Friday, January 22, 2016

My (Previous) Year in Reading: 111 to 120

…in chronological order.

2015 has been a great year when it comes to reading books for me. During it, according to Goodreads, I have gulped down 212 volumes that were not only novels for adults but also volumes that belonged in many other genres: YA, graphic novels, poetry, children's stories, short stories and books in translation. This has also been a year that I stopped writing reviews since I had much else occupying my mind and time, so below I'll give you no more than a few words about the books I have read. I hope some of my choices echo yours and I look forward to an exciting new year of reading.

So here it goes:

111) The Art of Flying by Antonio Altarriba and Kim. This is one of those great graphic novels that make you feel blessed for having read them. It's a story about poverty and despair, revolution and war. The setting is Spain in turbulent times, in the era of Franco and the story is as human as they come as it recounts the adventures of a humble man whom history has not treated quite well. Excellent script, based on true facts, and great art.

112) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I came late to this novel and I guess one of the reasons for that is that I always tend to read books when there's not much buzz about them. Of course it's been ages since Plath died but more or less she's as popular as ever, so I thought that perhaps if I was to read this novel I'd be disappointed in the end. Thank Buddha that wasn't the case. I really enjoyed reading this story of a young woman whose life, though filled with joy, then takes a turn for the worse and leads her almost to the point of no return. I think the story hasn't aged at all. It's still relevant today in many ways.

113) Blue Horses by Mary Oliver. I am new to the work of this poet and as the first book of hers I've read this volume has left a bittersweet taste on my lips. Some of the poems I've loved, some not so much. Here and there I caught glimpses of great things yet to come. I'll read more of her work for sure, though, to be honest, when it comes to poetry I'm a harsher judge than when I'm reading fiction.

114) Four Eyes Volume 1: Forged in Flames by Joe Kelly and Max Fiumara. This story takes place in an alternate past, and it has to do with fighting dragons. The setting is convincing and the concept is quite good but the truth is that when I've read the synopsis I've expected something more. Well, perhaps the best is yet to come.

115) Ashes by Mario Candelaria. I liked this graphic novel more than most other reviewers and I guess that's simply because I tend to pay more attention to the story than the art. And this story of a firefighter who lost a leg and is now trying to build his life anew is a very good one. Perhaps it is a bit melodramatic but that doesn't take away any of the reading pleasure.

116) Pawn Shop by Joey Esposito and Sean Von Gorman. Things didn't seem quite to work for me in this one, though others found it quite good. I found it good alright, but just that. I thought it could be better both script-wise and art-wise. The concept though is very promising.

117) The Shadow: Midnight in Moscow by Howard Chaykin. Here we follow the life of The Shadow, a hero who feels warn out and gets ready to retire at the dawn of the 1950's. However the world seems to be in imminent danger yet again, so perhaps this is not the best time to do that. A look back in comic book time that sometimes works great and sometimes not so well.

118) All That You've Seen Here Is God: New Versions of Four GreekTragedies by Sophocles, Aeschylus and Bryan Doerries. Well, the ancient Greek civilization and especially its literary branch, doesn't ever seem to go out of fashion. Here the title says it all. Though it's been ages since I've read any of the tragedies included in this volume I feel that the translator did a very good job in adapting them for a modern audience.

119) Supreme: Blue Rose by Warren Ellis and Tula Lotay. Sometimes you can't tell what's an illusion and what's real in this story, but that is a bonus. This is a very good graphic novel with great art and an unforgettable heroine. I am certain that if you are a fan of Warren Ellis' work you're going to love this volume.

120) The Autumnlands Volume 1: Tooth and Claw by Kurt Busiek andBenjamin Dewy. This is an epic adventure with quite a few twists and turns and lovely art that will leave the lovers of fantasy fiction well-pleased. Hard times call for desperate measures, thus some wizards try to recall a hero from the past to help their fight, but the one who shows up is not the one they expected. Good work.

To be continued.


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