Whether you love stories of Chicago, travel, food or everyday life, the Windy City's own Lucy Knisley has a comic book-style memoir sure to appeal to you. And her clean line drawings and conversational tone make her books a great choice for readers new to graphic novels.
Raised in New York, the cartoonist graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, moved away and then moved back to Chicago. She shares the details of that journey in her books, which typically focus on her latest adventure, whether that's a trip abroad or wedding planning. She also gives snapshots of life in Chicago—the sweet smell of Blommer Chocolate Company, her work as a cheesemonger at Fox & Obel, her first date with her husband at Myopic Books. Taken together, Knisley's tales create a love letter to the little moments that make up a life—and our fine city.
Follow Knisley on Instagram for a glimpse at her life as it happens and for a taste of her artistic style. You're likely to see drawings of her family, photos from around Chicago and references to food, friends, pets and other things that bring joy to life. Then explore these moments in-depth with one of Knisley's books. I'm recommending eBooks here, but her titles are also available in print. Like most graphic novels, they read quickly, but these are worth savoring.
Take an armchair tour of Paris in French Milk (available on OverDrive), which recounts Knisley's six-week visit to the city with her mother. Highlights of their trip include sightseeing, museums, food and more food. In addition to these day-to-day pleasures, Knisley, then on the verge of adulthood, ruminates on her hopes and fears for her career, her relationships and her life.
The award-winning Relish (available on OverDrive), demonstrates how food can shape our lives. The only child of a chef and a gourmet, Knisley grows up as a foodie. She uses food memories to share key moments in her childhood and teen years, and connections with her family and friends. Each chapter in this charming book includes an illustrated recipe. By the end, you'll be ready for dinner and for more tales of adventure.
In Something New (available on OverDrive), Knisley reflects on planning her wedding, a highly personalized DIY affair. As Knisley and her fiancé design a celebration that represents their life and who they are as a couple, she wrestles with common wedding planning dilemmas like the role of family in making decisions and the possibility of rain on the big day while balancing her own values with traditions, cultural expectations and costs. Anyone who's planned a wedding will see themselves in these pages, and anyone who loves DIY will enjoy Knisley's tips for re-creating some of her projects.