Visual language: or a new wander

In which I begin a new intellectual wander amongst the idea of visual language, particularly in comics, or at least that is how I got interested in it in a roundabout way.

My son and my friend Dave will probably laugh at me as this is the kind of thinking they’ve both done for much of their lives. They are visually arty. And musically. I am neither.

Past wanders

I am not sure that I am going to continue homebrewing and I am, after my last session of doing so, seriously reconsidering my beer judging. But those are different stories. This is about a new rabbit hole. “Psst, over here. “

Context

As my Thursday AM coffee shop book, I am currently reading Smits, Rik. The Puzzle of Lefthandedness. Translated by Liz Waters, Reaktion, 2011, and it is fascinating! At least to a left-hander from a family of left-handers. Old enough that my parents were “seriously discouraged” from using said left hand and that even my doing so was looked down on, at the least, at school. Yes, I smeared a lot because that stupid non-smearing way to supposedly hold your pencil was dreamt up by a right-handed zealot with a sadistic streak. [That’s my story.]

Anyway, fascinating book! It is a series of 38 essay-ish pieces (I am about halfway through) about left-handedness but also about the concepts of left and right and their symbolic meanings, and so on. Sort of like 38 takes at tossing a dart at the dart board of the topic from 38 different points in space from all around the target. So, thus, not a coherent, long-form, argument, but a truly interesting way to break off into related topics.

The last couple chapters I read started with one on left and right in the murder genre of Western painting. Because of course “we” have one! ::sigh:: Then there was one on the violence towards women—almost always sexual—in Western painting. This also included the object of the male gaze, the “harlot.” Next was one on left and right in married couples portraits, and single portraits also, which also translates into where the woman stands in a traditional church wedding and which side she exits on, etc.

Interspersed throughout these chapters were talk about how all this depiction of movement [arriving vs departing, messengers with good news versus bad news, etc. transferred to most other forms of art and much of culture, including the stage, the silver screen, comic books and graphic novels, advertising, and so on. Much of this was also looked at cross-culturally; in literate cultures, much hinges on direction of writing and reading.

The point

All this really got me thinking as I have been reading so many graphic novels, comics, and some manga and I am often lost by the artwork and I am self-aware enough to know that sometimes it isn’t simply me or bad art but that I just don’t understand the conventions; especially true regarding manga and other forms of Japanese comics/anime.

Neil Cohn

Over the past weekend I discussed this with my wife and she started poking the Interwebz and found the the following article: Cohn, Neil. Comics, Linguistics, and Visual Language: The Past and Future of a Field. http://www.visuallanguagelab.com/P/NC_Comics&Linguistics.pdf. Accessed 6 Mar. 2018.

Yesterday I got a chance to print it and read it and it was mind-blowing how perfect it was for me. It isn’t exactly a practical lexicon of comics art, if you will, or not at all, which is what I sort of wanted: something to the point without being overly theoretical or way too wordy or …. I wanted the perfect “document” for me. This is a very close second and, in many ways, better, in that it provides a great entry into what I am looking for.

The article is exactly what the title purports to be: Comics, Linguistics, and Visual Language: The Past and Future of a Field. It shows why “a language of comics” is the wrong object of study and that it is actually “visual language,” akin to “spoken” and (I forget what he called them, but) “manual,” that is signed languages.

Lots of great citations, as he has a good lit review early on, and then looks at the topic from most angles of study in linguistics, covers the research done in that area and the research needed, along with what the proper questions and concepts are in that area, and how they map, if at all, and whether that matters, to other forms of language (for instance, photology versus phonology).

Scott McCloud

The heaviest cited piece he uses is: McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. First HarperPerennial edition, HarperCollins Publishers, 1994, of which he says, “…, contemporary works on comics in a linguistic light—both in America and abroad—have exploded since the publication of comic artist and theorist Scott McCloud’s (1993) graphic book Understanding comics.” and “McCloud’s approach has permeated nearly all linguistically-driven studies since its publication” (4). Ten total cites to it. The author has 20 cites to his own work. But that is spread across 11 different titles versus one. [Not saying that isn’t fair as he seems mighty prolific. I still need to check out Cohn’s website, http://www.visuallanguagelab.com/] But McCloud’s book seems to be the object to engage with in the article and in linguistics and comics since 1993.

When I looked up McCloud’s book to see if we had it at COCC—which we did—I saw that we had a 2nd McCloud book so I grabbed it too when I went up to get Understanding comics. It too is a graphic novel, McCloud, Scott. Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels. Harper, 2006. And next to it was another early classic, also cited by Cohn, so I grabbed it as a possibility: Eisner, Will. Comics and Sequential Art: Principles and Practices from the Legendary Cartoonist; [Incl. New and Updated Material. Norton, 2008.

 I have read his fiction graphic novel, The Sculptor.

Wissenschaft

Of course there is language to this kind of thing but at what level of analysis and so forth? Or is it all practical versus theoretic and where and how have they influenced each other? I need a Wissenschaft on visual language.

Seeing as I do not have one—although that linguistics article went a long way towards portions of theory, and McCloud’s books, along with possibly Eisner’s, will hopefully provide some great practical knowledge—I will have to construct my own.

