Posts Tagged ‘graphic novels’
A little bit of everything this time around. There are some newer items and some things I am now catching up.
Items about books:
- The Good Vibes blog features a review of Rachel Kramer Bussel’s anthology Best Bondage Erotica 2012. The review mentions that “a wide variety of bondage styles are showcased, from heavy chains to characters who can be silenced with only a stern gaze. All genders and sexualities are represented, leaving the collection feeling diverse but still focused on erotic bondage.” By the way, the 2013 edition of the book is also out.
- Another erotica anthology. This one is Say Please, which is a collection of lesbian BDSM erotica. It is edited by Sinclair Smith, and it is reviewed in Kissin Blue Kraken (warning: this blog is an adult content blog, so may be NSFW).
- Via Yes! Magazine, a review of Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels and Black Power.
- Lambda Literary reviews a new history of the gay press. The book is Gay Press, Gay Power: The Growth of LGBT Community Papers in America edited by Tracy Baim. It is one of those books someone publishes on Amazon, so it may be a while before I see it, or the book makes it out into mainstream so to speak. But it does sound interesting.
- This is a manga series I was not sure whether to pick up or not. To be honest, the whole librarian suddenly becomes some hero or heroine genre seems cheesy (and I don’t mean that in a good way). In fact, I find that stupid The Librarian series of television movies annoying and dumb, like a very poor librarian’s Indiana Jones wannabe, in spite of the fact a lot of my professional brethren somehow like it. Go figure. Anyhow, this manga seems like it might be entertaining to read. The Manga Critic is reviewing volume 9 of Library Wars (link to volume 1). Sounds like I need to catch up. It’s a series with “slight goofy premise of librarians becoming a paramilitary force to fight censorship.” Now that sounds better.
- A Case for Suitable Treatment has a review of Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, Omnibus 1.
- A discussion of the novel Magic Words and the topic of Jews in the American Wild West at The Prosen People. Here is a bit more on the novel’s author’s work.
- A different idea: taking Medusa the gorgon and making a sympathetic love story out of her tale. That is what Sasha Summers did in her book Medusa: A Love Story. The book is reviewed at Bending the Bookshelf.
- A YA steampunk fantasy novel reviewed at Ninja Librarian. The book is Innocent Darkness. I have mentioned before that I am not a big YA reader, but once in a while I am willing to take a chance.
- Via Bending the Book Shelf, a review of Adventures in Fetishland, which is a BDSM retelling of the Wonderland tale. I do find some retellings or expansions on Wonderland of interest, so we shall see on this one. It is an e-book, so again, not something I may get to right away. The book’s author describes the book’s inspiration sources here.
- And speaking of Alice in Wonderland retellings, here is Alice in the Country of Hearts (Link to first volume in the series). The third omnibus edition is reviewed at A Case for Suitable Treatment.
- The Liquor Snob reviews The Brewmaster’s Table, a book about pairing beer and food. When it comes to liquor and food pairings, most people think wine, so this book may be a way to expand horizons.
Bibliographies and lists:
- The United States Naval Academy’s “Reading List for Life.” A few of them like Ayn Rand’s works (at least one of the professors gushes about how wonderful the book is), which may go to prove that just because they may be military folks does not mean they have good reading taste let alone good critical sense when it comes to books. Still, the list is worth a look.
- The Slog provides some brief reviews of three comic and graphic novels. From the list, I already read My Friend Dahmer, which I do recommend.
- Via the blog Write to Done, a list of “Top 10 Books for Writers You Need to Read Now.”
- In her July 2012 list of books read, the Dirty Librarian has some items of interest.
Moving right along with another list of blog posts and notes on books I would like to read down the road. Will I ever read everything I keep clipping and saving? Probably not given how short life is, but making the attempt is fun. Plus I think these lists do help me out a bit for reader’s advisory. As always, for my four readers, if you find anything interesting in these lists, and you read it, feel free to leave me a comment and let me know. Also, any reading suggestions from the audience are always welcome. So, here we go:
Items about books:
- Via Boing Boing, a review and book trailer video of Gonzo: a Graphic Biography of Hunter S. Thompson. Graphic novels is always a genre/format I like, and I do like the ones that teach me about a subject. This one does look pretty good.
- Drinkhacker reviews the book Drinkology Beer: A Book About the Brew. They seem a bit more positive about this one when compared to a previous Drinkology book. By the way, it is one of the things I like about Drinkhacker: in addition to drinks and cocktail reviews, they also cover books on those topics.
