Thursday, January 7, 2016

My (Previous) Year in Reading: 31 to 40

…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:

31)  The Ballad of the Sad Caféand Other Stories by Carson McCullers. I fell in love with the language whilst reading this book. Don't get me wrong, the stories and the characters are great as well, but the language, well, that's something else. The Ballad is one of the best novellas I have read in a long time and I'd recommend to any fan of the genre.

32) The Sculptor by Scott McCloud. Wow! What an amazing piece of work. This is what I talk about when I talk about Graphic Novels. Excellent story, great art work, and enough twists and turns to keep you turning the (many) pages without a pause. And the ending, well, that is one of the best I've ever encountered in fiction, and I'm not only talking about this genre only. It easily slips into my top 5 reads of the year list.

33) Nanny and Me by Florence Ann Romano. This is one of those books that fall under the category Not For Me, for the simple reason that I'm not a parent, and I have little to no experience with small children. However, all the other people who read it found it quite good, including a good friend of mine, so I seem to be on the wrong side of things in this one.

34) Rungle in the Jungle by Robert Logan Rogers. Whilst in the previous book I belonged to a minority of people who didn't like it much, here I belong to the one that liked it more than most. For me this is exciting adventure story for younger readers, full of imaginative leaps and a few nice twists and turns. Well, you can't agree with all the people all the time.

35) The Dogs and the Wolves by Irène Némirovsky. She is one of the most popular non-English writers of our days and I can see why. Though her stories are all set in the distant past, which comes as no surprise since she died in 1942, they all have something to say to the modern reader, as they talk about love and loss, about immigration and nostalgia. This is a somewhat difficult novel to read but in the end it's worth the trouble, since it rewards you with a story that's hard to forget.

36) A Glance Backward by Tony Sandoval. Yet another great graphic novel. This is a tale of a boy that all of a sudden finds himself in a strange and in many ways surreal world, in which he has to fight hard to survive. Despite his fear and the mystery that enshrouds his whereabouts, he manages to do exactly that, and on the way he also finds himself becoming a different person, someone who's determined to succeed in a quest that at first seemed impossible.

37) Hinges Book 1: Clockwork City by Meredith McClaren. To be honest I didn't like this volume as much as I thought I would. Perhaps I'm not enough of a geek, or probably, the story itself is to blame. What I mean is that it left me a little bit disappointed. There are tons of potential here, and if the script and the art were a little bit better, maybe I would now speak about a masterpiece. Who knows, perhaps the next installment will do the trick for me.

38) Edward Scissorhands Volume 1: Parts Unknown by Kate Leth and DrewRausch. I came to this as a big fan of the original movie and somehow I expected to be disappointed. Thank Buddha I wasn't. This is a very good graphic novel that stays faithful to the original and when needs expands on it in a great manner. I have already read the next volume which I've enjoyed just as much.

39) Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the FingersBegin to Bleed a Bit by Charles Bukowski. Some people say that you can either love or hate Bukowski. I guess I belong somewhere in the middle since there are parts of this poetry collection that I like and others which I don't hate, but find that they are out of place. So unable to really make up my mind I awarded this three out of stars, and I stand behind that decision.

40) Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman. There is so much material in this collection that the fans of the author, and I am one, should absolutely love it. Well I've awarded it four stars instead of five, exactly because of that abundance of material, since I believed and still do that some of it doesn't belong here. I enjoyed this book, I really did, but…

To be continued.


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