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.

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Challenges Update # 22 – A Wrap-up of New Books November + Who Day and other Exciting Acquisitions!

Season’s Greetings my jolly, yuletastic Bookbaggers!

Sorry I have been AWOL since my last update. Initially I didn’t do an update because nothing had really happened challenge-wise what with the end of War & Pages and the wrapping-up of New Books November, but I was going to still share my experiences of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary and other goodies I have acquired before and after. That was the plan last week, however at work we are winding down to the christmas break which has been a bit hectic and exciting, so blogging has sort of fallen behind the couch of things-to-do.

But! I am back and will at least do this last challenge update before my chrissy holidays begin 😀

I have lots of exciting things to share with you but firstly here’s a quick wrap-up of New Books November:

  1. New Books November challenge badgeNew Book November successfully included at least one book/graphic novel from all 4 piles (Books-I-Own-But-Have-Yet-To-Read; Books-Borrowed-From-Libraries; Books-Borrowed-From-Others; and Graphic Novels) and 6 books/graphic novels were chosen, which is a great result
  2. I still haven’t started The Living Dead anthology or Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde as I’ve been so distracted, however since I will have a lot of time on my hands I can enjoy them before Christmas 🙂
  3. I have only read one chapter so far of Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger but I was giggling throughout so this is another one I’ll sink my teeth into before xmasetiquette and espionage
  4. I finished Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow – Wonderland last Saturday and I absolutely loved it! The story was a really interesting sort-of stand-alone which saw Willow journeying to another dimension of sort in order to restore magic to her world. As you can imagine from the title, there were Alice in Wonderland elements to the story, such as a cryptic man-sized caterpillar, but mostly it was its own exciting and insightful story, especially for fans of Willow and her struggles with magic. The art was absolutely stunning and definitely enhanced the vivid setting. willow wonderland
  5. I also finished Death: The High Cost of Living, last weekend (on Sunday) which was another sort-of stand-alone in a world I love. It of course followed the character of Death from the Sandman comics as she spends one day as a mortal on Earth, as she must do every 100 years to understand the struggles of the people she takes everyday. death the high cost of living
  6. I also started and finished FreakAngels #1 on Sunday which was fantastic! It was set in a post-apocalyptic world and focused on a group called the Freakangels – 12 people born at the exact same moment 23 years before, who despite their parentage have the same pale skin, purple eyes and powerful psychic powers which they were forced to use to end the world and start anew. The first volume was nicely mysterious, giving away little tidbits of information but keeping major plot points for later on. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next volume!freak angels vol 1
  7. This challenge was also fun because I had my mascot – Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales which I polished off on Sunday (sunday was spent almost exclusively reading comics :D) I thoroughly enjoyed it and it has been a big highlight of this challenge, and of the year 🙂 buffy tales
  8. Overall it was a really fun challenge that allowed me to choose recently bought, borrowed or published books without cheating 😛

Now onto the excitement that was Who Day! 😀 😀

As I said in my last update, my best friends and Official Jar Chooser, Sarah, and I had been invited over to my workmate, Scott’s place to stay up until the wee hours to watch the 50th at the same time as Whovians the world over. We started our day/night of fun by meeting in the city centre where Scott presented Sarah and I with our own Who Day 2013 lanyards that he had made especially for the occasion (thus awarding him many cool points) before we headed to the ABC Shop where they were having a special 50th Anniversary event with lots of Doctor Who loot for sale, a costume competition, a quiz and other fun activities. None of us were in costume except Scott wore a shirt with the TARDIS on it and I wore my 10th of Hearts shirt from Teefury:

10th-of-Hearts-TeeFury-Shirt-of-the-Day

So we knew the costume comp wasn’t really for us, plus we wanted to get going fairly quickly to start our day of movie watching, so me and Sarah quickly filled in the quiz (we got all questions right with minimal cheating :P) and perused their wares. Scott went away with a fabulous TARDIS cushion, Sarah got a Sylvester McCoy era DVD (her first and favourite Doctor) and a cute TARDIS-shaped soap dispenser and I got a cute TARDIS book light which has a normal light and a UV light to revel hidden messages written with the included invisible ink pen; a Tom Baker era DVD, Masque Of Mandragora; and a book of course! – Who’s 50 which covers 50 episodes/story arcs that are must watches 🙂