But that is par for the course:

“Wissenschaft incorporates science, learning, knowledge, scholarship and implies that knowledge is a dynamic process discoverable for oneself, rather than something that is handed down. It did not necessarily imply empirical research.

Wissenschaft was the official ideology of German Universities during the 19th century. It emphasised the unity of teaching and individual research or discovery for the student. It suggests that education is a process of growing and becoming.” (Wikipedia, “Wissenschaft.” Emphasis mine; spelling mistake Wikipedia’s)

I love Wissenschaften since they are, amongst others things, intellectual histories and that is my favorite kind of history by far. I also agree with the philosophy of education.

A New Wander

I have been needing a new rabbit hole—a new intellectual wander—and I do believe I have found it. No idea how far I will go but there are still a handful of citations to look into from Cohn’s article. I mean, seriously, how could I, with my assorted background(s) not read “Impossible Objects as Nonsense Sentences”? A title like that is like an opiate to me. And I have a few books to begin with; two of which are nonfiction graphic novels, my favorite kind.

Brubaker, et al. – The Fade Out

The Fade Out, Deluxe edition by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, colors by Elizabeth Breitweiser
Date read: 9-12 May 2017
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2017gnc

Cover image of The Fade Out, Deluxe edition by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, colors by Elizabeth Breitweiser

Hardback, 400 pages
Published 2016 by Image Comics
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [PN6727.B77 F33 2016]

I quite enjoyed this even though noir is not my normal fare. I doubt I have read more than 3 or 4 noir books in my life, although I am familiar with several of the film classics.

Highly recommended. Lots of period research went into this and besides the author and illustrator’s own research, they hired Amy Condit, “a Noir Film and Hollywood crime expert,” to assist them. Lots of good touches are brought in both narratively and visually.

The story revolves around the death of a famous actress, which in many ways is just another routine day of cleanup in old Hollywood. The producers, directors, security men, screenwriters, starlets, and others all make up the seedy underbelly of Tinseltown.

Recommended for noir and old Hollywood fans, in particular.

I have also read both Fatale, v1, Death Chases Me and Fatale, v2, The Devil’s Business by the same authors. Those I gave 3 stars each. They have done other work together including, Sleeper, Criminal, and Incognito.

This is the 10th book in my 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2017gnc]

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

Designed by Nicola Mansfield

Seems I got off count in these too between books finished, reviews in progress, and reviews posted. This is number actually number 10 posted.

 

Sowa – Marzi

Marzi: a memoir by Marzena Sowa, with art by Sylvain Savoia; translated by Anjali Singh
Date read: 23 February – 12 March 2017
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2017gnc, 2017nfc, 2017trans

Marzi: a memoir by Marzena Sowa, with art by Sylvain Savoia

Oversize paperback, 230 pages
First American edition published 2011 by DC Comics. Published by arrangement with Mediatoon Licensing, France. Original title: Marzi – L’Integrale 1  – La Pologne vue par les yeux d’une enfant
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Graphic Novel SOWA MARZENA]

I quite appreciated and enjoyed this memoir of young girl growing up in 1980s Poland. While Sowa may have experienced them quite differently, many of the topics and events that she covers are also touchstones for me as I spent much of my time in Europe in the 1980s and both of my children were born there (1980 and 1983).

These are some of the big events/topics she covers and dates from Wikipedia:

  • The Polish Pope, John Paul II       16 October 1978 – 2 April 2005
  • Solidarity / Solidarność                  founded on 17 September 1980
  • Martial law Poland                          December 13, 1981 to July 22, 1983
  • Chernobyl                                       26 April 1986
  • Tiananmen Square                         04 June 1989
  • fall of the Berlin Wall                       began the evening of 9 November 1989

I was in Germany the first time when Pope John Paul II was elected and for the rise of Solidarity. I quite well remember the declaration of martial law in Poland. I was stationed on a nuclear missile site in then West Germany and the entirety of the US military in Europe went on high alert.

When Chernobyl happened I was stationed in Belgium and well remember not being able to eat certain food products for months.

I found her young, but lived, experience of and reactions to TV, religion, visiting rural relatives for farming and vacation, living in a high-rise and stairwell culture, American toothpaste, food lines, and so on to be interesting and empathy building. I, too, have experienced sides of many of these but certainly not all and often not to the extent she did.

Highly recommended!

This is the 21st book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2017 [2017nfc] and the 9th reviewed.

This is the 2nd book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge [2017trans]. Whoa! I am way behind on this!

This is the 9th book in my 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2017gnc]

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

Designed by Nicola Mansfield

 

Piskor – Hip Hop Family Tree, v. 1

Hip Hop Family Tree: 1970s-1981, v.1, Fantagraphics Treasury edition by Ed Piskor
Date read: 24-26 April 2017
My rating: Leaving unrated
Challenges: 2017gnc, 2017nfc, 2017poss

Cover image of Hip Hop Family Tree: 1970s-1981, v.1, Fantagraphics Treasury edition by Ed Piskor

Library binding, 112 pages
Published 2016 by Fantagraphics; Fifth Fantagraphics Books edition
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [ML3531 .P37 1970-1981 v.1

This is what I wrote in Goodreads regarding this book:

I am not going to rate this as I am completely unqualified to rate it. I recognize a few names and a few song titles but most of this is all new to me and as succinctly as it is presented–is it even really a narrative?–provides me no additional info really. I was looking forward to the other volumes and maybe the narrative gets a bit more expansive but this was the early history and the more important to my [lack of] knowledge, in my opinion, so moving on.

