2017 Reading Challenges & Goals

This post will cover my 2017 Reading Challenges and goals, as I know of them going into the year.

Generic goals: [xx = # finished in 2016]

  • More poetry; re-reading encouraged here [2]
  • More erotica, sex & gender [3]
  • More literature [1]
  • More librariana [1 in progress; slowly]
  • Translations same-ish [14]
  • More ebooks [8]
  • Nonfiction same-ish [54]
  • More essays and short stories [1?, unknown for sure]

Books currently reading being read [2017curr]

Finish all 4 of the books I am supposedly currently reading.

  • Hornsey – Alcohol and its role in the evolution of human society
  • Glushko, et al. – The Discipline of Organizing
  • Wellings – Why Can’t I Meditate?
  • Calvino – Six Memos for the Next Millennium

2017 Books To Read Challenge (personal) [2017poss]

2017 Books To Read Challenge (personal) post

“… total of 85 books (which includes some 8 on pause) I challenge myself to complete 2 from each of the 16 categories and a total of 35”

2017 “the looking all around list” Self-Reading Challenge [2017look]

2017 “the looking all around list” Self-Reading Challenge

At least 30 of 40 categories read in.

2017 A Novel Idea selection (Deschutes Public Library, Bend, OR)

Homecoming by Yaa Gyasi [A Novel Idea] I finished this on 01 January 2017 and it was excellent.

Sara and me entering Deschutes Public Library for the 2017 A Novel Idea unveiling (Dec 2016). Photo courtesy DPL.

Sara and me entering Deschutes Public Library for the 2017 A Novel Idea unveiling (Dec 2016). Photo courtesy DPL.

2016-2017 Author! Author! Literary Series

Author! Author! or here

  • Dave Eggers : 19 January 2017 [not reading anything for this]
  • Anthony Doerr : 4 February 2017 : All the Light We Cannot See
  • Siddhartha Mukherjee : 10 April 2017 : The Emperor of All Maladies

Categories I am tracking in 2017:

  • fiction
  • nonfiction
  • ebooks
  • translations
  • beer
  • biography / memoir
  • Central Oregon
  • cookery
  • erotica
  • essays 
  • graphic novels
  • history
  • language 
  • librariana 
  • literature 
  • on pause 
  • philosophy 
  • photography
  • poetry 
  • post 2016 election
  • renewal 
  • re-reads 
  • science
  • sex & gender
  • short stories
  • tech & software [2016poss only]
  • together
  • wander 
  • YA & children

Challenges hosted elsewhere

2017 Goodreads Challenge

My goal is 100 this year, same as last year.

2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2017gnc]

Image for 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel & Manga Reading Challenge

Designed by Nicola Mansfield

24 for Bronze Age

The next two I also did last year and hope to do again but I have yet to see if they are being hosted so these are placeholders for now. The reason I am putting these here considering they are already included in my goals is that they require me to write reviews to get credit. I do not review every book I read but I do want to try to get many written so these goals/challenges help with that.

Update 03 January 2017: It does not appear these challenges are happening this year. The host has not posted anything at their blog since October and has not answered any comments regarding this year’s challenges. [I certainly hope things are OK in their lives.]

So I will redo these on my own terms.

Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2017 [2017nfc]

Master level 16-20 books (top)

Read a minimum of 50 nonfiction books and review a minimum of 25 of these.

Books in Translation Reading Challenge 2017 [2017trans]

Linguist 10-12 books (top)

Read a minimum of 16 translations and review a minimum of 12 of these.

Wrap-up

So … lots of diversity in my 2017 reading goals. I am looking forward to this year of reading.

2016 Reading Challenges followup

This post covers my 2016 Reading Challenges and goals, as best as my data and time allow.

Personally set goals and some counts

Total number of books finished in 2016:  120

  • Nonfiction:  54
  • Fiction:  64
  • Graphic novels: 60
  • Ebooks:  8
  • Beer & Brewing:  15
  • Biography:  2
  • Central Oregon:  3
  • Cookery:  6
  • Erotica/Sex & Gender: 3
  • History: 5
  • Librariana:  0; 1 in progress very slowly
  • Literature/Language:  2
  • Memoir:  2
  • Philosophy:  3
  • Photography:  2
  • Poetry:  2
  • Renewal:  5
  • Science:  6
  • Tech/Software:  2
  • Translations: 14
  • Wander: 3
  • YA & Kids:  13

I know one book counted as both fiction and nonfiction: Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables. No doubt some counts in some of the categories could be retroactively changed if I felt like reanalyzing many entries. For instance, science just went up by 2 [doubled] with just a quick look. Taking data as is though until I see a need to do otherwise. It has already received a fair bit of “fact checking” and cross-checking.

