BOOK | There are a couple of things about this graphic novel that immediately had me hooked — a female journalist protagonist and a talking cat — but there's plenty a non-cat-lady-journalist can appreciate, too. Written by Eisner Award-winning author Paul Tobin and illustrated by Ben Dewey, both hailing from Portland, I WAS THE CAT is a silly yet riveting tale about a talking cat whose past eight lives have run the course of several notable eras of history, not limited to ancient Egypt, medieval England and World War I. In each of these "lives," Burma the cat has tried to take over the world, but he hasn't been successful until now. So during his ninth and final life, Burma hires an up-and-coming journalist to ghostwrite his memoir.
GAME | There are three things a mobile game should aim to do well. It should have an appealing and original art style; offer thoughtful gameplay to both entertain and challenge the user; and should have some kind of limitation on time, so as not to consume the player's entire life (ahem, Candy Crush). These elements are all achieved in MONUMENT VALLEY, an elegantly designed, linear puzzle game by indie studio Ustwo that's available for iOS and Android. Through 10 levels of gradually increasing difficulty, players guide Ida the princess through stunning, pastel-hued geometric levels reminiscent of M.C. Escher drawings. To do so, players must identify and work around optical illusions by rotating or manipulating movable pieces of the levels' worlds, successfully guiding Ida to the exit of each level. With just 10 levels, most should finish the game within a couple of hours, feeling satisfied when they do.
JOURNALISM | Brooks County, a rural swath of southern Texas, has become a literal graveyard for hundreds of Central American migrants. By now, we've all heard about the tens of thousands of migrants fleeing extreme gang violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and elsewhere, with much of the media's recent focus on Arizona's outcry. In BEYOND THE BORDER, a four-part, multimedia investigative series by the Texas Observer, in partnership with The Guardian, it's revealed that the deadliest part of the U.S. border crisis centers around the Texas town of Falfurrias, 70 miles north of the border. There, longtime Texas ranchers, U.S. Border Patrol, humanitarian workers and a broke sheriff's department are struggling not only to solve the issue, but to cope and simply humanize the thousands of men, women and children passing through. Read it at texasobserver.org/beyond-border.