How To Be Happy by Eleanor Davis

Title: How To Be Happy, Author: Eleanor DavisHow To Be Happy. Finished 4-23-16, rating 2.5/5, graphic novel, 145 pages, pub. 2014

Eleanor Davis’s How to be Happy is the artist’s first collection of graphic/literary short stories. Davis is one of the finest cartoonists of her generation, and has been producing comics since the mid-2000s. Happy represents the best stories she’s drawn for such curatorial venues as Mome and No-Brow, as well as her own self-publishing and web efforts. Davis achieves a rare, subtle poignancy in her narratives that are at once compelling and elusive, pregnant with mystery and a deeply satisfying emotional resonance. Happy shows the full range of Davis’s graphic skills — sketchy drawing, polished pen and ink line work, and meticulously designed full color painted panels– which are always in the service of a narrative that builds to a quietly devastating climax.

from Goodreads

I am not a graphic novel fan, but I tried this during the readathon and it was a nice change of pace. I really enjoyed the illustrations in this short story collection, but didn’t quite get the point of all of the stories.  Davis tells you right from the beginning that this book has nothing to do with ‘how to be happy’ but I wish the stories had leaned a little more in that direction.  But, again, not a regular graphic novel reader, so I could be way off in my assessment.


J is for Jane Eyre, the Graphic Novel, original text

Blogging from A-Z

Jane Eyre The Graphic Novel: Original TextJane Eyre, the graphic novel. Finished 4-10-13, rating 5/5, classics/graphic novels, 141 pages, pub. 2009

I love Jane Eyre.  It’s been many, many years since I read the classic, but over the years I’ve watched as many of the film adaptations as I can fit in.  As much as I love Jane I have a more lukewarm response to graphic novels.  I’ve only read a few but none have really wowed me.  But, this one was the perfect combination of a favorite heroine, quality storytelling, and illustrations that felt authentic to the original story.  In this version they use Bronte’s own words to tell the story.  Here’s a look at one of my favorite passages of the orignal…


For those that don’t know, Jane was left in the care of a cold aunt and abusive cousin. Her spirit remained even through years at a school for orphans and the death of a friend.  When she arrives, as a governess, at Thornfield she blossoms, only her troubles are far from over.

Amy Corzine did a great job with the storyboard.  This complex story that follows orphan Jane from Gateshead Hall to Lowood School to Thornfield and beyond is well represented in its 140 pages.  I think it perfect for Jane lovers.  As a fan I never felt shortchanged.  There is also a Quick Text version that uses the same art but simplifies language, but I can’t vouch for that one.

There is a very interesting biography of Charlotte and her gifted, but tragedy-stricken family.  I found it fascinating.  Also a few pages in the end showed how they put the book together.

Whether you are a fan already or just want to know about Jane without having to read the book, I recommend this wholeheartedly.  I plan on checking out a few more of these graphic novels.  They are very well done.  I had this one on my shelves.

The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon and Illustrated by Hoang Nguyen

The Exile by Diana Gabaldon: Book CoverFinished 11-6-10, rating 2.5/5, graphic novel, pub. 2010

I am a huge fan of the Outlander series so when I saw this was being published I was excited.  The series is so exciting and the settings are so colorful that it had to be good.  And I’d finally get to see how Gabaldon envisioned Jamie and Claire.  Well, I was disappointed in all aspects. 

The story jumped around a lot and if you aren’t already familiar with the book I think it would be confusing and to add to the confusion many of Jamie’s clan members look way too much alike.  I had to go back and check who was who more than once. 

As for Jamie and Claire, well, I have a few gripes about them too.  I would have been okay with Claire except her cleavage was just too ridiculous.  There was no reason for it and it was distracting.  And Jamie is more rugged and manly in my mind (think Aragorn minus all the dirt and with red hair).  The body seemed right, but the face didn’t do it for me.  These are the same things that make it hard for a movie to stand up to the book in the minds of fans.  It was still interesting to see what Gabaldon had in mind as she wrote it.

With those complaints I did still find it a fairly fun experience.  It was quick and the illustrations were good.  This is my first graphic novel and I’m not sure the genre is for me.  I have one more sitting on the shelf so I’ll have to see what I think of that one before I write off the whole genre.  I would recommend this one to Outlander fans only and then I would tell you just to find it at the library or borrow it from a friend.

This was from my personal library.