A Publishers Weekly Best Books 2022: Comics pick
A Career in Books is a graphic novel for everyone who's wanted to "work with books" and had NO idea what it entailed. It's for those who were taken aback by that first paycheck. It's for those who wanted a literary career even in the face of systemic racism, who dealt with the unique challenges of coming from an immigrant family, and whose group chat is their lifeline.
Shirin, Nina, and Silvia have just gotten their first jobs in publishing, at a University Press, a traditional publisher, and a trust-fund kid's "indie" publisher, respectively. And it's . . . great? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ They know they're paying their dues and the challenges they meet (Shirin's boss just assumes she knows Cantonese, Nina cannot get promoted by sheer force of will, and Silvia has to deal with daily microaggressions) are just part of “a career in books.” When they meet their elderly neighbor, Veronica Vo, and discover she's a Booker Prize winner dubbed the “Tampax Tolstoy” by the press, each woman finds a thread of inspiration from Veronica’s life to carry on her own path. And the result is full of twists and revelations that surprise not only the reader but the women themselves.
Charming, wry, and with fantastic black-and-white illustrations, A Career in Books is a modern ode to Rona Jaffe’s The Best of Everything, and perfect for fans of Good Talk, Younger, and The Bold Type, as readers chart the paths of three Asian-American women trying to break through the world of books with hilarious, incisive, and heartbreaking results.
With quill-sharp narration and spot-on details, this delightful graphic novel from Gavino (Last Night's Reading) depicts New York City publishing through the eyes of three Asian American NYU grads who share an apartment. Nina Nakamura, the most career-driven of the group, takes an assistant job at a large house. Silvia Bautista, an aspiring novelist, works for an indie press supported by the publisher's "seemingly endless trust fund." Shirin Yap is hired at an academic press, possibly because the editor hoped she'd be able to speak Cantonese with their Hong Kong–based printer (Shirin is Filipina). Besides artistic fulfillment, their goal is to "make that Anthropologie money... non-sale section Anthro money!" Their neighbor, 92-year-old Veronica Vo, turns out to be a Booker Prize winner whose subsequent books about the domestic lives of Asian American women have fallen out-of-print. Nina leads a charge to reissue Veronica's work—success for Veronica will, of course, mean hope for their own ambitions, while righting one small historical wrong. Gavino peppers her savvy line drawings with price tags ("Edith Wharton leather-bound edition, $279"), and applies actual numbers to her characters' salaries and calculations. Specificity is the fire that fuels this witty social satire, in which fairness doesn't always triumph, but friendship does. Agent: Kate McKean, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency