The 2013 Book Polygamist Awards!

Welcome Ladies, Gentlemen and super-intelligent cats who secretly surf the web while their owner is at work, to the 3rd Annual Book Polygamist Awards!

Since 2011 the Awards have been publicly aired on my humble little blog, rather than the bottomless pit of Facebook, or the relative privacy of my book journal, and as long as Book Polygamist sticks around each year I will share my quirky Awards with you, my precious few Bookbaggers 🙂

Like last year and the year before the Awards will be broken up into two categories: the Annual Awards, which are the same each year, and the Special Awards, which change with the calibre of books read and any patterns I notice.

This year, since I read more comics/graphic novels than ever before there will be some Awards specifically for the format i.e. Best Inside Art.

So without further ado I present: The 2013 Book Polygamist Awards!!!

Annual Awards

Shortest Read (Book):

the-amber-amuletThe Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey – approximately 1 hour

Honorable Mentions:

The Tiny Wife by  Andrew Kaufman – approximately 2 hours

Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen – 6 days

Longest Read:

Tales of mystery and imaginationTales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe – 1 year, 1 month and 1 day!!!

Honorable Mentions:

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller – 43 weeks, 6 days!!

Kraken by China Miéville – 30 weeks, 3 days!

Most Books/Graphic Novels Read by a Single Author:

Gaiman,_Neil_(2007) Neil Gaiman – 2 books (Anansi Boys and Neverwhere) and 6 Graphic Novels (The Sandman Vol # 1, #2, #3 and # 4; Death: The High Cost of Living; and The Books of Magic)

Honorable Mentions:

Stacia Kane – 5 (Unholy Ghosts; Unholy Magic; City of Ghosts; Sacrificial Magic; Chasing Magic)

Gail Carriger – 5 (Changeless; Blameless; Heartless; Soulless Vol #1; Etiquette and Espionage)

Best “New” Author Award:

Every year I try to discover authors I’ve never read before (in addition to my old favourites and follow-ups to “new” authors from previous years) and then I compile a list of ones I want to read more from, and pick one from the bunch that’s the stand-out. It’s always a tricky process because I find so many great authors that are new to me, but usually I just weigh-up the impact they made on me with the amount of work they have that I can continue on with, plus take into account how new they are to writing, and how unknown they were to me (and sometimes others) before I discovered their work. In the case of the winner for this year I had never heard of them before picking up the first book, and since then their series was one of the highlights of my reading year and has become a bit of an obsession for me and my best friend, Sarah 🙂

stacia kaneStacia Kane (Unholy GhostsUnholy MagicCity of GhostsSacrificial MagicChasing Magic)

Honorable Mentions:

 China Miéville (Kraken)

 Max Brooks (World War Z)

 Jasper Fforde (Shades of Grey)

Special Awards

The Best End to a Series Award:

house of many waysHouse of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones

Honorable Mention:

chasing magicChasing Magic by Stacia Kane

This is a cheeky honorable mention because it’s not actually the end of the series, but at the time of reading it I did think it was the end, and it was a fucking awesome end! Lucky for me and Sarah the next book is due to be published at some point 😀

The Best Start to a Series Award:

shadesofgreyShades of Grey (Shades of Grey Book 1) by Jasper Fforde

Honorable Mentions:

Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane

Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen

The Sandman Volume 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman (writer), Sam Kieth (penciler),Malcolm Jones III (inker), Robbie Busch (colourist), Todd Klein (letterer)

 FreakAngels #1 by Warren Ellis (writer) and Paul Duffield (artist)

The Longest and Strangest Title Award:

BookofHumanInsectsThe Book of Human Insects by Osamu Tezuka

Honorable Mention:

Ball Peen Hammer by Adam Rapp  (author) and George O’Connor (artist)

The Tick That Off The Bucket List Award:

catch22Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

in 2013 I continued the accidental tradition of reading a book from my Top 10 Classics I Want to Read list – in accidental order and all! – which definitely deserved another award! To continue this tradition I will have to read The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger this year so I better locate it quick smart 😛

The My Brain Hurts But I Love It! Award:

kraken-by-china-mieville-UKKraken by China Miéville

As I said in my Top 10 Books I Read in 2013 list, this book was the literary equivalent of taking a trip and at times the language and sheer craziness of the world hurt my brain, but I loved every second of it! 😛

Honorable Mentions:

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

Best Cover Art (Book):

the-tiny-wifeThe Tiny Wife by  Andrew Kaufman

Honorable Mentions:

shadesofgreyShades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

Neverwhere (1)Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

kraken-by-china-mieville-UKKraken by China Miéville

the-amber-amuletThe Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey

Best Cover Art (Graphic Novel):

willow wonderlandBuffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow – Wonderland 
by Jeff ParkerChristos N. Gage (writers) Brian Ching (penciler), Jason Gorder (inker),
Michelle Madsen (colourist), David Mack (cover artist), and Joss Whedon (executive producer)