These were my generic goals for 2016:

  • More poetry; re-reading encouraged here,
  • More erotica, sex & gender.
  • Less graphic novels.
  • More literature.
  • Librariana? didn’t read any in 2015. “Who have I become?, one might ask.
  • Translations check.
  • Ebooks check.
  • Nonfiction check.
  • More essays and short stories.

How did I do on these?

Not so well. I read 1 less in poetry [3 vs 2 (2015 vs 2016)]; same number on erotica, sex & gender [3]; less than two-thirds as many graphic novels, so nailed this one [99 vs 60]; 7 less in lit [8 vs 1]; still 0 in librariana but I am working on one (very slowly); 7 less translations [21 vs 14]; 28 less ebooks [36 vs 8]; 14 less nonfiction [68 vs 54]; and as best I can tell no change in essays and short stories [0? vs 1?]. Not so well at all. The only one I actually accomplished was reading less graphic novels. ::sigh::

Books currently reading being read [2016current]

Finish all nine of the books I am supposedly currently reading.

  • Dunegan – Best Hikes Near Bend (A Falcon Guide)
  • Berlin – The Power of Ideas
  • Oliver – The Brewmaster’s Table
  • Bennett, ed. – Japanese love poems
  • Bishop – Living with Thunder
  • Gilbert – Collected poems [gave up]
  • Kabat-Zinn – Full Catastrophe Living
  • Farhi – The breathing book
  • Hornsey – Alcohol and its role in the evolution of human society

Finished 5 and gave up on one. Sara and I were reading that to each other and we both agreed to quit it. So calling this 5 for 9. Not great but acceptable.

2016 Books To Read Challenge (personal) [2016poss]

Read 12 of 44 possible

Read 11 of 12. Of the 11 categories I read books from this list in 7 of them [and one is currently being read from another for 8]. I read books in all those other categories, just not from this list. So calling this one close enough.

2016 Goodreads Challenge

My goal is 100 this year, up from 75 last year. I have been alternating between demolishing my goals and being a bit over here for several years.

Made this a while ago. Not quite as early or numbers as high as last year but I also read a lot less graphic novels. Total read is 120.

Challenges hosted elsewhere

Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2016 [2016nfc]

Master level 16-20 books (top) Reached 20 on 05 June 2016 [well, finished reading; not posted yet],

25 reviews posted. 54 nonfiction books read in total.

Books in Translation Reading Challenge 2016 [2016trans]

Linguist 10-12 books (top)

12 books reviewed. 14 translations read.

2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2016gnc]

  • 12 for Modern Age [Reached 31 January 2-16]
  • So 24 for Bronze Age [Reached 8 May 2016]
  • 52 for Silver Age [Reached 15 December 2016]

52 reviews posted but 60 graphic novels or manga read.

More breakdowns [books by month; from libraries]

These are the books I finished in 2016 by month (6 were started in 2015 and 1 in 2014!):

Author Title

January

  • Bennett, ed. Japanese love poems
  • Oliver The Brewmaster’s Table
  • Modan The Property
  • Fetter-Vorm Trinity
  • Berlin The Power of Ideas
  • Harris Integrating Reality
  • Hester Vegan Slow Cooking: For Two or Just for You
  • MacLean ApocalyptiGirl: Aria for the End Times
  • Lee and Hart Messenger: The Legend of Joan of Arc
  • Brrémaud and Bertolucci Love: The Fox
  • McKendry Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables
  • Brontë, A The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
  • Modan exit wounds
  • Pond Over Easy
  • Tezuka Ode to Kirihoto
  • Way & Ba The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite [1]
  • Abouet & Oubrerie Aya
  • Modan Maya makes a Mess
  • Way & Ba The Umbrella Academy: Dallas [2]
  • Foster Porter (Classic Beer Styles 5)

