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.

Toboso – Black Butler III & IV

Black Butler III and IV by Yana Toboso; translation by Tomo Kimura.
Date read: 06 June and 7-10 June 2016
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc

Cover image for Black Butler IIICover image for Black Butler IV

Paperback, 194 pages each
Published 2010 by Square Enix Co., Ltd. [First published in Japan 2008, same publisher] and 2011 [First published in Japan 2008, same publisher]
Source: Jefferson County Library via Deschutes Public Library [YG Black Butler (v.3) and [YG Black Butler (v.4)]

I wrote about I and II here.

My prediction was correct. I read III in one sitting but IV took almost 4 days; life did interrupt but I also simply was not motivated to finish it.

Via Goodreads:

Description of III:

“Terrorizing its populace, Jack the Ripper has shaken London to its very core. But when Sebastian Michaelis, singular butler of the Phantomhive house, lays bare the madman’s true identity, all that is left for him to do is eliminate the perpetrator in the name of the Queen and Phantomhive. But inhumanly efficient skills don’t guarantee victory when the opponent is just as supernaturally gifted! And though Sebastian may be able to save Ciel from physical harm in the battle that ensues, will the young earl ever recover from the emotional scars it will leave on his heart? “

Description of IV:

“London – the capital of the Great Empire – is once again under siege, as a string of bizarre attacks on British citizens returned from India sends rumours flying and casts a pall upon Queen Victoria’s rule. Sent in by Her Majesty, young Earl Phantomhive and his most capable butler, Sebastian, follow a trail that collides head-on with an Indian youth who claims to be a prince. And this prince possesses an extraordinary butler of his own! As an intense rivalry between the two butlers begins to form, will the kitchen be the dueling duo’s final battleground?!”

There are at least 7 more in English and more after that possibly only in Japanese still. Not worried abut it. It might be for you. Got repetitive—almost “monster-of-the-week” for me.

Sorry this isn’t really much of a review. Not caring about these much especially a week or more later.

This is the 32nd and 33rd book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 11th and 12th book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader, which means I have “completed” it. The max is 11-12 books for “Linguist.” I personally consider this a seriously low number but whatever. I hope and intend to read more translations but this gamified portion of my motivation no longer drives at this point.

Toboso – Black Butler I & II

Black Butler I & II by Yana Toboso; Tomo Kimura, translation; Tania Biswas, lettering
Date read: 01 June 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars each
Challenges: 201gnc 2016transl

Image of the cover of Yana Toboso's Black Butler I

Image of the cover of Yana Toboso's Black Butler I

 

Paperback [manga]: I = 186+ pages; II = 180+ pages
Published I = First Yen Press Edition 2010 [Kuroshitsuji Vol. 1 © 2007] by Yen Press [Square Enix co., Ltd.]; II = Yen Press 2010 [Kuroshitsuji Vol. 2 © 2007] by Yen Press [Square Enix co., Ltd.]
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Jefferson County Lib. district] [YG Black Butler (v.1) & YG Black Butler (v.2)

These were a quick, sitting in the sun in the backyard read yesterday. There are many more but I will probably try just a few more and then get bored. So many others out there. I did already request III and IV, though. They are manga so read from back to front for us Westerners.

From the back cover of I:
“Just a stone’s throw from London lies the manor of the illustrious Phantomhive earldom and its master, one Ciel Phantomhive. Earl Phantomhive is a giant in the world of commerce, Queen Victoria’s faithful servant … and a slip of a twelve-year-old boy. Fortunately, his loyal butler, Sebastian, is ever at his side, ready to carry out the young master’s wishes. And whether Sebastian is called to save a dinner party gone awry or probe the dark secrets of London’s underbelly, there apparently is nothing Sebastian cannot do. In fact, one might even say Sebastian is too good to be true … or at least, too good to be human …”

If you understand the genre of blurb writing, then you realize that that story synopsis is mostly, but not entirely, true, and the story is certainly a bit more complicated than that might suggest.

Incompetent servants as additional, but mostly harmless, foils to the butler. Demons, evil geniuses, kidnappings, billiards, dinner parties, martial arts, and much more. What’s not to love?

