MID-YEAR READING REPORT

One of the down sides of The Job That Spoiled was the effect it had on my reading habits: basically, they went to crap. So, knowing I was going to escape, I set myself a target at the start of the year: 2 books a month, 24 in total.

Halfway through the year, I’m ahead of my schedule: 16 completed. Here’s what I’ve read, so far:

  1. The Who’s Who of British Crime in the 20th Century, Jim Morris
  2. Best American Mystery Stories 2011, Harlan Coben (ed)
  3. The Angels, Bob Yates
  4. The Murder of Nellie Duffy, Stephanie Bennett,
  5. The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, Giles Milton
  6. I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, Sylvie Simmons
  7. The Life of Graham Greene Vol 1: 1904-1939, Norman Sherry
  8. The Broken Shore, Peter Temple
  9. Annihilation, Jeff Vandermeer
  10. The Life of Graham Greene Vol 2: 1939-1955, Norman Sherry
  11. Sabbath’s Theatre, Philip Roth
  12. Tactics of Mistake, Gordon R Dickson
  13. I’ll Be Gone In the Dark, Michelle McNamara
  14. Dorsai, Gordon R Dickson
  15. The Life of Graham Greene Vol 3: 1955-1991, Norman Sherry
  16. Mr Mike: The Life and Work of Michael O’Donoghue, Dennis Perrin

It’s a biography- and true crime-heavy list, and I’ve not real reason for that, other than that’s the way my taste seems to leaning at the moment. The best of them, so far, would be The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, which is an entertaining and fascinating look at the formation of the British Secret Service  during the early days of World War Two. At the bottom of the pile is Sabbath’s Theatre, which is a repugnant and pointless Mary Sue of major proportions, and The Life of Graham Greene Volume 3, which crosses the line from biography to sycophantic arse-kiss.

I’ve also hot the graphic novels hard, having ploughed through more than fifty. Let’s be honest: Karratha’s not a big town. Still, I’ve read every non-Manga GN in the library and sunk a few orders into Book Depository to boot. Here’s what I’ve read:

  1. Green Lanterns Vol 2: The Phantom Lantern
  2. Monstress Vol 1: Awakening
  3. Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern Corps Vol 1: Sinestro’s Law
  4. Brightest Day Omnibus
  5. JSA: The Golden Age
  6. JLA: Power and Glory
  7. Justice League Vol 1: The Extinction Machines
  8. Secret Invasion
  9. Wolverine vs the Marvel Universe
  10. X-Men: The Fall of the Mutants
  11. X-Men Legacy: Legion
  12. Dark Avengers
  13. Daredevil: The Man Without Fear
  14. Avengers Vs X-Men: The New Avengers
  15. Invincible Iron Man: Reboot
  16. Planetary Vol 1
  17. Nightwing Vol 2: Rough Justice
  18. Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits
  19. Huntress: Crossbow at the Crossroads
  20. Justice League United: The Infinitus Saga
  21. Checkmate: A King’s Game
  22. Detective Comics Vol 1: Rise of the Batmen
  23. Wolverine/Gambit: Victims
  24. Batman: Through the Looking Glass
  25. Justice League: The Detroit Era Omnibus
  26. Wolverine: Mortal
  27. Batman & Robin: Dark Knight/White Knight
  28. Batman: Ego, the Deluxe Edition
  29. Eternals
  30. 4001AD: Deluxe Edition
  31. Wolverine: Prehistory
  32. Mazeworld: A Nightmarish Fantasy
  33. Hellboy in Mexico
  34. Kid Eternity Book One
  35. Dalton Monsterzz
  36. Superman: Ending Battle
  37. The Filth
  38. Batman Vol 1: The Court of Owls
  39. Legion of Monsters
  40. Batman: Arkham Unhinged
  41. All Star Batman
  42. Marvel: The End
  43. Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft
  44. Gotham Central Book Four: Corrigan
  45. The Uncanny Inhumans
  46. I, Vampire Vol 2: Rise of the Vampires
  47. Wolverine vs The Punisher
  48. Uncanny Vol 1: Season of Hungry Ghosts
  49. All New X-Men: The Ghosts of Cyclops
  50. Dead Space: Liberation
  51. Monstress, Vol 2: The Blood
  52. The Invincible Iron Man: The Future
  53. Winter City: Volume One
  54. The Boys Volume Twelve: The Bloody Doors Off
  55. Nightraven

No competition, here: the two volumes of Monstress, by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, are not only the best GN’s I’ve read this year, they are, by some distance, the best GNs I’ve read in years. They’re also likely to be the best books I read this year, bar none. The Monstress story is a sumptuous epic, well-realised and rounded, and genuinely emotional and beautiful. Do yourself a favour. Honourable mentions to X-Men: Legion, which takes a Vertigo-style approach to one of the more problematic characters in the X-Men universe and pulls it off with elan, and Justice League: The Detroit Era, which collects a maligned era in the JLA history, and shows that it was a whole lot better than people remember. Mazeworld was a nice little conceit, as well, and worth looking up.

Worst GN so far? Locke and Key was a massive disappointment: a hoary bunch of clichés sticky-taped over by Joe Hill’s reputation. Winter City is a second-rate Batman/Spawn melange, without wit or nuance. But Dead Space: Liberation is as bad as it gets: one-dimensional characters, thuddingly stupid dialogue, and muddy artwork that looks like it was painted in the dark with one eye closed. There is, literally, nothing to recommend it.

So there we go. 6 months, a tonne of reading. What have you sucked up with your eyeballs so far this year? What’s your favourite read? What should be avoided?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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