Meiko Inoue is a twentysomething living with her boyfriend in Tokyo, working in an office, and wondering whether her life could be something more. There’s a lot more to the story than that (hint: the “more” involves playing in a band), but this manga’s most profound moments come in the characters’ contemplations about the creative life versus a stable work life, along with the emptiness that comes from not having a passionate outlet. It’s rougher and very different than Asano’s Nijigahara Holograph, though the images share the same majestic beauty and the story captures a similar sense of wonder.
An aging butler in 1950s Britain goes on a road trip and reflects on the glory days of the British aristocracy that turn out to be not so glorious. This novel works so incredibly because of its narrator, who speaks in a voice that’s both dignified and easy to read, reeking of unreliability and dry humor as he encounters the common folk. Greater stakes, however, lie in its backstory of what democracy really means and how an entire working class could trade their independence for service to the upper classes—who are prone to more than a few shortcomings.
Full Disclosure: I worked for Market Basket ten or so years before the 2014 protests made national news, but I would have enjoyed this book either way. In case you missed it: a rivalry among the Demoulas family split the grocery chain between the workers and the board, with the power-hungry directors firing CEO Arthur T., who believed in supporting workers and treating customers fairly. This book explains not only the history behind the protest, but the business practices that both fostered it and allow Market Basket to flourish in a world dominated by Milton Friedman’s shareholder-favoring philosophies. Nice.
Where I Got It
Christmas Gift, 2015.
More on the Market Basket Protests (Wikipedia)
When the Market Basket Workers Fight Back, Everyone Wins (my 2014 thoughts on the protests)