100 books like Exit Wounds

By Rutu Modan,

Here are 100 books that Exit Wounds fans have personally recommended if you like Exit Wounds. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Life in Yop City

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?

I’ve added this graphic novel to my list in part for nostalgic reasons. Although the book and its two sequels were published in the 2000s, they are all set in 1970s Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, when I had the good fortune to live there. Aya is an adolescent girl living in the vibrant neighborhood of Yopougon, where everyone knows each other’s business. While she just wants to focus on her studies, she keeps getting distracted by the drama of those around her—from the boy-chasing machinations of her girlfriends to the foolish missteps of her parent's generation.

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

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Life in Yop City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Aya is an irresistible comedy, a couple of love stories and a tale for becoming African. It's essential reading." -Joann Sfar, cartoonist of The Rabbi's Cat

Ivory Coast, 1978. It's a golden time, and the nation, too-an oasis of affluence and stability in West Africa-seems fueled by something wondrous. Aya is loosely based upon Marguerite Abouet's youth in Yop City. It is the story of the studious and clear-sighted nineteen-year-old Aya, her easygoing friends Adjoua and Bintou, and their meddling relatives and neighbors. It's a wryly funny, breezy account of the simple pleasures and private troubles of everyday life in…


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 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 Blankets: A Graphic Novel

Clark T. Carlton Author Of A Bitch for God

From my list on full of intimate self-revelations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been drawn to artists who expose their lives in a way that makes you feel you know them. The best of them have a raw honesty that shows their flaws, their wounds and struggles and hopefully the lessons they learned. Nobody likes bragging, but we’re captivated by accounts that echo our own secrets, embarrassments, and darker emotions, especially if told with a sense of humor. For decades, I’ve been addicted to the confessional lyrics of Joni Mitchell and have always been drawn to the unguarded openness of certain memoirs and the roman-à-clef or thinly disguised autobiography. In showing us their vulnerabilities, these authors have been heroic.  

Clark's book list on full of intimate self-revelations

Clark T. Carlton Why did Clark love this book?

This celebrated graphic novel is a haunting masterpiece by a gifted artist who uses words and imagery in his coming-of-age tale. 

If I were to describe the plot and its setting in snowy Wisconsin, a reader might assume this is something completely mundane, a bland slice of teenage life. But Thompson beautifully renders the ecstasy of first love as well as the devastation of romantic disappointment in a way that everyone who has ever loved and lost will recognize.

The other thread that weaves through the narrative is Craig’s rejection of the Baptist faith he was raised in, something that defined his family and was the center of their lives— and that’s something else I relate to. Blankets is a warm and deeply true confession.

By Craig Thompson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Quaint, meditative and sometimes dreamy, blankets will take you straight back to your first kiss." --The Guardian

Blankets is the story of a young man coming of age and finding the confidence to express his creative voice. Craig Thompson's poignant graphic memoir plays out against the backdrop of a Midwestern winterscape: finely-hewn linework draws together a portrait of small town life, a rigorously fundamentalist Christian childhood, and a lonely, emotionally mixed-up adolescence.

Under an engulfing blanket of snow, Craig and Raina fall in love at winter church camp, revealing to one another their struggles with faith and their dreams of…


Book cover of Salamander Dream

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?

This book was a hidden gem for me. I found this on a dusty shelf in an old bookstore and was instantly in love with its whimsical drawings. The simplicity of color use and a narrative are told only through its illustrations. Intended for young adult readers, however, this book really is for all dreamers of ages. 

By Hope Larson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Salamander Dream is a young girl's journey within a magical forest. As the year's pass, she finds herself changing, which in turn, changes her friendship with Salamander.


Book cover of Don't Go Where I Can't Follow

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?

Don't Go Where I Can't Follow is a masterpiece in my opinion. This deeply personal story is based on the author's own life and the loss of his fiancé. A look into someone else’s struggles and hardships using drawing and photographs, notes, and sketches this novel is truly a beautiful collection of their relationship together. This one really resonates with me and hurts my heart, but I love it so much and I highly recommend picking up a copy as soon as you can.  

By Anders Nilsen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Don't Go Where I Can't Follow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A STORY OF LOVE AND LOSS INSCRIBED IN PHOTOGRAPHS, POSTCARDS, LETTERS, AND BEDSIDE SKETCHES

In this collection of letters, drawings, and photos, Anders Nilsen chronicles a six-year relationship and the illness that brought it to an end.

Don't Go Where I Can't Follow is an eloquent appreciation of the time the author shared with his fiancée, Cheryl Weaver. The story is told using artifacts of the couple's life together, including early love notes, simple and poetic postcards, tales of their travels in written and comics form, journal entries, and drawings done in the hospital in her final days. It concludes…


Book cover of Dante's Divine Comedy: A Graphic Adaptation

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?

