100 books like Life in Yop City

By Marguerite Abouet, Clément Oubrerie, Helge Dascher (translator)

Here are 100 books that Life in Yop City fans have personally recommended if you like Life in Yop City. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Lonesome Era

Nick Abadzis Author Of Laika

From my list on a sensory reading experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been creating books, magazines, comics, and stories for both adults and children for more than thirty-five years. If you’re after more graphic novels with a certain textural and/or emotional depth and storytelling heft to them, I’ve also compiled the following list that might work as a starting point. The search for the archetypal “good” graphic novel is of course one that will be peculiar to one’s own tastes. While it’s primarily a visual medium, the best of them can be as nuanced and complex as storytelling in any other art form and means of communication. 

Nick's book list on a sensory reading experience

Nick Abadzis Why did Nick love this book?

Jon Allen’s coming out and growing up story in his ongoing Ohio Is For Sale series, The Lonesome Era is, so far, his most complex and affecting work, but that’s not saying much for a cartoonist who expands his abilities and repertoire with each new book. The Lonesome Era is a rites-of-passage tale that showcases Allen’s customarily bleak outlook and dry wit, and it is, by turns, hilarious and poignant. I’ve called his work “Kafkaesque situation comedies” in the past, but that description belies the mordant emotional and observational sophistication on show here. He is simply one of the best young visual storytellers around.

By Jon Allen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lonesome Era as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A touching book that is sure to appeal to any reader who has tried to be the person they were meant to be." - BOOKLIST

Camden is a cat. Camden is also crushing hard on his best buddy and all-around terrible influence, Jeremiah. Young, bored, and trapped in their slowly decomposing Rust Belt town, Camden tamps down his burgeoning feelings for the local ne'er-do-well and allows himself to be dragged along with every awful idea, every hair-brained plan, and every threat to life and limb Jeremiah can come up with. As the dangers of Camden's risk-taking mount, an even more…


Book cover of Beautiful Darkness

Erik Kriek Author Of In the Pines

From my list on dark themes.

Why am I passionate about this?

From an early age I have been drawn to dark themes in stories. I always wanted to hear the dark fairy tales when I was a kid. My mother is from Finland originally, so I was weaned on Finnish folk tales and the Finnish mythology, the Kalevala, which has very many dark stories. Being a graphic novelist myself, I tend to favor morally ambiguous, darker broken characters in my stories. Happy characters make for boring stories I believe. There needs to be conflict for there to be drama. And there needs to be drama to make interesting stories.

Erik's book list on dark themes

Erik Kriek Why did Erik love this book?

An incredibly haunting book. At first glance it looks like a fairy tale for children but after only a few pages in you realise it is quite a sinister tale and something much darker altogether. It is a very brave book I think and I’m not really sure how to categorize it other than it being very, very dark indeed.

By Fabien Vehlmann, Kerascoët,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Beautiful Darkness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Newly homeless, a group of fairies find themselves trying to adapt to their new life in the forest. As they dodge dangers from both without and within, optimistic Aurora steps forward to organize and help build a new community. Slowly, the world around them becomes more treacherous as petty rivalries and factions form. Beautiful Darkness became a bestseller and an instant classic when it was released in 2014. This paperback edition of the modern horror classic contains added material, preparatory sketches, and unused art. While Kerascoet mix gorgeous watercolors and spritely cartoon characters, Fabien Vehlmann takes the story into bleaker…


Book cover of Exit Wounds

Vince Galea Author Of Leviathan

From my list on graphic memoirs with creativity and flair.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I have always had a passion for art and literature. I started drawing at a young age and never stopped. Constantly drawing on scrap papers from my father’s graphic arts business. Always pulling from my imagination and the world around me for inspiration. Books were a major outlet for my creativity. Graphic novels in particular were always my favorite form of expression. To be able to tell a story using pictures and share my own personal feelings with others was a means of communication for me. I began to study illustration in school and college. I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Marywood University. I currently work as a graphic designer and illustrator.

Vince's book list on graphic memoirs with creativity and flair

Vince Galea Why did Vince love this book?

Not only is Rutu Modan one of my favorite illustrators she is also an extremely talented story writer and Exit Wounds is no exception. This was also one of the first graphic novels I had ever read and was so captivating. Her unique art style and writing are truly amazing. I love her color pallet and how it really keeps you engaged from panel to panel. Without giving away spoilers this book is based on real-life events and really gives you a greater sense of life in other countries can be like for better and for worse. 