February

  • Wang Koko Be Good
  • Brrémaud and Bertolucci Love: The Tiger
  • Foster Brewing Porters & Stouts
  • Williams A Pictorial History of the Bend Country
  • Backes Cannabis Pharmacy
  • Modan Jamilti and Other Stories
  • Hayden The Story of My Tits
  • Alanguilan Elmer
  • Simone, et al. Red Sonja: Queen of Plagues (1)
  • Simone, et al. Red Sonja: The Art of Blood and Fire
  • Black The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book
  • Morrison, et al. The Invisibles : say you want a revolution
  • Strong Brewing Better Beer
  • Waters Tipping the Velvet

March

  • Gunders Waste Free Kitchen Handbook
  • Thug Kitchen Thug Kitchen Party Grub
  • Dunlap-Shohl My degeneration: a journey through Parkinson’s
  • McQuaid Tasty
  • North & Henderson The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 (2015)
  • Delavier Delavier’s core training anatomy
  • Hennessy, Smith and McConnell The Comic Book Story of Beer
  • Vitrano The Nature and Value of Happiness
  • Hoffman Survival lessons

April

  • Tucholke Wink Poppy Midnight
  • Immonen & Immonen Moving Pictures

May

  • Miyazaki Princess Mononoke: The First Story
  • Rail Why Beer Matters
  • Tezuka Apollo’s Song
  • Lawson & Smith Sidewalk Flowers
  • Guojin The Only Child
  • Stuppy, et al. Wonders of the plant kingdom
  • Rail The meanings of craft beer
  • Miller Dave Miller’s Homebrewing Guide
  • Jackson The New World Guide to Beer
  • Kemp A bouquet of gardenias
  • Love Bayou, volume one
  • Dysart, et al. Neil Young’s Greendale

June

  • Yana Toboso Black Butler I
  • Yana Toboso Black Butler II
  • Stevenson Nimona
  • Dunegan Best Hikes Near Bend (A Falcon Guide)
  • Chapman The 5 Love Languages
  • Love and Love Shadow Rock
  • Love and Morgan Bayou, volume two
  • Toboso Black Butler III
  • Ratey Spark
  • Toboso Black Butler IV
  • Tonatiuh Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras
  • Halloran The new bread basket
  • ACSM ACSM’s Health-Related Physical Fitness Assessment Manual

July

  • DeConnick, et al. Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine(Bitch Planet (Collected Editions))
  • Miller Water: A Global History (The Edible Series)
  • Kissell Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan

August

  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 1
  • Herz & Conley Beer Pairing
  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 2
  • Arcudi, et al. A god somewhere
  • McCool and Guevara Nevsky: a hero of the people
  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 3
  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 4
  • Ottaviani & Purvis The imitation game
  • Vaughan, et al. Paper Girls 1
  • Abel La Perdida
  • Carriger Prudence (The Custard Protocol; 1)
  • Carriger Imprudence (The Custard Protocol; 2)
  • Ottaviani & Wicks Primates: The fearless science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Gladikas
  • Owens How to Build a Small Brewery
  • Orchard Bera the one-Headed Troll

September

  • Rowling The Tales of Beedle the Bard
  • Cantwell & Bouckaert Wood & Beer
  • McCoola & Carroll Baba Yaga’s Assistant
  • Hales, ed. Beer & Philosophy

October

  • Samanci Dare to disappoint: growing up in Turkey
  • Ellis, et al. Trees, volume one: In shadow
  • Schuiten & Peeters The leaning girl
  • Tsutsumi, et al. Out of Picture Volume 1: Art from the Outside Looking In

November

  • Stockton South Sister: a Central Oregon volcano
  • ATK Healthy Slow Cooker Revolution
  • Protz The ale trail
  • Smith The Wander Society
  • Krucoff Healing Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Pain: Easy, Effective Practices for Releasing Tension and Relieving Pain
  • Hensperger & Kaufmann The ultimate rice cooker cookbook
  • Sumner Brewing Science, Technology and Print, 1700-1880
  • Duarte Monsters! and Other Stories

