If you grew up reading the Sunday Funnies, then you probably enjoy reading to some degree. And if you like reading, then you probably enjoy a trip to the library every now and again. So what would happen if you combined comic strips with the library? That's exactly what Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum have done with Unshelved.
I remember when I first discovered Unshelved. While wandering the giant exhibition hall I was handed a flyer with a comic strip on it. I took it and shoved it into my bag with all the others I had received. Later, as I emptied my bag and tossed all the fliers I came upon this particular strip again. I read it and laughed. I wanted more. I quickly marched back to the exhibition hall and ran toward the Unshelved booth, as it was about to close. Tired and out of breath, I stated that I wanted to buy the book. Then I noticed that there were three volumes available. And t-shirts. Oh dear. I had to settle for just one book that time, but since then I've read all five volumes (I will get the sixth at this year's Comic-Con), and I have a shirt. I also remember that I kept sneaking peeks at my book during a film festival that night and snickering. My laughing probably wasn't appreciated, but that's okay because reading Unshelved was totally worth it.
The library setting is perfect because it's full of hilarious characters. I love these characters because they are real...we've all known the old-fashioned librarian who's hopeless at technology. We've all encountered the overly friendly children's librarian, and we have witnessed the charming young adult librarian who would much rather play than work. But most of all we know the library patrons, the ones who ask the annoying questions, give unwanted advice and do the most unexpected things. Yes, the library is a very funny place indeed, and Unshelved captures this humor with quick wit and sarcastic one-liners.
If you like comic strips (and even if you don't), you should give Unshelved a try. You can read the daily strip, sign up for their email, read all the archives, buy the books, t-shirts and more at their website. Another really cool part of Unshelved is Book Club. This is a full color page that they publish every Sunday. It features a different book every time and is presented in an entertaining way by the characters. Book Club is great if you're looking for suggestions for what book to read next...but I suggest you start with Unshelved.
WANT TO WIN? One winner will receive a copy of Unshelved Volume Six: Frequently Asked Questions. To enter, leave a comment on this post and tell me what your favorite comic strip is. Please include your email address. The deadline to enter is Tuesday, July 15th at Midnight. Winner must provide a U.S. or Canadian mailing address.
Update: The winner is #1 Mary512. Congratulations!