I love all of Rutu Modan’s books but this one really hit home for me.

By Rutu Modan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Exit Wounds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set in modern-day Tel Aviv, Exit Wounds is the first graphic novel to be published in Britain by one of Israel's best-known cartoonists.

A young man, Koby Franco, receives an urgent phone call from a female soldier. Learning that his estranged father may have been a victim of a suicide bombing in Hadera, Koby reluctantly joins the soldier in searching for clues. His death would certainly explain his empty apartment and disconnected phone line. As Koby tries to unravel the mystery of his father's death, he finds himself not only piecing together the last few months of his father's life,…


Book cover of Polina

Nick Abadzis Author Of Laika

From my list on a sensory reading experience.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been creating books, magazines, comics, and stories for both adults and children for more than thirty-five years. If you’re after more graphic novels with a certain textural and/or emotional depth and storytelling heft to them, I’ve also compiled the following list that might work as a starting point. The search for the archetypal “good” graphic novel is of course one that will be peculiar to one’s own tastes. While it’s primarily a visual medium, the best of them can be as nuanced and complex as storytelling in any other art form and means of communication. 

Nick's book list on a sensory reading experience

Nick Abadzis Why did Nick love this book?

Polina is about a would-be ballerina and a teacher and the methods he employs to get the best from his students. Polina ages from child to young adult through its pages, and as her comprehension of the world about her and the people in it changes, so too does the reader’s impressions of her. Like any good character piece, much depends on the performance of the players, and therefore Vivès and his ability to convey subtleties of emotional reactions. He always leaves enough room for the reader’s own interpretations, and so hooks you into the nuances of Polina’s feelings. Vivès can draw anything, but this beautiful, delicately balanced story depends as much on what he leaves out as what he puts in. A small masterpiece.

By Bastien Vives,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Polina as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As a very young girl, Polina Oulinov is taken on as a special pupil by the famous ballet teacher Professor Bojinsky. He is very demanding and refuses to adapt his standards to the talents of his pupils, and Polina has to work hard and make great sacrifices in order to reach the level Bojinsky senses she has the talent for. When she graduates and is admitted to the official theatre school, she discovers that Bojinsky's view of ballet is only one of many and that she can't adapt to new rules, new visions. She flees Russia for Berlin, where she…


Book cover of In the Company of Men

Susi Wyss Author Of The Civilized World

From my list on from French-speaking Africa translated into English.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a public health professional, author, and reader. During part of my childhood and my subsequent career in international public health, I lived in Côte d’Ivoire and the Central African Republic; I’ve also worked throughout West and Central Africa, primarily in Francophone African countries. My experiences in these parts of the continent have not only influenced my fiction writing, but also what I read. While there are plenty of books by Anglophone African authors, few of their Francophone counterparts see their work translated into English. As a result, stories from French-speaking Africa are underrepresented in the literature available to English-speaking audiences. This list is an attempt to make a dent in this disparity.

Susi's book list on from French-speaking Africa translated into English

Susi Wyss Why did Susi love this book?

As a public health worker, I was moved by this beautiful novel, an homage to the courageous people who prevented Ebola from becoming a worldwide pandemic. Set in an unnamed country, most likely Guinea, it uses lyrical language and multiple points of view of those affected and infected by the virus—patients, health care providers, gravediggers, the bats who transmitted the virus to humans, and even an old baobab tree that observes the humans with detached wisdom. Using language both poetic and empathetic, Tadjo reminds us in this cautionary tale that Mother Nature is very much in charge.

By Véronique Tadjo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Company of Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two boys venture from their village to hunt in a nearby forest, where they shoot down bats with glee, and cook their prey over an open fire. Within a month, they are dead, bodies ravaged by an insidious disease that neither the local healer's potions nor the medical team's treatments could cure. Compounding the family's grief, experts warn against touching the sick. But this caution comes too late: the virus spreads rapidly, and the boys' father is barely able to send his eldest daughter away for a chance at survival.


