It’s a funny thing, working on the Books desk of The Times. When momentous news is loosed on the world — when hurricanes strike, or protesters mass, or governments tremble and fall — we follow it as avidly as any well-informed person with an interest in the course of human events. We refresh our screens; we gather in conference rooms to watch the speeches or the flames. We wonder what it will all amount to. But when we get back to work, our job is to forget all that. Let others work the phones or cultivate sources in search of the next White House scoop. We have books to read.
HOT COMB, by Ebony Flowers. (Drawn & Quarterly, $21.95.) Flowers’s graphic novel consists of eight stories that mix autobiography and fiction with sly humor and an ethnographer’s eye. The thread running through them is black women’s hair — as a source of intimacy, community and tension. “Flowers’s loose, expressive line is a little messy, a little scribbly, with both cursive and all-caps text floating through the images,” Hillary Chute notes in her Graphic Content column. “But this imprecise style works for these stories, which are so often about the anxieties of correct appearance.”