December

  • Maltz, ed. intimate kisses
  • Milne The Complete Tales & Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh
  • Out of Picture Volume 2: Art from the Outside Looking In
  • Brown Andre the giant: Life and legend
  • Hanh How to walk
  • Brubaker & Phillips Fatale, Book 1: Death Chases Me (Fatale #1)
  • Brubaker & Phillips Fatale, Book 2: The Devil’s Business (Fatale #2)
  • Ottaviani & Big Time Attic Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards: Edward Drinker Cope, Othniel Charles Marsh, and the Gilded Age of Paleontology
  • Smith, et al. Long Walk to Valhalla
  • Colfer, et al. The Supernaturalist
  • Montellier & Mairowitz The Trial
  • Culbard, Edginton; Doyle The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Bagieu Exquisite Corpse
  • Bishop Living with Thunder
  • Bryson Tasting whiskey
  • Dawson The Place WherE I Come From

Totals finished per month are:

  • Jan 20
  • Feb 14
  • Mar 9
  • Apr 2
  • May 12
  • Jun 13
  • Jul 3
  • Aug 15
  • Sep 4
  • Oct 4
  • Nov 8
  • Dec 16

Not entirely sure what happened in April, July September or October. Perhaps I simply was reading more longer books then and thus finished less. Or, I cut my right index finger to shreds along with minor finger and hand injuries in April so … who knows?

 From libraries:

  • Central Oregon Community College Barber Library: 12
  • Deschutes Public Library: 58
  • Summit (consortium): 7
  • OSU-Cascades: 3
  • Interlibrary Loan: 1 [suspect is a bit higher]

So, 81 of 120 books came from libraries. Not bad. Then again, several of these started out as books from the library that I/we went on to purchase.

Wrap-up:

There is always more can be said–genders of authors; but that is pretty much a mug’s game–and perhaps I have forgotten something I wanted to count or add but oh well. I have straightened out some categories to track for 2017–things to make life easier, or at least I hope. I already have two posts re books in 2017 up but at least one more will be coming.

2017 Books To Read Challenge (personal)

This reading challenge–the “Books To Read Challenge (personal)”–is my own attempt to whittle down the to-be-read pile and I have it done it for a couple of years now. In fact, some of these books have been on those previous lists.  They reside on my 2017poss shelf in Goodreads.

There are a total of 85 books which includes some 8 on pause. Of these I challenge myself to complete 2 from each of the 16 categories and a total of 35.

Maybe by upping this number quite a bit—aimed for 12 of 44 in 2016—I will do better at getting through some of these. Then again, I know that’s a laugh because other books will continue to show up and there are already more than 1150 others on the Goodreads to-be-read shelf.

Beer and Brewing

  • Amber, Gold & Black – Cornell
  • The Complete Beer Course: Boot Camp …: From Novice to Expert in Twelve Tasting Classes – Joshua Bernstein
  • Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Brewing Elements) – John J. Palmer and Kaminski
  • New Brewing Lager – Noonan
  • The Brewer’s Companion – Mosher
  • The Homebrewer’s Companion – Papazian
  • Pubs and progressives : reinventing the public house in England, 1896-1960 – Gutzke

Central Oregon

  • Hiking Oregon’s History – William L. Sullivan    
  • The Deschutes River Railroad War – Speroff
  • Oregon’s Dry Side – St. John

Erotica

  • The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica – Caraway, ed.
  • The Jade Door – Chaiko
  • Burlesque and the Art of the Teese / Fetish and the Art of the Teese – Dita Von Teese, Bronwyn Garrity

History

  • Bettie Page: The Life of a Pin-Up Legend – Karen Essex
  • The Social Life of Coffee: The Emergence of the British Coffeehouse – Brian Cowan
  • Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage – Stephanie Coontz
  • Hip Hop Family Tree – Piskor
  • Hoptopia – Kopp

Librariana

  • Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age – Alex Wright
  • Everyday Information: The Evolution of Information Seeking in America – Aspray & Hayes, eds.
  • Language and Representation  in Information Retrieval – Blair
  • What is Documentation? – Briet [translation]

Language [Language and related]

  • Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything – David Bellos
  • Integrationist Notes and Papers 2014 – Roy Harris
  • Basic Color Terms – Berlin & Kay
  • The Unfolding of Language – Deutscher

Literature [(lit, poetry, essays, short stories) and literary theory]

  • The Literary Mind: The Origins of Thought and Language – Mark Turner
  • Imagination in Place: Essays – Wendell Berry
  • If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler – Italo Calvino [translation]
  • Seven Gothic Tales – Isak Dinesen
  • Collected Fictions – Borges [translation]
  • Scenes of Clerical Life – Eliot [which ed.?]
  • Bouvard and Pecuchet – Flaubert [translation] [which ed.?]
  • The Little Town Where Time Stood Still – Hrabal [translation] [which ed.?]
  • The Things We Don’t Do – Neumann [translation, short stories] [2015 Open Letter ed.]

