Bookshelf

These are books that I have read since July 2015 (It’s not a large list, don’t hurt me) of books that I have read but might not be reviewed fully or be put in the Recommendations page.

2015

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Remix | Non Pratt

From the author of Trouble comes a new novel about boys, bands and best mates.

Kaz is still reeling from being dumped by the love of her life… Ruby is bored of hearing about it. Time to change the record.

Three days. Two best mates. One music festival. Zero chance of everything working out.

– Goodreads

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Fortunately The Milk | Neil Gaiman

“I bought the milk,” said my father. “I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: T h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road.”

“Hullo,” I said to myself. That’s not something you see every day.” And then something odd happened.

Find out just how odd things get in this hilarious story of time travel and breakfast cereal.

Goodreads

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Lighter than my Shadow | Katie Green

Like most kids, Katie was a picky eater. She’d sit at the table in silent protest, hide uneaten toast in her bedroom, listen to parental threats that she’d have to eat it for breakfast.

But in any life a set of circumstance can collide, and normal behavior might soon shade into something sinister, something deadly.

Lighter Than My Shadow is a hand-drawn story of struggle and recovery, a trip into the black heart of a taboo illness, an exposure of those who are so weak as to prey on the vulnerable, and an inspiration to anybody who believes in the human power to endure towards happiness.

Goodreads

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The Odyssey of Homer

The Odyssey is literature’s grandest evocation of everyman’s journey through life.

Goodreads

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The Penelopiad | Margaret Atwood

In a splendid contemporary twist to the ancient story, Margaret Atwood has chosen to give the telling of it to Penelope and to her twelve hanged maids, asking: “What led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to?” In Atwood’s dazzling, playful retelling, the story becomes as wise and compassionate as it is haunting, and as wildly entertaining as it is disturbing. With wit and verve, drawing on the story-telling and poetic talent for which she herself is renowned, she gives Penelope new life and reality—and sets out to provide an answer to an ancient mystery.

Goodreads

2016

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Waiting for Godot | Samuel Beckett

A seminal work of twentieth century drama, Waiting for Godot was Samuel Beckett’s first professionally produced play. It opened in Paris in 1953 at the tiny Left Bank Theatre de Babylone, and has since become a cornerstone of twentieth-century theater. The story line revolves around two seemingly homeless men waiting for someone or something named Godot. Vladimir and Estragon wait near a tree on a barren stretch of road, inhabiting a drama spun from their own consciousness. The result is a comical wordplay of poetry, dreamscapes, and nonsense, which has been interpreted as a somber summation of mankind’s inexhaustible search for meaning. Beckett’s language pioneered an expressionistic minimalism that captured the existentialism of post-World War II Europe.

Goodreads

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Slaughterhouse-Five | Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut’s absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut’s) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

Goodreads

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Hamlet | William Shakespeare

Hamlet is the story of the Prince of Denmark who learns of the death of his father at the hands of his uncle, Claudius. Claudius murders Hamlet’s father, his own brother, to take the throne of Denmark and to marry Hamlet’s widowed mother. Hamlet is sunk into a state of great despair as a result of discovering the murder of his father and the infidelity of his mother. Hamlet is torn between his great sadness and his desire for the revenge of his father’s murder.

Goodreads

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The Hive | Charles Burns

Much has happened since we last saw Doug, the Tintin-like hero from X’ed Out. Confessing his past to an unidentified woman, Doug struggles to recall the mysterious incident that left his life shattered, an incident that may have involved his disturbed and now-absent girlfriend, Sarah, and her menacing ex-boyfriend.

Doug warily seeks answers in a nightmarish alternate world that is a distorted mirror of our own, where he is a lowly employee that carts supplies around the Hive. The second part of Charles Burns’s riveting trilogy, this graphic narrative will delight and surpass the expectations of his fans.

Goodreads

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The House That Groaned | Karrie Fransman

Exploring bodies and the spaces they inhabit, this tale is set in an old Victorian tenement housing six lonely individuals who could only have stepped out of the pages of a comic book. There is the retoucher who cannot touch, a grandmother who literally blends into the background, and a 20-something guy who’s sexually attracted to diseased women. Yet, as we learn the stories behind these extreme characters, it becomes apparent that we may share similar issues—as individuals and as a society.

