About ten years ago, a librarian and a computer programmer teamed up to write a comic strip that follows the daily activities of the staff, patrons, and volunteers of the Mallville Public Library. Gene Aubaum and Bill Barnes’ Unshelved (originally titled Overdue) comic strip delights and at times horrifies library workers by how close the strips are to actual library happenings. In fact, Gene and Bill often use stories from real librarians when creating their comic action.
In August 2005 the Sunday editions of Unshelved became the Unshelved Book Club, a full-page full-color book recommendation presented in the form of a comic strip. Titles for the Book Club are selected based on the personal preference of Gene and Bill, and include all sorts of books from classic to steam punk, graphic to non-fiction.
Recently, Unshelved Book Club moved from Sunday to Friday appearences, and includes a section of Book Reviews. Of course Gene and Bill provide reviews, but other reviewers include Flemtastic, a school librarian who especially enjoys fantasy novels, Gwen, a twelve-year-old who also loves fantasy, sixteen-year-old Moon Shadow who is in the process of writing a fantasy novel, Gene’s wife, Silver, who prefers audio-books so that she can exercise while reading, Sharon Levin, a student and mother of two teenaged daughters, and Gene’s seven-year old daughter Gigi, and Bill’s nine-year old son Theo, both of whom like comics. These recommendations are a great way to discover cutting-edge graphic novels, comics for sophisticated kids, overlooked fantasy titles, and a variety of other quirky and interesting reads.
Take a look at the website www.unshelved.com, or sign up to receive daily or weekly emails of the strips and immerse yourself in the wacky, twisted world of the public library or find the next-great-steam-punk-graphic-fantasy-novel for bedtime reading.