Philosophy [loosely defined]

  • Culture in Mind: Cognition, Culture, and the Problem of Meaning – Bradd Shore
  • The Sovereignty of Good – Iris Murdoch
  • You Must Change Your Life: Poetry, Philosophy, and the Birth of Sense – John T. Lysacker
  • Self and Soul: A Defense of Ideals – Mark Edmundson
  • Conjectures & Confrontations – Fox
  • Philosophy on Tap – Lawrence

Post 2016 Election

  • Islam: A Short History – Armstrong
  • Farnsworth’s Classical English Rhetoric – Farnsworth
  • Shaming the Devil – Jacobs
  • Wickedness – Midgley
  • Dead Feminists – O’Leary
  • Purity and Danger – Douglas

Renewal

  • The Wayward Mind: An Intimate History of the Unconscious – Guy Claxton
  • Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict – Tsultrim Allione
  • Soul: An Anthology – Cousineau
  • Chi Walking – Dreyer
  • Healing Trauma – Levine

Sex & Gender

  • Straight: The Surprisingly Short History Of Heterosexuality – Hanne Blank
  • Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation – Elissa Stein
  • Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction – Cheever
  • A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis – Friedman

Tech & Software

  • Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas – Seymour Papert
  • Just My Type: A Book About Fonts – Garfield
  • Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation – Pollan
  • Abuse of Language—Abuse of Power – Josef Pieper, Lothar Krauth [translation]

Wander

  • The Practice of Everyday Life – de Certeau [translation, philosophy]
  • Selected Stories – Walser [translation, short stories]
  • The Walker’s Guide to Outdoor Clues and Signs – Gooley
  • The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness – Solnit, or one of her others
  • Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder – Taleb

Assorted/Too Lazy to Classify

  • How to Worry Less about Money – John Armstrong
  • Myths, Dream and Mysteries – Eliade
  • Taste – Stuckey [science]
  • Home Comforts – Mendelson

Re-reads

  • Eros the Bittersweet – Carson [renewal]
  • Reverence – Woodruff [renewal]
  • On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year – Roripaugh [poems]
  • What Do We Know – Oliver [poems]
  • Ambitious Brew – Ogle [beer]
  • Wisdom, Information and Wonder – Midgley [philosophy]
  • Middlemarch – Eliot [lit]
  • Winter Hours – Oliver [poems]

On Pause

  • Second-Hand Knowledge: An Inquiry into Cognitive Authority – Patrick Wilson [Philosophy]
  • Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight – James Atlee [Assorted]
  • Thinking Body, Dancing Mind: Taosports for Extraordinary Performance in Athletics, Business, and Life – Chungliang Al Huang & Jerry Lynch [Assorted]
  • Take Control of Automating Your Mac – Joe Kissell [Tech & Software]
  • The Good Rain: Across Time & Terrain in the Pacific Northwest – Timothy Egan [DPL ebook]
  • The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason – Mark Johnson [Philosophy, Renewal]
  • Full Catastrophe Living – Kabat-Zinn
  • The Breathing Book – Farhi

Clearly some of these books could go in other of these categories. There are also other categories I am tracking not in this list but all of those are covered by something here.

To recap, of a total of 85 books (which includes some 8 on pause) I challenge myself to complete 2 from each of the 16 categories and a total of 35.

2017 “the looking all around list” Self-Reading Challenge

This is my self-reading challenge for 2017, which I am calling the “the looking all around list.” I based it on a challenge I found online and did in 2015: Another reading challenge for 2015 with the resuts here: 2015 Reading Challenge follow-up.

Credit Jonas Ginter, https://www.bluewin.ch/de/digital/netzreporter/2014/04/360-grad-timelapse-zeitraffer-miit-gopro.html

Credit Jonas Ginter, https://www.bluewin.ch/de/digital/netzreporter/2014/04/360-grad-timelapse-zeitraffer-miit-gopro.html Found via a Google Images search for “360 photo” and non-commercial use.

There are 40 categories on my list and I challenge myself to read books from at least 30 of them.

