Meanwhile, by Jason Shiga

Oh, what a delightful book! I loved Choose Your Own Adventure stories as a kid, and I quite enjoyed Shiga’s Bookhunter when I read it last summer, so when I found out that Shiga had written and illustrated a graphic Choose Your Own Adventure-style book? Yeah, that went right on my library holds list.

But then I did something silly and jumped right into the story, failing right away by wanting vanilla ice cream and then finally getting on sort of the right track only to be completely stumped by the fact that I had gotten stuck at a place where I apparently needed to enter a code, and where the heck was I supposed to find this code? I went through a few story routes trying to find it, and then just tried to brute force my way through the many many wrong answers to find the right one, and then I just gave up. But I showed the book to Scott and told him he should look at the pretty pictures and maybe try to figure it out. And he did. Easily. Because he read the instructions at the beginning. Do we see who is the man in this relationship? -sigh-

So I went back through, and once I knew what I was meant to be doing the story played out quickly and easily and also very very creepily, when you think about it, which you will after you go find this book and read it. And Shiga knows all about your COYA cheating ways, so there’s a page that has nothing to do with anything thrown into the middle of the book, and even a page that has something to do with something that you can only get to if a) you’re like Scott and you get two pages stuck together while flipping through or b) you’re a cheater face and you’re looking for something and you find this something instead of the correct something.

Oh, and there’s quantum physics, which is always a good time, right? Right? No? Just me? Ah, well.

Rating: 8/10
(Countdown Challenge: 2010, Support Your Local Library Challenge)

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Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.r

Bookhunter, by Jason Shiga (20 June)

These graphic novel things are starting to grow on me. I don’t think I’m ready for any big-kid books, like Watchmen and the like, but I’m getting there!

So this is a nice, short, simple-drawing book about the library police. No, really. I saw this description of it while plowing through the Unshelved archives (excellent comic, p.s., you should also go plow through the archives), and I was, to say the least, intrigued. Library police? Concentric locked-room mysteries?? Library police??? How can I join?

And, happily, it was a good time. We get what seems to be a cold open with the library police tracking down a guy who is stealing all the copies of one particular book from the Oakland Public Library. Agent Bay and his team bust in and totally get the guy, but then we don’t care about him anymore and we move on to the main story. In this, there’s a Bible missing and the OPL needs Bay to recover it before it has to be returned to the Library of Congress. Only… it was stolen from a safe that has not been obviously cracked. And the book is only in the safe at night, but there’s also no sign that the thief broke into or out of the library. Which means the book must have left during the day, but without triggering the anti-theft alarms at the doors. An exhausting riddle!

Best of all, the book is set in 1973, so Bay solves the mystery with the help of microfilm and a giant card catalog. Can’t go wrong with that.

Rating: 8/10
(Countdown Challenge: 2007)