- Robert Reich’s new book, Beyond Outrage, is out as an e-book. I usually do not read e-books. Heck, I don’t even have an e-reader nor tablet, nor do I have any big interest in acquiring one. Yet the book does sound interesting and relevant. I may have to make an exception.
- Guys Lit Wire make a comment about steampunk in recent literature, and they review Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti. Personally, I do worry a bit steampunk may be starting to become the next sparkly vampires or zombies shoved into “classical” novels fad. Then again, there are some good works of steampunk out there, and I am hunting for them. My experience has been mixed so far (some good books, some pretty awful, boring things). I still like the aesthetic overall. The novel in question now seems interesting in blending steampunk and a circus, two settings I definitely like.
- The Manga Critic reviewsThe Apartments of Calle Feliz.
- The Manga Critic also reviews the first volume of Until Death Do Us Part.
- Like many people who know at least a bit of 20th century history or Nazi history, I was aware of Hermann Göring. However, I had no idea he had a brother, let alone a brother that actually worked to save Jews from concentration camps. I learned about this topic from this article at Des Spiegel about a new book on the topic. The book is William Hastings Burke’s Thirty Four. The book was published in 2009, and the article mentions a German language translation is coming out this year (2012). After recently reading The Nazi Seance, I am interested in this time of history, at least, the lesser known elements.
- Via the Good Vibrations blog, a review of the anthology Best Sex Writing 2012.
- Via Stiletto Storytime, a review of an Indian culture novel set in Bombay. I have not read much when it comes to fiction about the Indian subcontinent. Last one I remember is Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie, which I liked but I did find laborious. The book in question is Narcopolis. I think I am willing to take a chance on this one.
- Via Bookgasm blog, a review of a Hollywood story in Infamous Players: a Tale of Movies, the Mob (and Sex).
- A whole book on how to sharpen a pencil? Really? Yes, really, there is such a thing, and such a book is reviewed here at Pencil Revolutions. The book in question is, well, How to Sharpen Pencils by David Rees.
- Via Bookgasm, a review of W.H. Pugmire’s short story collection Gathered Dust and Others (link to publisher as not able to find on WorldCat at this time). Fans of H.P. Lovecraft probably want to pick this one up.
- Also via Bookgasm, a review of Joe Golem and the Drowning City. Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy, is a co-author, so I am hoping this will be a good one.
- I am not much of a romance reader, and I don’t read a lot of YA fiction (I am very selective of what I read in YA. I tend to like my fiction very adult). So, this selection may not seem like a good fit. And yet, there is something about this vampire post-apocalyptic dystopia that seems appealing to me. So, I am adding to the list. The book is The Immortal Rules. It is reviewed here at Ninja Librarian. It is part of a series, so who knows, if the first volume works, I may follow the series. If not, at least I did give a spin. Once in a while trying something new is a good thing.
- RT Book Reviews has an extended review of Rachel Kramer’s erotica anthology Curvy Girls: Erotica for Women. The reviewer describes the book as “a wonderful anthology, with some stories being better than others, but the truly beautiful thing about this collection is that it celebrates our differences and doesn’t pigeonhole big women into a specific type. The anthology really embraces the diversity of plus size women and those who admire them.” Since I do like erotica, and I will admit I do like ladies on the curvy side (to borrow from the book title), I am adding this to my list. Plus, it might be fun to share it with the Better Half as well.
- I am a fan Morgan Spurlock’s work, and I have enjoyed his documentaries. SuperSize Me was a bit hard to watch, but it was good and educational. I had no idea there was a graphic novel adaptation of it until the boys at Guys Lit Wire pointed it out. And it was done by Dark Horse. Holy Smokes! I have got to get my hands on that. The graphic novel’s title is Supersized: Strange Tales from Fast-food Culture.
Book lists and bibliographies:
- I have to admit that reading Warhammer 40,000 novels has become my new guilty pleasure. Granted, like many series, some works are better than others, but the ones I have read so far have been good overall. In the works I have read, there have been appearances of Battle Sisters, and I have been curious about these characters. The blog My Favourite Books provides a review of a trio of novels about the Adepta Sororitas. These may help satisfy my curiosity, plus they sound like fun stuff to read.
- Here is another e-book, but this is something that is free and relatively easy to get access. Plus, I also like poetry. Lambda Literary highlights that some lesbian poetry chapbooks are now available for viewing and downloading from the Lesbian Poetry Archive. Get the chapbooks here.