NB: I will count the same book in more than one category. [One book in 2015 counted for 6 and perhaps even a 7th I could not fully verify. Which is why I removed some of those weirder categories. “An author under 30”? Whatever. Wisdom, insight, and/or beauty can come at (most) any age.]

Books for this challenge are, or will be, on my 2017look shelf in Goodreads.

As I said, I based this on the previous one I did in 2015 but took out some of the more ridiculous, to me, categories and placed in some of my own. I also sent what I had out to two of my book reading, challenge doing, friends, Elizabeth and Angel, and got great replies with suggestions for categories and for books to fill some of them.

I had “A book for post-election understanding [fascism, race, economic disparity, social justice, …]” and Elizabeth suggested I expand that into “A book from an opposing viewpoint, A book by an author of a different race, A book about a different faith or religion,  and A book from a genre you don’t normally read.” I did and left my original as i have some things in mind that fits that but possibly not the expanded ones.

Angel suggested “A book about Puerto Rico, A book about Cuba/Castro, A book of Latin American history or literature, and A microhistory.” I already have several microhistories on my assorted lists so that was an easy one. I also tend to like them, at least the better ones. The Technology of Orgasm is one of my favorite books.

I believe they both may have suggested others but this is what I chose from their wonderful suggestions.

I encourage you all to take any or all of this list or to make your own or some combination and challenge yourself in your reading in 2017. If you read few books but do read other forms of writing then modify as needed.

Without any further ado, here’s my 2017 “the looking all around list” Self-Reading Challenge:

  • A book about the production of a favorite beverage, or one of great interest
  • An ethnography
  • A biography or memoir
  • A work of classic literature
  • A book with more than 500 pages
  • A book published this year (2017)
  • A with a number in the title
  • A book by a female author
  • A book of short stories
  • A book of essays
  • A book set in a different country :
  • A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet
  • A book a friend recommended
  • A book at the bottom of your to-read list
  • A book more than 100 years old [1917] {older, yes, 150 is 1867}
  • A book you can finish in a day
  • A graphic novel
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before
  • A book you own but have never read
  • A book that takes place in your home town
  • A translation
  • A book about war or a battle
  • A book about feminism
  • A self-published book
  • A book about the region you live in [Central Oregon]
  • A book of poems or about poetry
  • A book of erotica
  • A book on sex/gender
  • A book about your professional realm [librariana]
  • An ebook
  • A re-read
  • A book for post-election understanding [fascism, race, economic disparity, social justice, …]
  • A book from an opposing viewpoint
  • A book by an author of a different race
  • A book about a different faith or religion
  • A book from a genre you don’t normally read
  • A book about Puerto Rico
  • A book about Cuba/Castro
  • A book of Latin American history or literature
  • A microhistory

Of these 40 categories I challenge myself to read at least 30 of them.

Brubaker & Phillips – Fatale, Book One, Death Chases Me and Book Two, The Devil’s Business

Fatale, Book One, Death Chases Me and Fatale, Book Two, The Devil’s Business by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips; colors by Dave Stewart

Date read: 13 December 2016
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc

Cover image of Brubaker & Phillips - Fatale, Book One, Death ChasesCover image of Brubaker & Phillips - Fatale, Book Two, The Devil’s Business

 

Paperback, 1 volume unpaged
Published June 2012 [1st printing] and  December 2012 [1st printing] by Image Comics
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Graphic Novel BRUBAKER ED]

These were OK. I found them a bit confusing and not sure why. Was it the drawings or the noir [not a genre I normally read] or lackadaisical following of characters by me or …?

There are at least 3 more of these, I believe, and the public library has a couple more but I don’t care.

Noir-horror mashup with an interwoven storyline based on a femme fatale. Men love her. Sort of definitional, isn’t it?!

I imagine others who read and enjoy those genres and techniques more will also appreciate and enjoy it more.

Recommended to try.

These are the 51st and 52nd book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

These complete my 2016 Graphic Novel & Manga challenge with 52 for Silver Age.

 

Brown – Andre the Giant

Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown

Date read: 05 December 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc, 2016nfc

Cover image of Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown

Paperback, 240 pages
Published 2014 by First Second
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Teen Graphic Novel BROWN BOX]

I quite enjoyed it. Very quick read but informative nonetheless. The simple line drawings work well.

