The New York Times’ ArtsBeat takes a look at SCENES FROM AN IMPENDING MARRIAGE

Graphic Books Best-Sellers: I Think I Do

Arts Beat    |    Georges Gene Gustines    |    February 11, 2011

The ups and downs of planning a wedding are many: where to do it (and how much to spend), whom to invite (and what the invitation will look like), what to serve, how to entertain your guests and more. In “Scenes From an Impending Marriage,” which lands at No. 2 on our hardcover list this week, the cartoonist Adrian Tomine chronicles his own march down the aisle in a series of comic strips. The end result also served as an atypical wedding favor for the guests at his nuptials. The publisher, Drawn & Quarterly, has a six-page preview available for download.

A previous graphic novel of Mr. Tomine’s, “Shortcomings,” a novella about Asian-American characters and how they handle being in a minority, was one of The New York Times Book Review’s 100 notable books of 2007. “Vaguely misanthropic and sexually insecure, Ben is the not-so-lovable protagonist of ‘Shortcomings,’ a meticulously observed comic-book novella by Adrian Tomine,” Jim Windolf wrote in The New York Times Book Review. “When Miko leaves Berkeley for an internship in New York, Ben finds he dislikes his own company even more than he disliked hers.”

“Ben is a fascinating, maddening character, a young fogey whose snobbishness doesn’t prevent him from enjoying DVDs with titles like ‘Sapphic Sorority,’ much to Miko’s chagrin. She accuses him of having a thing for white girls, which really sets him off — and Tomine takes voyeuristic delight in capturing every gruesome facial expression of a couple in mid-argument. The author is an expert at hooking the reader without tricks or obvious effort, and you’ll be tempted to buzz through “Shortcomings” in an hour. But you’ll want to slow down to take in the detailed black-and-white panels that casually document the way we live now.” Drawn & Quarterly has a six-page preview of “Shortcomings” too.

As always, the complete lists can be found here, along with an explanation of how they were assembled. See you next week!

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