I did enjoy it in a sense but with so little grounding in the culture of hip hop this title failed to provide me any real grounding. I have been using graphic novels the last couple of years to explore topics that I may not be ready or willing (with so many other interests) to read a standard, prose, nonfiction book on; e.g.,

These, and several others, have been variable in their ability to inform [entertain/surprise/…] me, but all were better than this one for me.

Recommended for fans of hip hop or folks with some knowledge of the genre and its artists but who want a bit more. I am not saying it is a bad book, just that it did not do what I needed it to do for me to get a better appreciation (and knowledge) of hip hop. No doubt it works better if you have a bit more of a starting background knowledge/awareness.

This is the 9th 7th book in my 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2017gnc]

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

Designed by Nicola Mansfield

This is the 20th book read and 8th reviewed in my in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2017 [2017nfc].

I have read 11 books so far this year in my 2017 Books To Read Challenge (personal) [2017poss] but this is the first to be reviewed. That eleven includes this title and one I finished this morning, though. I have also read from 8 of the 16 different categories so far. Goal is “to complete 2 from each of the 16 categories and a total of 35.” Two categories are “complete” in that sense, re-reads (2) and beer and brewing (3), but that doesn’t mean I won’t read another book on those lists.

 

Pond – Over Easy

Over Easy by Mimi Pond

Date read: 25 January 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc

Cover image of Pond's Over Easy

Hardback, 271 pages
Published 2014 by Drawn & Quarterly
Source: Deschutes Public Library

A fictionalized memoir of the late 1970s placed in California when hippies were becoming punk rockers, drugs were rampant, as was causal sex still. Running out of money to attend art college, Madge gets a job at the Imperial Cafe where there is non-stop drama between the regulars and staff.

Enjoyable.

This is the 7th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables

Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables John J. McKendry, selector

Date read: 18 January 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016transl, 2016gnc

Cover image of Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables

Hardback (Museum issue), 96 pages
Published 1964 by The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Source: COCC Barber Library

Gorgeous in so many ways! Boy did I luck out listening to the universe on Friday.

Four stars as many of the morals are as or more cryptic than the fables themselves.

There is a five plus-page introduction by McKendry, the Assistant Curator of Prints, that does a wonderful job of situating Aesop’s Fables as possibly the finest work to show “the history of the printed illustrated book,” along with providing an overview of the evolution of the illustrations made for it and the various translations, along with revolutions in printing and image-making technologies that accompanied it.

In this lovely edition the images paired with the fable are fairly contemporaneous. For instance, the first eight are translations by William Caxton in 1484 with illustrations from four different sources, with the biggest difference being all of thirteen years. There are a couple at the end translated by Marianne Moore in 1954 with the illustrations from between one and nine years difference.

The introduction mentions that:

“Although the fables had been illustrated from early times, the invention of the printing press produced a virtual onslaught of the illustrations and made them a major par of our pictorial history. Before the end of the fifteenth century, there were over twenty different illustrated editions of them. The earliest editions are those of Mondavi, Ulm, and Verona, all published between 1476 and 1479, which are among the best books of the fifteenth century” 97-8).

Holy cow! That is insane and seriously supports the selectors contention regarding their importance to the history of the printed illustrated book.

There are forty fables included, with translations ranging from William Caxton (1484) to Marianne Moore (1954) and including ones from every century in between.

If you read this book PLEASE read the introduction. It provides so much context and makes watching the evolution of printing/image-making technology as it advanced and is represented by the included illustrations far more understandable and interesting.

The copy COCC holds has a bookplate which states: “Donated by Dr. Orde Pinckney to Central Oregon Community College Library.”  

Highly recommended but more for its description and depiction of illustrated book history than for the fables, many of which are in hard-to-understand English, irrespective of when translated.

There seems to be copies in some shape that are affordable. May look into acquiring one.

This is the 3rd book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

On why Aesop’s Fables

I wanted to make myself a quick note so I could remember in the future why I chose to re-read Aesop’s fables in the upcoming immediate future.

Friday morning (Jan. 15, 2016) I wrote this in my journal:

“11:12 AM Just had my third Aesop’s reference this morning! The beer place, Brontë, and now my crossword.”

I figured the universe was trying to send me a message of some kind so on Friday afternoon while at work I grabbed myself a copy of Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables, selected by John J. McKendry and published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1964.

My first reference came via Facebook to the article “Napa’s Mad Fritz brewery stakes out new terroir” in the San Francisco Chronicle. Mad Fritz’s beers are named after specific fables from Aesop, such as The Larks in the Corn, or The Viper and File. All in all, the brewery and beers sound fantastic and I might have to put a little effort into getting my hands on some. The labels are also beautifully illustrated and “The moral takeaway is noted on the back label.”

