August Staff Picks: Graphic Novels, Anime, W. G. Sebald, and Stardew Valley!

Dominic Loise

I loved being introduced to the Sangerye family in Bitter Root by writers David F. Walker & Chuck Brown and artist Sanford Greene. Volume 1: Family Business sees our multi-generational monster hunters defending their neighborhood of Harlem from a supernatural attack in 1924. The Sangeryes also deal with their past ghosts and failures in this volume showing that no matter what happened in the past, family is the one group of people you can call on when all hell breaks loose.

I recommend Bitter Root for fans of the shows Supernatural and Lovecraft Country. Both of those shows are about families taking on the unknown and both Bitter Root and Lovecraft Country take on the issue of racism through horror. The step beyond tackling the unknown, which is an undercurrent through Bitter Root, is working together beyond their tight-knit circle to help others heal. We see early on that elements of the police force work with the Sangeryes and the family members are not slayers but trying to save the humans possessed by the Jinoo, which is what people become when their souls are infected with hate. Bitter Root Volume 1 is my go-to gift right now for friends and family because I feel we could all use this graphic novel right now on our bookshelves. Something fun and entertaining that digs up to the surface the issues of hate, which we need to deal with as neighbors and as a nation.

Carissa Villagomez

I recently re-watched The End of the F***ing World and getting to witness all the additional nuance I didn’t notice before made my awe of the show run even deeper. It will always be one of my most adored media products, and no matter how many times I revisit it, the show still has the same effect. Both seasons are incredible.

Evan Sheldon

I’m reading W. G. Sebald’s The Emigrants right now. I’m late to the party here, there’s already a term, Sebaldian, in reference when other authors copy his style, and it’s easy to see why so many do. He uses long, beautiful sentences, rarely uses paragraph breaks, and intersperses the prose with black and white photos. Told in four parts, The Emigrants narrator retraces the steps of four different men who committed suicide. It’s really something, all about memory and lives lost to war, even if those lives were lived for a long time after.

Esther Hsu

1. You only have twelve hours.

2. Follow my lead and change nothing.

3. Just let the past and future be.

For Cheng Xiaoshi and Lu Guang, those are the three rules of time travel. Shiguang Dailiren, or Link Click, is about two people who can travel back in time via photos. With this power, they fulfill requests and solve mysteries.

I binged this show in one night. It was that good—a hidden eleven-episode gem (twelve, if you count episode 5.5). The only caveat: it ends on a cliffhanger, so I’m counting down the days until season two is out.

Erin Clements

I have always loved more “casual” games like The Sims and Minecraft, where you can jump in and out of the game whenever without missing a beat. But recently, I’ve been on a Stardew Valley kick. In times of stress, it’s the perfect soothing, chill game to dive into. Whether you want to fight monsters in the mines, hang out on your farm with animals, or socialize with the townies, there’s an endless supply of things to do, and it’s all practically stress-free. The co-op option allows you to share a farm with up to three of your friends, which just adds more joy to the game. I’m always drawn towards the social aspects of the game, hanging out with the townies and growing my relationships with them is my favorite part of the game. But most of all I love that Stardew Valley offers essentially endless ways to play.