker, and in this book, she catalogs and illustrates her own dreams, which, as it turns out, are totally bizarre. She has a dream where she runs into Henry Kissinger at the dentist. She dreams that there's a new holiday where children run through the streets clutching armloads of forks and spoons. Other people's dreams are notoriously uninteresting. But Chast is so funny and her dreams are so weird that she really makes it work. I thoroughly enjoyed my romp through her subconscious, and I'd recommend this book for anyone who loves her humor or who is interested in what your brain is doing after you fall asleep.

RASCOE: That was Beth Novey, who suggests "I Must Be Dreaming," Nicolette Khan with "Mimosa" and Chloe Veltman with "Artificial: A Love Story." For more ideas, you can find the full list of books we love at npr.org/bestbooks.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Beth Novey is a producer for NPR's Arts, Books & Culture desk. She creates and edits web features, plans multimedia projects, and coordinates the web presence for Fresh Air and Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!
Meghan Collins Sullivan is a senior editor on the Arts & Culture Desk, overseeing non-fiction books coverage at NPR. She has worked at NPR over the last 13 years in various capacities, including as the supervising editor for NPR.org – managing a team of online producers and reporters and editing multi-platform news coverage. She was also lead editor for the 13.7: Cosmos and Culture blog, written by five scientists on topics related to the intersection of science and culture.
Nicolette Khan
Chloe Veltman
Chloe Veltman is a correspondent on NPR's Culture Desk.