Thursday, December 22, 2011

Book-a-Week New Year's Resolution Planning Part 2

Since I've started thinking about this read a book per week New Year's Resolution it's been buzzing through my brain for at least a small portion of every day.

In that last little post, I mentioned 14 books already on the shelf that I haven't read yet. Some of them are whoppers (I'm looking at you, Gravity's Rainbow). If a quarter of my books are going to be heavy duty literature, I need to mix in a few I'm confident I can read quickly to balance things out: plays, novellas, and graphic novels.

I love graphic novels (comics that tell a self-contained story). I'm a late life convert, and like all converts, I can preach with zeal. I'll save the full sermon for another day, but the Cliff Notes version is that the "novel" hasn't been around all that long (many people credit Charles Dickens with popularizing the novel, but even his work almost always appeared in serial format before being republished as a single work); it's a relic of the Victorian Age, basically unimagined before then and uninteresting since then (though, truthfully, my favorite novels are probably from the early to mid-twentieth century- I think the Victorians are too long winded and just plain boring). Basically, I think that the modern reader is searching for something, anything more engaging than a novel.

So we revert to kindergarten: books with pictures. Isn't that the stereotype? But, let me tell you, these picture books include some of the most powerful works I've ever encountered. It's not all superheroes in spandex, not anymore. Check out Fun Home or Blankets if you don't believe me.

I've spent a little time in the last few days searching through lists of the best graphic novels of the last few years (since the last time I went on a real binge) and some "all time" lists. I'm looking for books that tackle real life: memoirs or non-fiction or realistic fiction; no super-powers (though a world in which the impossible occurs, a la magic realism, would be ok).

Here's my list (all books I haven't read):
Acme Novelty Library by Chris Ware
Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli
Caricature by David Clowes
City of Glass by Paul Auster
Ed the Happy Clown by Chester Brown
Habibi by Craig Thompson(new work from the author of Blankets)
I Never Liked You by Chester Brown
It's a Good Life If You Don't Weaken by Seth
Of Lamb by Matthea Harvey 
Onward to Our Noble Deaths by Shigeru Mizuki
Pinocchio by Frederic Felder
Robot Dreams by Sarah Varon
Troop 142 by Mike Dawson
Why I Hate Saturn by Kyle Baker

That should keep me busy!

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