Life has been very, VERY, VERY busy lately. This year’s Summer Reading program at the library has absolutely exploded! I feel very blessed to serve such a wonderful community with so many thoughtful and appreciative patrons.
And the signs of a happy Summer Reading program have been scattered throughout the last month–a bottle rocket graveyard on the library roof; hands stained with paint after a successful craft; a cluttered office after Library Comic Con; and many, many smiling faces.
So it is little wonder I haven’t had much time for my blog. But today has been a nice quiet respite, and I thought it might be fun to do a post.
We’re about halfway through the year, and even though life has been busy, I’ve still found time to read. So, I thought… why not post a list of my top 10 favorite books of the year so far?
Best Books of the Year (So Far)
10. Something is Killing the Children, Vol. 4 by James Tynion IV
9. Teen Titans, Year One by Amy Wolfram
8. Daredevil: Back in Black, Vol 3: Dark Art by Charles Soule
7. Spider-Man: City at War by Dennis Hopeless
6. Library Wars 15 by Kiiro Yumi
5. Sentient by Jeff Lemire
4. Spy Family 7 by Tatsuya Endo
3. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
2. How to Take Over the World by Ryan North
1. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
What have been your favorite books this year? Has anyone else read any of these on my list? What did you think of them?
Picture: Spider-Man perler bead craft from one of our library activities.
Really cute and sweet and heartfelt. I loved the theme that being a superhero doesn’t mean that you need superpowers–sometimes, you just need to be there for someone. My favorite superhero is Superman for that very reason: At the core of those comics, he’s just a guy trying to help in the ways that he can. (The ways that he can just happen to be catching meteors and such, lol.) But sometimes the “ways that you can” mean volunteering, or being a friend, or just spreading a bit of happiness rather than hate. This book ends with the idea that sometimes the “cheesy” things can also be true–and I love this comic for saying that! Thank you for reminding us that our favorite characters are superHEROES. So yes, sometimes the cheesy things are true: That we can all put a little positive into the world. (Flying and bulletproof skin not necessary.)
A expected this to be a spooky story… but it was, in actuality, a very tragic one. The art-half the diary-half complemented each other perfectly. The end result meant that, while there was some creepy imagery, the story itself was a sad one about what happens when people are cruel to each other. I’d definitely recommend it; it’s a fast read, but it it packs a powerful punch.
I know my plan was to post on every Sunday, but yesterday, I got a little bit distracted.
I played my first ever videogame all the way through! (It was only four hours long and my brother was helping me with the puzzles, but still… it was kind of a nerd-complishment for me.)
In case anyone is wondering, the game was called To the Moon, and it was actually more of a visual novel. I loved every second of it. The game told a really compelling story in way that only a videogame can. The added element of interaction really brought what was a sweet, but also heart-wrenching story, to new levels.
But, on to the point of this blog: Writing progress.
Last week, I… WROTE THREE CHAPTERS! That’s huge for me! So often, I don’t have time to write, or I just feel creatively drained. But that was not true last week. Three chapters, done. And I’m actually excited to write more. It doesn’t feel like something to check off my to-do list; it feels like something I WANT to do.
It’s been a long while since I’ve felt that way about writing. As much as I adore it, more often than not, the last several years, it’s felt like something that just needed to get done. It was such a relief to really have fun with it again.
And, not going to lie, I felt a little maniacal at one point. You know all those memes about authors putting their characters through ridiculous trials…. Mwahahaha… that was me.
So yes, this past week was a good one: I tried a new hobby and made progress (and rekindled some love) in an old one.
I did this on my personal Facebook page, and… well, I thought it would be fun here, too! But there will be one change: When I did this at the end of last year (you know, two weeks ago), I just listed the books, no order. This time, I’m totally going to rank them!
I love lists, and I love books, and if you’re on my blog, I’m guessing you do, too!
These are my top 20 books of last year. Did you read any of these? If so, what did you think? What were your favorite books of last year! I’d love to hear!
20. 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston
19. The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home by Joseph Fink
18. Green Arrow (Rebirth) graphic novel series by Percy Benjamin, Julie Benson
17. The Flash by Mark Waid: Book Six
16. Green Lantern Corps (New 52) graphic novel series by Peter J. Tomasi
15. Library Wars: Love & War manga series by Kiiro Yumi
14. Blue Beetle (New 52) graphic novel series by Tony Bedard
13. Green Arrow/Black Canary: ‘Til Death Do They Part by Judd Winick
12. Fantastic Four graphic novel series by Dan Slott
11. Green Arrow: Archer’s Quest by Brad Meltzer
10. The Flash: United They Fall by Gail Simone
9. Spy Family manga series by Tatsuya Endo
8. Action Park: Fast Times, Wild Rides, and the Untold Story of America’s Most Dangerous Amusement Park by Andy Mulvihill, Jake Rossen
7. Superman: Man of Tomorrow, Vol. 1: Hero of Metropolis by Robert Venditti
6. Resident Alien graphic novel series by Peter Hogan
5. Batman: The Dark Prince Charming by Enrico Marini
4. Lore Olympus, Vol. 1 by Rachel Smythe
3. Common Grounds by Troy Hickman
2. The Woods graphic novel series by James Tynion IV
Sweet and fun with lots of moments that make you smile. Plus, it’s a manga about why books shouldn’t be censored–which was particularly interesting in this installment since the story’s library actually decided to not include a magazine in their collection (one that specifically broke the law by printing the name of a minor serial killer). Yeah… talk about shades of gray and some interesting fodder for a debate/discussion. In short, this is a book that makes you think while also being a nice, sweet little rom-com. Not an easy balance to achieve, but it somehow manages it perfectly–which is saying something coming from someone who does not typically enjoy rom-coms.
