Thursday, January 14, 2016

My (Previous) Year in Reading: 71 to 80

…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:

71) At the Reunion Buffet by Alexander McCall Smith. Reunions tend the be bittersweet events. Whether one likes it or not, not all of them are consumed with sweet nostalgia and new discovery, but also bring to the surface long forgotten feelings, sometimes sad, sometimes angry. The hostess of the reunion party described here is working hard to make things work out for the better, but her task is not an easy one. A lovely novella from a very good writer.

72) Sweet Blood Volume 1 by Kim Seyoung. Real life and fantasy meet in this graphic novel from South Korea. This is the story of a student whose home life is far from perfect. His parents seem to ignore him, so when the opportunity arises he strikes a deal with (kind of) the devil to escape his everyday demons, but… A good story. I am not too excited about the art but the plot is very rewarding.

73) Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury. Well, it's not easy to read this collection without trying to compare the skills of the authors involved. Some of them do great work, others not so, but all in all I'd say that this is one of the books I've really enjoyed diving into during the course of 2015. Some of the biggest names of the fantasy genre can be found in these pages, and their stories are definitely worth reading.

74) Spread Volume 1: No Hope by Justin Jordan and Kyle Strahm. I loved this story. The premise is not something new: a big evil has cast its shadow over the world and only one person is capable of stopping it, and that turns out to be a small boy. The good script and matching art and lots of adventure make this one of the stand out comics of the year.

75) Low Volume 1: The Delirium of Hope by Rick Remender and GregTocchini. Here's yet another post-apocalyptic tale. After a great catastrophe the remaining people have to live in deep ocean waters as the rays of the sun can spell their death. But can someone really call theirs a life? Not really. And that's exactly why they turn to the stars in order to find a new home. A very good graphic novel that leaves many promises for the future.

76) Monster Motors by Brian Lynch and Nick Roche. I didn't expect to like this graphic novel but I really did. For starters it's very funny, and then the action almost never stops. But it also draws inspiration from classic literature which is a big bonus in my eyes. I've always believed that terror plots are mostly funny, and this volume proved me right.

77) Wayward Volume 1: String Theory by Jim Zub, Steven Cummings and JohnRausch. A young woman moves to Japan to live with her mother and all hell breaks loose as she comes to realize that she's anything but normal; she has some powers that she finds hard to comprehend but which she must unleash in order to save herself and the others. A great plot drives the story from start to finish, while beautiful animations bring the heroes to life.

78) Sinergy Volume 1 by Michael Avon Oeming and Taki Soma. This is yet another of those graphic novels that show a lot of potential when it comes to the main idea behind them; a potential that doesn't translate so well on the page. A story about a young girl discovering a new world of monsters and terror in a somewhat funny manner but… I've already said it all.

79) The Adventures of Artemus by Jim Patrick. This is supposed to be a children's book and it is but, well, I believe most adults will enjoy reading it too. Here we have the story of a mouse who works as an art restorer and who offers the reader the opportunity to learn, in a fun and lighthearted way, a thing or two about great art. Highly recommended.

80) A Day of What IFs by Lauren Micchelli. There are way too many what ifs in life. What if I do this or I do that? What if that happened or something different? What if… This children's book explores in a very pleasing manner some of those what ifs while allowing the reader to have some fun on the way. A very creative piece of work.

To be continued.


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