My second reference came while reading further in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. On page 95 of the Oxford World’s Classics edition we read,

“If life promised no enjoyment within my vocation, at least it offered no allurements out of it; and, henceforth, I would put my shoulder to the wheel* and toil away, like any poor drudge of a cart-horse that was fairly broken in to its labour, and plod through life, not wholly useless if not agreeable, and uncomplaining if not contented with my lot.”

In the Explanatory Notes on p. 424 we learn that “put my shoulder to the wheel” is a “proverbial expression, from Aesop’s fable of Hercules and the waggoner. ODEP, 729.” [ODEP is the Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs, 3rd edn. (1971).

The third reference came as I waiting on my sandwich bread to toast for lunch. I was working on the 2 September 2015 Los Angeles Times crossword when 65 across popped up with “Greek storyteller” as the hint and who, of course, should be the answer? Our friend Aesop.

I’m not one much for “signs” but something was prodding me here.

I went with it. I hope that I can find what it is the universe may have been pointing at.

I have since seen several other Aesop references but that is the way these things go, isn’t it?

Lee and Hart – Messenger

Messenger: The Legend of Joan of Arc by Tony Lee and Sam Hart

Date read: 16 January 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc  2016nfc

Cover image from Lee and Hart's Messenger

Paperback, unpaged
Published 2015 by Candlewick Press
Source: Deschutes Public Library

Another quick read which I quite enjoyed. I am counting it under my 2016 Nonfiction Challenge also as it is based on historical facts. Clearly, the conversations are not “accurate” and so on but that could be the case in any biography. Just because a biography is relatively short and adapted to a graphic novel format does not mean it is no longer a biography nor no longer nonfiction.

This is maybe an hour read so still not a ton of time invested. I am sure I could have found some other way to learn as much about Joan of Arc in as little time but the Wikipedia entry would not have been near as entertaining.

The final page is also accurate but oh so highly entertaining. The things the Church does in the name of God. History weeps.

Recommended.

This is the 4th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 4th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Reading goals for 2016

My reading goals for 2016 are as varied as usual.

This is what I said near the end of my Books read in 2015 post:

“I want to keep reading things in translation; I feel I did well this year. I should try to read a bit more poetry and erotica, sex & gender this year. I am satisfied with the amount of re-reading, the number of ebooks, and of nonfiction. I hope to read a few less graphic novels and more varied things in literature & language; e.g., more actual lit, more on language and more poetry as previously mentioned. Maybe some re-reading there. Poetry books are close at hand.”

  • 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.

In a more specific vein I offer the following up to myself:

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)
  • Kabat-Zinn – Full Catastrophe Living
  • Farhi – The Breathing Book
  • Bishop – Living with Thunder
  • Hornsey – Alcohol and Its Role in the Evolution of Human Society
  • Berlin – The Power of Ideas
  • Oliver – The Brewmaster’s Table
  • Gilbert – Collected Poems
  • Bennett, ed. – Japanese Love Poems

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

Key: * = currently reading, [on pause] = on pause

Total of 44 books, including some 8 on pause and 2 that I am currently reading. Of these, I challenge myself to complete 12.

Beer and Brewing

  • *The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food – Garrett Oliver
  • Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Brewing Elements) – John J. Palmer and Kaminski
  • The Complete Beer Course: Boot Camp for Beer Geeks: From Novice to Expert in Twelve Tasting Classes – Joshua Bernstein

Central Oregon

  • Hiking Oregon’s History – William L. Sullivan [DPL]
  • Bend: A Pictorial History – Elsie Horn Williams [COCC]

Erotica, Sex & Gender

  • Straight: The Surprisingly Short History Of Heterosexuality – Hanne Blank [Summit]
  • Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation – Elissa Stein [Summit]

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 [COCC online]
  • Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage – Stephanie Coontz [DPL]

Librariana

  • Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age – Alex Wright
  • The Discipline of Organizing – Glushko, ed.
  • Everyday Information: The Evolution of Information Seeking in America – Aspray & Hayes, eds. [COCC online]

Literature and Language

Language and Related

  • Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything – David Bellos
  • Integrating Reality – Roy Harris
  • Integrationist Notes and Papers 2014 – Roy Harris

Literature 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
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Brontë [Summit]
  • Seven Gothic Tales – Isak Dinesen

Philosophy [loosely defined]

  • *The Power of Ideas – Isaiah Berlin
  • Culture in Mind: Cognition, Culture, and the Problem of Meaning – Bradd Shore
  • The Sovereignty of Good – Iris Murdoch [Summit]
  • You Must Change Your Life: Poetry, Philosophy, and the Birth of Sense – John T. Lysacker
  • Self and Soul: A Defense of Ideals – Mark Edmundson
  • The Nature and Value of Happiness – Christine Vitrano [COCC]

Renewal

  • The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book: Protect Yourself and Your Family from Heart Disease, Arthritis, Diabetes, Allergies and More – Jessica K. Black
  • Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain – John J. Ratey, MD and Eric Hagerman
  • The Wayward Mind: An Intimate History of the Unconscious – Guy Claxton
  • Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict – Tsultrim Allione [DPL]

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 [DPL]

Assorted/Too Lazy to Classify

  • How to Worry Less about Money – John Armstrong [Summit]
  • Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat – John McQuaid

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]
  • The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook – Rev: 250 No-Fail Recipes … – Beth Hensperger [Renewal, Assorted/Cookery]
  • Take Control of Automating Your Mac – Joe Kissell [Tech & Software]
  • The Good Rain: Across Time & Terrain in the Pacific Northwest – Timothy Egan [DPL ebook]
  • Healing Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Pain: Easy, Effective Practices for Releasing Tension and Relieving Pain – Carol Krucoff [Renewal] [Summit]
  • The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason – Mark Johnson [Philosophy, Renewal] [Summit]

There are, of course, tons of others and those I will come across this year, whether for the first time or not.