Book cover of So Long a Letter

Susi Wyss Author Of The Civilized World

From my list on from French-speaking Africa translated into English.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a public health professional, author, and reader. During part of my childhood and my subsequent career in international public health, I lived in Côte d’Ivoire and the Central African Republic; I’ve also worked throughout West and Central Africa, primarily in Francophone African countries. My experiences in these parts of the continent have not only influenced my fiction writing, but also what I read. While there are plenty of books by Anglophone African authors, few of their Francophone counterparts see their work translated into English. As a result, stories from French-speaking Africa are underrepresented in the literature available to English-speaking audiences. This list is an attempt to make a dent in this disparity.

Susi's book list on from French-speaking Africa translated into English

Susi Wyss Why did Susi love this book?

Published in 1989, this is the oldest book on this list, and yet it still resonates in its depiction of the female condition in Senegal specifically, and Africa in general. Ramatoulaye, a recently widowed Senegalese schoolteacher, writes a letter to her old friend and fellow teacher, Aissatou, to share her struggles after her husband took on a second wife 25 years into their marriage. Juxtaposed against pre- and post-independence from colonial power France, the novel shines a light on how much less Senegalese women benefited from newfound rights and freedoms than their male counterparts.

By Mariama Ba, Modupé Bodé-Thomas (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked So Long a Letter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written by Mariama Ba and translated from the French by Modupe Bode-Thomas, So Long a Letter won the first Noma Award for Publishing in Africa, and was recognised as one of Africa's 100 Best Books of the 20th Century in an initiative organised by the Zimbabwe International Book Fair. This edition includes an introduction by Professor Kenneth W. Harrow of Michigan State University.


Book cover of Co-Wives, Co-Widows

Susi Wyss Author Of The Civilized World

From my list on from French-speaking Africa translated into English.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a public health professional, author, and reader. During part of my childhood and my subsequent career in international public health, I lived in Côte d’Ivoire and the Central African Republic; I’ve also worked throughout West and Central Africa, primarily in Francophone African countries. My experiences in these parts of the continent have not only influenced my fiction writing, but also what I read. While there are plenty of books by Anglophone African authors, few of their Francophone counterparts see their work translated into English. As a result, stories from French-speaking Africa are underrepresented in the literature available to English-speaking audiences. This list is an attempt to make a dent in this disparity.

Susi's book list on from French-speaking Africa translated into English

Susi Wyss Why did Susi love this book?

In the rare instances that the Central African Republic makes it into the news, it’s for political turmoil or for having some of the worst development indicators. After getting to know Central Africans during my years living there, I’ve long been on the lookout for fiction that shows the day-to-day, human side of the CAR. Yabouza’s novel does exactly that, exploring the lives of two co-wives, Ndongo Passy and Grekpoubou, as they cope with the aftermath of their husband’s sudden death. While the premise might sound similar to Ba’s novel, the results are entirely different, thanks to the tight bond that forms between the two former rivals—and the wit, warmth, and seen-it-all wisdom of Yabouza’s storytelling.

By Adrienne Yabouza, Rachael McGill (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Co-Wives, Co-Widows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Co-Wives, Co-Widows is the first adult work of fiction from the Central African Republic to be translated into English.

This is the story of Ndongo Passy and Grekpoubou, the two widows of Lidou. Following their husband’s sudden and unexplained death, they find themselves fighting tooth and nail for all that is important to them.

A playful, bittersweet, story full of dry wit and local colour, set against a backdrop of political instability, corruption and the friction between the old and the new in Bangui in the Central African Republic.


Book cover of A Long Way from Douala

Susi Wyss Author Of The Civilized World

From my list on from French-speaking Africa translated into English.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a public health professional, author, and reader. During part of my childhood and my subsequent career in international public health, I lived in Côte d’Ivoire and the Central African Republic; I’ve also worked throughout West and Central Africa, primarily in Francophone African countries. My experiences in these parts of the continent have not only influenced my fiction writing, but also what I read. While there are plenty of books by Anglophone African authors, few of their Francophone counterparts see their work translated into English. As a result, stories from French-speaking Africa are underrepresented in the literature available to English-speaking audiences. This list is an attempt to make a dent in this disparity.

Susi's book list on from French-speaking Africa translated into English

Susi Wyss Why did Susi love this book?

