Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Booklist 2012: Part 16

All right! I'm tired of having this thing weighing on my mind. I want to talk about the books I'm reading now, not all these books I read in the past! The only solution is to go at it Emily Horne style. You might recall from years past that I got the idea to start keeping a record of what I've read after seeing the artist behind A Softer World do it. Her version, however, is much more condensed than what I've been doing. Regardless, these are the breaks. Somewhere near the end of this list I started getting sloppy and I'm pretty sure I left out a title or two, but what can you do. You also may have noticed that my numbering has been a bit off for the 2012 list and that was because I held off on some titles because I wanted to use a whole post to talk about them at length, but then never had the time. But I think I'll save those for a special post later.

* = reread
[GN] = Graphic Novel or Comic Anthology
[CB] = Children's Book

178. Drop Dead Healthy by. A.J. Jacobs

I've gotten such a kick out of Jacobs's previous books, but I've gotta admit this one is his weakest one. It lacked both the narrative angle the others have and sense of progression towards a real goal, especially when he keeps jumping from body part to body part.

179. The Things They Carried by. Tim O'Brien

My amazing friend Hannah recommended this one and it was phenomenal. It's a collection of related stories about a group of soldiers. It is beautifully written and it provides one of the most intriguing looks at war I've ever seen. One of my favorite books of the year.

*[GN] 180,181,185. Y: The Last Man, Volumes 1-3 by. Brian K. Vaughn, art by. Piea Guerra

Y is such a great story. Sure it has a terribly dumb ending, but so what. Just do what I do which is avoid reading all the way to the end. I don't own the full series so that makes it easy on me.

[GN] 182. DMZ vol 1: On the Ground by. Brian Wood, art by. Riccardo Burchielli

A coworker lent me this one to read and it's quite good. I'm not sure if the story itself intrigues me enough to want to read the entire series, but it's definitely an interesting and well done piece. I can see why it's gotten such a good reception.

[GN] 183. Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer by. Dustin Higgins & Van Jensen

Did I read this entirely because of the title? Yes. Was it impossibly dumb? Also Yes. I know what you're thinking, because I thought the same thing, but trust me on this one: the idea more fun to think about then it is in execution.

[GN] 184. Swamp Thing vol 1: Raise Them Bones by. Scott Snyder, art by Yanick Paquette

So Animal Man and Swamp Thing are running parallel stories and because I love the new Animal Man comic I had to check this one out. Plus Scott Snyder is pretty great, so that helped. Overall there was quite a bit that seemed to be carried over from previous Swamp Thing stories...which I don't really know anything about because I don't care about old Swamp Thing stories very much. But overall I really enjoyed it. I'm really digging this whole Red Vs. Green Vs. The Rot battle going on in these.

[GN] 186. Hellboy: The Crooked Man and Others by. various authors , art by. various artists

Oh, Hellboy. I've gotta admit a big reason I like Hellboy isn't so much because of the stories, but because I really enjoy Mike Mignolia's art style. I really dig the short story Hellboy format though, as it is a perfect vehicle for talking about myths and folktales and all that awesome stuff. But it's just no the same without Mignolia's imagery.

*[GN] 187. Barefoot Gen, vol 2: The Day After by. Keiji Nakazawa

Jeez, and I thought the first volume was graphic? Damn! This one goes beyond. I didn't think that was possible, but yeah. It's brutal. Radiation poisoning, you guys: Not. Pretty.

*[GN] 188. Barefoot Gen, vol 3: Life After the Bomb by. Keiji Nakazawa

There's more to the story, but I feel that this volume actually ends on a  pretty good note. I think if you didn't want to read everything, then just reading the first three volumes would provide a very nice abridged version.

[GN] 189. X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills by. Chris Claremont, art by. Brent Anderson

I've always heard about this being one of the classic X-Men stories, so I finally broke down and gave it a try. Despite the fact that I kind of really don't like the aesthetic of old superhero comics. It was alright, although it got pretty heavy-handed with the messages sometimes. Yes, yes, we get it, the mutants are a metaphor.

*[GN] 190. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by. Frank Miller

Here is the one and only Frank Miller story I actually like. It's played a very interesting role in the history of comic books. Plus I find the endings to Superheros to be rather fascinating. Creation stories are fine and all, but going into what happens to people after all the glitz and glamor has worn off? After they get old? Well, that's much more interesting. Fun fact: I lent my copy to one of my supervisors at work and then the next week he quit and he never gave it back to me.

*[GN] 191. Batman: The Killing Joke by. Alan Moore, art by. Brian Bolland

He also made off with this one!

This is a very strange yet very interesting title in the Batman workd. It's look into why Batman won't kill the Joker is something that really needed to be told. The main thing working against it is the fact that it brutally cripples Barbara Gordon for no real reason other than to provide male characters a chance to go "BARBARAAAA!! NOOOOO!!!" Which is a terribly sexist thing to do! And yet I can't dismiss the entire work like I normally would, because the story is just so bizarre and weird. It's extremely hard to hold up a scholarly lens of judgment to a comic that features a collared and naked Commissioner Gordon being attacked by a pair of pygmies.