Honorable Mentions:

persepolis coverPersepolis by Marjane Satrapi

the unwritten vol 1The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity (The Unwritten, Volume # 1) by Mike Carey (writer), Peter Gross (artist), Chris Chuckry and Jeanne McGee(colourists) and Todd Klein (letterer)

BallPeenHammer_COVER_300rgb(1)Ball Peen Hammer by Adam Rapp  (author) and George O’Connor (artist)

buffy talesBuffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales by Joss WhedonJane Espenson,  Becky Cloonan (writers)
Tim Sale,Doug PetrieLeinil Francis YuGene Colan and others (artists)

Best Inside Art (Graphic Novel):

buffy talesBuffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales by Joss WhedonJane Espenson,  Becky Cloonan (writers)
Tim Sale,Doug PetrieLeinil Francis YuGene Colan and others (artists)

This is a bit of a cop-out as this anthology contains a whole bunch of amazing artists making it the easy choice, but with such diverse art from story to story this was a clear winner. Below is an example of some of my favourite art styles for you to ogle 😛

Buffy tales art

Honorable Mentions:

Zombies Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Jim McCann (writers), David Baldeon (penciller), and Jordi Tarragona (inker)

Star Trek TNG: Hive by Brannon Braga (story) and Joe Corroney (art)

Most Fun Challenge:

comiccompanions-badge

While I set myself some great challenges last year, I had to choose Comic Companions as the best as it led me to read so many amazing comics and graphic novels! This year I’m not continuing this challenge but I’ve decided the graphic novels pile is just as important as the others so I’ve been going through the same process in reading them – when I finish one I pick another from the pile (or rather a random green piece of paper from my book-choosing jar so I don’t have to choose which wonderful graphic novel I want to read next – I’m chance’s bitch instead 🙂 )

Best Book Chosen for Old Books October:

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

guards guardsI haven’t actually finished Guards! Guards! since I’ve been pretty slack with reading this year, and I got distracted with other books and comics at the end of last year, so I’ve been reading this very funny Discworld novel for a while, but every time I do read a bit its highly entertaining! Plus the other book I chose for Old Books October is Brisingr by Christopher Paolini which I have been even more slack with, so this was a no-brainer 😛

Best Graphic Novel Chosen for Old Books October:

The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman (writer), Kelley JonesMalcolm Jones IIIMike DringenbergMatt WagnerP. Craig Russell,George PrattDick Giordano (artists), Daniel VozzoSteve Oliff (colourists), and Todd Klein (letterer)

sandman4

Best Book Chosen for New Books November:

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

shadesofgrey

Best Graphic Novel Chosen for New Books November:

 FreakAngels #1 by Warren Ellis (writer) and Paul Duffield (artist)

freak angels vol 1

2013 was a really interesting year for me, both in my reading life and personal/professional life, and I certainly have some good memories from it. I hope all my Bookbaggers also had an excellent year with a bevy of brilliant books (gosh I love alliteration :P) and tons of good memories, and that your 2014 is just as fruitful 🙂

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Top 10 Graphic Novels I Read in 2013

Hello all and welcome to the first (and hopefully annual) Top 10 Graphic Novels list! I had to do a list of graphic novels as well as my usual one of their pictureless brethren this year as I read so many great ones (thanks in no small part to my Comic Companions challenge). As my re-kindled love affair with comics continues I hope that I can make this list a regular part of my yearly awards to serve as recommendations to any comic-loving Bookbaggers 🙂

So without further ado here is my very first Top 10 Graphic Novels I Read in (insert year here) list:

1.  The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists

by Neil Gaiman (writer),
Kelley JonesMalcolm Jones IIIMike DringenbergMatt WagnerP. Craig Russell,George PrattDick Giordano (artists),
Daniel VozzoSteve Oliff (colourists), and Todd Klein (letterer)

sandman4I read Volumes 1-4 of The Sandman in 2013, which were all amazing but Season of Mists was definitely my favourite so far. Firstly the story of Morpheus/Dream/The Sandman trying to make amends for the revengeful punishment of his lover millenia ago leading him to being the reluctant new owner of Hell with beings from all over vying to be its new master was epic. Secondly it was really cool to see almost all of The Endless (Dream and his siblings) together, especially the gloriously coloured pages which described them. Thirdly the various beings which gathered in Dream’s realm to petition him for ownership of hell (including Gods from various religions, demons and agents of order and chaos) were so different in their methods and reasons for wanting Hell, making the final scenes riveting and wonderfully suspenseful.
If you are a fan of fantasy graphic novels you really must read this fantastic series 🙂

2. The Beatles Graphic by Hervé Bourhis

beatles graphicI learnt so much about The Beatles from this comprehensive biographical comic which goes through every significant moment in the band’s development as well as the personal lives of John, Paul, George and Ringo (plus a bit of background on important figures in their lives, such as Yoko Ono). As it’s written by a Frenchman the book also gives a unique perspective on the Beatles influence on Europe which I found really interesting, and as a fan he did short reviews of every album and single released, not only by the Fab Four, but solo and other collaborative projects, and he was very honest with his opinions. Definitely recommended for Beatles fans and people interested in musical bios.

3. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

persepolis coverThis was another biographical graphic novel (autobio this time) which taught me a lot about Iran before, during and after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, but was also a touching, thoughtful and at times very funny coming-of-age tale. I decided to read Persepolis in honor of Banned Books Week and right away I empathised with the frustrated students who were robbed of this fantastic graphic novel. Yes, it was very confronting which I guess is why people felt it should be banned, but it was well worth it, and I think it would be especially poignant to kids the same age as the author when her story began. If you don’t know much about Iranian history and culture besides what is parroted by the media, or you want a unique perspective on life in a very different world, I would highly recommend Persepolis. 

4. Batman: The Killing Joke: The Deluxe Edition

by Alan Moore (writer), Brian Bolland (artist, colorist, writer), Ellie De Ville and Richard Starkings (letterers)

the-killing-joke-deluxe-front-cover1This one is straying into more traditional comic territory, but this spectacular deluxe edition which I borrowed off my friend Scott, is far more than your run-of-the-mill Batman comic. Firstly, let me just say, I use to read any and every Batman comic that came into my local library, and would reread my favourites (namely anything with Harley Quinn) over and over. When I borrowed The Killing Joke it had probably been 10 or 15 years since I’d last dived into a Batman comic and yet it felt like I had never left, and it was even more engrossing than I remember. This may be thanks to the brilliantly twisted mind of Alan Moore, or to Brian Bolland’s amazing art, or maybe just because it delved deep into the past of the Joker like nothing I’d ever read before, but whatever it was made for a gripping read! I would of course recommend this to Batman fans (if they haven’t already read it of course) but also to people who like Batman but don’t really know where to begin in the huge backlog of comics – this one is not to be missed.

5. Clive Barker Omnibus (collecting The Thief of Always The Great and Secret Show ; and Seduth)

by Clive BarkerKris OpriskoChris Ryall,  Christopher Monfette (writers), Gabriel HernandezGabriel RodriguezRay Zone (artists),  Robbie Robbins (letterer)

CliveBarker_OmnibusAs a Clive Barker fan I was eager to read this omnibus, especially since I had read The Thief of Always earlier in the year, The Great and Secret Show was one of my first trips into the world of Barker and was starting to become a vague memory, and Seduth had never been published elsewhere. None of them disappointed either in the story-telling/adaptation or the artwork – hell, even the lettering was stunning and perfectly fit the mood of each story! I read each story on a different day (in fact I think I read The Great and Secret Show over a couple of days because it made up the bulk of the omnibus) so I was fully immersed in each story at the time, and even though I had read two of the three in novel form, I felt like I was experiencing them for the first time. I would definitely recommend this to Barker fans, but also to people who may have wanted to read his stuff before but prefer a graphic novel format.

6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales

by Joss WhedonJane Espenson,  Becky Cloonan and others (writers)
Tim Sale,Doug PetrieLeinil Francis YuGene Colan and others (artists)

buffy talesThis was without a doubt one of the best presents I got on my last birthday, if not the best hands down and it definitely had to go on this list! My lovely workmate Scott gifted it to me around my birthday in October and I was in love from the moment I looked at it. It contained a treasure-trove of stories I never even knew about before, written by former writers of the show amongst a bevy of other talented writers, with each story beautifully, and uniquely brought to life by a cast of gifted artists. There wasn’t a single story I didn’t like (though some of course stood out more than others) and it made New Books November even more fun in its role of Official Mascot. I have already raved about it to my Buffy-loving friends (though I keep forgetting to loan it to my best friend Sarah, a Buffy fan from way back, as its so big and ironically gets missed whenever I give her a bunch of graphic novels to try) but I would highly recommend it to any Buffy fan out there, especially if you love comic art – there’s so many styles on offer here its a veritable smörgåsbord for comic-art geeks 😀

7. The Books of Magic

by Neil Gaiman (writer), John BoltonScott HamptonCharles Vess and Paul Johnson (artists)

books of magicThis one was read later in the year, just days before Christmas, but I enjoyed it so much I was willing to push earlier titles off the list in order for it to make my Top 10. Being written my Neil Gaiman, with a somewhat Sandman-esque feel to it and each section illustrated by a different artist to fit the mood of each realm, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I loved this graphic novel. It was one of those stories that you just fall into, and for the minutes, hours, or days that you read it you are lost to another world. In the case of The Books of Magic I was gone for about an hour or so as it’s a sort of mini-series kind of graphic novel, with 4 parts. I have since put my brother on to it, and he was just as lost (I watched him read it so I can attest that he was definitely not all there anymore!) and I plan to find and add it to my growing comic/graphic novel collection 🙂 I would recommend this to Neil Gaiman fans, especially if you like the Sandman, and fans of epic, archetypal fantasy.