Goodreads

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Girl on the Shore | Inio Asano

When Koume and Keisuke’s relationship begins to take shape, it is apparent that they are both searching for something. Maybe Keisuke wants something more than a kiss from the fair Koume. Maybe Koume is looking for someone better than Misaki, the local playboy. But what they find in each other over the course of a summer might be far greater than anything they were expecting.

Goodreads

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Billy, Me and You | Nicola Streeten

Nicola Streeten’s little boy, Billy, was two years old when he died following heart surgery for problems diagnosed only 10 days earlier. Gut-wrenchingly sad at times, her graphic memoir is an unforgettable portrayal of trauma and our reaction to it – and, especially, the humor or absurdity so often involved in our responses. As Streeten’s story unfolds and we follow her and her partner’s heroic efforts to cope with well-meaning friends and day-to-day realities, we begin to understand what she means by her aim to create a “dead baby story that is funny.”

Goodreads

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Science Tales: Lies, Hoaxes and Scams | Darryl Cunningham

A graphic milestone of investigative reporting, Science Tales takes on controversies surrounding climate change, electro-convulsive therapy, the moon landing, the MMR vaccine, homeopathy, chiropractic, evolution and science denialism.

Thouroughly researched and sourced, Cunningham’s clear narrative, graphic lines and photographic illustration explain complicated and controversial issues with deceptive ease and wit. Science Tales decodes the myths and lies that have shaped some of the most fiercely-debated issues of the past fifty years.

Goodreads

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Bad Doctor | Ian Williams

Incontinent old ladies, men with eagle tattoos, traumatised widowers – Iwan’s patients cause him both empathy and dismay, as he tries to do his best in a world of limited time and budgetary constraints, and in which there are no easy answers. His feelings for his partners also cause him grief: something more than friendship for the sympathetic Dr Lois Pritchard, and not a little frustration at the prankish and obstructive Dr Robert Smith.

Iwan’s cycling trips with his friend Arthur provide some welcome relief, but even the landscape is imbued with his patients’ distress. As we explore the phantoms from Iwan’s past, we too begin to feel compassion for The Bad Doctor, and ask what is the dividing line between patient and provider?

Goodreads

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The Nao of Brown | Glyn Dillon

Twenty-eight-year-old Nao Brown, who’s hafu (half Japanese, half English), is not well. She’s suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and fighting violent urges to harm other people. But that’s not who she really wants to be. Nao has dreams. She wants to quiet her unruly mind; she wants to get her design and illustration career off the ground; and she wants to find love, perfect love.
Nao’s life continues to seesaw. Her boyfriend dumps her; a toy deal falls through. But she also meets Gregory, an interesting washing-machine repairman, and Ray, an art teacher at the Buddhist Center. She begins to draw and meditate to ease her mind and open her heart—and in doing so comes to a big realization: Life isn’t black-and-white after all . . . it’s much more like brown.

Goodreads

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Opus | Satoshi Kon

OPUS is Kon’s metafictional tale of Chikara Nagai, a creator under pressure to finish his latest graphic novel, Resonance, who finds that the harshest critic of the shock ending he’s got planned is the character who’ll have to die in it! Nagai’s stregths and weaknesses as a creator are tested beyond their limits as his present and his past, and the worlds of the manga and of reality, become the levels of a maze he may never escape… let alone get a chance to resolve the story!

Goodreads

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Rumble Strip | Woodrow Pheonix

This is a powerful and darkly humorous graphic polemic by a leading British comics artist that investigates our increasingly dangerous relationship with cars. If you want to get away with murder, buy a car. Combining autobiography, statistics, case histories, advertising and reportage, Woodrow Phoenix draws a compelling picture of the warped psychology behind our need for speed.

