24 August 2010

[BFG] Recent Reading: Mostly Manga

You know, for some reason I thought I had a lot more books I started ages ago and finally finished to put on the list this time, but actually there are none. Well, one novel that took me a while to get through, I guess. But I see I've mostly bee reading comics lately, and most of those comics are manga. There is a reason for that, and for some of my other reading, that I'm not quite ready to reveal, but more on that later, maybe.
  1. Vampire Hunter D by Hideyuki Kikuchi (fiction) buy from amazon
    Vampire Hunter D, Vol. 1
    I like anime, as you may have figured out, and sometimes I like to find the original sources of favourite films and series. Often it's manga, but almost as often, it's a novel. Vampire Hunter D was one of the first anime movies I saw (though not the first anime--that would be G-Force), and while it's actually not very good, it has those gorgeous designs by Yoshitaka Amano. Well, the novel isn't very good, either. In fact, it may be worse. Sure, it evokes some delicious weird futuristic horror, but that's in spite of the terrible prose. Which may be an indication that the original Japanese novel is quite good and it's the translation that's lacking. I don't know, but it's well enough liked that the novel got 20 sequel novels. I haven't decided if the weird atmosphere and Amano's drawings are enough to get me to pick up another one. 

  2. Once by James Herbert (fiction) buy from amazon
    Once, I probably would have liked this novel, but now it just feels like something other writers have done before, and better. I think it's because it seems like Herbert thought fairies would be a cool thing to use in horror novel, but doesn't have much invested in it. What I mean is, fairies are cool, but they're a decoration. Er, not that's not quite right. And I may very well be totally wrong. Anyway, it was an OK book, but not one I'll ever read again.
  3. White Cat by Holly Black (fiction) buy from amazon
    White Cat (Curse Workers, Book 1)
    Now here's one I'll treasure and read over and over. I loved Black's faerie urban fantasies, but this time she goes for magic, curses and conmen. Very cool, and I'm so looking forward to the next book.
  4. Spice and Wolf Volume 1 by Isuna Hasekura, art by Keito Koume (comics) buy from amazon
    Spice and Wolf, Vol. 1 (manga) (Spice and Wolf (manga))
    In this case, I haven't actually watched the anime yet (it's in the to-watch pile, though). I started with volume 1 of the manga, but I've also got the first two novels waiting on the shelf. The art is lovely, the story is engaging, and the worldbuilding is pretty well-done. This is a series I'll add to my regular books (or, at least, the ones I keep trying to catch up on, since "regular" is not a term applicable to my comic-shop trips seeing as I live in the sticks).
  5. Shaman Warrior Volume 4 by Park Joong-ki (comics) buy from amazon
    Shaman Warrior Volume 4 (v. 4)
    And this is one of those "regular books" I keep trying to catch up on. I haven't found very many Korean comics I like, and I'm not sure why. Possibly because the ones that get published in English are usually the ones that most closely imitate Japanese comics instead of going their own way (I may be wrong about that, and it might just be the comics I happen to have looked at). But Dark Horse seems to be really good at choosing books to translate. Shaman Warrior has a similar combination of gorgeous art, intense action and gripping storytelling that made me love Blade of the Immortal (not Korean, but also published by Dark Horse). Plus the beautiful covers are irresistible.
  6. Bone: The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith (comics) buy from amazon
    The Great Cow Race: 2 (Bone Series)
    I couldn't remember how far I'd got in this sweet, funny fantasy comic, so I started with volume 2 again. Plus, it was what I found at the library in Truro (checked out with my shiny new Colchester County library card). This is a great all-ages book with plenty to delight kids, and intelligent writing for grown-ups.
  7. How to Spot a Fox by J. David Henry (non-fiction) buy on amazon
    I love foxes, and this slender book is full of very cool info (including advice for wannabe fox biologists) and fantastic photos. This was also a Truro library find.
  8. American, Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (comics) buy from amazon
    American Born Chinese
    Love this book. Simple, cartoony, but skillful drawings and quiet storytelling. I wish I didn't have to take it back to the library, because I will definitely want to read it again.
  9. Anime Explosion by Patrick Drazen (non-fiction) buy from amazon
    Anime Explosion! The What? Why? & Wow! of Japanese Animation
    Ignore the terrible cover and read this book if you're interested in anime. It's one of those rare scholarly-level books that are also completely accessible to the casual reader. It's got thematic chapters, like sex, religion, war, mothers, death and the like, and chapters on specific series and/or creators. This is the second time I've read it, and I only wish there was an updated version.
  10. xxxHolic Volume 9 by CLAMP (comics) buy from amazon
    xxxHOLiC, Volume 9
    Here's another series I'm slowly trying to catch up on. Though I can't say I've loved everything CLAMP has ever done, they do tend to make interesting stories with super-stlyish character designs. Plus, this one crosses over occasionally with the next item on the list. Oh, and there are oden-selling foxes and a creature called a pipe fox that I really, really wish was real because I want one!
  11. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle Volume 9 by CLAMP (comics) buy from amazon
    Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, Volume 9
    Another stylish book from CLAMP that I'm hopelessly behind on. This series is (sort of) connected to Cardcaptor Sakura. I've actually read this volume once before, but there's no "previously . . ." blurb, so I went back to refresh my memory a bit before continuing the series.
  12. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle Volume 10 by CLAMP (comics) buy from amazon

    Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, Volume 10
    And after volume 9, I kept on reading . . .
  13. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle Volume 11 by CLAMP (comics) buy from amazon
    Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, Volume 11
    . . . and reading
And about those "buy from amazon" links, it's the usual affiliate deal. Buy something via those links and I get a little bit of money from the sale. I solemnly swear that any money I get will go towards more books and geeky things to write about here. Total amount made from amazon so far = $0. Yay! Also, I use the image ones primarily to have pretty pictures on the blog.

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