All my Who Day goodies :D

All my Who Day goodies 😀

We then bussed to Scott’s neck of the woods, had lunch at his local shopping centre food court then headed back to his to start our exciting viewing extravaganza! Scott had plenty planned for us before the 50th anniversary episode so we got cracking with the Star Trek Next Generation Movie – First Contact, which I had never seen before and Sarah hadn’t seen since it came out when we were kids. I was amazing on Blu-ray and on Scott’s impressive TV and was an awesome way to start the festivities! Next we watched a doco that Scott had kept a secret – Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope – which followed a few very different sets of people going to San Diego Comic-con (two artists hoping to break into the industry; a comic book seller hoping for good business at the con to keep his business afloat; and a troupe of master cosplayers) and interviewed a whole bunch of con regulars and newbies, fans and professionals alike. It was also fantastic and me and Sarah were both by surprised how much we were rooting for the artists, sellers and cosplayers to succeed! After those few hours of sitting we went for a welcome walk with Scott’s adorable Corgi cross German Shepard, Fudge and had top-notch bento at a local Japanese place before settling in for the evening’s entertainment.

Our next viewing was The Cabin in the Woods, an unconventional horror flick from the genius mind of Joss Whedon along with fellow buffy/angel writer Drew Goddard. I had always meant to see Cabin in the Woods, as had Sarah and within the first few minutes I think we were both thinking the same thing: “WHY HAVE WE NEVER SEEN THIS MOVIE BEFORE.” It was truly epic and amazing, one of the best and most original horror films I have ever seen and definitely one I will now need to find for my collection. If you’ve never seen it and you’re a Joss Whedon fan, or a horror movie buff, or a fan of good movies in general, do yourself a favour – see this movie ASAP! With still many hours until our beloved 50th Anniversary episode we then decided to get into the Who mood a bit by watching Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide a 2 hour special which chronicled every regeneration as well as key villains, companions and gadgets from the show. After that it was getting to be pretty late and with a couple of hours still before the 50th ep we were all stating to lag. As a preventative measure we went for a film full of action and scary stuff to shock us awake if we started to nod off – World War Z. It was a pretty good disaster/horror movie which differed from the book (which Sarah and I both read recently after borrowing it from Scott) but not in a way that annoyed me – they were their own entities and as a zombie movie this was genuinely terrifying and creepy. Suffice to say it kept us awake until the main event!

I don’t think I have to say that the 50th Anniversary episode – Day of the Doctor – was AMAZING. We all had fangirl/fanboy moments throughout, laughed and gasped and cheered, and I know that I teared up on multiple occasions. I won’t give anything away in case you haven’t seen it, but as a Whovian I was definitely chuffed 🙂 And we made it all the way through to morning without falling asleep or dying so that’s an achievement!

Who day extravaganza collage

Despite being proud of our efforts and feeling not that shabby we all agreed a power nap for a few hours was in order before we ventured out for breakfast, so we kipped until 10ish, had some much-needed coffee and prepared ourselves for a final outing. But, before we headed off Scott had a lovely surprise for us – a goodie bag of presents for the two of us including a couple of DVDs, 2 audio CDs (one Doctor Who story and one Torchwood!) and a graphic novel. immediately we split the DVDs between us as one was the final season of The L Word (mine) and the other was an anime (Sarah’s) and I latched onto the graphic novel as it had been one I had eyed out whilst perusing comic stores with Scott previously:

American vampire

American Vampire #1 by Scott Snyder, Stephen King (writers), Rafael Albuquerque (artist), Dave McCaig (colourist) and Steve Wands (letterer)

However, I will loan it to Sarah once I’ve finished if she so desires 😉 The CDs have gone to Sarah as I had the lion’s share, but I’ll be borrowing them off her also. It was such an unexpected gift that me and Sarah were quite touched – the day/night itself was gift enough, presents on top were just icing on the cake 🙂 We ended our adventure by getting a big breakfast of pancakes, bacon, eggs, hash browns and ice coffees all around in the city centre once more, before me and Sarah headed back to mine to talk about what a fantastic time we had for the rest of the day. It really was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a really long time.

In other news I’ve made a couple more exciting purchases, as I do.