- Whether you read Fifty Shades of Grey, or you want to read something better than that novel, Good Vibrations blog has some additional suggestions.
- Book Riot asked its readers to give suggestions of good food writing books. They have collected the lists in this round-up post.
- The Food Politics blog has a couple of food biographies that look very interesting.
- The Manga Critic has a list of “7 Mouth-Watering Food Manga.” I already familiar with Oishinbo. The others I have yet to find and discover.
- In “Who Fills Out The Paperwork When Superman Drops a Train?” the Likely Books blog gives a list of “of comics featuring law enforcement or bureaucratic agencies that solve supercrime, with or without the help of superheroes and super powers.”
- Whether you like it or not, 50 Shades of Grey is a reading phenomenon. If you read it, and you want more books that are similar, or you want books that are better or other than 50 Shades of Grey, the ladies of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books have you covered with a book list that features “a selection of books that might appeal to readers who found 50 Shades erotic and compelling.” As a librarian, I always find read-a-like lists helpful, so I am adding it here for future reference. I may even be willing to try one or two of their suggestions.
We are almost to 30 of these little posts listing books I would like to read or that I find interesting. If I ever won a big lottery jackpot (as if) that was good enough for me to retire early and never have to work, I would spend a lot of the free time reading. Oh well, a man can dream. In the meantime, here we go:
Items about books:
- Via Intoxicated Zodiac blog, a review of the book Hola Tequila! (record to Barnes and Noble because apparently Worldcat does not have it). The book looks like a nice, little fun recipe and tequila trivia book. Also on the blog, you will find a recipe for a cocktail to try out.
- The Bibrary Book Lust blog offers an excellent review of a book that can serve as a good educational reading, especially for those of us who are allies and wish to learn more. The book is Transgender 101: a Simple Guide to a Complex Issue. The reviewer describes it as “one of those rare pieces of non-fiction that works equally well in educating (and entertaining) both within and outside the community it explores” (emphasis in the original).
- Via Lambda Literary, a review of the anthology Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary. I will admit I am adding this to my reading list out of curiosity. Then again, I have always been curious reader willing to try out new things. The reviewer writes: “I turned the pages on these stories proud to be a trans writer, proud to be part of a witty, nasty, brilliant community of poetic perverts and wicked wordsmiths, wall-walkers who simultaneous manage to celebrate the peculiarities of our kind while sensuously stroking the taut chord of common humanity.” I think in the end good fiction (a lot of it anyhow), erotica or not, LGBTQ or not, has to be well written and touch on common humanity.
- The Manga Critic, in her feature of The Best Manga You’re Not Reading, recommends a manga about a Japanese ex-pat in New York City who is a hitman among other things. Sounds like one should ask “what is there not to like?” The book in question is Benkei in New York.
- The Manga Critic also reviews an adaptation of Gail Carriger’s first volume of the Parasol Protectorate series. I did not know the stuff had been adapted to manga. I have been mostly lukewarm about reading the novels, but I may be willing to read the manga adaptation, at least Soulless, Vol. 1.
- Via Readers Read blog, a video and mention of Joe Hill’s book Horns. In the video, the author is discussing his work. I really got to know Joe Hill from his work on the Locke and Key series, so I am a bit willing to take a chance on his fiction.
- Guys Lit Wire review two books in this post. I am only interested in the Ultimate X: Origins. It is written by Jeph Loeb, whose work I know from Batman: The Long Halloween and other Batman tales. The guys also discuss and review the Robot Novels of Isaac Asimov. I’ve had those tales on my list of stuff to read for quite a while now. It may be time to buck up and start reading them.
Book lists and bibliographies:
- Passover is coming soon. If you want to learn more, The Prosen People blog offers some lists of books about and for Passover.
- This is not so much a book list as a list of items about books and reading. The Millions offers a guide to literary Tumblr websites. I am jotting this down so I can look it over later, maybe add a thing or two to my feed reader.
- Via Lambda Literary, the announcement of the finalists for the 24th Annual Lambda Awards. I always like keeping track of this list to get ideas for LGBTQ reading. The list always feature a very diverse range of genres and topics.
- Also via Lambda Literary, a small list of recent lesbian erotica by Sinclair Sexsmith in “Cliterotica:Winter 2012.” Yes, some of this may be NSFW for some folks. You have been warned.
