I read 16 books in December, 3 non-fiction and 13 fiction. I read 6 of the books on my Kindle.
Nina in That Makes Me Mad by Hilary Knight. Hilary Knight is one of my absolute favorite illustrators. You may know him as the artist who illustrated the Eloise books, but I have loved everything he has done – and this graphic novel for young readers is no exception.
The Canterbury Tales adapted and illustrated by Seymour Chwast. I had never read Canterbury Tales (just a few select stories in high school), so I was eager to read this graphic novel adaptation. It seems to me that the Canterbury Tales is a collection of fart jokes and sleeping with someone else’s wife. I don’t feel like I missed much not reading it.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. An amusing, quick read on my Kindle. I really like Kaling.
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake. This book is set in World War II and shifts perspectives from the home front on Cape Cod to the Blitz in London to the deportation of Jews in Europe. It was one of the popular fiction books of 2011, and while I enjoyed it, I think the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a more enjoyable read of a similar type of book.
Feynman by Jim Ottaviani. A graphic novel biography of the brilliant physicist, Richard Feynman. I wasn’t familiar with him at all before reading this, but I really enjoyed the book a lot.
Bake Sale by Sara Varon. Another sweet Varon graphic novel about friendship (and baked goods).
Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking by Philippe Coudray. A Toon book (so a graphic novel for early readers) that show a series of comics featuring the none-to-logical Benjamin Bear.
Level Up by Gene Luen Yang. A graphic novel that explores the protagonist’s conflicting love of video games and his family expectations that he go to medical school.
The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray. The Gingerbread Man is a classic tale that lends itself well to reinterpretation. In this version a school class bakes a gingerbread man and then leaves him to cool in their classroom. Thinking he has been left behind, the Gingerbread Man races off to find his class.
Bad Island by Doug TenNapel. This is sort of a graphic novel version of Lost for the late elementary school/middle school set. It was a good read, and I enjoy TenNapel’s illustrations.
Mangaman by Barry Lyga. This book was just weird to me, set in current times, but with a really ’80s look to it. It did do a good job of illustrating the differences between graphic novels and manga though.
Americus by MK Reed. My final graphic novel of 2011, Americus tells the story of a battle to ban a YA fantasy series from the public library. It’s hard for me not to love a book with a librarian battling censorship, and I found this one quite good.
At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson. Bryson uses the concept of his home to ramble on about the history of, well, pretty much anything that interests him. I really like Bryson – his writing style and his curiosity – so anything that interests him is pretty much guaranteed to interest me. Very enjoyable.
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. This is another book that was very popular a few years ago. It imagines the history of rare book and that hands that created and cared for it. It was a good read, although I kind of got bogged down in the middle. Glad I read it.
The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie. This is my least favorite Miss Marple so far – mostly because it was a series of short story mysteries (the 13 problems), instead of one real meaty book length one. An interesting concept, but I’m not much of a short story girl.
True Grit by Charles Portis. I think that I could have only loved this book more if I hadn’t already seen the movie and known what happened. The version I read had a postscript by Donna Tartt, and she mentioned how we talk about books we love and one of the measures of that is if we reread the book. I could definitely see rereading this book. It was good and fast and I love Mattie’s voice. I am not a Western reader, but I highly recommend this book.