8. The Book of Human Insects by Osamu Tezuka

BookofHumanInsectsThis one I have to admit was bought because of its bizarre title (I love me a weird title :P) but I was also intrigued because the author and artist is the mind behind Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion, two of my favourite shows from when I was a kid (thanks in part to them being faves of my mum who saw them new, and the habit of Australian TV in the early 90’s playing lots of repeats of classic shows) but I had never read his graphic novels. The Book of Human Insects was worlds away from the cartoons of my youth, but I loved the juxtaposition of Tezuka’s big-eyed, round-faced characters in a world of sex, manipulation, fraud, violence and intrigue. The feel of the story was very film noir, with a classic femme fatale as the main character, and it was a fun blend of absurdity and relatability. I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone (I haven’t passed it on to my brother or friends coz I’m not sure if they’d like it) but if you like manga with a lot of depth, and many a dash of odd, or if like me you’re curious about Tezuka’s work beyond adorable kings of the jungle and robot boys with rocket books, give this a try.

9. Nevermore 

by Edgar Allan Poe , Ian EdgintonJamie DelanoJohn Reppion, and Leah Moore (writers) and D’IsraeliJames (Jim) FletcherJohn McCreaShane Oakley and Steve Pugh (artists)nevermoreI read Nevermore at a perfect time, right after my Poe.My.God! Challenge when I still had all the stories fresh in my mind. This anthology took 9 of Poe’s most famous tales (The Raven; The Pit and the Pendulum; The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar; The Murders in the Rue Morgue; The Fall of the House of Usher; The Black Cat; The Oval Portrait; The Tell-Tale Heart; and The Masque of the Red Death) and re-tells them in modern (or sometimes futuristic) settings, each illustrated by a different artist in their style, but sticking to a moody black and grey colour scheme. I thought the adaptations were really clever and the black and grey ink work really put me in a dark, gothic, Poe sort of mood 🙂 Unfortunately because this was a library item I couldn’t hand it straight on to my brother (who is a huge Poe fan since he was a kid) but I hope to add it to my collection in the future, and in the meantime if he’s interested, I can always get it out from my work, since that’s the library it came from (albeit a different campus) and make him swear in blood that it returns unharmed. Very fitting for Poe, don’t ya think? 😛 I would recommend this to Poe fans, people who like classic tales interpreted into new settings, or anyone who likes a dark, broody graphic novel.

10. Fray

by Joss Whedon (writer), Karl Moline (penciler),Andy Owens (inker), Dave Stewart (colourist) and Michelle Madsen (colourist and letterer)frayThis last one was tricky because I had a bunch of great contenders, but once I discounted parts in ongoing series’ (a rule that made compiling this list easier, but one I don’t think I’ll stick to next year) there was one amongst the final choices that stood out. Fray is another graphic novel loaned to me by my friend Scott, and another one set in the Buffy Universe, but far in the future after magic has left the world and Slayers aren’t even a blip on history’s radar. To me this felt almost like a Buffy reboot as it had some of the great elements of early episodes of Buffy when she was training and coming to grips with her destiny. The difference between Fray and early Buffy though is firstly it is set in a very different time and place complete with amazing futuristic scenery and interesting slang, and secondly Melaka Fray can already kick some arse as she is a sort-of cat burglar by trade. I really enjoyed the story, but what made it stick out in my mind was the art. Wow. The way Karl Moline and Andy Owens drew and inked the characters and backgrounds were stunning, and the colours by Dave Stewart and Michelle Madsen were glorious, especially Melaka’s multi-coloured hair. This is a big recommendation for Buffy fans but even if you’re not really familiar with the show (cue gasps and a look of horror from the author) this is a great stand-alone.

Challenge Update # 7 – The final conquering of Poe!…and other things

Hello my snazzy, fabaroonie Bookbaggers!

This update is exciting because I FINALLY CONQUERED POE!! 😀

poe.my.god challenge badge

It seems like my scheme (schemed up in my last update) worked beautifully because on Thursday during my lunch break I started The Spectacles (an amusing story about a young, handsome man who refuses to wear spectacles despite imperfect vision because of vanity, falls in love with a woman that he sees at the theatre, marries her under her one condition – that he consents to wearing the dreaded eye-wear – and so discovers that she is not what she seems), continued to read it on my commute home, and then finished it that night (it was the longest of the remaining stories).

Then the next day I read The Cask of Amontillado in my lunch break as it was quite short (and I have to admit also quite confusing. I believe it was about a man who lures his drunken “friend” into an underground crypt with the promise of some rare and presumably fine wine, and then tries to brick him in? It was not as clear as many of the other tales so I was a bit bewildered by the end and uncertain of the man’s motive, or if he actually succeeded…).