- The Singing Librarian gives his list of books read in February 2012. The one I am interested in from the list is the one by Maurice LeBlanc.
- The Publishing Triangle, the association of lesbian and gay men in publishing, announced their finalists for the Triangle Awards. The final awards to be announced in April.
(This is cross-posted from The Gypsy Librarian).
I have been posting my reading list for the previous year with some reflection and commentary since 2006. It has become a tradition of mine here at The Gypsy Librarian. Without doing the tally, this year it felt like I did not read as much; it's just a feeling. I think in part it is because I picked up some pretty thick books. For instance, Let The Galaxy Burn took me a few months to get through it since I would pick it up, drop it, pick it up again. It was a short fiction collection, and books like that lend themselves to reading a little at a time for me. In addition, the year was somewhat chaotic at work, so that kept me a bit from reading since I would come home on the tired side. However, I did persevere, and I think I got a pretty good tally this year.
I did some rereading this year. For instance, this was a Macondo year for me. This means I reread Gabriel García Márquez's Cien Años de Soledad. This is kind of a ritual of mine every so often. I just get in the mood for it, and I know it is time to go back to Macondo. I think this year was my fourth or fifth time around. I also reread a few other things. Some I reread in order to get ready to read something new in a series. That was the case with League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier. I reread the previous volumes to get ready for that. For Halloween, I reread Batman: The Long Halloween. It is an excellent book to put you in the mood for Halloween, and I think I may make that another little ritual of mine for the coming year.
Graphic novels and manga continue to be a strong presence in my reading. I am not a purist, so the term "graphic novel" here refers to both "traditional" graphic novels like Safe Area Gorazde and comic compilations. Mangas here can include manga, manwhas, and similar, which I do read in English translation (one of my wishes in life would be to learn Japanese and a couple other Asian languages just to read these in original). I still mostly get these when I buy them, often out of town. I have noted previously that this is something that our local public library fails at miserably, and the local bookstores are somewhat limited. I may have to seriously look into buying some online. By the way, as before, I did utilize my campus Interlibrary Loan Service. The only catch with ILL is that you can't really get stuff that is recent (libraries are not willing to lend out something new or recently popular), but otherwise, I could get just about anything on ILL. In general, my basic rule is: if I want to just read it once, I borrow it. If I want to reread it, or I like it, then I buy it. The borrowing part tends to apply more to nonfiction, especially if it deals with current events (timeliness is the issue). Overall, this was a good year for me in terms of manga and graphic novels for me.
Using GoodReads to keep track of the books I have read continues to be useful. The only catch is that I don't write as many booknotes on the blog as I used to, but doing GR means I can make quick notes on books I read and keep track of genres, so on. You can find the widget for GR on the right side column of my blogs; the widget is set to display what I am currently reading.
And speaking of currently reading, I will note that I jot down books on the month I finish them. So, if I carry something over from the previous December into the next January, it gets on the following year's list, that kind of thing. Otherwise, I am not big on things like knowing the exact day I finished a book. I just want a sense of what I did per month. Anyhow, here go the numbers:
Number of books read in 2009: 98 (5 rereads)
I read less than last year, but I still read quite a bit. Entering 2009 was chaotic and sad for me since my mother passed in December of 2008. I only read one book during December of last year, and that was barely. Then, as I mentioned, work was somewhat hectic (and I am not saying more). Anyhow, I did read a lot of good things, so I can say it was a very good year overall.
Here goes the list. As before, if something is not readily apparent about a book from the title, I will add a small note after it. If the title is in Spanish, it means I read it in Spanish. Asterisks are re-reads:
- Mickey Spillane, Vengeance is Mine.
- Wendy Northcutt, The Darwin Awards Next Evolution (Book 5).
- Fernando Baez, A Universal History of the Destruction of Books.
- Koushun Takami, Battle Royale, Ultimate Edition, Vol. 1.
- Huw Davies, Pedestrian Safety Expert Gets Hit By Bus.
- Greg Rucka et.al., Batman: Bruce Wayne: Murderer?
- Greg Rucka et.al., Batman: Bruce Wayne: Fugitive, Vol. 1.
- Greg Rucka et.al., Batman: Bruce Wayne: Fugitive, Vol. 2.
- Greg Rucka et.al., Batman: Bruce Wayne: Fugitive, Vol. 3.
- Masaki Segawa, Basilisk: The Kouga Ninja Scrolls, Vol. 1.