*This is the final book in a three-part graphic novel series.*
A pretty solid read. If I’m being honest, it was more “mature” than I usually prefer, but the story was still engaging. I wanted to know what was going to happen next and how the mystery would be solved–and if justice would be served. I won’t answer that question because… spoilers… but I will say if you want a gritty tale of ’40s Hollywood that deals with everything from murder and conspiracy to PTSD and alcoholism… well, then this is a book that will give you that in a well-written–albeit at times uncomfortable–way.
I’m planning on adding reviews to Word-Maleerie! I write them anyways–because when you read over 200 books a year (not as impressive as it sounds; a lot of them are graphic novels), you need SOMETHING to help keep the stories straight. And I figured… what better one to start with than my library’s most recent Comic Book Club read!
This was a re-read for my library’s Comic Book Club. And… yeah, I loved it just as much as I did the first time. Maybe even more, since it was really fun to go back to where these characters first began and compare them to who they are now. I love a good character evolution, and Ms. Marvel is full of that! Plus, lots of emphasis on family and community, while still being a story about finding your own identity and…. well, just a darn good superhero origin. Seriously, if you haven’t read Ms. Marvel, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND. ———— I’ve been wanting to read Ms. Marvel for ages, and now I finally have. In short, I found the entire graphic novel… delightful. I LOVE KAMALA. She is nerdy and fun! I feel like she would be most readers if we lived in the Marvel Universe and got superpowers. (But not in a Mary Sue way. She is totally her own person and unique–which was kind of the whole theme of this particular volume–but just also very relatable.) I can’t wait to see what other adventures are waiting for Ms. Marvel!
I promise I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth. (Yet, at least… with how crazy the world has been the past couple of years, I wouldn’t be surprised if gravity spontaneously stopped.)
So why haven’t I been writing? Well, like I said previously, I’ve been working on some new ideas for how the blog will be organized. But mostly… the past few weeks were spent enjoying a little bit of escapism. (Because we all need some of that these days, right?)
Recently, I attended the Cincinnati Comic Expo. My husband and I have a tradition of going every year, and after having to skip 2020 (for obvious reasons)… boy, were we excited to go back!
But attending a comic convention isn’t as simple as just… you know, going to to the convention. Oh no. If you’re a comic collector, like me, and if you have a nice little room that you’ve dubbed “nerdvana” specifically for nerdy memorabilia… well, you have to plan.
So the week prior was spent analyzing my collection and pinpointing which classic comics would be a part of my search. (Which also involves checking various prices, because a FAIR comic and a FINE comic have very different values… and if you don’t want to overpay–because who does?–then you need to really know the cost spectrum.) Then there was figuring out which Funko Pops I would search for, if I wanted to look for any action figures… etc., etc.
If you didn’t believe I was a nerd before… well, there’s no going back now, is there?
After the con, there’s time spent re-organizing collections (and wishing you had more shelf space) and updating Excel spreadsheets (because I’m not just a nerd… I’m also a dork… AND PROUD!)
So, yes, while I’ve been working on my plan for Word-Maleerie, Phase 2… I’ve also just been… well, being wholly and unabashedly nerdy.
Which I would recommend. 5/5 stars.
If you’ve never wandered through a convention hall filled to bursting with all things comic, fantasy, sci-fi, and anime; if you’ve never wandered through crowds, elbow to elbow with fellow nerds dressed in quippy t-shirts or decked out as their favorite characters; if you’ve never sat in a hall as costumed fan after costumed fan strode onto the stage, with the audience cheering and applauding their skills; if you’ve never haggled over a comic right after a long conversation over DC and Marvel’s movies….
In short… if you’ve never let yourself just totally be among other people who are also just letting themselves be themselves… then please do. The first chance you get.
And it doesn’t have to be at a comic convention. It can be at a sporting event. Or in a gym. Or at a restaurant. Or in a theme park. People tend to think that nerds only exist “in a galaxy far, far away” or in Gotham City.
But we don’t. “Nerd” is really just a word that means passionate. I’ve met my fair share of sports nerds. Or roller coaster nerds. Or food nerds. They just tend to go by different titles: Jocks, or adrenaline junkies, or foodies.
But it all means the same thing: Loving what you love. Being who you are. And loving other people who are also just being who they are.
We need more of that. I’d say “especially these days,” but let’s be real: Humans have always had a tendency toward selfishness, or arrogance, or violence–or a million other pitfalls.
The good news is, we also have a tendency toward comradery and kindness.
And believe me: When you’re watching a costume contest, and every single person in the audience is showering the person on stage with love and with applause that says: “Wow, you made that yourself? You look incredible!”
That moment there is when a little bit of faith in humanity comes back.
So, yes, these past few weeks have been a time of escapism. But they’ve also been a time of so much more.
I’ll be writing more soon. I haven’t forgotten this blog or all of the wonderful people who read it. Truly from the bottom of my heart: Thank you.
But in the mean time… here are some Comic Expo pictures! (Specifically the costume contest because… yeah, that’s the most fun part. Also, please forgive if the photos are blurry…. You’d be surprised how fast people move on a stage!)