Then on Saturday afternoon I polished off the last three tales: The Oval Portrait (another short, but chilling tale where Poe truly shines. This one was about a man who stays in a strange room while ill that is filled with artworks, and is unsettled by one particular portrait which is eerily life-like); The Tell-Tale Heart (one of Poe’s most well-known stories about a man who is driven to murder his employer because the simple noises he makes – such as his heart beating – grate on his delicate [*cough* insane *cough] ears, but once the deed is done and he has hidden the body he continues to hear the horrible beating of his master’s heart) and Ligeia (which is another great piece of Poe creepiness – basically the story of the ailing health and subsequent death of the narrators beloved wife, and then the ailing health, death and horrifying reanimation(s) of his next wife).

I’m so pleased that I was finally able to finish Tales of Mystery and Imagination, even if it did take me 1 year, 1 month and 1 day, but it was also a little strange finishing it, and my pile of books looks a bit odd now…

comiccompanions-badge

As well as finishing Tales of Mystery and Imagination this weekend I started The Obsidian Dagger: Being the Further Extraordinary Adventures of Horatio Lyle (Horatio Lyle #2) by Catherine Webb

obsidian dagger

started and finished White Tiger: A Hero’s Compulsion (White Tiger, Issue # 1) by Tamora Pierce  and Timothy Liebe (writers) and Philippe Briones (penciler)

white tiger

and since I finished Poe, I chose a new book and accompanying Comic Companion from my Jar O’ Books (see below).

Jar-full-o-books-june-july

The day before I finished Poe I let my friend Sarah pick my next book and graphic novel out of the jar since she was there, and she seems to enjoy it 😛 Since Poe was (is) one of my own books, and that pile is the largest, I got her to pick a purple slip which was:

the rescue - Jar O' Books June/July

Apologies for the sub-par photo :s

The Rescue (The Guardians of Ga’Hoole # 3) by Kathryn Lasky, a nice quick read filled with owlish excitement 🙂

For the Comic Companion she picked a green slip which turned out to be:

Clive Barker omnibus - Jar O' Books June/July

Clive Barker Omnibus (collecting The Thief of Always The Great and Secret Show ; and Seduthby Clive BarkerKris OpriskoChris Ryall,  Christopher Monfette (writers), Gabriel HernandezGabriel RodriguezRay Zone (artists),  Robbie Robbins (letterer); which is fitting because  I borrowed it off her in the first place!

On Sunday I started The Rescue and read the first part of the Clive Barker Omnibus, The Thief of Always, which was very true to the novel (it’s still pretty clear in my head since I read it earlier this year so I was raring to scrutinize!) and had an interesting sketchy art-style that suited the story to a T.

So that’s it for the Poe.My.God! Challenge but I will continue with the Comic Companions challenge until I run out of good graphic novels, or  I want to change things up again (whichever comes first) and of course the Jar O’ Books June/July challenge will go till the end of July so I will continue to update you as things occur, as well as delight you with my usual Book Polygamist randomness 🙂

Until next time I bid you all:

Happy Reading!

Challenges Update # 6 – We’re getting to the pointy end!

Hello oh splendiferious, fantastical Bookbaggers!

I’m going to cut right to the chase as thinks are getting heated in Challenge-Land!

poe.my.god challenge badge

The Poe.My.God! Challenge is reaching its end and I am stubbornly determined that I will win, even though it looks a tad dire.

According to my ammended rules, the challenge must be complete this Saturday the 15th, and since last week I have only read 1 tale of the 6 I had to go. This is because last weekend was quite a fun busy one. On Friday night I went to a birthday shindig for one of my close friends, Renee, which of course then required a day of recovery on Saturday. Should I have been reading some Poe during that recovery period? Quite possibly, but my mind was not up to it and I was tantalizingly close to the end of City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane, so I shirked my Challenge responsibilities (for shame!). Then on Sunday, which is traditionally my day of R & R (Rest and Reading) I was rather occupied elsewhere – getting my third tattoo 😀

Even though the tattoo itself took about 2 hours the rest of my day was spent preparing myself beforehand, going out to lunch with my best friend Sarah after (as she went with me to ogle as a picture miraculously appeared on my skin), hanging out at mine for a few hours chatting, and then tattoo aftercare and slugging in front of the TV in the evening, so Poe sat on my bedside table completely neglected.

On Monday I realised that I had the same amount of stories left as days to read them in, so if I was vigilant and read one tale each day after work I could make up for the weekend. That night I read The Masque of the Red Death (which usurps The Thousand-and Second Tale of Scheherazade as my favourite tale so far. It was a deliciously creepy and atmospheric story of a flamboyant Prince who closes his doors to the outside world when a horrific plague sweeps through, and instead of helping his ailing subjects throws an elaborate party for all his well-to-do friends who all get their comeuppance in the end), but while I have had good intentions marinating away in the back of my mind I did not carry on that pattern on Tuesday or Wednesday.

