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.

Berger – Ways of Seeing

Ways of Seeing by John Berger
Date read: 01-10 January 2017
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2017look, 2017nfc

Cover image of Ways of Seeing by John Berger

Paperback, 166 pages
Published 1977 [©1973] by British Broadcasting Corp. and Penguin Books
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [N7430.5 .W39 1973]

I read this to Sara beginning in the evening of 1 January and the next day saw via Twitter that Berger had died.

There are seven essays, three of which are entirely visual, while the others contain lots of images to illustrate his points.

I quite enjoyed this book although at times I simply had to suspend belief, if you will, as his writing style here is very aphoristic. He makes many claims, most with little to no justification. When I understood what he was on about—happened several times—then I pretty much agreed. When I did not it was easier to begin questioning those claims.

Essay 7 on what he calls “Publicity” is about advertising (and perhaps slightly broader) and I understood almost all of it. And agreed with most all of it. But then I once did a couple semesters with Richard Stivers on technology and advertising and spent much time with his books, The Technology of Magic and The Culture of Cynicism, so was well prepared for Berger’s take.

The book is a very 1970s book in so many ways. That in no way diminishes its value today though.

If you can take the aphoristic writing style then it is highly recommended. I only gave it 3 stars for that reason. I prefer a little more “justification” with the claims I read. If one has to know enough about something to be able to understand, and potentially agree with, an author’s claims then what is the point of reading them in the first place?

This is the 2nd book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2017 [2017nfc] and 1st review.

This book counts for the category A book of essays in my 2017 “the looking all around list” Self-Reading Challenge.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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