Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that should absolutely be put at the top of your TBR pile. Recommended books will vary across genre and age category and include shiny new books, older books you may have missed, and some classics I suggest finally getting around to. Make space for another pile of books on your floor because here we go!
Today’s pick is a graphic novel that is both horror and a super interesting examination of mental health.
Archival Quality by Ivy Noelle Weir and illustrated by Steenz
Our protagonist is Celeste (aka Cel). Cel has some mental health issues that are unmanaged. She has been prescribed medication that she refuses to take and she gets very sharp when her boyfriend offers any sort of help. Due to a mental health incident, maybe a panic attack, maybe a series of incidents or panic attacks, she has lost the only job she has ever had. She worked at a library and absolutely loved it. She doesn’t have a degree and library jobs are hard to get even with a degree so she worries she won’t find anything else.
Eventually she does find something that looks promising: a position as an archival assistant at the incredibly creepy Logan Museum and Library. It’s one of those places that is full of skulls, maybe some “medical oddities,” and it definitely feels like it is haunted. The museum was founded in 1934 but before that the building had been a variety of things such as a hospital, an orphanage, and a sanitorium, specifically a psychiatric hospital. The thing about such museums and exhibits is that many folks don’t often think too deeply about where the skulls and other bones and specimens come from.
Cel takes the job anyway. The job requires that she actually live on the premises in a little apartment that has no internet or cellular signal. She has to live there because she does her work of scanning and digitizing images from the archives after the museum closes and before it opens. Cel is also occasionally experiencing blackouts, which add to the creep factor when they happen at her new job because strange things are also happening. Cel doesn’t know if these strange things are actually happening or if it is because of the state of her mental health.
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That’s it for now, book-lovers!
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