To force myself into reading the tales before Saturday’s end, I have banished all other books from my bag and despite its heft taken Tales of Mystery and Imagination with me to work so I may read it on my compute or lunch break. Most of the 5 remaining stories are fairly brief, so I am confident that I will be able to read some today and tomorrow and finish the tome on Saturday as scheduled! Wish me luck!

comiccompanions-badge

There has been a tiny bit of Comic Companions action, because I of course finished City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane

city of ghosts

and chose a new read from my library pile, and a graphic novel to go with it (I’ll get to them below as they’re my first to reads picked from the Jar O’ Books :D). As another side effect of my busy weekend I haven’t started either yet, but I suspect I will this weekend as I don’t have any definite plans and then they’ll feature in my next update 🙂

Jar-full-o-books-june-july

Because I finished a book last weekend I was able to try out my new choosing strategy for June/July for the first time 🙂 I let Sarah choose the first one since she was excited to do so (like me she is amused and/or thrilled by small things :P) and from the blue library book slips of paper she picked:

The obsidian dagger - Jar O' Books June/July

The Obsidian Dagger: Being the Further Extraordinary Adventures of Horatio Lyle (Horatio Lyle #2) by Catherine Webb

Then the next day I realised I also had to pick a graphic novel so out of the green slips I picked:

White Tiger - Jar O' Books June/July

White Tiger: A Hero’s Compulsion (White Tiger, Issue # 1) by Tamora Pierce  and Timothy Liebe (writers) and Philippe Briones (penciler).

As I said above I haven’t gotten to them yet but I’m pretty stoked to read my first two completely random, chosen-from-a-jar reads 🙂

That’s it for now, stay tuned for all the usual things and eternally I wish you all:

Happy Reading!

Challenges Update # 5 + a change in my choosing process for June/July!

Why hello there, oh studious Bookbaggers!

Since my last update I have made a little headway with my Poe challenge, there has been zero activity in my Comic Companions challenge, because I haven’t finished any reads, and I have decided to try something a little different when choosing new books over the next two months 😀

But firstly:

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Last Sunday I read four more stories: A Premature Burial (which is about a man who suffers from catalypsy and so has a deep-seated fear that he will be mistaken for dead when having an episode and buried alive), The Assignation (a confusing story which starts with a child being saved from drowning, and ends with his mother and rescuer both dying mysteriously from poison, and maybe they were lovers? This one may have made the least sense out of the whole collection), Shadow – a Parable (a very short story about a group of men in Ancient Greece or Rome I believe, who perform a ritual resembling a séance), and lastly The Black Cat (which describes some pretty shocking abuse of a pet cat by his master who is subsequently led to madness and murder from his guilt and perceived taunts of a replacement cat. I was a bit rattled by this one, but it was a chilling and well-written little story).

As I said a couple of updates back, my challenge is now going til the 15th of June (1 year, 1 month, and 1 day since I started Tales of Mystery and Imagination) so I have the rest of this week, and next week until Saturday to read the last 6 stories.

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As I said above, there has been no action on the Comic Companions front as I haven’t finished any books this week – BUT! – I did receive a graphic novel that I ordered in the mail:

unwritten vol 3

Too bad its the third volume and the second is yet to arrive, otherwise I probably would start it as soon as I finished one of my reads (probably City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane since I have been hooked on that since I started it and will likely finish this weekend, if not today), but I do still have lots to choose from until volume 2 shows up 🙂

In other news, the other day (which if you know me can mean anywhere from yesterday to a month ago – there, now I’ve shared that with you, you do know me! Welcome to my mind! Have a cup of tea and make yourself at home 🙂 ) I read a post on a blog I recently followed, The Perks of Being a Bookworm, which shared a really cool idea she found on tumblr:

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Basically you write books from you TBR pile on bits of paper, stick it in a jar and then fish one out when you want a new read! The creator, Crini from the tumblr page All About Books, used different coloured strips of paper for different genres (Fantasy, SciFi, Contemporary, Thriller/Horror) so she would still have a little bit of choice in the kind of book she wanted to read.

I love this idea and wanted to try it out for a little while – taking a break from my usual process of choosing – but instead I have done different colours for my different TBR piles:

Red are books I’ve borrowed from friends (Sarah; my little bro, Scott; and my workmate, Scott – yes I know, very confusing, but also ha! all S names :P)

Blue are books I’ve borrowed from libraries

Green are Graphic Novels (my own and ones I’ve borrowed from libraries or friends)

and Purple are my own Books-I’ve-Bought-But-Have-Yet-To-Read pile

That way I can still keep a modicum of my old ritual by choosing a book from the pile that I just finished one from, while also mixing up my habits a tad 🙂

I thought I would try the jar thing for June and July, because that will give me enough time to trial it (I wouldn’t want to do it for a period when I only choose one or two new reads) but not too long that I will miss my little ritual. And also doing it for June/July allows me to make this a thing:

Jar-full-o-books-june-july

Which is just an excuse for me to play in Photoshop again 🙂

Anyway, that’s it from me for now. In my next update there will probably be some Comic Companions news to share, as well as my continuing slog through Tales of Mystery and Imagination, and the results of my fledgling Jar O’ Books choosing (or choosings – who knows)

Until then:

Happy Reading!

Challenges update # 4 + the only upside to being sick

Hello to all my patient and gorgeous Bookbaggers!

