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Denver Post staff book picks: “Hillbilly Elegy” and “Saga Volume 1”


Hillbilly Elegy

By J.D. Vance

Pundits turned to J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy” when they scrambled to explain President Donald Trump’s surprise victory. But believing the book explains the motivation of Rust Belt voters puts far too much weight on Vance’s powerful story. “Hillbilly Elegy” is an unflinching look at his family’s history after his grandparents leave Appalachia for a new life in Ohio. The book’s power comes from Vance’s own inspirational journey.

It reminded me of Jeannette Walls’ equally excellent “The Glass Castle.” Both memoirs tell the story of children who become successful adults despite growing up in poverty and facing the obstacle of dysfunctional parents who battle substance abuse. Read and enjoy Vance’s memoir for what it is: a compelling tale about one man’s successful quest to achieve the American Dream. — Sara B. Hansen

Saga Vol. 1

Saga Volume 1

By Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

(Image Comics)
I picked up the first volume of this epic space opera on the recommendation of a friend who doesn’t even like graphic novels. I wasn’t disappointed. Written by Vaughan and stunningly illustrated by Staples, “Saga” follows the adventures of Alana and Marko, two opposing soldiers from a long-warring planet and its moon who fall in love, have a baby and quickly learn that starting a family can be a whole lot easier than holding one together — especially when you’re being chased across the galaxy by mercenaries, spurned lovers and more. It’s funny, sexy, original and wholly addictive. (Thankfully, Volume 7 just came out earlier this month.) —  Emilie Rusch