Even though I’m predictably irregular with year end resolutions which were only put through proper observation during few initiated months of the new year and logarithmically dissolved into daily soup of chores by the time year ends; I can still count myself pretty overachiever while considering challenges related to reading. Reading has been emerged with renewed ferocity with each passing year. With end of the one more successful reading year 2018, here’s summary of good, bad and ugly with courtesy to goodreads.com for organizing it in accessible way with spiced-up stats.
As evident below, 2018 is the year with most number of completed reads of all time which is due to large numbers of graphic novels and comics.
Most popular read this year was, as expected, belongs to literary classics: Crime and Punishments from Fyodor Dostoyevsky which is in continuation to my ongoing tradition with Russian classics after Anna Karenina.
Let’s take the trip down the reading lane for past year and have some reminiscences of most special and most boring read.
1. Tomie by Junji Ito: Scary-cum-body horror mix is potent and effective. Weirdness is mutually offset-ed by Japanese manga presentation and horror heightened due to minimalistic but effective black & white clean art.
2. Miracleman Book 1: Collection of short stories told artistically in universe of Miracleman. Some are really strange and some allegorical considering Gaiman at the helm.
3. Origin by Dan Brown: Dan brown can still connects real location world-wide with real scientific research and some interwoven fictional tale with most famous “symbologist” doing what he is good at. Origin was like balloon whose air is fizzling out as time passes. Still good for Dan Brown fans.
4. Swamp Thing Vol. 2: This years my Alan Moore read continuing brilliant Swamp Thing saga.
5. Patience: Time-travel story with emotional central plot. Bit muddled and not as good as Clowes’s Ghost World.
6.wytches: Completely new urban take on traditional witches with eye-popping color splatter art in the wake of Jackson Pollock.
7. Murder on the Orient Express: Foray into Agatha Christi’s world. I am fan of closed room mysteries and this is as good as I was looking forward to.
8.Fun Home: One of the best read of 2018 or of any year. Sharp, poignant and at the same time touching. Bachdel’s quest for exploring her complex sexual leaning along with relationship with her father, in turn makes her understand her father more profoundly. It is the tale which sounds more serious than the way its told.
9. Grindhouse: Cheap comic-con “earn” which was good considering value for money.
10. The Trip: One more new-stand pick-up fast read; picked up in Comic-con 2018.
11. Whiteout: Nice wintry chilling read.
12. The Alienist:Victorian age serial killing mystery set in Newyork – And I’m sold. Though it missed the mark of hitting the “Jack the Ripper” goal. Still readable for clever writing and historical research.
13. Summer of Night: Homage to Stephen King’s very popular “It” with very similar horror plot involving kids in some suburban US town. But its very good homage at that. Dan Simmons has uncanny ability to advance story through characterization. And that is very good sign of any famous author. Story take its own time to get into grooves, but that’s what the recipe of the good taste; let it be cooked on slow burn.
14. Harley Quinn Vol 1,2,3 (New 52): Dripping with feminism and bravura of style and art. Incorporating various artists for single story seamlessly is fun to read (and goggled over)
15.Maggie the Mechanic: One more title which celebrates the feminism with tale of band of girls in futuristic world where large complex machinery is the way of life and effective mechanics are reverential. Its collection of short stories, characterized by light weight tone of its nature even in the face of sheer calamity.
16. Crime and Punishment: Every year I shall indulge myself with one (or more) literary classics and I was flattened by last year’s Russian take of classics like Lolita and Anna Karenina. So continuing the trend, I attempted Fyodor Dostovesky. If the whole year reading list was consisted largely of comics and light read then it might be because of Crime and Punishment, as if I could not afford more serious read. It was dark, satirical and at the same time brilliantly translated as well as elaborated.
17. Preacher Book one: Garth Ennis’s pulls no stop in this ultra-violent offending story. Its good and serves what reader expected from such adult comic read.
18. Zero Hour: Short sci-fi story collection of the early comic golden age era. Some good, some thoughtful and some borderline geeky; but all entertaining.
19. The Outsider: Stephan King’s latest (but not best). Story is gripping and if it could have been 100 pages short than it would be more fun. Still lovely King experience all and all.
20. The Revolutionary Genius of Plants: Humankind actually not liking the spicy taste (spicy is not actually a taste belongs to primary tastes but sensation), we are addicted to it. And plants of pepper family has deliberately made us addictive. Interesting !! There is lot more in this revolutionary new book throwing new light aided by latest research. Excellent and enlightening.
21. Black sad: With popularity of Graphic novel medium arising immensely, aided by large number of adapted movies, some of the European gems are sipped to mainstream US market. Blacksad is one of the lot. Blacksad has to be seven course meal laid out for eyes. Excellent color filtered panels with water-color feel should leave you keep staring at each page for eternity. Noir crime drama is perfect match for such beautifully presented panels. Must read for anyone.
22. Four Color Fear: One more anthology of short campy horror tales from 50’s and 60’s decades. Not all are very enticing, but still comfy reads on wintry dark nights.
23. Sherlock The Great Game: Last season episode of very famous series Sherlock presented in Japanese manga style. Artist has done great job with sketches which resembles real characters of the series precisely.
24. A Study In Emerald: One more story referencing most famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. Given the fact that Neil Gaiman has written this short, expect lot many other famous literary references and allusions. Not for everyone but Gaiman fans.
25. Magpie Murders: Anthony Horowitz has done some great job to revive the classic characters like Sherlock Holmes in House of Silk or James Bond in Trigger Mortis. Magpie murders was homage to Agatha Christi’s style of murder mystery. Though written well, for me, it was bogged down by its own set high expectation. Little vapid all and all.
26. The Troop: Story is waffer-thin. But you don’t read horror for only story. Story of band of children stranded at island with something inexplicable- sounds very familiar and scary. It is more of body horror and sometimes King-style snippets of news articles and interviews embedded between chapters, won’t have desired effect. But still good beach read all and all. P.S. Go for classic “Lord of the Flies” to which Troop pays homage.