The Friday before Who Day Scott and I went to a local comic place, Comiczone where I got some very exciting things:

Comiczone purchases

Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere by Mike Carey (writer), Glenn Fabry (artist), Richard Horie, Tanya Horie (colourists) and Todd Klein (letterer); The Crow: Skinning the Wolves by James O’Barr (writer/artist) and Jim Terry (writer/artist/colourist); and Telling Tales a CD of Neil Gaiman reading some of his short stories with accompanying orchestral music for ambience 🙂

Then we went to Kaleido and I bought 2 books:

Kaleido purchases

I am Legend by Richard Matheson which was proclaimed as a must-read by Scott, and Grimm Tales by Philip Pullman which just sounded neat because it’s a retelllling of Grimm’s fairy tales.

And I also got a few of their bookish badges:

Kaleido badges

Then this week I popped into Kaleido again to pick up a book I had on order:

20131205_184517

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter which I have heard great things about and, come on, Alice AND Zombies? I know I’ll love it 😛

That’s it for now my faithful Bookbaggers 🙂 I may be notably absent for the rest of the year as I enjoy my holiday and gear up for Xmas, but I promise I will drop by with little bits and bobs when I can and then I’ll be back to do my annual awards!

Until then I’ll just leave you with one of the funniest parts of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary episode, as a taster:

As always share away in the comments, send me an email at bookpolygamist(at)gmail(dot)com or frolic on the Facebook page, and check out my mad pinning (which will likely increase with my free time) on Pinterest :)

Challenges Update # 21 – Week 10 of War & Pages + New Books for New Books November!

Hello my gracious, gregarious Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the 10th update of  War & Pages (and actually the 11th and final update too!) + an exciting update on  New Books November and other crazy dribblings from my mind parts 😀

war &  pages challenge badge

This Sunday I was feeling a little under par (probably a combination of the heat and an overindulgence of junk and underindulgence of sleep the nights before) so I stayed inside, napped, and read in between napping. As a result I read over 50 pages of Catch 22 and likely would’ve finished the whole lot if I hadn’t fallen asleep again:

Catch 22:

catch22

59 pages (4 chapters)

World War Z:

world-war-z-book-cover

Finished! :D

Total:

59 pages

Then Tuesday afternoon and evening I plunged in again and before I knew it I had finished the last 2 chapters and the extra bits at the back! Since it seems silly to wait until next week to officially update you on this development, I may as well do this:

Catch 22:

catch22

53 pages (2 chapters + thoughts on Catch 22) – Finished! :D

World War Z:

world-war-z-book-cover

Finished! :D

Total:

53 pages

Overall it was a wonderfully surreal and darkly funny book, and while it took me the good part of the year to read it, this challenge certainly helped me get into the story and finally finish this excellent classic. I know a lot of people struggle with Catch 22, so to them I say: don’t worry if it takes you forever to pick it up, if you start and abandon it a dozen times, or when you finally stick with it, it takes you almost a year – or longer – to get through –  in the end its worth it 🙂

So that’s all folks for the War & Pages challenge, which started with a link between two books I was struggling with, and in the end both books were in the top 10 of books I’ve read this year! I do have another idea for a reading challenge (*cough* possibly to do with Brisingr *cough*), so perhaps when New Books November is done and dusted I will announce something new – I’m getting to love this challenge business!

In other exciting news I have chosen my first books for New Books November!

New Books November challenge badge

As predicted I didn’t finish anything before the 15th, so I planned to get Official jar Chooser Sarah to pick me a random slip and a Comic Companion to go with it on the weekend, but then I also finished Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman Friday afternoon (it was awesome by the by) so instead I got her to choose 1 random slip, 1 blue slip (since Neverwhere was a library book and thus had a library book successor) and 2 greens for the Comic Companions. Then yesterday she came over for a coffee and chose a purple slip (Books-I-Own-But-Have-Yet-To-Read) and another Comic Companion to replace Catch 22, so for New Books November I have at least one book from each pile! 😀

The random slip Sarah chose was actually a blue so I just made that the replacement for Neverwhere and got her to choose another random:

The Living  Dead - New Books November

The Living Dead by Various

I borrowed this zombie anthology from my workmate, Scott, at the same time as World War Z so I’m really excited to get into some more zombie creepyness (especially because I finally got around to watching The Walking Dead since the first episode is finally airing on free-to-air TV in Australia (yes we are way past the 8 ball on this one).