Jean is an accomplished student at the University of Douala who sets off with his best friend, Simon, to find Jean’s older brother, who has run away to pursue his dream of becoming a soccer star in Europe. Their trip is paved with danger but Jean is willing to face any perils in order to spend time with Simon, on whom he has a secret, unrequited crush. Despite the novel’s heavy themes of terrorism, child abuse, authoritarianism, homophobia, and the plight of undocumented immigrants, Lobe pulls off an entertaining, rollicking story that provides a wonderful snapshot of his country.

By Max Lobe, Ros Schwartz (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Long Way from Douala as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the trail of Roger, a brother who has gone north in search of football fame in Europe, Choupi, the narrator, takes with him the older Simon, a neighborhood friend. The bus trip north nearly ends in disaster when, at a pit stop, Simon goes wandering in search of grilled caterpillars. At the police station in Yaounde, the local cop tells them that a feckless boza who wants to go to Europe is not worth police effort and their mother should go and pleasure the police chief if she wants help! Through a series of joyful sparky vignettes, Cameroon life…


Book cover of Baba Yaga's Assistant

Kelly Fernández Author Of Manu

From my list on middle grade magic and the supernatural.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Kelly Fernández (she/her) and I’ve been making comics since 2014. I’ve always been fascinated by stories about ghosts, monsters, and witches because I grew up in a family that believes in them. While writing my graphic novel Manu, I researched and spoke to Latinx friends and colleagues about their personal experiences with brujería (the Spanish word for witchcraft) to try and learn more about it across different cultures. I love comics because, like oral storytelling, it’s just another way for people to share their stories with each other!

Kelly's book list on middle grade magic and the supernatural

Kelly Fernández Why did Kelly love this book?

I’m a huge fan of Emily Carroll’s comic art, which is creepy, emotional, and perfectly echoes the tone of McCoola’s story. In this book, teenager Masha runs away from home to live with the terrifying, child-eating witch Baba Yaga. Luckily, Masha is able to impress the Baba Yaga with her wit and knowledge of Russian folklore. But when Masha’s little sister gets captured by the witch, Masha has to finally face the family troubles she’s been avoiding.

By Marika McCoola, Emily Carroll (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Baba Yaga's Assistant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Russian folklore icon Baba Yaga mentors a lonely teen in a wry graphic novel that balances gleefully between the modern and the timeless.

Most children think twice before braving a haunted wood filled with terrifying beasties to match wits with a witch, but not Masha. Her beloved grandma taught her many things: that stories are useful, that magic is fickle, that nothing is too difficult or too dirty to clean. The fearsome witch of folklore needs an assistant, and Masha needs an adventure. She may be clever enough to enter Baba Yaga’s house-on-chicken-legs, but within its walls, deceit is the…


Book cover of My New York Diary

François Vigneault Author Of Titan

From my list on graphic novels from Quebec no matter your taste.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an American-born cartoonist who’s been living and working in Montreal since 2015. My mother is from Quebec, and when I immigrated here I was looking to reconnect with my cultural roots. Reading graphic novels from here was a huge part of how I got to know my adopted community. I might be a bit biased, but I have to say Quebec has one of the world’s most vibrant comic arts scenes; a blend of American comic books mixed with Franco-Belgian bande dessinée. With more and more graphic novels from Quebec getting translated into English you’re sure to find something you’ll dig, whether you’re looking for slice-of-life or science fiction.

François' book list on graphic novels from Quebec no matter your taste

François Vigneault Why did François love this book?

This slim but dense book chronicles the ups and (mostly) downs of a young woman’s life in Montréal and New York in the 80s and early 90s, a scuzzy time capsule full of sex, drugs, and rock & roll. Doucet’s maximalist, punk-inflected art packs each and every claustrophobic panel to bursting, a perfect fit for this tale of a suffocating, toxic relationship playing out in the shadow of the Cold War. It’s no exaggeration to say that Doucet, who recently won the Angouléme Festival's Grand Prix, is one of the most important figures in modern comics, she was one of the first women to break into the boys’ club of the alt comix scene and rewrote the rules of the medium. She remains not only a giant in the history of Quebec comics but of the entire graphic novel art form.

By Julie Doucet,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My New York Diary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'My New York Diary' documents the events in Doucet's life during a six-month period in 1991. At that time, she packed her bags and moved to New York and waiting for her was her new boyfriend, an aspiring cartoonist himself who took Julie to his apartment.


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