The only book not followed by a source [library x] that I do not own and did not find an easy source is the one on Bettie Page.

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.

Challenges hosted elsewhere

Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2016 [2016NFC]

Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

I did this one last year and this is how it turned out [per my Books read in 2015 post]:

“Completed 20 April 2015 [includes 1 reread from previous year + 3 in graphic novel challenge also; does not include 3 on pause or 1 I never reviewed]. I finished 68 nonfiction books but clearly did not review or link then to the challenge.”

Guess I’ll just declare myself for doing the Master level right now as I plan to read over 20 nonfiction books.

Books in Translation Reading Challenge 2016 [2016TRANS]

Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

I want to keep reading books in translation so this seems like a good one. It only takes 10-12 for the top level of Linguist and I read 21 titles in translation last year. Currently working my way through a book of Japanese love poetry which I started on January 1st.

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

2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

I started this one slow last year and ended up creaming it early.

“52. Completed on 25 April 2015. In total, I read 99 graphic novels or manga [does not include rereads: 2015 2 + previous years 2 + 1 gave up] but did not post & link reviews for the challenge.”

I think I’ll begin with 12 for Modern Age this year also. Hoping to shift some of my graphic novel and manga reading into other things but seeing as I read almost twice what I needed in the end and that I had read and reviewed the 52 I needed before the first third of the year was up I think I’ll be fine.

Wrap-Up

These reading goals for 2016 should do it for now. I know there are many other reading challenges out there but seeing however as every last one requires additional work—such as keeping track, writing a review (which I want to do more of), placing said review online somewhere, linking to the proper challenge, etc.—I think this is a more than good start.

Now I need to go create 2016-possibles, 2016nfc, 2016transl and 2016gnc shelves in Goodreads and “stock” them.

Maybe I can actually get back to reading soon?! If I had spent half the time reading as I have on data and writing about reading in the last couple of days I would have finished a couple decent length books already.

Books read in 2015

It looks like I read 171 titles in 2015 with another 7 re-read which were previously read in other years and 2 re-read which were also first read in 2015. There were, of course, titles skimmed, put on pause and given up on.

This year I have been tracking my reading in a Google Sheet and at Goodreads. Still working out workflow for this mess of an activity; i.e., tracking book reading.

The first grouping will be data from my Google Sheet, followed by some from Goodreads, links to previous 2015 reading-related posts, and a list of titles read in 2015 by gross categories.

Google Sheet

This data consists of total entered in Sheet, breakdown of reading status of titles brought forward from 2014, titles entered in 2015 and their breakdown of reading status, reading challenges, books re-read, ebooks, “genre” breakdowns, and sources for the books.

Total

198 [all are in Goodreads]

Brought forward from 2014:

Total 7
Finished 3
On pause 3
Currently Reading 1

Entered  in 2015:

Total 191
Read 171
Gave up 4
Skimmed 3 [skimmed many I did not enter in Sheet; 34 in 2015 according to Goodreads]
On pause 11
Currently reading 8 + 1 started in 2016

Reading Challenges

My own reading goals for 2015: 9 Read [of 12 committed to] + 2 currently reading + 3 on pause. I may post on this separately but calling it met, if barely.

2015 Reading Challenge: 35* of 50 categories. I may’ve accomplished some of the others but I have no good way of knowing re a couple categories. Not concerned. I may post on this separately. Calling it met; had no real criteria in mind so 35 seems fair.

2015 8th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge: 52. Completed on 25 April 2015. In total, I read 99 graphic novels or manga [does not include rereads: 2015 2 + previous years 2 + 1 gave up] but did not post & link reviews for the challenge.

2015 Nonfiction Reading Challenge: 20. Completed 20 April 2015 [includes 1 reread from previous year + 3 in graphic novel challenge also; does not include 3 on pause or 1 I never reviewed]. I finished 68 nonfiction books but clearly did not review or link then to the challenge.

Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge: Goal of 75, reached 29 April 2015. Recorded 166 books for 221% of goal. These totals do not include ~3 books re-read nor those titles read and re-read in 2015.