And for the Comic Companion:

Willow wonderland - New Books November

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

I’m really excited about this choice as Willow is my favourite character from Buffy, and the art for this collection is just stunning!

For the blue slip replacing Neverwhere she picked:

Shades of Grey - New Books November

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

This interesting sounding sci-fi came before the whole 50 Shades phenomena and has been raved about on many book blogs I follow so I’m eager to see what its like 🙂 Sounds to me a bit like The Giver meets The Hunger Games with its own twist, which is very promising 😀

And as the Comic Companion:

Death the high cost of living - New Books November

Death: The High Cost of Living
by Neil Gaiman (writer), Chris Bachalo (penciller) and Mark Buckingham (inker)

I was also super excited to read this stand-alone volume set in the Sandman universe, staring one of its most intriguing characters – Dream/Morpheus/The Sandman’s sister and fellow Endless, Death.

Then last night to replace Catch 22 she chose:

Etiquette and espionage - New Books November

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Darn lens flare! This is another uber exciting choice because it’s the first in Gail Carriger‘s (of Parasol Protectorate fame) new series, and if it’s good (which it definitely will be!) I can lend it to Sarah after 🙂

And as the final Comic Companion:

Freak angels - New Books November

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

Which I bought at the same time as Death: The High Cost of Living and looks excellent 🙂

While there is next to no chance that I will finish something else before December 1st, the contenders still need updating, just in case. The updated contenders are:

Books-I-Own-But-Have-Yet-To-Read Pile (Purple Slips)

Newest-On-The-Pile Books:

A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin

a-game-of-thrones

White Cat by Holly Black

white-cat

Books Published in 2013:

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

neil-gaiman-the-ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane-book-cover

Books-Borrowed-From-Libraries Pile (Blue Slips)

Newest-On-The-Pile Books:

Carnevale by M.R. Lovric

carnevale

Skinlane by Neil Bartlett

skin lane

(Yes, I know this was also on the Old Books October contender list, but I now only have three books on this pile, so they’re all included)

Books Published in 2013:

Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody

metrowinds

Books-Borrowed-From-Others Pile (Red Slips)

Newest-On-The-Pile Books:

Flip This Zombie by Jesse Petersen

flip this zombie

Away with the Fairies by  Kerry Greenwood

away with the fairies

Books Published in 2013:

None.

Graphic Novels (Green Slips)

Newest-On-The-Pile Books:

         Scott Pilgrim Volume 1: Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley

scott pilgrim vol 1

Batman: Nevermore Issues 1-5
by Len Wein (writer), Guy Davis (penciller and inker), and Jeromy Cox (colourist)

Batman Nevermore

Books Published in 2013:

Rat Queens #1 – Gold, Guts and Grog, Part One
by Kurtis J. Wiebe (writer) and John Upchurch (artist)

rat queens #1

In other New Books November news I didn’t end up reading any of my New Books November mascot – Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales – over the weekend, but I did read some Monday afternoon

buffy tales

I read the Melaka Fray story that I mentioned last week, but then when I was all ready to get into the Vampire half I saw that there was one last Slayer story that I missed – and a pretty darn epic one at that! The forgotten story was actually a story in two parts that circled back on each other in a way. The first half was about Buffy and the Sunnydale crew dealing with a Djinn at Sunnydale high, and it was illustrated in this glorious, psychedelic coloured, cartoonish style. The second part was set in the late 1930s (during WWII) and had the Slayer enlisted to impersonate a German spy, but ended up with her discovering the same Djinn and trapping it.

In other, other news, last Friday I received a really exciting parcel in the mail – my two pre-ordered copies (one for me and one for Sarah) of Hyperbole and a Half by the hilarious Allie Brosh 😀 😀

Hyperbole and a half

Because Allie is hilarious and the book is filled with stories/comics both from her blog and previously unpublished, I have also been dipping into this all week, so with all the books I was already reading, the New Books November picks, plus this and my New Books November mascot, my currently reading page is looking like some sort of crazed orgy of books and comics at the moment!

