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

 

Dembecki, et al. – Trickster

Trickster: Native American Tales: a Graphic Collection by Matt Dembecki and many others
Date read: 12-13 February 2017
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2017gnc

Cover image of Trickster: Native American Tales: a Graphic Collection by Matt Dembecki and many others

Paperback, 231 pages
Published 2010 by Fulcrum Books
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Graphic Novel TRICKSTER]

Sara brought this home a while back and it looked interesting. It was.

There are 21 tales represented here by various adaptors and artists. The differing styles of art are either a plus or a minus depending on whether you appreciate more or less of them. I generally did appreciate most of them so it was a bonus for me.

Being Native American trickster tales they generally center on coyote, rabbit, raccoon and raven, although sometimes the trickster does take human form.

At least 25 of the 44 adaptors and illustrators are of Native American descent based on the bios at the back.

Recommended for anyone interested in an assortment of Native American trickster tales.

This met “A book about a different faith or religion” from my 2017 “looking all around” challenge.

This is the 8th 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.

 

Meyer – The Lunar Chronicles, 1: Wires and Nerve

The Lunar Chronicles, 1: Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer; art by Doug Holgate
Date read: 08 February 2017
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2017gnc, 2017look

The cover image of Marissa Meyer's Wires and Nerve, volume 1 (The Lunar Chronicles)

Hardback, 238 pages
Published 2017 by Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Teen Graphic Novel MEYER MARISSA]

Sara brought this home from the public library and I decided to read it. I have not previously read any of Meyer’s novels although I have seen them cycle through the house as Sara has read them and we may even have owned the first one for a couple years. I was wondering if this graphic novel adaptation might whet my appetite for reading them. It did not.

This is not to say I did not enjoy it. I did give it 4 stars and if the follow-up were available now I would read it. I see, though, that it is “estimated” to be released in 2018 [per Goodreads]. By then I will have forgotten the characters and their relationships, etc. so will not care.

If you are a fan of the novels and like graphic novels then I can recommend you try it.

I actually did enjoy it. Complex characters and relationships, tense alliances, humor. I mean who doesn’t love a space opera?

Met the A book published this year (2017) of my “looking all around” challenge. [link]

This is the 6th 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

 

Lewis, et al. – March, Book One to Three

March, Book One to Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell (art)
Date read: One 12 January 2017; Two and Three 13 January 2017
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2017gnc, 2017look, 2017nfc

Cover image of March, Book One by John Lewis, et al.Cover image of March, Book Two by John Lewis, et al.Cover image of March, Book Three by John Lewis, et al.

Paperback, 121, 179, 246 pages
Published 2013, 2015, 2016 by Top Shelf Productions
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [E840.8 .L43 A3 2013 v.1 / 2015 v.2 / 2016 v.3]

My timing for reading books is kind of uncanny lately. We started reading Berger’s book the night before he died and thanks to COCC getting these and putting them on the new book shelf I was able to read Rep. John Lewis’ autobiographical graphic novel series just before that jackass Donald Trump attacked this icon of the civil rights movement and American hero.

I truly enjoyed these books. They did a wonderful job bringing together some things I have heard about vaguely over the years of my life but should have known more about.

President Obama’s first inauguration provides the bookends to the series, along with being woven throughout it.

The sense of personal duty to others and to the cause of justice and humanity is in the forefront of these books. One would be hard pressed to not come away with a profound respect for John Lewis and the many others who put their lives on the line to make America a better place.

The march on Washington, the lunch counter sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, Martin Luther King, Julian Bond, Malcolm X, SNCC, the Voting Rights Act, and many other events and icons of the civil rights movement are all here.

U.S. Representative John Lewis represents Georgia’s 5th congressional district which covers much of urban Atlanta. He was elected to this position in November 1986 and has held it ever since. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 by President Obama.

I highly recommend this series. Being graphic novels they are a quick read but provide enough coverage of the people and events of the time that one could easily branch out to learn more about them as one wished.

If you are at all confused as to why people are upset Trump attacked this man then you need to read these books. Trump is the worst sort of jackass and learning about those he attacks will be one of the best ways to understand how truly damaged and damaging he is.

This is the 3rd – 5th books 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 3rd – 5th books in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2017 [2017nfc]
and 2nd – 4th reviews.

These books count for the categories: A book a friend recommended (Angel Rivera), Post-election understanding, and a microhistory, in my 2017 “the looking all around list” Self-Reading Challenge. With these categories I have now completed 16 of the goal of 30 out of 40 categories. Not bad for the first half of January.

Kleist – Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness by Reinhard Kleist; Michael Waaler, translation
Date read: 02 January 2017
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2017gnc, 2017look, 2017nfc, 2017transl

Cover image of Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness by Reihard Kleist

Paperback, 221 pages
Published 2009 by Abrams ComicArts [Originally published in German in 2006 by Carlsen Verlag GmbH]
Source: Summit via OSU-Cascades

I quite enjoyed this graphic novel biography complete with several songs, such as “A Boy Named Sue” and “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town,” as a sort of illustrated musical interlude at points.

It covers most of Johnny’s history from when he was just a kid up until his death in 2003 and also includes a short bibliography in the back.

Recommended.

This book met 2 of the unfulfilled categories from my 2017 “the looking all around list” Self-Reading Challenge [2017look] : A biography or memoir and A translation. It also meets several already fulfilled categories but they’re already met.

This is the 2nd 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 1st book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge 2017 [2017trans]. It is also the 1st book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2017 [2017nfc].

It is looking like neither of these is happening this year so I will do them my own way and update my challenges post to represent how I intend to handle them.

Ginsberg & Drooker – Howl: a graphic novel

Howl: a graphic novel by Allen Ginsberg; animated by Eric Drooker
Date read: 01 January 2017
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2017gnc, 2017look

Cover image of Howl: a graphic novel by Allen Ginsberg; animated by Eric Drooker

Paperback, 223 pages
Published 2010 by Harper Perennial
Source: Summit via OSU-Cascades

This was not my first time reading the poem series “Howl” but I do believe the artwork helped me to understand the poem better, in a few places at least.

The artwork is both beautiful and moody and fits the poem wonderfully. The artist, Eric Drooker, and Ginsberg worked together on several projects before this as explained in the book.

The typography is like an old typewriter and is thus hard to read at points but it also slows the reader down, which I think actually helps some with grasping the meaning.

I believe this is the version I would get if I were in the market for a copy of Howl.

Lovely. A gorgeous adaptation of a modern classic of American literature. 5 of 5 stars. Highly recommended.

This book met three of the categories from my 2017 “the looking all around list” Self-Reading Challenge [2017look] : A book you can finish in a day, A graphic novel, and A book of poems or about poetry.

This is the 1st 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

 

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.