- David Bischoff, Hunter's Planet (Aliens vs. Predator, Book 2).
- Wess Roberts, Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun.
- R.A. Salvatore, The Legend of Drizzt Book 1: Homeland (Forgotten Realms, graphic novel).
- George Carlin, Three Times Carlin: An Orgy of George.
- Masakazu Yamaguchi, Arm of Kannon, Vol. 1.
- Sin-ichi Hiromoto, Stone, Vol. 1.
- Masaki Segawa, Basilisk: The Kouga Ninja Scrolls, Vol. 2.
- Hunter Davies, Hunter Davies' Book of Lists.
- Alan Moore, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1.*
- Ben Reed, Cool Cocktails.
- Alan Moore, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 2.*
- Alison Lewis, ed., Questioning Library Neutrality.
- Amy Butler Greenfield, A Perfect Red.
- Chris Warner, Star Wars: Infinities–A New Hope.
- Garth Ennis, Punisher Max: Widowmaker.
- David Land, Star Wars: Infinities–The Empire Strikes Back.
- Roméo Dallaire, Shake Hands With the Devil.
- Kazuo Koike, Samurai Executioner, Vol. 1.
- Bill Willingham, Robin: Days of Fire and Madness.
- Don Miguel Ruiz, The Mastery of Love.
- Koushun Takami, Battle Royale Ultimate Edition, Vol. 2.
- Ian Spector, Chuck Norris vs. Mr. T: 400 Facts About the Baddest Dudes in the History of Ever.
- Professor Happycat, I Can Haz Cheezburger? A LOLcat Colleckshun.
- Alan Moore, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier.
- Joe McGuire, Brainless: The Lies and Lunacy of Ann Coulter.
- Douglas Tonks, TV's Most Wanted.
- Larry Wilmore, I'd Rather We Got Casinos, and Other Black Thoughts.
- Frank Miller, Daredevil Visionaries: Frank Miller, Vol. 3.
- Haden Blackman, Star Wars: Victories and Sacrifices (Clone Wars, Vol. 2).
- Haden Blackman, Star Wars: Last Stand on Jabiim (Clone Wars, Vol. 3).
- Jaimie Muehlhausen, Redneck Words of Wisdom.
- A.J. Jacobs, The Year of Living Biblically.
- Enrico Marini, El Escorpion: La Marca del Diablo (Vol. 1; graphic novel).
- Janet McNeil Hurlbert, Defining Relevancy: Managing the New Academic Library.
- John Layman, Marvel Zombies/Army of Darkness.
- Mark Millar, Superman: Red Son.
- Masaki Segawa, Basilisk: The Kouga Ninja Scrolls, vol. 3.
- Anthony Bourdain, The Nasty Bits.
- Joe Sacco, Safe Area Gorazde.
- Denis Leary, Why We Suck.
- Masaki Segawa, Basilisk: The Kouga Ninja Scrolls, vol 4.
- Cheryl Russell, Bet You Didn't Know.
- Masaki Segawa, Basilisk: The Kouga Ninga Scrolls, vol. 5.
- Ian Spector, The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 Facts About the World's Greatest Human.
- Kai Tsurugi, Black Knight (Kuro no Kishi), vol.1.
- Kai Tsurugi, Black Knight (Kuro no Kishi), vol.2.
- Catherine Sheldrick Ross, Reading Matters: What the Research Reveals About Reading, Libraries and Community.
- Markman Ellis, The Coffee House: A Cultural History.
- Elizabeth J. Wood, Beyond Survival: Managing Academic Libraries in Transition.
- Charles M. Schulz, The Complete Peanuts, 1971-1972.
- Alice M. LeGrow, Bizenghast, Vol. 1.
- Alice M. LeGrow, Bizenghast, Vol. 2.
- Gabriel García Márquez, Cien Años de Soledad.*
- William B. Whitman, The Quotable Politician.
- Gary Paul Nabhan, Tequila: A Natural and Cultural History.
- Siku, The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation.
- Koushun Takami, Battle Royale Ultimate Edition, Vol. 3.
- John Wagner, Star Wars-Boba Fett: Enemy of the Empire.
- Andy Mangel, Star Wars: Bounty Hunters.
- Paul Pope, Batman: Year 100.
- Angela Watrous, ed., 50 Ways to Support Lesbian and Gay Equality.
- Brian Augustyn, Batman: Gotham by Gaslight.
- Koushun Takami, Battle Royale Ultimate Edition, Vol. 4.