I haven’t started the majority of the new picks (only Etiquette and Espionage which I started during my lunch break yesterday) and I probably won’t get to them this weekend as the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary episode – The Day of the Doctor (linked in case you live under a rock… which still has internet access…and yet you still haven’t heard about the 50th….under a rock with internet access but you only read my blog? Little weird and stalkerish Mr Under-rock dweller, but that link’s for you :P) is airing Saturday night/obscenely early Sunday morning and my workmate Scott, Sarah and I are staying up all night to watch it 😀

That’s all for now (“All?!” I hear you say. “After that bombardment of news I need a lie down” O.O) but stay tuned for more updates, maybe a new challenge and other things that I can think of/can be bothered doing 😛

Until then:

You want weapons? We’re in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world! This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have – arm yourselves!

In honor of the 50th Anniversary I thought I’d go with another book-related Doctor Who quote, this time from the Season 2 episode (of the New Who series that is) Tooth and Claw.

and this is a representation of how excited I am about the 50th, especially seeing David Tennant as the doctor again:

Doctor who David Tennant gif

Also, in case you haven’t had enough Doctor Who stuff on this post (is there such thing?) have you seen the Google Doodle for today?

If you go there today it should be there and if it ends up the the archives after I'll update the link :)

Updated to link to the doodle in Google’s doodle archive…that’s a bit of a mouthful isn’t it?

Its a super funny and frustrating game (aren’t the frustrating ones also usually the most fun?) where you play as the doctor fetching all the letters of GOOGLE in different times while dodging Daleks and the like, and ever time you die you move on to the next regeneration! Very cool 🙂

Anyway, that’s really all for now 😛 As always share you’re weird sigh-offs, quotes and now I guess funny gifs too in the comments, at bookpolygamist(at)gmail(dot)com or on the Facebook page, and feel free to follow me or just my individual boards on Pinterest 🙂

Challenges Update # 20 – Week 9 of War & Pages + Other Bits and Bobs

Good morrow my nifty, nimble Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the 9th update of  War & Pages + other little updates such as how New Books November is going 🙂

war &  pages challenge badge

I had another weekend of reading since it was hot and I’m a pale, ground-dwelling sort of beast which burns at the sight of a few rays making an inside relaxation the best option. I ended up reading a bit from most of my current reads (even Brisingr!) and easily made my quota with Catch 22:

Catch 22:

catch22

52 pages (6 chapters)

World War Z:

world-war-z-book-cover

Finished! :D

Total:

52 pages

There is only a little over 100 pages left so I will be all done with this challenge either at the end of this week or the next, depending on how riveting it gets in the final chapters 🙂

New Books November challenge badge

 I still haven’t finished any current reads so the picked-for-New-Books-November tally is still at zero. While I am getting close, I don’t think I will finish either Catch 22 or Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman by the 15th, since it’s tomorrow, so it looks like I will be doing my just-in-case-random-picks as prophesied in the official challenge rules. I will be seeing my Official jar Chooser, Sarah, on Friday night so I’ll ask her to pick then or Saturday, and will probably also get her to pick ones to replace Catch 22 and Neverwhere in case I finish them right after (highly likely).

In other New Books November news, I also read three more stories from my New Books November mascot – Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales

buffy tales
The first was set in the Wild West with a Navajo Slayer on the hunt for a particular vampire and it was beautifully illustrated in muted sepia tones; the second was set in Germany during World War II with a young Slayer coming to terms with her understanding of evil and who the real monsters are, and had a uniquely unsettling, childlike art style; and the last was set in modern times (my best guess is ’60s-early ’70s judging by the visual clues and the character involved) and was about a Slayer which featured in the show – Nikki Wood, one of the two Slayers Spike killed (the one who he “inherited” his iconic leather jacket from) and the mother of Principal Robin Wood from season  7.

There is only one tale left of the Slayers half of the collection, which follows Melaka Fray, the Slayer from the far future featured in the Graphic Novel, Fray, which I read earlier this year, which I will probably read on the weekend, and then I’ll be onto the Tales of the Vampires half 🙂

Another little bit of news is that I have acquired another Graphic Novel, this time from my local library. I logged into my account on their catalogue the other day to check when my books were due and thought I’d do a quick search to see what other  Neil Gaiman books they hold (since I’m a tad obsessed now :P). What I found was mainly stuff I’ve already borrowed or bought, but I did stumble across The Books of Magic which Neil Gaiman did with artists John Bolton, Scott Hampton, Charles Vess and Paul Johnson

books of magicI vaguely remember reading one volume of The Books of Magic when I was a kid, around the same time that I read The Sandman volume 3: Dream Country and whilst I don’t remember a thing about it, I do remember that I loved it, so I’m excited to read this collection of volumes 1-4 at some point after New Books November 🙂

Also I have recently joined Pinterest!