Books Re-read

Total 11
Read 1st in previous year 8 [Nonfiction/Beer, NF/Literature & Language, 2 Graphic Novels, 4 Lit]
Read 1st & 2nd in 2015 3 [Nonfiction/Beer, 2 Graphic Novels]

Titles Re-read

Saunders – Dinner in the Beer Garden
Doyle – Through the Magic Door
Dingess, et al. – Manifest Destiny, Vol. 1: Flora & Fauna $
Folio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Sleeping City (Girl Genius 13) $
Vaughan & Staples – Saga, Volume One
Vaughan & Staples – Saga, Volume Two
Adams – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Adams – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Adams – Life, The Universe and Everything
Adams – So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Boak & Bailey – Gambrinus Waltz $

[$ = read & re-read in 2015]

Ebooks

Total 36 + 2 on pause (1 each)
Kindle 3 finished (2 Beer, Erotica)(incl. 1 re/read 2015 Beer) + 1 on pause (Tech)
PDF 34 (2 Assorted, 30 Graphic Novels + 1 on pause (Tech)

I read so many PDF graphic novels as they are all from either the Girl Genius series via a Kickstarter or from a Dungeons & Dragons Humble Bundle I bought earlier in 2015. I have done a couple Humble Bundles and have read few of them; I tend to forget them. So I wanted to get to work on that and chose these first.

Genre

NF [includes 6 graphic novels, 1 of which is of war poetry + memoir]

Total 92
Finished 68
On pause 11
Currently Reading 7
Gave up 3
Skimmed 3

Fiction

Total 104
Graphic Novels 93 + 1 gave up
Erotica 2
Lit 8
Poetry 1 + 1 currently reading

Other Breakdowns

Photo 6
Beer 26 + 2 currently reading
Graphic novel 99 + 1 gave up [includes 11 manga & 6 nonfiction]
Erotica 2
Poetry 3
Memoir 3 + 1 gave up
Central OR 4 + 1 currently reading
History 10 + 1 currently reading
Translations 21

Together

Read 1
On pause 1
Switch to ind. reading 1
Currently reading 1

Sources

Own 92 + 3 more bought after getting from a library
DPL 77 + 1 gave up + 3 on pause + 1 skimmed + 3 then bought (1 of which still reading) + lots more skimmed. 85 total.
COCC 6
ILL 0 [acquired 2 : 1 gave up and 1 on pause]
Summit 6 + 2 currently reading
Friend 1

Goodreads

This data from my Goodreads account includes, 2015 Goodreads Challenge status, reading status breakdown, and some numbers from specific shelves (mostly used to verify same info from elsewhere).

2015 Challenge goal 75
Read 163 [does not include 7 re-reads]
Currently reading 8 + 1 from 2016
Gave up 2
Skimmed 34
On pause 6

Shelves

2015-gnc 61 [does not include rereads: 2015 2 + previous years 2]
2015nfc 21 [includes 1 reread from previous year; 1 review not written]
translation 21
together 1 + 1 currently reading + 1 on pause + 1 switched to individual reading

Other 2015 reading posts [re challenges, etc.]

List of 2015 Books Read by Category

Assorted

  • Quadback-Seeger – World of the Elements: Elements of the World
  • Attlee – Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight [on pause]
  • Backes – Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana [on pause]
  • Kondo – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
  • Stilgoe – Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places
  • Stivers – Hair of the Dog: Irish Drinking and Its American Stereotype
  • Scerri – The Periodic Table: A Very Short Introduction
  • Rubel – Bread: A Global History (The Edible Series)
  • Jung – Man and His Symbols [gave up]
  • Bishop – Living with Thunder: Exploring the Past, Present, and Future of the Pacific Northwest [currently reading]
  • Rothenberg, ed. – White Privilege: Essential Readings on the Other Side of Racism
  • Egan – The Good Rain: Across Time & Terrain in the Pacific Northwest [on pause]
  • Sahlins – Waiting for Foucault, Still
  • Babauta – Focus: a simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction

Assorted Cookery

  • Robertson – Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker
  • Steen & Noyes – The Great Vegan Protein Book
  • Scicolone – The Italian Slow Cooker

Assorted Memoir

  • Nguyen – Stealing Buddha’s Dinner [gave up]
  • Pollan – A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams

Beer & Brewing

  • Boak & Bailey – Brew Britannia: The Strange Rebirth of British Beer
  • Yaeger – Oregon Breweries
  • Allen and Cantwell – Barley Wine: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes
  • Mallett – Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse
  • Saunders – Dinner in the Beer Garden [re-read]
  • Dunlop – Portland Beer: Crafting the Road to Beervana
  • Amato – Beerology: Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy Beer … Even More
  • Fix – Principles of Brewing Science: A Study of Serious Brewing Issues
  • Coutts – The Perfect Keg: Sowing, Scything, Malting and Brewing My Way to the Best Ever Pint of Beer
  • Mosher – Mastering Homebrew: The Complete Guide to Brewing Delicious Beer
  • Barich – A Pint of Plain: Tradition, Change, and the Fate of the Irish Pub
  • Alworth – The Beer Bible
  • Nelson – The Barbarian’s Beverage: A History of Beer in Ancient Europe
  • Beechum and Conn – Experimental Homebrewing: Mad Science in the Pursuit of Great Beer
  • Acitelli – The Audacity of Hops: The History of America’s Craft Beer Revolution
  • Hornsey – Alcohol and Its Role in the Evolution of Human Society [currently reading]
  • Boak & Bailey – Gambrinus Waltz: German Lager Beer in Victorian and Edwardian London [read & re-read this year]
  • Palmer – How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Beer Right the First Time
  • Bostwick and Rymil – Beer Craft: A Simple Guide to Making Great Beer
  • Mosher – The Brewer’s Companion: Being a Complete Compendium of Brewing Knowledge … [skimmed]
  • Foster – Pale Ale: History and Brewing Techniques, Recipes: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes
  • Papazian – The Complete Joy of Home Brewing 4th ed
  • Hughes – A Treatise on the Brewing of Beer
  • Zainasheff & Palmer – Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew
  • Oliver – The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food [currently reading]
  • Shales – Brewing Better Beers