You may have noticed I’ve been a bit absent of late, which is mainly due to a horrendous snot monster invading my head for most of last week. It has now been banished thanks to my fearsome weapons (the Blade of Lemon and Honey, the Mighty Twin Swords of Paracetamol and Phenylephrine Hydrochloride, and the Swift Arrows of Rest and Plentiful Liquids) and I am back to my normal schedule 🙂

While being home sick is generally the pits, I did encounter one upside – I had plenty of time to read, and not much energy to do anything else, so I actually have quite a bit to tell you in this update!

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Since my last update I have read 4 more stories: The Unparalleled Adventure of one Hans Pfaall (a somewhat interesting and amusing tale of a man who escapes dept collectors by attempting to travel to the moon in a gas-propelled balloon) which I read the Sunday before the Snot Monster invaded;  The Pit and the Pendulum (one of Poe’s most famous and darkest tales, of a prisoner which wakes up in a torture chamber complete with a deep pit and fearsome swinging blade which gradually descends upon him) which I read while I was sick; The Domain of Arnheim (a story about a man’s quest to create an elaborate and gargantuan garden after he receives a huge inheritance, which was wonderfully descriptive, but a tad dull in parts); and Landor’s Cottage (a companion/follow-on to The Domain of Arnheim where a traveller stumbles upon the massive man-made wilderness and eventually the cottage of its only inhabitants…presumably. Also a bit long-winded and dull in parts, but the descriptions are very rich), both of which I read last weekend.

I now have 10 stories to go, and 3 more weeks left of the challenge, so if I read 3-4 stories each week I should be set 🙂

comiccompanions-badgeAs I said, being sick enabled me to read a lot, which meant I finished 2 of my current reads, started 2 new ones, and read 3 graphic novels 😀

Firstly I really got into Among Others by Jo Walton among others

which I had started previously, but was less than 100 pages into when the sickness descended. I don’t know why exactly, but this was the perfect sickie read (maybe because it was easy to read and the subject matter wasn’t too heavy?) and by my third day off work I had finished it. I of course immediately spread out all 13 books on my Books-I-Own-And-Have-Yet-To-Read pile – which is destined to keep growing for all eternity due to my insatiable urge to buy books – and went through the long process of choosing a new read. I was tickled pink when my convoluted and sometimes flawed system of choosing reads resulted in one I had been looking forward to for a while: The Sending by Isobelle Carmody!! 😀

The Sending

Because it’s such an ample volume (weighing in at 756 pages) I thought it fitting to choose 2 Comic Companions rather than a lone one, and since they were already a neatly matched pair I chose:

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Origin by Dan Brereton and Christopher Golden (writers), Joe Bennett (penciler) , Rick Ketcham (inker), Guy MajorJeromy Cox (colourists), and Ken Bruzenak (letterer) – which was a great re-telling of Joss Whedon’s original screenplay, doing it justice way better than the film version.

And:

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Batman: The Killing Joke: The Deluxe Edition by Alan Moore (writer), Brian Bolland (artist, colorist, writer), Ellie De Ville and Richard Starkings (letterers) – which was wonderfully chilling, bizarre and stunningly illustrated with some possible insight into the origin of Batman’s greatest nemesis (and I only just realised both were origin stories! Slow on the uptake much?)

A couple of days later I finished another current read – The Diviner’s Son by Gary Crew – which I had been further into before my sickness:

gary-crew-diviners-son-1and started reading City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane (which I had to get via a SLWA interlibrary loan, and so skipped my usual choosing process so it can go back to its home library before the due date)

city of ghostsand from the 4 graphic novels that I borrowed from work I chose a new Comic Companion:

the unwritten vol 1 The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity (The Unwritten, Volume # 1) by Mike Carey (writer), Peter Gross (artist), Chris Chuckry and Jeanne McGee (colourists) and Todd Klein (letterer) –  which was absolutely brilliant! A really unique story, very gripping and beautifully drawn and inked/coloured. I loved it so much that I immediately went on Book Depository and bought the next 2 volumes because I had to know what happened!!

That’s it for now 🙂

I will try to make up for my absence by posting a few new things I have up my sleeves (some Notable Quotables, a couple of Collective Nounitude‘s and Adventures in Etymology, the next couple of installments of The Micro Reviews From Planet Procrastination, and an update on where the hell my full-length reviews and Top 10 lists have gone) in the days and weeks to come, and hopefully you will continue to find my disorderly schedule endearing 😀

Until then:

Happy Reading!

Challenges Update #3 + a kaleidoscope of new comics (and books)!

Soooooooooooo….. its been a while since my last challenge update…because I haven’t really been actively challenging :/

I didn’t bother posting an update last week because I had nothing to report – I haven’t finished any books, so I haven’t started any new ones, complete with Comic Companion, and I have been really slack with the Poe challenge…

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As I suspected the weekend of comedy shows was not conducive to some casual reading – my entire weekend was made up of social happenings before and after the shows and the seeing of the shows themselves, which if you’re interested were Justin Hamilton’s Perth International Comedy Festival (PICF) show on Friday the 3rd, and then on Saturday the 4th Adam Hill’s show, Happyism which were both absolutely hilarious, if very, very different (Justin Hamilton was in a small room, very intimate and casual, and Adam Hills was in a theatre of 2000 people with a sigh language interpreter and choir!).