First I want to say how much I love The Divine Comedy Dante’s Inferno and this graphic novel adaptation by Seymour Chwast is a wonderful version of the tale. If you don’t already know the story I highly suggest you read it in its original text but also be sure to grab this copy as it will really bring the levels of hell to a more comical light. I particularly love the black and white bold art style and humor brought to life here. 

By Seymour Chwast,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dante's Divine Comedy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The founding partner of Push Pin Studios puts his own artistic spin on this graphic adaptation of Dante Alighieri's 1321 epic poem chronicling his journey through the afterlife and visiting both Heaven and Hell.


Book cover of The Book of Disappearance

Selma Dabbagh Author Of Out Of It

From my list on being Palestinian.

Why am I passionate about this?

My father is Palestinian, my mother English. I am a typical diaspora Palestinian, having moved many times. I’m intrigued by what this highly politicized nationality–being Palestinian–does to peoples’ emotions, their desire to be accepted and thrive, their sense of community, their ability to deal with the challenges and joys of political engagement as well as the difficulties of not being political if they choose not to be. Being Palestinian is an extreme case of what humans can be forced to endure as political and social animals. Living under military occupation gives rise to huge sacrifices and pure heroism in the most quotidian way. Acts that deserve recognition.

Selma's book list on being Palestinian

Selma Dabbagh Why did Selma love this book?

Azem takes a premise here and runs with it. How about, she asks, if all the Palestinians just disappeared, what would the reaction be?

The heart of the novel is the grandmother character, who dies as the book opens and the other Palestinians vanish and I wanted more recollections of her, more of her dialogue. Set mainly between Jaffa and Tel Aviv, the fusing of the two names irritates the grandmother, who says it’s "just like someone being up your ass. You don’t see them, and they never let go."

There are sharp cameos here of Israeli-Palestinian relations, from buyers and sellers to torturers and prisoners, pimps and sex workers. I found the conclusion to be too bleak, but the writing is good, and the observations are sharp. 

By Ibtisam Azem, Sinan Antoon (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What if all the Palestinians in Israel simply disappeared one day? What would happen next? How would Israelis react? These unsettling questions are posed in Azem's powerfully imaginative novel. Set in contemporary Tel Aviv forty eight hours after Israelis discover all their Palestinian neighbors have vanished, the story unfolds through alternating narrators, Alaa, a young Palestinian man who converses with his dead grandmother in the journal he left behind when he disappeared, and his Jewish neighbor, Ariel, a journalist struggling to understand the traumatic event. Through these perspectives, the novel stages a confrontation between two memories. Ariel is a liberal…


Book cover of O Jerusalem!: Day by Day and Minute by Minute the Historic Struggle for Jerusalem and the Birth of Israel

Andrew Lawler Author Of Under Jerusalem: The Buried History of the World's Most Contested City

From my list on grasping the conflict over Jerusalem.

Why am I passionate about this?

Exploring what is hidden beneath our feet has been a long-time obsession of mine, a passion has taken me into subterranean Syrian tombs, Kurdish caves, Thai grave pits, and buried Assyrian palaces. Since I break things, I let others do the digging and I do the writing. I'm particularly drawn to places that can help explain why humans became the urban species we are today. What did they believe, think, eat, drink, and dream about? And I'll take a dusty and nearly vanished mudbrick Sumerian sanctuary in a remote Iraqi desert to a crowded Egyptian stone temple any day.

Andrew's book list on grasping the conflict over Jerusalem

Andrew Lawler Why did Andrew love this book?

If you want a gripping account of one of Jerusalem’s most critical moments, read this nonfiction tale that is paced like an action novel.

Collins and LaPierre piece together a coherent story with compelling characters—British, Jewish, and Arab—drawn from Israel’s chaos and the war that followed. You find yourself perched on a parapet on the Old City's ancient wall with Jordanian fighters, or creeping through the darkened streets with an Israeli combat unit. This is Jerusalem history at its most personal, violent, and nitty gritty.

By Larry Collins, Dominique Lapierre,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a major motion picture, this remarkable classic recounts, moment by moment, the spellbinding process that gave birth to the state of Israel.

Collins and Lapierre weave a brilliant tapestry of shattered hopes, fierce pride, and breathtaking valor as the Arabs, Jews, and British collide in their fight for control of Jerusalem. O Jerusalem! meticulously re-creates this historic struggle. Collins and Lapierre penetrate the battle from the inside, exploring each party's interests, intentions, and concessions as the city of all of their dreams teeters on the brink of destruction. From the Jewish fighters and their heroic commanders to the charismatic…


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