These are the 27th and 28th books in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

These are the 9th and 10th books in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Tezuka – Apollo’s Song

Apollo’s Song by Osamu Tezuka
Date read: 07-08 May 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc 2016tranls

Cover image of Osamu Tezuka's Apollo's Song

Paperback, 541 pages
Published 2007 by Vertical (originally serialized in Japanese as Aporo no Uta in Shukan Shōnen Kingu, Shōnen Gahōsha, 1970
Source: Deschutes Public Library

I wish I had more to say about this. I quite enjoyed it but looking back through it today (14 May) there are large bits I simply do not remember. [I also have the flu right now and am not quite in my right mind and I read it a week ago so….]

Due to a bad upbringing, a young man unknowingly pisses off a vengeful goddess who condemns him to the eternal pain of (the eternal) loss of love.

The back cover says it for Ages 16+

Description from the inside back cover:

“Apollo’s Song reaches Olympian heights of tragedy as the story proceeds from a Nazi concentration camp to a dystopian future where human beings are persecuted by an ascendent race of their own clones. Will Shogo ever attain redemption, or, like the human race itself, will he have to relearn row lessons of love forever? Is it better to have loved and lost if the heartbreak must recur eternally?

Love, propagation, nature, war, death—Tezuka holds his trademark cornucopia of concerns together with striking characterizations, an unfailing sense of pacing, and of course, stunning imagery.”

I also read the author’s Ode to Kirihito back in January. 

This is my 24th book in this year’s Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [I got to 24 last year by mid-March but that was almost all I was reading then. I’ve read vastly differently this year so far] which completes the middle level of the challenge for me. The last one is Silver Age with 52 books. Even at this pace—which has not been strenuous—I would be past 52 by the end of the year. So, onward! And if I don’t quite make it I read other things and/or had no time to post reviews.

This is the 24th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 8th book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Modan – Jamilti & Other Stories

Jamilti & Other Stories by Rutu Modan

Date read: 06-07 February 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc 2016transl

Cover image of Rutu Modan's Jamilti & Other Stories

Hardback, 174 pages
Published 2008 First hardcover edition by drawn & quarterly
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Graphic Novel MODAN RUTU]

This is my fourth Modan book this year. I also read The Property, exit wounds, and the children’s book Maya Makes a Mess. In general I quite liked them. The children’s one not as much but the others all got 4 or 5 stars out of 5.

This is a collection of seven short graphic stories:

  • Jamilti 2
  • Energy Blockage 1
  • Bygone 2
  • The Panty Killer 1
  • Homecoming 2
  • The King of Lillies 1
  • Your Number One Fan

Translation credit: 1 Noah Stollman, 2 Jesse Mishori

Most of these are a slight bit twisted, to say the least, but they provide some interesting commentary on assorted aspects of modern Western culture, and on Israeli culture in particular.

Jamilti describes a day in the life of a couple trying to plan their wedding. Based on the course of the day I’d say things aren’t looking up for the prospective groom. Very powerful.

Energy Blockage has to do with our search for solutions to well-being, charlatans, and the damage families do to themselves for some sort of closure.

Bygone is about mothers and daughters, or sisters, and the secrets families keep.

The Panty Killer is about the differences between an adult’s and a child’s version of memories and how they impact us in the longterm.

Homecoming. Well. I’ll let you read it and decide. There are some things I would like to say about this and some aspects of several of the stories but the topic is beyond fraught. Whether justified or not, there is a lot of Israeli aggression in this book, as one might expect.

The King of Lillies reflects on plastic surgery and the ideal of beauty, especially as embodied in an unrequited love.

Your Number One Fan visits the topic of fandom and the relations between Israeli Jews and the Diaspora.

All in all, I really enjoyed this and highly recommend it, particularly if you are interested in translations and/our perspectives from other cultures.

This is the 14th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 7th book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Abouet & Oubrerie – Aya

Aya by Marguerite Abouet & Clément Oubrerie (illus.); Helge Dascher (translation)

Date read: 29 January 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc 2016transl

Cover image of Aya by Abouet & Oubrerie

Hardback, 96+ pages
Published 2008 (2nd hardcover ed.) by Drawn & Quarterly
Source: OSU-Cascades at Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [CASCADES PN 6790 .C854 A92 2007]

A slice of a coming of age story set during the late 1970s in the Ivory Coast, which was undergoing profound economic growth. That growth faltered and now economists term this as “growth without development” (from Preface by Chase, iv).

Despite that, this is a fairly timeless story primarily focusing on a couple young women/teenage girls. Making out, male harassment, unwanted pregnancy, thwarted desires, etc.