During the week I did intend to read some stories to catch up, but I’m usually too tired after work and I just want to veg out in front of the TV, eat dinner and go to bed, so my good intentions fell by the wayside 😦 These wasted good intentions  carried on into the weekend as my best friend, Sarah, moved around the corner from me (:D!!!) so I was distracted by the exciting tour of the new house, conveniently located catch-ups, and helping her build a snazzy new bed. Up until yesterday I was convinced I would somehow still complete the challenge before the horrifying One-Year-Since-I-Started-This-Book date, but guess what today is? That’s right, the 14th of May….. Happy Anniversary Tales of Mystery and Imagination -.- 

Anyway, since I still want to challenge myself, and as I’ve established before I enjoy repeated numbers, why not extend the challenge until it hits the 1 year, 1 month and 1 day mark? This would mean that the challenge would go until the 15th of June, or 5 more weeks which works perfectly with the amount of stories I have left too because I have 15 to go so I only need to read 3 a week and I’m done!

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On the Comic Companions front I haven’t fared much better, because as I said I haven’t finished or started anything.

But!

I have acquired quite a few new graphic novels that can be read as part of the challenge.

Firstly I have borrowed a few from the East Perth campus of my college, where I work on Thursdays and Fridays:

graphic novels from work

Lots of great Graphic Novels have been donated by my workmate, Scott, so I may borrow some more in the near future 😀

They are: The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity (The Unwritten, Volume # 1) by Mike Carey (writer), Peter Gross (artist), Chris Chuckry and Jeanne McGee (colourists) and Todd Klein (letterer); White Tiger: A Hero’s Compulsion (White Tiger, Issue # 1) by Tamora Pierce  and Timothy Liebe (writers) and Philippe Briones (penciler); House of Mystery: Room and Boredom (House of Mystery, Volume # 1) by Matthew Sturges and Bill Wilingham (writers), Jill Thompson (penciler), Luca Rossi (inker) and Todd Klein (letterer); and Nevermore by Edgar Allan Poe (because its an adaptation of some of his short stories), Ian EdgintonJamie DelanoJohn Reppion, and Leah Moore (writers) and D’IsraeliJames (Jim) FletcherJohn McCreaShane Oakley and Steve Pugh (artists)

I also borrowed two graphic novels off my workmate at East Perth, Scott:

Batman + Buffy = :D

Batman + Buffy = 😀

Batman: The Killing Joke: The Deluxe Edition by Alan Moore (writer), Brian Bolland (artist, colorist, writer), Ellie De Ville and Richard Starkings (letterers); and Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Origin by Dan Brereton and Christopher Golden (writers), Joe Bennett (penciler) , Rick Ketcham (inker), Guy MajorJeromy Cox (colourists), and Ken Bruzenak (letterer).

And Scott kindly picked me up a few comics from Free Comic Book Day which was on the weekend of all the comedy:

Two of them have a different comic on each side, so I've placed the two pics side by side to show all the covers

Two of them have a different comic on each side, so I’ve placed the two pics side by side to show all the covers – sorry for the weird glare and change in light :/

Star Wars: Captain Midnight/Avatar: The Last Airbender ; Mouse Guard /Rust flip book ; and Molly Danger/Princeless

Then on Friday night while looking for a Mother’s Day present for my mum I had a mini shopping spree at one of my new favourite bookstores, Kaleido Books 

Kaleido buys

 

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis CarrollLewis Helfand (writer/adapter) and Rajesh Nagulakonda (artist); The Book of Human Insects by Osamu Tezuka (writer, artist and cover designer – go Mr Tezuka!); The Beatles Graphic by Hervé Bourhis (writer, artist and cover designer – again, go Mr Bourhis!); and A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (another classic I’ve never read)

And lastly, I bought a quartet of books at the end of my holidays when me and mum went op-shop trawling that I forgot to share with you:

Op-shop buys

 

Past The Shallows by Favel ParrettThe Winter Queen by Boris AkuninThe Highest Tide by Jim Lynch; and the Calvin and Hobbes book, Scientific Progress Goes “Boink” by Bill Watterson 😀 

So, I have PLENTY of comics to read for my challenge, as well as more books that I don’t have room for…..and like any true book addict instead of culling my collection, or heaven’s forbid, stopping my endless purchasing of new and used books (*GASP* *dramatic Victorian lady swoon*) I will eventually buy a new bookshelf that I can fill with even more! (*cue maniacal laughter and crazed grin*)

That’s it for now my booktastic Bookbaggers! Stay tuned for updates as they occur + the usual junk and I bid you all:

Happy Reading!