- Koushun Takami, Battle Royale Ultimate Edition, Vol. 5.
- Jennifer 8 Lee, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles.
August: (This was a bit of a slow month in terms of reading. There was a lot happening at work for one)
- Ryan Sager, The Elephant in the Room.
- Gustavo Arellano, Ask a Mexican.
- Marc Gascoigne, ed., Let the Galaxy Burn (Warhammer 40,000 short fiction collection).
- Kazuo Koike, Crying Freeman, Vol. 1.
- Hiroshi Sakurazaka, All You Need Is Kill.
- Adam Gallardo, Star Wars: Infinities–Return of the Jedi.
- Drew Karpyshyn, Star Wars: Darth Bane: Rule of Two.
- R.A. Salvatore, The Legend of Drizzt Book 2: Exile (Forgotten Realms, graphic novel).
- Brett Booth, Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, Vol. 1: Prodigal Son (graphic novel).
- R.A. Salvatore, The Legend of Drizzt Book 3: Sojourn (Forgotten Realms, graphic novel).
October:(Another slow month. From this point on, my reading decreased until the end of the year.)
- Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, Batman: The Long Halloween.*
- Matthew Sturges, House of Mystery, vol. 1: Room and Boredom (graphic novel).
- Allan Brandt, The Cigarette Century.
- Karen Traviss, Order 66: A Republic Commando Novel (Star Wars novel).
- Mickey Spillane, One Lonely Night.
- Kurt Busiek, Conan Volume 3: The Tower of the Elephant and Other Stories.
- Kazuo Koike, Crying Freeman, Vol. 2.
- Kazuo Koike, Crying Freeman, Vol. 3.
- Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster, Working for You Isn't Working For Me.
- Eduardo Galeano, Las venas abiertas de América Latina.*
- Kazuo Koike, Crying Freeman, Vol. 4.
- Matthew K. Manning, Wolverine: Inside the World of the Living Weapon.
- Kazuo Koike, Crying Freeman, Vol. 5.
Other thoughts and comments:
- Number of books read in the worst months: 4 (August, October, and December). Overall, the first part of the year was better than the later part. As I have mentioned, work got chaotic to put it politely.
- Number of books read in the best month: 14 (March).
- Fiction: 62. As I did last year and before, graphic novels and mangas fall under fiction, unless they happen to be memoirs or similar. Memoirs and similar I would include with nonfiction.
- Nonfiction: 36. Fiction, especially graphic novels and manga won out this year. I was clearly going for a bit more escapism, but I also picked up some excellent mangas this year. 4 books of nonfiction fell under library science.
- Graphic novels: 32. This would include fiction and nonfiction works.
- Manga: 23. I completed reading of some limited series (i.e. they don't keep going on and on like Naruto for instance) this year, and I discovered one or two new items as well. See my note about mangas in my 2008 list. What I wrote then is still applicable.
And finally, what my three readers are waiting for: my favorites for the year:
- The Battle Royale series. This is simply the best reading experience I had this year. I could not put these books down once I started them. I read them in the newer ultimate editions. As noted in the Wikipedia article that I linked, these are graphic in terms of sex and violence (so is the novel on which the manga is based). Having given warning, this is one I highly recommend. Excellent characterization, fast and furious pacing, and the art is very good. Think Lord of the Flies with 1984, throw in The Running Man (the novel, not the movie), and put it on steroids, and you just might, might, get close to this. To me, this is what crappy reality TV like Survivor should be like. None of that stupid voting the ones you dislike of the island. Arm them, set them loose, and let them kill each other. And if they refuse, blow up their collars. It's called Survivor for a reason. The TV show as it is looks more like island pageant. Anyhow, I highly recommend Battle Royale. You can pick up the individual 15 volumes, or do what I did and get the hardcover ultimate editions (well worth the price; and the Wikipedia article apparently has not updated that the ultimate editions are finally out).
- Following Battle Royale has to be the Basilisk series. This is the story of a feud between two ninja clans that comes to the fore as they fight to determine which member of their clans will be the next shogun. There is a novel of it, and there was an anime made of it as well, which I am interested in watching some day after having read this. The series also features a tragic romance and ninjas with very special powers. What's not to like? This is one worth revisiting.
- George Carlin's Three Times Carlin: An Orgy of George collects three of his books and some additional material. If you need to get your fix of the thinking person's comedian, this is the book to pick up. Another comedian book I read this year that I liked was Denis Leary's Why We Suck. It is not as good as reading Carlin, but it is still good. Just look up the part about the Oprah Amendment to the Constitution.