*192. John Dies at the End by. David Wong

The sequel was coming out so obviously I had to reread the first one first. Especially in a book like this one. I'd like to talk about it more, but I'm actually about to reread it now, so I don't want to waste all my good material. Though, needless to say, I love this book. It's so strange and so silly and just so wonderfully different.

193. This Book is Full of Spiders by. David Wong

This is a the sequel to John Dies at the End and it puts it to shame. TO SHAME. Please note that I am a pretty big fan of John Dies at the End, so I do not say that lightly. The narrative in this one is much tighter and yet it still maintains the offbeat feel the first one did. The story is much, much creepier. And there are still so many wonderful laughs to be had. I couldn't put this one done. Not to mention that the character writing in this book is just brilliant.

194. Imagine: How Creativity by. Jonah Lehrer

Gonna be honest here, I don't remember anything about this book.

195. Wicked Appetite by. Janet Evanovich

UGH! Awful. Next.

*[GN] 196. 197. One Piece, vol 1-6 by. Eiichiro Oda

Eventually this series flames out, but the early stuff? The early stuff is gold. They've started making these 3-volume omnibuses of them so I got the first two (so essentially the first 6 volumes). So much cartoon silliness and quality action. Gotta love it.

198. Red Rain by. R.L. Stine

R.L. Stine wrote a horror story for adults? You'd better believe I'm all over that. I think I got my expectations up too high though. It's certainly a lot creepier than his Goosebumps books, but at the same time it's basically still just a Goosebumps book. I had fun reading it though. If you give it a try just go in expecting "Goosebumps with Gore" and you'll be fine.

* 199. Runaways vol 1: Pride & Joy by. Brian K. Vaughan, art by. Adrian Alphona

Upon rereading this one I think I might like the idea of this story more than the actual execution of the story. Don't get me wrong, it's a fun story, but I'm not sure how well it holds up.

[GN] 200. A Softer World: Truth and Beauty Bombs by. Joey Comeau & Emily Horne

Best Comic Strip Ever now in book form. I love it to pieces.

* 201. Night Watch by. Terry Pratchett

What, this? Oh, that's nothing. It's just MY FAVORITE BOOK OF ALL TIME!

[CB] 202. Boy + Bot by. Ame Dickman, illustrated by. Dan Yaccarino

It's an alright kids book. Nothing outstanding.

[CB] 203. This Is Not My Hat by. Jon Klassen

The sequel to phenomenal I Want My Hat Back and it is also brilliant. Maybe not quite as brilliant, but it's up there. I have a copy of both of them and when I go out and buy a children's book because I like it so much then you know it's quality.

[GN] 204. Beartato and the Various Things That Happened by. Anthony Clark

If you aren't reading Anthony Clark's Nedroid then you need to do yourself a favor and go do that.

[GN] 205. American Vampire, vol 4

I was so enthralled with this story in the first couple volumes, and this is the one that finally killed it for me. I don't plan on reading any more. The main artist barely does any of it anymore and the stories insist on talking about things I don't care about.

[GN] 206. Scott Pilgrim Color Hardcover, vol 2  by. Bryan Lee O'Malley, colors by. Nathan Fairbairn

So. Freaking. Gorgeous. One of the greatest comics around is now one of the best to look at. I've read the series before, but the color adds so much that I won't count it as a reread.

[GN] 207. Friends With Boys by. Faith Erin Hicks

I don't recall too much about this one. I do recall finishing it and being rather, "Well, that was pretty good."

[GN] 208. Daisy Kutter: The Last Train by. Kazu Kibuishi

Oh, Kibuishi. There's something about his style I really like. His stories tend to not be the sharpest ones on the shelf, but he's got so much style that it makes up for it a little.

[GN] 209. A Softer World: second best isn't so bad by. Joey Comeau & Emily Horne


210. The Best American Poetry by. various authors

I don't remember much about this one. It was alright I guess. A handful of gems, but overall it didn't impress me much. I also don't remember which year's edition I read, but I have a feeling that my review of such things would always be the same.

211. The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by. Jon Ronson

Another book I don't remember very well. I blame this on the books being forgettable and not on me being forgetful. I do recall that most of it wasn't nearly as interesting as it should have been and that some of it was just out-and-out dull.

212. Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm retold by. Philip Pullman

Gotta give Pullman props, these were quite good. One of the better Grimm collections I've come across.

213. Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln's Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities by. Amy Stewart

Not as in-depth as I was hoping for, but still very intriguing. Kind of makes you a little terrified of plants. I was definitely underestimating them in terms of danger.

[CB] 214. Under the Deck, And Under Some Sticks... by. Scott Bevan

I picked this one up on a whim because it was pretty cheap and I have a soft spot for kids' books that are weird and dark. It's certainly not the most polished piece under the sun, but I enjoyed it.

[CB] 215. Waking Dragons by. Jane Yolan, illustrated by. Derek Anderson

I got this for my nephew as a Christmas present. It's really very good. The art is delightful and the writing is fun. I like how the story goes through things little kids do when they wake up, because it provides an easy way to create a dialogue with kids about books and show how books can relate to your life. I'm probably thinking too much about this though...

* 216. The Hobbit by. J.R.R. Tolkien

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I went back and reread it because of the movies. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I do not care for Tolkien. He is not my cup of tea. I get why people like him, but just not my thing.

The End

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