Book of the Week
Previously Featured Books
The Map as Art , by Katharine Harmon,
compiles artistic maps to demonstrate how maps can be used as a medium for self-expression. Places on maps are emotional and political symbols that can be used to communicate a point or make a statement. Map art can bring topics from imperialism to materialism to light in geographic terms. This form of art can also show how fluid borders can be or how strange it is to see a border literally installed on the earth. Map artists have also illustrated their ideals for a better world through map art creations. This book gives many examples of the countless ways that maps can be used for artistic expression.
Pride of Baghdad, by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon,
Inspired by the real-life escape of four lions from the Baghdad Zoo, Pride of Baghdad is an interesting study of the complex ideas of foreign occupation and of freedom. Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon use the lion pride, their captivity in the zoo, and their brief experience with freedom as an allegory for the situation in Iraq. Through the lions' journey the reader is prompted to consider how the occupation of Iraq affects people's views of freedom. The two lionesses illustrate opposing views on foreign occupation: one had a terrible experience before captivity that leads her to choose what she thinks is the lesser of two evils, while the other lioness believes in true freedom. This graphic novel cleverly gives the reader a sense of how unjust occupation can be, but also that the alternatives and solutions can be bleak as well.
The Real Costs of Prisons Comix, edited by Lois Ahrens,
sheds light on not only the economic costs of mass incarceration in the United States but also on the social costs, both for the individual and the community. The work includes three comic books of facts and stories about the prison system and readers' reactions to the comics. "Prison Town: Paying the Price" offers a view of what a prison will do to a small town economy. "Prisoners of the War on Drugs" powerfully illustrates the effects of the "three strike" rule and shows how racial and social discrimination lead to unfair practices in the criminal justice system. Finally, "Prisoners of a Hard Life: Women and Their Children" tells the stories of how imprisonment of women can impact their lives as well as that of their family. The Real Cost of Prisons Project weaves personal stories with facts and statistics to show in a unique way the effects of mass incarceration and provides a tool for communities, activists, and others to discuss and, perhaps, bring reform to the prison institution in the United States.