- Book that made me angry in the "getting outraged over the atrocities people do" kind of angry: Roméo Dallaire, Shake Hands With the Devil. The situation in Rwanda was simply an inexcusable failure to act by other nations in stopping a genocide. The book is Dallaire's story of his time as commander of UNAMIR in Rwanda, where he was basically abandoned by his superiors and forced to do his best with what he had to defend the innocent.
- I always recommend One Hundred Years of Solitude, which I reread this year. I read it in Spanish, but it is available in English translation for my English-reading friends.
- I delved a bit into romance this year with the Black Knight series. It's yaoi manga (i.e. boys who love boys). I picked it up in part out of curiosity; I know a lot of teen girls find yaoi manga appealing, and I wanted to know why. The interesting thing about this series, for me as a librarian, is that it follows a lot of the conventions of a basic romance novel. The plot is basically the love of a prince and the knight assigned to protect him. If the prince was a princess instead, this would be a basic romance novel in manga form. I think this is where a lot of the appeal factor lies for teen girls, that and cute guys. There is some sexual depiction, but I would venture to say it is nothing most teens can't handle (much of the depiction is implied, as in you see nudity, but the "naughty parts" are strategically covered). It was a fun read, and I will probably keep reading it just for kicks. Another way to look at it if you are wondering whether to read this or not: I would let my daughter, who is a manga reader, read it. She is 13, and this is no worse than some other stuff I know she reads. In contrast, no, I would not let her read Battle Royale until she got older.
- The "hmm, that was interesting and different" book this year was Siku's The Manga Bible. Though it claims to go from Genesis to Revelation, this book is a selection. Having said that, it is a very comprehensive selection and adaptation of the Bible. If you want to get a good sense of what the Bible contains, what the overall story is, and the key stories and characters, this is a very good reading. The book does include chapter/verse references so you can check up in your regular Bible. This was one my daughter requested to borrow, and she gave me positive feedback about it. Whether you are Christian or not, believer or not, this is one I recommend. It is a pretty quick read, and as I said, a different way to look at a book that a lot of people think they know.
- The book I wish more people would read: Watrous' 50 Ways to Support Lesbian and Gay Equality. You may already be supportive, but you do not quite know how to turn that support into constructive action. This book will tell you how.
- A book that will help explain why Republicans (and right wingers) behave they way they do: Sanger's The Elephant in the Room. If you want to understand Republican politics now, and why the party seems to be self-destructing, this book provides a good explanation. The main argument of the book is that the GOP is divided between two major camps: the "leave me alone" libertarians and the fundamentalist evangelicals who strive to pretty much create a theocracy.
- Kazuo Koike's Crying Freeman series. This is another great limited series (five collected volumes published by Dark Horse). Freeman is the assassin working for the 108 Dragons, the Chinese Mafia, who sheds tears when he kills his victims. The characterization on this one is rich and complex. Yes, it does have sex and violence, so not for the little kids. Good story and action, and the art is pretty good as well. If nothing else, the art detail on the tattoos makes this worth a look. This is another one worth revisiting for me. Koike is also the author of Samurai Executioner, of which I read the first volume this year. I will strive to read the rest of that series as well and also look up his other popular work, the series Lone Wolf and Cub.
- The "really cool discovery of the year" for me was the novel All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. I just saw this in a bookstore one day, picked it up while browsing, and the description of the book hooked me. Initially, I thought it would be similar to Algis Budrys' Rogue Moon, but other than the warrior/hero who dies and is reborn to do his task over and over, this novel is unique. You don't quite figure out why Keiji, the recruit hero, keeps being reborn each morning to fight until you are deep in the book. Once you get there, all I will say it is a very interesting science fiction twist. This is one I recommend to science fiction readers out there. This is a very good example of Japanese science fiction. Personally, I am inclined to pick up other titles from the publisher, Haikasoru. If the others are anything like this, we are looking at some very good stuff.
- The Legend of Drizzt graphic novel adaptations are very good. I have enjoyed the ones I have read so far, and I have the next three on my shelf to be read soon. If you read the novels, you should take a look at these. And if you have not, these may make you want to go back and read the novels.
- Busiek's Conan series for Dark Horse comics is also good. I read the third volume this year, and this is one I am planning to collect and enjoy.