Central Oregon

  • Dunegan – Best Hikes Near Bend (A Falcon Guide) [currently reading]

Central Oregon Memoir

  • Waterston – Where the Crooked River Rises: A High Desert Home

Central Oregon Memoir & History

  • Ramsey – New Era: Reflections on the Human and Natural History of Central Oregon

Erotica, Sex & Gender

  • Williams – Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History
  • Christina – Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories about Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More
  • Tyler, ed. – Luscious: Stories of Anal Eroticism

Graphic Novels

  • Foglio, et al. – The Secret Blueprints For Volume One (Girl Genius 0)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne & the Beetleburg clank (Girl Genius 1)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Airship City (Girl Genius 2)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Monster Engine (Girl Genius 3)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Circus of Dreams (Girl Genius 4)
  • Bendis & Maleev – Scarlet
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Clockwork Princess (Girl Genius 5)
  • B. and MacOrlan – The Littlest Pirate King
  • Pham – Sumo
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Golden Trilobite (Girl Genius 6)
  • Abnett and Culbard – The New Deadwardians
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Voice of the Castle (Girl Genius 7)
  • Kerascoët and Hubert – Beauty
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones (Girl Genius 8)
  • Vehlmann & Kerascoët – Beautiful Darkness
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm (Girl Genius 9)
  • David and Lopez – Fallen Angel
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse (Girl Genius 10)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Hammerless Bell (Girl Genius 11)
  • Mina, et al. – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Book 1
  • Mina, et al. – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Book 2
  • TenNapel – Ratfist
  • Moon and Bá – De: Tales: Stories From Urban Brazil
  • Tobin and Dewey – I Was The Cat
  • Merveille and Tati – Hello, Mr. Hulot
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Siege of Mechanicsburg (Girl Genius 12)
  • Cruse – Stuck Rubber Baby
  • Pedrosa – Three Shadows
  • Perlow, et al. – Watson and Holmes: A Study in Black
  • Dingess, et al. – Manifest Destiny, Vol. 1: Flora & Fauna [read & re-read this year]
  • Collins & Rayner – Road to Perdition
  • Moning, et al. – Fever Moon: The Fear Dorcha
  • Lucke – The Lunch Witch (#1)
  • Wilson and Alphona – Ms. Marvel: No Normal
  • Wilson, et al. – Ms. Marvel: Generation Why 2
  • Dingess, et al. – Manifest Destiny, Vol. 2: Amphibia & Insecta
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 1: Cold Dead Fingers
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 2: Crossroads
  • Greenberg – The Encyclopedia of Early Earth
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 3: Bound
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 4: A Town Called Penance
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Sleeping City (Girl Genius 13) [read & re-read this year]
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 5: Winter Wolves
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 6: Ghost Dance
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth gun: Book 7: Not the Bullet, But the Fall
  • Nolan – Hunters of the Great Forest
  • Vaughan and Staples – Saga, Volume One [re-read]
  • Vaughan and Staples – Saga, Volume Two [re-read]
  • Vaughan and Staples – Saga, Volume Three
  • Vaughan and Staples – Saga, Volume Four
  • McCloud – The Sculptor
  • Carey, Willingham, et al. – The Unwritten: The Unwritten Fables, vol. 9
  • Carey & Gross, et al. – The Unwritten: War Stories, vol. 10
  • Miller & Varley – 300
  • Vance & Burr – Kings in Disguise: A Novel
  • Hagio – A Drunken Dream and Other Stories
  • Remender – Strange Girl Omnibus
  • Fawkes – The People Inside [gave up]
  • Moore & O’Neill – Nemo: Heart of Ice
  • Ralph – Daybreak
  • Kelso – The Squirrel Mother
  • Selznick – The Marvels
  • Doctorow and Wang – In Real Life
  • Fleisher, Mishkin, et al. – Dungeon & Dragons Classics, Volume 1
  • Grubb, Mishkin, et al. – Dungeon & Dragons Classics, Volume 2
  • Mishkin, et al. – Dungeon & Dragons Classics, Volume 3
  • Mishkin, et al. – Dungeon & Dragons Classics, Volume 4
  • Salvatore, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms: Cutter
  • Grubb, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Classics, Volume 1
  • Grubb, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Classics, Volume 2
  • Grubb, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Classics, Volume 3
  • Grubb, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Classics, Volume 4
  • Greenwood, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms, Volume 1
  • Zub, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate
  • Salvatore, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt – Neverwinter Tales
  • Salvatore, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt, volume 1: Homeland
  • Salvatore, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt, Exile
  • Rogers, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Shadowplague
  • Rogers, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: First Encounters
  • Rogers, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Down
  • Foglio, et al. – Girl Genius: Second Journey Book One: The Beast of the Rails