Book Polygamist on Pinterest

Not everything is book or reading related obviously but if any of you are interested you can follow one of more of my boards by clicking on the screenshot above or here

I’ve also put a link on my About page and if you don’t have Pinterest you won’t miss out because anything related to books, reading, libraries and the like that I think is especially share-worthy will also be put on the Facebook page

Well, that’s all for now Bookbaggers. Look out for my challenge update next week where I will very probably share my picks for New Books November! But until then:

“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore it knows it’s not fooling a soul.”
Neil Gaiman, American Gods

Quote from Goodreads

Since I obviously have Neil Gaiman on the mind I thought a quote from American Gods, one of my Top 10 Reads of 2012 was only fitting 🙂 As always if you have other lovely book quotes or pop-culture ones which I can fit books into somehow, let me know in the comments, send me an email at bookpolygamist(at)gmail(dot)com or post on the Facebook page

Challenges Update # 19 – Week 8 of War & Pages + New Books Approacheth!

Greetings my scintillating, scallywag Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the 8th update of  War & Pages + news on the state of New Books November one week in 🙂

war &  pages challenge badgeDespite being really lazy with reading Catch 22 during the week I managed to read some Sunday morning and coincidentally ended a chapter at the perfect place to fulfill my quota:

Catch 22:

catch22

50 pages (4 chapters)

World War Z:

world-war-z-book-cover

Finished! :D

Total:

50 pages

How perfect is that?! I’ve also been really slack this week (mainly because Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman is getting even better and has usurped all my other reads) but will likely read my 50 or so pages on Sunday again.

New Books November challenge badgeNew Books November has been up and running for almost a week now, and while I haven’t finished any books and replaced them with New Books November contenders, I am very close! As I said above I have been loving Neverwhere and am a few chapters away from finishing, and Catch 22 has 160 pages left, so if I keep on target two weeks after the end of this one I’ll be finished 🙂

I’m not sure if I’ll finish either before the 15th, but if not that just means I get to do a random pick out of all the piles and then when I do finish I can choose more 😀 Doesn’t sound too shabby to me!

This week I also started my New Books November mascot – Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales by Joss Whedon, Jane Espenson,  Becky Cloonan (writers), Tim Sale,Doug Petrie, Leinil Francis Yu, Gene Colan and others (artists)

buffy talesI read the prologue story which was about the first slayer, and then the next three slayer stories: one set in medieval times with a slayer who gets accused of witchcraft; one set during the French Revolution with a slayer who is tricked into killing a mortal man; and one set in an Austen-esque world of balls and manners in which the slayer has to masquerade as an eligible gentlemen.

All the stories were excellent, with different art and lettering fitting the setting, and I enjoyed them all very much 🙂 I will likely read a few more this weekend.

In other news I was naughty and bought more comics last Friday 😛

It started because the first issue of The Sandman: Overture, a 25th Anniversary Sandman origin story, was out which I have been excited about since I first heard word of it, and then once I’m in a comic store I’m bound to find something else I like…and we went to two…

Comic book haul - Quality and Red Griffin

The Sandman: Overture #1 – Chapter One by Neil Gaiman (writer), J.H. Williams III (artist), Dave Stewart (colourist), and Todd Klein (letterer);
Ghostbusters: The New Ghostbusters #1 – Volume 5 by Erik Burnham (writer, artist), Dan Schoening (artist, cover), Andrew Harmon (colourist), and Luis Antonio Delgado (colourist, cover);
Sky Doll: Space Ship #1 by Alessandro Barbucci, Barbara Canepa (writers), Pierre-Mony Chan, and Matteo De Longis (artists);
Zombies Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Jim McCann (writers), David Baldeon (penciller), and Jordi Tarragona (inker)

I got The Sandman: Overture and The New Ghostbusters from Quality Comics and I got Sky Doll and Zombies Christmas Carol (which were 15 and 17 bucks respectively thanks to a Halloween sale!) from Red Griffin Games

Also yesterday I went into the city after work and got a couple more from another local comic place, Comiczone:

Comics ComiczoneThe Witching Hour is by a host of artists and writers since it’s a horror anthology (follow the title link to see the whole gang :)) and Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess’ Stardust is by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess surprisingly enough, and is more an illustrated novel than a traditional graphic novel.

