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52 books in 52 weeks, Part 1: Comics, Languages, and Sailor V! Oh my!

07 Jun

After ending last week’s post, I realized what my topic for today is! Earlier this year, I signed up for the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge. My book reading last year was abysmal, and I wanted to improve upon that. So far, I’m halfway through my challenge, but I’m only going to cover the first 13 today! The next 13 will come either tomorrow or Saturday depending on when I want to do my review of Prometheus.

Anyway, here we go!

1.) The Sigh by Marjane Satrapi – A short illustrated fairy tale by the author of Persepolis. It’s a quick read, but Satrapi’s fairy tale about a young woman falling in love with a prince, and finding a way to bring him back to life after she accidentally kills him. It’s a lovely little tale with nice morals and lovely illustrations.

2.) Lost At Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley – Before there was Scott Pilgrim, Bryan Lee O’Malley created Raleigh, the teenage protagonist of Lost At Sea. While the art isn’t as refined or dynamic as it was in the Scott Pilgrim series, Lost At Sea was a surprisingly accurate portrayal of what it’s like to be introverted and depressed at that age. While I never ended up on an accidental road trip the way she does in this book, reading about Raleigh was a lot like reading about myself at that age. O’Malley has always been good at writing women, and Lost At Sea just proves it.

3&4.) Codename: Sailor V, Volumes 1 and 2 by Naoko Takeuchi – Ahhh, the long fabled prequel to Sailor Moon. Something that was never read by most Americans until Kodansha acquired the rights for re-translation and publication in the US. As a Sailor Moon fan, reading about Minako’s adventures before she was a fully realized Senshi was a treat indeed. It was a bit surprising to me though, because Sailor V tends to read more like a loving parody of the magical girl genre than an actual prequel to the biggest magical girl manga of all time. Still, Sailor V made me love Minako more, and made me glad that Takeuchi’s work is available to us again.

5.) Habibi by Craig Thompson – I’m going to be honest here. I’ve never read Thompson’s debut novel Blankets. I’ve always seen the thick tome on the shelf of comic shops and graphic novel sections, but I never thought to pick it up. So going into Habibi, I was not aware of how lush Thompson’s work actually is. A tale of love between two children sold into slavery, this beautifully illustrated tale tells a story of religion, math, writing, and language as we read the story of Dodola and Zam. This book was a labor of love, and it shows on every page.

6.) Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff – Man, this book was weird. It starts with a woman charged with murder claiming that she’s an assassin, but by the end, it’s just a confusing combination of twists that left me staring at my iPad and flipping pages back and forth. I’m not sure if I hated it or loved it.

7.) Freerunners by Joseph Chandler Cain – I’ve pretty much said everything I needed to say about this book. It’s flawed, but still fun.

8.) Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Volume 1 by Naoko Takeuchi – Reading the Kodansha edition of this book was like visiting an old friend from another dimension. I know that it’s pretty much the same thing I read when I was 12, but something about her is slightly different. Like I said with Sailor V, it’s nice to have these new editions in the US.

9.) Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid by Lemony Snicket – This book is a quick read, but it’s full of wonderful snark and truth that only the creator of A Series of Unfortunate Events can provide.

10.) The Beejum Book by Alice O’Howell – I read this children’s book on the urging of my friend Thaddea, who is so named for the main character of this book. I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it as much as Thaddea did, but I’m happy to be wrong here. A wonderful children’s book, it’s a great book that combines imagination, real life lessons, religion, and psychology into a way that translates for children of any age. It makes me sad that this book isn’t really in print anymore.

11.) Shakespeare’s Sonnets by William Shakespeare – Having an e-reader to read these classic sonnets on is magical. My copy in iBooks is covered with a digital purple highlighter that has all my favorite lines and poems. Oh Will, you wordsmith you.

12.) Oracle of Shadows and Light Guidebook by Lucy Cavendish – This was a small book that accompanied a wonderful oracle deck illustrated by Jasmine Becket-Griffith. Sometimes, Cavendish seems very new age-y, but the deck and her explanations of how we work makes so much sense to me. It doesn’t hurt that Becket-Griffith’s paintings are so very lovely.

13.) In The Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent – This is an immensely entertaining book. While it is a non-fiction story about invented languages, linguistics PhD Okrent manages to explain the nature of language and the people who invent them in a way that all of us can explain. The beginning of the book may be a bit hard to get through, but the language that she’s dealing with is pretty hard to get through too. In the pages of this book, she really makes these languages shine, and the people who create them sympathetic. It’s not just a guidebook. It’s a story for the underdogs.

Tomorrow will either be more books, or Prometheus. Also, if you’re in Atlanta tomorrow night, you should come see The Extraordinary Contraptions perform with Birdeatsbaby! See you then!

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Posted by on June 7, 2012 in Books

 

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