Graphic Novels Manga

  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 1
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 2
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 3
  • Yoshinaga – Ooku: The Inner Chamber, vol. 1
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 4
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 5
  • Yoshinaga – Ooku: The Inner Chamber, vol. 2
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 6
  • Yoshinaga – Ooku: The Inner chamber, vol. 3
  • Yoshinaga – Ooku: The Inner chamber, vol. 4
  • Anno – Sakuran: Blossoms Wild

Graphic Novel Nonfiction

  • Redniss – Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love & Fallout

Graphic Novel Nonfiction History

  • Wilson, Dickson, et al. – Fight the power!: A visual history of protest among the English-speaking peoples
  • Stavans and Alcaraz – A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History of the United States
  • Bagge – Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story

Graphic Novel Nonfiction Memoir

  • Abirached – I Remember Beirut

Graphic Novel Nonfiction  War Poetry

  • Duffy, ed. -Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics

History

  • Schivelbusch – Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants
  • Swaby – Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World

History Memoir

  • Coe – Frontier Doctor: Observations on Central Oregon & the Changing West

Literature & Language

  • Ozecki – A Tale for the Time Being
  • Adams – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, #1) [re-read]
  • Adams – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker’s Guide, #2) [re-read]
  • Adams – Life, the Universe and Everything (Hitchhiker’s Guide, #3) [re-read]
  • Adams – So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (Hitchhiker’s Guide #4) [re-read]
  • Johnson – Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia
  • Brontë – Wuthering Heights
  • King – Euphoria [2016 DPL A Novel Idea Selection]
  • Harris – Integationist Notes and Papers 2009-2011
  • Harris – Integationist Notes and Papers 2012
  • Harris – Integationist Notes and Papers 2013
  • Doyle – Through the Magic Door [re-read]
  • Ramsey – Thinking Like a Canyon: New and Selected Poems, 1973-2010
  • Gilbert – Collected poems [currently reading]

Literature & Language Graphic Novel War Poetry

  • Duffy, ed. – Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics [also listed above]

Philosophy

  • Wilson – Second-Hand Knowledge: An Inquiry into Cognitive Authority [on pause]
  • Wellmuth – The Nature and Origins of Scientism
  • Berlin – The Power of Ideas [currently reading]

Photography

  • Atkeson – Oregon, My Oregon
  • Atkeson & Miller – Ski & Snow Country: The Golden Years of Skiing in the West, 1930s-1950s
  • Atkeson – Oregon II
  • Atkeson & Ross – Oregon III
  • Marbach and Pokarney – Oregon Harvest
  • Curtis – The North American Indian: The Complete Portfolios

Renewal

  • Huang and Lynch – Thinking Body, Dancing Mind: Taosports for Extraordinary Performance in Athletics, Business, and Life [on pause]
  • Kabat-Zinn – Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness [currently reading]
  • Johnson – The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason [on pause]
  • Segal – Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression: A New Approach to Preventing Relapse [on pause]
  • Levine – Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma: The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences
  • Farhi – The Breathing Book: Good Health and Vitality Through Essential Breath Work [currently reading]
  • Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning
  • Smalley & Winston – Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness
  • Krznaric – How To Find Fulfilling Work
  • Black – More Anti-Inflammation Diet Tips and Recipes
  • Wahls – The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine
  • Gunaratana – Mindfulness in Plain English
  • Krucoff – Healing Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Pain: Easy, Effective Practices for Releasing Tension and Relieving Pain [on pause]
  • Moore & Gillette – Lover Within: Accessing the Lover in the Male Psyche [on pause]
  • Cooksley – Seaweed: Nature’s Secret to Balancing Your Metabolism, Fighting Disease, and Revitalizing Body and Soul [skimmed]
  • Brantley & Millstine – Five Good Minutes in Your Body [skimmed]
  • Fallon – Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats

Tech & Software

  • Kissell – Take Control of Automating Your Mac [on pause]
  • Martinez and Stager – Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom [on pause]
  • Rawlins – Slaves of the Machine: The Quickening of Computer Technology [gave up]

Final Comments

I think this slices and dices this data more than enough for me this year. I would not mind having a breakdown of authors by gender but that is loaded with many problems (multiple authors, determining gender of some, etc.) and I am not that concerned about it. I read fairly widely and try to read from a diversity of diversities, knowing that I can always do better.

I want to keep reading things in translation; I feel I did well this year. I should try to read a bit more poetry and erotica, sex & gender this year. I am satisfied with the amount of re-reading, the number of ebooks, and of nonfiction. I hope to read a few less graphic novels and more varied things in literature & language; e.g., more actual lit, more on language and more poetry as previously mentioned. Maybe some re-reading there. Poetry books are close at hand.

All in all, I’m calling 2015 a good year for me and reading. I met all of my goals, and only one of them I feel could have been more solidly met.

I am very happy to be ending some part of my 2015 with a great score for the year. Particularly happy to have the thought documented.

Here’s to your (and my) reading in 2016.

[Post(s) coming soon]