When I ride the bus, I always bring along a book to read. The problem, however, is that the bus is an extremely distracting place to be. There are interesting sights to see outside. Whether it be the pretty view from the bridge or the interesting people roaming around downtown. There are also interesting things to witness inside...more interesting people! And when they are inside, I can sometimes overhear conflicts, stories, extremely personal phone conversations that probably should not be had on a bus and other interesting tidbits. This makes reading difficult. I read a couple of pages, get distracted, and by the time I am back at my book, I've lost my place. This is why I decided to start reading graphic novels and comics on the bus instead of books. If I loose my place, it is easy to find where I was. I just have to remember the last picture. It is not a perfect solution. Reading comics on the bus has it's own set of challenges. Mainly that certain pictures could give the wrong idea of what sort of content I am reading.
I've read two graphic novels recently that were very interesting reads. Both of them had similar themes: Family, identity and how we hide ourselves or are forced and pressured to hide ourselves by others.
'Julio's Day' by Gilbert Hernandez is not just about a day, but about a life, and it is not just about Julio, but about the people who surround him. Julio's story also tells the story of the 1900's and the amazing changes that can happen in such a short amount of time. It is a story about friendship, family, loss, and about the different ways people cope with loss. The story has elements of the surreal, which only serve to make the story seem all the more real. In real life, distant memories feel strange and surreal sometimes.
'Unterzakhn' by Leela Corman is a story about twin sisters. Like Julio's day, the story starts when the two sisters are children and follow them through adulthood. Life treats them differently, pulling them in different directions which in turn pulls the sisters apart. It is also a story about the different ways women found independence in a time when it was a very difficult thing to accomplish.