Not yet, not really, but I’m trying to ease myself slowly back into the process of reading for leisure.
So, 2015 has been a really, really turbulent year for me. Health issues, inconducive environments, daily tension, but I’m glad that all these troubles have made me more emphatic, more brave to pursue what I want, and to say no to things I do not enjoy and do not like. I’m also thankful to the friends who have stood by me and also, my family (even though times weren’t always sunshine and rainbows). All these of course, is not possible without God’s love and grace, and everyday that I’m alive, I thank Him.
Now, onto the gist of the post. The books that I’ve read this year were an assortment of genres, but those that I really enjoyed were centered around families (dysfunctional or loving), and a strong support group of friends. Probably because I was going through a really difficult phase of my life, i felt that these genres gave me comfort and reassurance when no one else could, and for those reasons, they made it into my favorites list. For a complete list of what I’ve read in 2015, (41 books!!) click here.
In no particular order:
A grotesquely beautiful graphic novel about silence and the impact miscommunication can have on a family.This book has the rare ability to speak to you without words. Small utilises the picture medium so well that panels come alive even without speech, and unloving stares from behind clouded spectacles feel as if they’re cast upon you, not Small. Anyone can enjoy this book, and undoubtedly a masterpiece in the graphic novel genre.
Displacement: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley
A lovely memoir about aging and the impact it has on not only the people around them, but also the psyche and mental burden it can pose on the aging. Knisley’s neat, colorful style juxtaposes the heavy and much avoided topic of aging (its costs, healthcare providers, the role of a filial/dutiful child, generation gaps, etc) really marvelously and sets one thinking about their own role in the family. Are you a good child? Are you loving towards your elders who might seem like burdens, but used to take care of you when you were young (and burdensome)? Food for thought without slipping into the detestable abyss of preaching.
The definition of elegant, poetic prose, Marra brings about the coarseness of the reality and rawness of war with expert fluidity. Though the novel has the tendency to drag on and on at times, no detail nor subtle emotion is left out of the narration. The novel comes full circle, and Marra demonstrates how everyone and their actions have consequences on everything and every other person, which rings especially true in a war torn country.
The All Girls’ Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg
You know when you come across books that are described as being “a joy to read”? The All Girls’ Filling Station’s Last Reunion is definitely one such book. Flagg does a wonderful job alternating and eventually tying two starkly different families, living under different conditions, together into a beautiful ribbon. Her style of writing is casual without being sloppy, and was one of the books I finished within 3 days (I drag out reading my books, usually)!!
Maus by Art Spiegelman
A monotone colour palette, heavy symbolism, and a memoir on the horrors of war and the impact it has on the psyche on the survivors make Maus to be probably one of the most powerful graphic novels of all time. Even though Spiegelman explored the psyche of the war survivors and their descendants very well, I felt that some of the character development was still a bit lacking, especially for those that were not part of the Spiegelman family.
The thing about I Am Legend is that there is no editions of the book with a mildly scary cover art. What about scaredy cat readers like myself?!
Fellow scardey cat readers, fear not. I Am Legend, though marketed as horror, is less chills inducing and more thought provoking. Robert Neville, resident protagonist, isn’t the most lovable, but certainly very realistic and raw. The portrayal of a zombie/vampire world with only one single human left is desolate and desperate, and the end though obvious, will leave one thinking for some time .
As lovable as lovable gets. This book got me in (near) tears simply because of how beautiful it is. The story follows three women, each with their own troubles, and how they manage to stay true to themselves and each other throughout life’s curve balls. Extremely touching without bordering into sappiness, I’d safely say that Moore’s a talent to be looked out for.
I never knew I would come to like graphic novels with a ‘screaming’ style. Pardon the simplistic description, but ‘screaming’ does seem a good fit for Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? I mean, look at the an excerpt of the story below.
Right? I love it. Somehow, Chast’s style was able to portray the anxiety and frustration of taking care of aging parents comedically enough to not border on rudeness (dangerous territory). Which is what everyone needs, because let’s be honest, we all have such thoughts once in a while, and Chast utilizes the dilemma of being a filial daughter versus run for your damn lives extremely well. Engaging, funny, and relatable, if you haven’t already.
If you haven’t read this, you HAVE to.
If not, aliens are going to demolish the Earth in 2 seconds and you’ll see yourself on a spaceship listening to the world’s most gorgeous poem narration with your undercover alien best friend.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell
I went into this without reading the novel version. And I’m still alive. But seriously, this was one of the most beautiful graphic novels I’ve ever laid my eyes on. If you’ve read the book by Neil Gaiman, I’d say pick this up. If you haven’t, I’d say start here. Strangely, reading the graphic novel version first didn’t rub off any of my wanting to read the novel version. In fact, it kinda made me think about how Gaiman wrote it (which undoubtedly he did very well at) since the imagery was so stunning and envelops you much like you’re part of the graveyard family. Amazing, amazing, amazing.
…And that’s a wrap!
Thank you all for reading my blog, and I hope that I’be a better book blogger in 2016! More book reviews, better quality writing, and more book related opinion articles (which I feel I need to improve on). Enjoy your last day of 2015, and a Happy New Year to all of you!
How was 2015 for you? What were your favorite books of 2015? Let me know.