All of these will have to wait until New Books November is finished, but I certainly won’t have a lack of graphic novels and comics!

That’s all for now Bookbaggers 🙂 Keep a look out for little bit and bobs and next week’s update, but until then:

Ray, when someone asks you if you want a book, you say “YES”!

😛 Since I bought the New Ghostbusters graphic novel I thought it fitting to adapt a quote from one of my fave movies – Ghostbusters 🙂 As always if you have other book-related quotes or pop-culture ones which I can bookify, share away in the comments, send me an email at bookpolygamist(at)gmail(dot)com or post on the Facebook page 🙂

Challenge Update # 16 – Week 5 of War & Pages + Things & Stuff

Salutations my glorious, distinguished Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the fifth update of  War & Pages + a wee bit of news regarding my first Old Books October choices 🙂

war &  pages challenge badge

As I said in my last update, I finished World War Z by Max Brooks last Tuesday, so this challenge has started to get to the pointy end! Plus, since I also read some of Catch 22 on the weekend this week’s total has made up a little for last weeks poor effort:

Catch 22:

catch22

12 pages (1 chapter)

World War Z:

world-war-z-book-cover

43 pages – Finished! 😀

Total:

55 pages

As I have finished World War Z (which I absolutely loved and it definitely is one of my top 10 reads of this year) the challenge now falls solely on Catch 22. I will be keeping up the 50 pages a week quota and from a quick look at the number of pages remaining, I can tell that the challenge only has a max of 4 or so weeks to go. Perfect timing for Catch 22‘s replacement to be a contender in New Books November 😀

Now to the Things & Stuff:

comiccompanions-badge

I thought I’d do a little Comic Companions update since I’ve been reading some excellent graphic novels this week, and it hasn’t gotten its own look-in for a while what with the other challenges.

Firstly, last weekend I also read all my Free Comic Book Day comics – Star Wars: Captain Midnight/Avatar: The Last Airbender ; Mouse Guard /Rust flip book ; and Molly Danger/Princeless

free comic books day1

They were of course all very short and besides the front-runners, each one had other short previews of different comics, which was fun. I think of the three my favourite was the Mouseguard/Rust flip book because the art for both the main stories and the other snippets was lovely, and the little stories were just enough to gather interest in the series’ without making zero sense on their own. I also thought Princeless was quite cute and funny, and the Star WarsCaptain Midnight; Avatar: The Last Airbender and Molly Danger stories were all action-packed and colourful.

Then early this week I read the second half of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis #2 – The Story of a Return)

persepolis cover

While it wasn’t quite as confronting as the first half, with the author/main character studying abroad in Austria for most of her teenage years, it still didn’t shy away from tough topics, and introduced new ones that many teenagers face regardless of race and upbringing – exploring a developing identity, the balance between fitting in and being unique, experimentation with drugs and other rebelions, the expectations and confusion of hormones and sexuality etc. I was generally surprised by how much I enjoyed this graphic novel, as I don’t usually like autobiographical, or biographical stories. Yes it was hard to read in parts, but with every account of oppression, every death or every heart-breaking moment, there was an account of triumph, a hilarious story or an uplifting moment. Satrapi’s simple black ink artwork paired with the more complex written work created something which touched me without pushing me away, and in the whole I learnt a lot about Iran’s culture and politics (plus how the outside world perseived the country at that time) and ultimately about a young woman’s struggle to find herself and BE herself in a world trying to stifle her. it really made me think about our preconceived perceptions and asumptions of countries like Iran, and how as a westerner, I have been guilty of seeing a whole nation through the choices of a radical few. I hope that these realisations stay with me and make me take pause if I ever I find myself lumping people together rather than seeing an individual’s actions as their own.