I never really got into pro wrestling when a kid or later. I did see some of it on TV when young and it looked so fake; I found roller derby far more exciting and even that seemed pretty hokey. And I could only watch either when the parents weren’t home.

I do remember in late 1986 as we drove into the state of Pennsylvania on our way to my new duty station of Carlisle Barracks, we heard a news report on the radio that the PA state senate had just wrapped up a $10,000 study into whether or not pro wrestling was fake, which I thought was widespread knowledge already. I laughed my ass off at my new state and wondered what that boded for the next couple of years. Turns out it was quite the mixed bag in central PA.

The line drawings really carry the story, showing both action and emotion very well.

Andre the Giant was in many ways larger-than-life but this shows him as one of us, as one more lonely being trying to make it through all of the shit the world throws at him.

Highly recommended.

This is the 50th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 25th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Tsutsumi, et al. – Out of Picture 2

Out of Picture Volume 2: Art from the Outside Looking In by Daisuke Tsutsumi, Michael Knapp, et al.

Date read: 03 December 2016
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc

Cover image of Out of Picture 2 by Tsutsumi, et al.

Oversized paperback, 237 pages
Published 2008 by Villard
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Graphic novel OUT OF PICTURE]

Contents:

  • Sub plotter / Jason Sadler
  • The youth of Jimmy / Benoit le Pennec
  • Part 1 / Kyle MacNaughton
  • The antler boy / Jake Parker
  • Are you the right color? / Andrea Blasich
  • Crawdaddyo / Lizette Vega
  • A dream of kyosuke / Daisuke Tsutsumi
  • The carnivore / Vincent Nguyen
  • Plane food / Willie Real
  • The rupture / David Gordon
  • Why bother? A tale of urban relocation / Nash Dunnigan
  • The fun trip / Sang Jun Lee
  • Under pressure : a breakerboy chronicle / Michael Knapp
  • The missive / Peter Nguyen

This is the followup to my last book Out of Picture, a random book I grabbed off the shelves of my local public library a couple weeks ago that caught my eye. It is a collection of 14 non-connected stories by the creative staff of Blue Sky Studios (well, by the time this volume was finished they were mostly elsewhere). This volume also includes a foreword, a development gallery [sketches], artist biographies and acknowledgments.

“”Out of picture” is a film term we use whenever something is cut from a movie—or we say “it’s OOPed.” While it can be frustrating to have to let go of one’s ideas, it’s the pursuit and exploration of those ideas that can be the most fulfilling. We wanted to share some of our personal ideas outside of our film work with you—out of picture ….” (p. 9 of v 1)

I liked the first volume a bit better but this still had some nice moments. My favorite is probably “A dream of kyosuke” by Daisuke Tsutsumi, then “The rupture” by David Gordon. “Crawdaddyo” by Lizette Vega was good fun with a kind of Fantasia vibe.

This is the 49th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

 

Tsutsumi, et al. – Out of Picture

Out of Picture Volume 1: Art from the Outside Looking In by Daisuke Tsutsumi, Vincent Nguyen, et al.

Date read: 30 October 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc

Cover image of Tsutsumi, et al. - Out of Picture, volume 1

Oversized paperback, 159 pages
Published 2007 by Villard (originally published by Editions Paquet 2006)
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Graphic novel OUT OF PICTURE]

This is a random book I grabbed off the shelves of my local public library two weeks ago that caught my eye. It is a collection of 11 non-connected stories by the creative staff of Blue Sky Studios. It also includes a foreword by the director of Blue Sky, a development gallery [sketches], artist biographies and acknowledgments.

“”Out of picture” is a film term we use whenever something is cut from a movie—or we say “it’s OOPed.” While it can be frustrating to have to let go of one’s ideas, it’s the pursuit and exploration of those ideas that can be the most fulfilling. We wanted to share some of our personal ideas outside of our film work with you—out of picture ….” (9)

I quite enjoyed this. Some of the stories resonated more with me than others but I did enjoy them all. It seems there is at least one more volume of these out of picture stories by this group. Oooh. The public library has it—just requested.

Recommended. I imagine most anyone can find at least one of these stories that resonates with them. For me, the most resonant was “Newsbreak” by Michael Knapp. It is quite timely but was even moreso for the time it was written; one I remember quite well with my son’s military deployments. Terrifying yet speaks to the power of love and connection to an/other.

