After writing my blog post about reading challenges for 2016, I decided to challenge myself to keep track of and briefly post the books, audiobooks, and graphic novels I’m reading this year. Here’s the first installment:
Spider Jerusalem is a crazed, drug-fueled journalist in the style of Hunter S. Thompson, dealing out truth and intestinal turmoil alike to the denizens of the near-future, mildly dystopic City. There’s no better year than an election year to read about Spider’s personal war against a psychopathic ever-smiling President.
Graphic novel, Sci-Fi, Political Warfare, Humorous
A Dance With Dragons
I’ve been listening to the audiobooks for George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, and I’m finally caught up. Roy Dotrice peoples the soundscape with hundreds of distinct voices and accents, and keeps the novel moving at a breakneck pace. Even if you’ve seen the show, there are still plenty of surprises waiting amongst these pages.
Audiobook, Fantasy, Power Struggles, Hundreds of Characters, Rich World
Dept. of Speculation – Jenny Offill
Jenny Offill paints a picture of a marriage, through short chapters and poignant, paragraph-length vignettes, some funny, some sad, some thought-provoking. We watch a love develop, unfold, and come to the brink of collapse in less than 200 pages. It’s short, but sweet.
Romance, Drama, Poignant, Emotional
Funny: Twenty-Five Years of Laughter from the Pixar Storm Room – Disney/Pixar
This book chronicles hundreds of storyboard sight gags and character explorations from Pixar’s Story Room. These discarded jokes and moments (and some that were never meant to reach the silver screen) give an interesting look into the creation of their now 16 feature films, as well as a glimpse into the minds behind these movies.
Non-Fiction, Behind the Scenes, Animation
Gyo: The Death-Stench Creeps – Junji Ito
I’m really not sure what I just read. I came across this horror manga from Junji Ito after reading his internet-infamous short piece, The Enigma of Amigara Fault (DRR…DRR…DRR…). Gyo swings like a pendulum between dual poles of genuinely creepy (like the insect-legged shark above) and farcically grotesque (fart-propelled corpse robots with butt-hoses). The tone reminds me of the comedy-horror Slither…fans of gross-out, possibly tongue-in-cheek horror may enjoy this one.
Horror, Bizarre, Grotesque, Unintentionally Hilarious?
Blankets – Craig Thompson
I first read Blankets seven years ago, and this bittersweet autobiography only grows more meaningful to me with time. It’s a tale of coming-of-age, first love, first heartbreak, and losing faith in religious convention. Thompson’s art evokes warmth, cold, connection, loneliness, and dreamlike imagination as he explores his formative years.
Graphic Novel, Autobiography, Coming-of-Age, Religion, Art, Love
Room – Emma Donoghue
Emma Donoghue’s novel is written from the perspective of Jack, a 5-year-old boy who has spent his entire life in an 11-by-11-foot room where his mother has been held captive. It’s not a psychological thriller, but it has elements of one. The novel manages to be more than that however: an exploration of how children think, how environment shapes psychology, and how we adapt to change.
Dark, Hopeful, Psychological, Tense, Experimental
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That’s all till next time…which, fair warning, is going to be chock-full-of comics.
For more book recommendations, check out 10 Books That Had A Lasting Impact on me.