Recommended for anyone wanting stories from outside their own backyard, so to speak.

This is the 10th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 6th book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Tezuka – Ode to Kirihito

Ode to Kirihito by Osamu Tezuka; Camellia Nieh, transl.

Date read: 26-27 January 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc 2016transl

Alternate cover image of Tezuka's Ode to Kirihito

Paperback, 822 pages
Published 2006 by Vertical (originally serialized in Japanese as Kirihito Sanka in Biggu Komikkui, Shogakkan, 1970-71)
Source: OSU-Cascades at Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [CASCADES PN 6790 .J33 K5713 2006]

Rape, murder, conspiracy, intentional infection, pride. No doubt, there are probably several other “deadly sins” in this work. I quite enjoyed this. Do not be put off by its size; it took me maybe three hours to read it.

People in a remote village in Japan are turning into dog people and then dying. A promising young doctor is dispatched to determine the vector of Monmow disease. From that remote village we travel the world with a small cast of characters all connected in various ways. The disease is found in a remote mining operation in Africa. What is the cause? Can it be cured or at least halted?

The author, Osama Tezuka (1928-1989), is “the godfather of Japanese manga comics. He originally intended to become a doctor and earned his degree before turning to what was still then considered a frivolous medium” (back inside flap). So he is imminently qualified to write a medical thriller.

This book is not in manga form and I assume the original was since we get this disclaimer on the title page verso: “The artwork of the original has been produced as a mirror-image in order to conform with the English language.”

Highly enjoyed it. Not for children: sex, naked bodies, more than one rape scene. I need to look into more work by Tezuka, including “his eight-volume epic Buddha, winner of the Eisner and Harvey Awards” (back inside flap).

This is the 8th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 5th book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Modan – Exit Wounds

Exit wounds by Rutu Modan; translation by Noah Stollman

Date read: 22 January 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc 2016transl

Cover image of Modan's Exit Wounds

Hardback, 172 pages
Published 2007 by Drawn & Quarterly
Source: Deschutes Public Library

I enjoyed this. I don’t feel like I can say a lot about it without giving away the story, though.

This has been on my to be read list for a while now but I recently read Modan’s The Property so I went ahead and moved this one to the top of the heap.

This is what I said about The Property and I think it equally applies, although the walls and directions are different in this earlier work:

“I quite enjoyed this quick read; I read it in [just] under an hour.    Walls are put up only to be dismantled from another direction. Affections of all kinds, and how quickly we can gain and lose them, are beautifully illuminated. Old animosities are reinforced and challenged. It is a properly complicated look at our world and some of its complications.

The art work is lovely and effective at conveying subtle and rapidly changing moods.”

The ellipsis covers the few story detail I gave which are different, of course. For this one let me quote from the publisher’s blurb on the back cover:

“In modern-day Tel Aviv, a young man, Koby Franco, receives an urgent call from a female solider named Numi. Learning that his estranged father may have been a victim of a suicide bombing in Hadera, Koby reluctantly joins Numi in searching for clues. As Koby tries to unravel the mystery of his missing father, he fide himself not only piecing together the last few months of his father’s life, but his entire identity” [back cover, Exit Wounds].

Accurate as such. I think “entire identity” is a bit of a stretch but you will learn plenty.

Recommended if you like reading graphic novels that help illuminate what it is to be human. I think I enjoyed The Property just a bit more.

Talented author, indeed. Checking library catalog(s) for other works…

This is the 6th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

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

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

Modan – The Property

The Property by Rutu Modan; Jessica Cohen, translator (from Hebrew)

Date read: 10 January 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc 2016transl

Cover image of Modan's The Property.

Hardback, 222 pages
Published 2013 by Drawn & Quarterly
Source: Deschutes Public Library

I quite enjoyed this quick read; I read it in under an hour. After her son dies, an elderly woman takes her granddaughter to Warsaw under the pretense of getting back some family property lost in the second world war. But is there any property and who owns it now? Might there be other reasons she isn’t telling anyone? Walls are put up only to be dismantled from another direction. Affections of all kinds, and how quickly we can gain and lose them, are beautifully illuminated. Old animosities are reinforced and challenged. It is a properly complicated look at our world and some of its complications.

The art work is lovely and effective at conveying subtle and rapidly changing moods.

Recommended.

This is the 1st book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

 

This is the 2nd book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader