I read a whole lot. I’m also occasionally drawn to graphic novels (sorry about the pun). Not the pulpy stuff – but the gorgeously drawn, the full-bodied conceptual, the very most awesomest! I have had favorite novels and stories in the past – all selected for different reasons – but “The Arrival” may be not just my favorite graphic novel, but may be my favorite book of all time. It certainly is my favorite book of the past five years.

In the last month I have read three of the most beautifully conceived books I have ever encountered and somehow managed to save the best for last.

Hugo

Hugo Book open

An early page spread from "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick

I started with “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” which I had just seen as a 3D movie. (See the trailer here) By Brian Selznick, it is a thick, lavish literary accomplishment that uses the elements of the graphic novel to masterful levels.

Wonderstruck

From there I launched into Mr. Selznick’s next big book entitled “Wonderstruck“. It is another beautifully thought through tale great for kids and adults alike. You can read more about here on the publisher’s website: http://www.wonderstruckthebook.com/home.htm#

The Arrival

The Arrival Cover Illustration

The Arrival Cover Illustration

But my absolute favorite of the three is Shaun Tan’s “The Arrival“. There isn’t one word in the entire book of exquisitely crafted drawings – yet the story advances effortlessly. It plays out in a manner that relates directly to its subject – a man is an immigrant in a land foreign to him. In the opening pages of the book Mr. Tan shows us why this man feels he must leave and find a better home for his little family in one of the most perfectly thought through ways of drawing sinister forces.

You’ll see. And see you must. This beautifully illustrated hardcover book is less than $13 on amazon.com. It may be the best book you’ve ever ‘read’ too. And it is a book you could easily gift when you’re done. But not me. I’m hanging onto this one. It’s my new all-time fave.

Here’s his website. He’s a gifted painter too, among other things.

Everything is weird in the new land....