Goodreads

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Becoming Unbecoming | Una

A devastating personal account of gender violence told in comic book form, set against the backdrop of the 1970s Yorkshire Ripper man-hunt

Goodreads

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Low Volume 1: The Delerium of Hope | Rick Remender & Greg Tocchini (Illustrator)

Millennia ago, mankind fled the earth’s surface into the bottomless depths of the darkest oceans. Shielded from a merciless sun’s scorching radiation, the human race tried to stave off certain extinction by sending robotic probes far into the galaxy to search for a new home among the stars. Generations later, one family is about to be torn apart in a conflict that will usher in the final race to save humanity from a world beyond hope. Dive into an aquatic fantasy like none you’ve ever seen before, as writer Rick Remender (Fear Agent, Uncanny Avengers) and artist Greg Tocchini (Last Days of American Crime) bring you a tale mankind’s final hour in the cold, deathly dark of the sea.

Goodreads

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Pentti & Deathgirl | Emma Rendel

‘Pentti’ is the story of two Finnish brothers, Juha and Pentti. When two men move in next to their farm, Pentti is convinced they must be gay. ‘So what?’ says Juha, but Pentti, full of drink and righteous anger, storms off into town looking for a fight.

‘Deathgirl’s Diary’ tells of Deathgirl, lonely and friendless, talking only to her diary, where she confides her obsessions: stabbing, beheading, poisoning…

Goodreads

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Grandville Bête Noire | Bryan Talbot

The baffling murder of a famed Parisian artist in his locked and guarded studio takes the tenacious Detective Inspector LeBrock of Scotland Yard and his faithful adjunct, Detective Sargent Ratzi, into the cut-throat Grandville art scene to track the mysterious assassin. As the body count mounts and events spiral out of control, the investigation points to Toad Hall, where a cabal of industrialists and fat cats plot the overthrow of the French State

Goodreads

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Nijigahara Holograph | Inio Asano

Butterflies ominously proliferate as children whisper rumors of a mysterious creature lurking in the tunnel behind the school. To appease its wrath, they decide to offer it a sacrifice–a human one. But this is only the beginning of Nijigahara Holograph, which takes place in two separate timelines and involves the suicidal Amahiko; Kohta, the lovestruck bully; their teacher Miss Sakaki, whose heavily bandaged face remains a mystery; and many more brothers, sisters, parents, co-workers, teachers, aggressors, and victims who are all inextricably linked to one another. Ten years later, all will have to face what they’ve done or suffered through–and maybe the end of the world.

Goodreads

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shortcomings Shortcomings | Adrian Tomine

Shortcomings, Adrian Tomine’s first long-form graphic novel, is the story of Ben Tanaka, a confused, obsessive Japanese American male in his late twenties, and his cross-country search for contentment (or at least the perfect girl). Along the way, Tomine tackles modern culture, sexual mores, and racial politics with brutal honesty and lacerating, irreverent humor, while deftly bringing to life a cast of painfully real antihero characters. A frequent contributor to The New Yorker, Tomine has acquired a cultlike fan following and has earned status as one of the most widely acclaimed cartoonists of our time.

Goodreads

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Lafcadio Hearn’s The Faceless Ghost and Other Macabre Tale from Japan | Sean Michael Wilson & Michiru Morikawa (Illustrator)

Over one hundred years ago, the writer Lafcadio Hearn gathered and translated into English a selection of traditional Japanese ghost/mystery stories. They were published as Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. In this new graphic novel, acclaimed manga creator Sean Michael Wilson retells six of these stories. All of them are very well known in Japan, where ghosts and demons are often called yokai, meaning “the mysterious and weird.” Today these stories find expression mostly in movies and manga, but they remain rooted in the traditional ghost stories of the Edo era known as kaidan, which means “recited narrative of strange, mysterious, rare, or bewitching apparitions.”

Goodreads

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Black Hole | Charles Burns

Suburban Seattle, the mid-1970s. We learn from the out-set that a strange plague has descended upon the area’s teenagers, transmitted by sexual contact. The disease is manifested in any number of ways — from the hideously grotesque to the subtle (and concealable) — but once you’ve got it, that’s it. There’s no turning back.

As we inhabit the heads of several key characters — some kids who have it, some who don’t, some who are about to get it — what unfolds isn’t the expected battle to fight the plague, or bring heightened awareness to it , or even to treat it. What we become witness to instead is a fascinating and eerie portrait of the nature of high school alienation itself — the savagery, the cruelty, the relentless anxiety and ennui, the longing for escape.

And then the murders start.

Goodreads

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