I am glad I finally read Persepolis; cheers Banned Books Week :). It is definitely one of the best graphic novels I’ve read this year and will be featured in one of  my Top 10 Reads of 2013 posts (this year because I’ve read so many graphic novels I thought I’d do a Top 10 purely of graphic novels plus the usual one of books 🙂 )

Besides Persepolis I also started one of my other Comic Companions yesterday –  The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists 

sandman4

which I would’ve continued all the way through if it wasn’t one of my favorite TV nights (Wednesday night has a great line-up on Australia’s non-commercial channel ABC) and I plan to delve into the world of the Endless again tonight, and maybe also start my other Comic CompanionSoulless 

soulless manga

Old Books October challenge badge

There is only a tiny bit of news on the Old Books October front, but I’ll share it anyway 😛

This week I started one of the two books chosen: Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

guards guards

which even 15 pages in is already very funny in Terry Pratchett’s wonderfully weird and witty style (as seen in my most recent Notable Quotable). I haven’t opened Brisingr yet, but I hope to do so this weekend when I have some spare time.

Well, that’s all folks, for the moment anyway 🙂 Keep your eyes peeled for more Stuff and likely more Things as well next week, but until then:

It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, plenty of books, it’s dark… and we’re wearing sunglasses.

(As The Blues Brothers is probably my favourite movie of all time, and I caught some of it last weekend I thought this tweaking of a famous line was appropriate. I even use to have a sound bite of this quote [minus the books part obviously :P] as my SMS tone for years, but I lost it when changing to my current phone 😦 If any of my clever, nerdy Bookbaggers can think of other pop culture references/quotes I can adapt to be book related, share away in the comments, drop me a line at bookpolygamist(at)gmail(dot)com or saunter on over to the Facebook page 🙂 )

Challenges Update # 14 – Week 3 of War & Pages

Greetings my dazzling, sprightly Bookbaggers!

Welcome to third update of War & Pages + other exciting challenge developments 🙂

war &  pages challenge badge

Last weekend was a long one due to a Monday public holiday (it was the Queen’s Birthday holiday, but only in Perth…and her birthday is actually in April…its a little confusing but woo! public holiday!) so I was able to socialize and read more – huzzah! The downside was that I became a bit discombobulated with Sunday feeling like Saturday, Monday feeling like Sunday and Saturday not knowing how to feel, that I didn’t complete my reading for War & Pages until the Monday! Since it was a public holiday and the week was all screwy I decided that Monday still counted as last week and thus I completed my quota sufficiently :P:

Catch 22:

catch22

26 pages (2 chapters)

World War Z:

world-war-z-book-cover

26 pages

Total:

62 pages

Woohoo another unintentional perfectly balanced set of numbers! 😀
(I swear I really didn’t do that on purpose and was embarrassingly excited when I discovered it)

In other news, in case you don’t know a certain month-long challenge has officially begun:

Old Books October challenge badge

So far this month I finished one of my current reads:

chasing magic

Chasing Magic by Stacia Kane, and so have my guilty preemptive pick – Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – ready to start, but I haven’t finished anything else yet. However, Heartless by Gail Carriger has only 4 chapters to go, and World War Z by Max Brooks is similarly nearing the end so this weekend may be when I choose my first books and graphic novels for Old Books October 🙂

I also started reading my Banned Books Week choice – Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – yesterday (yes, I didn’t even begin it during Banned Books Week :s Darn long weekend!) and went through the whole first half (the copy I borrowed is actually a collection of both the original volumes:  Persepolis #1 – The Story of a Childhood and  Persepolis #2 – The Story of a Return) in one sitting. Almost immediately I was glad I chose it out of the list of banned/challenged books because it is a wonderfully honest and confronting tale of the author’s childhood in Iran during the Islamic revolution and regime change of the early ’80s and the war between Iran and Iraq. I have already learnt a lot about the culture and politics of Iran at the time which I either wasn’t aware of or knew just as flat facts from school, and it has inspired me to read up more on the subject as well as related concepts (i.e. Communism and Marxism). I can’t wait to read the rest of it (which I will probably do this afternoon or tomorrow).

That’s all for now, but brace yourself for a potentially juicy update next week 🙂

Until then:

Live Long and Read!

(Is that sacrilegious to Trekkies? In my mind prospering and reading are synonymous, but as always if you have opinions or other suggestions for a new sign off say so in the comments or hit me up at  bookpolygamist(at)gmail(dot)com or the Facebook page if email isn’t hip enough :P)