This is the 48th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

 

Ellis, et al. – Trees, vol. 1: In shadow

Trees, vol. 1: In shadow by Warren Ellis (writer), Jason Howard (artist), Fonografiks (lettering & design)

Date read: 11 October 2016
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc

Cover image of Trees, vol. 1: In shadow by Warren Ellis, Jason Howard, Fonografiks

Paperback, 1 volume unpaged
Published 2015 by Image Comics
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Graphic Novel ELLIS WARREN] Collects issues #1-8.

My wife brought this home several days ago since it had been recommended to her a few times.

I did not like the opening as it was confused and confusing. The reader eventually sorts out what is going on but it takes work and time, which seems to be a recurring trend in Ellis’ storytelling, in my opinion.

To be more accurate, he drops you immediately into some chaotic scene where you can clearly see what’s going on but simply cannot fathom why. Then within a handful or two of pages you radically shift focus to something that (probably) seems like it is not at all connected. Usually by the third or fourth temporal/locational/perspectival (or all three) jump you begin figuring it out. This one wasn’t quite that hard but it had the (in my mind) patented Ellis move of dropping you into something initially disconcerting.

I have read quite a bit of his stuff and that is how his style mostly strikes me. The wife mentioned that she loves his frequent perspectival switches, which I agreed with. There is just something disconcerting for me about the way he dumps you into one of his stories.

It appears that Trees, Vol. 2: Two Forests is also out, collecting issues #9-14. But how many more are there to come and how long will we wait? I am tempted to just skip the rest but this could be excellent in the long run.

Description from back cover/Goodreads:

“Ten years after they landed. All over the world. And they did nothing, standing on the surface of the Earth like trees, exerting their silent pressure on the world, as if there were no-one here and nothing under foot. Ten years since we learned that there is intelligent life in the universe, but that they did not recognize us as intelligent or alive.

Trees looks at a near-future world where life goes on in the shadows of the Trees: in China, where a young painter arrives in the “special cultural zone” of a city under a Tree; in Italy, where a young woman under the menacing protection of a fascist gang meets an old man who wants to teach her terrible skills; and in Svalbard, where a research team is discovering, by accident, that the Trees may not be dormant after all, and the awful threat they truly represent.”

The story moves around the world, and back several times, to some of the sites where the “Trees” landed. They have induced radical changes simply by their presence but now stranger things are beginning to happen.

Again, this could be great after all but I am not yet convinced. Highly recommended if you are a fan of Ellis’ work; otherwise, it is on you to decide. Sorry.

This is the 47th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

 

Samanci – Dare to disappoint

Dare to disappoint: growing up in Turkey by Özge Samanci

Date read: 03 October 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc, 2016nfc

Cover image of Dare to disappoint: growing up in Turkey by Özge Samanci

Paperback, 190 pages
Published 2015 by Margaret Ferguson (Farrar Straus Giroux)
Source: Deschutes Public Library (via Jefferson County Library District) [YG Samanci]

This is a memoir and graphic novel of self-discovery, along with being a (very) quick) overview of (recent) Turkish history and society. I quite enjoyed it and learned a good bit.

Summary: “Growing up on the Aegean Coast, Ozge loved the sea and imagined a life of adventure while her parents and society demanded predictability. Her dad expected Ozge, like her sister, to become an engineer. She tried to hear her own voice over his and the religious and militaristic tensions of Turkey and the conflicts between secularism and fundamentalism. Could she be a scuba diver like Jacques Cousteau? A stage actress? Would it be possible to please everyone including herself?

In her unpredictable and funny graphic memoir, Ozge recounts her story using inventive collages, weaving together images of the sea, politics, science, and friendship.”

Contents:

  1. The Other Side
  2. First-Grade Teacher
  3. Ataturk
  4. To Die For
  5. Pink Ruler
  6. Single Channel
  7. Istanbul
  8. Zero
  9. Approval
  10. Broken Radio
  11. Hunting Ground
  12. Potato
  13. Sun Behind the Clouds
  14. In Between
  15. Beginning

The author, who is also the illustrator, uses several different techniques, sometimes mixing them in the same panel, to get the story across. I liked that; gave it a bit of the homemade feel, and also like it was a child/young woman telling the tale.

Recommended for young adults and above.

The author blogs a daily image at http://www.ordinarycomics.com/

This is the 46th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 23rd book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader