Welcome to the monthly reading recap!
December was slow, as expected. Christmas is a major family holiday for me, which usually means that there’s traveling involved, and staying over at other peoples’ houses, etc. As a result, I don’t typically get much read during the month. Luckily, I had a few days to myself toward the end, and I was able to get through a few visual books, two of which I happened to receive as Christmas gifts, which was nice (and a bit rare).
Incidentally, I did successfully complete my Goodreads 2014 challenge for eighty books. Yay for me! For next year, I’ll start with eighty-five on my to-do list.
For Christmas this year, I received two art books. The first is An Excuse to Draw by Tommy Kane. This book is fantastic and almost entirely made up of Kane’s sketchwork, with only a few paragraphs of notes here and there about the drawings. I admire Kane’s art style and, as with many of the artists I follow, the fact that he keeps such detailed sketchbooks of his travels. I aspire to that level of archival artistry, but I haven’t quite gotten the hang of drawing around people while still maintaining my focus. Definitely a book I’d recommend for anyone who keeps an artist journal or sketchbook, or who is into urban sketching.
The second art book I received is A Year in Japan by Kate T. Williamson. Williamson’s book reads more like a journal, with descriptive text following many of the drawings. Her art is completely different from Kane’s, with a much simpler style. I love the bright colors she uses and also her tendency to recreate patterns and designs. I’d recommend this one to people who like books about Japan or artist journals similar to (though not exactly like) Danny Gregory’s.
A few random manga volumes came in over the last couple of months, and I was finally able to catch up with them.
First, I read Black Butler, volume 18 by Yana Toboso. We’re finally getting out of the boarding school arc and into the next major storyline. I don’t have a lot to say about this except that Undertaker gets increasingly more interesting, and I can’t wait to find out where his story leads. I worry sometimes that they’ll drag him into every arc without offering anything to further his character, but maybe that’s an unwarranted concern.
Of course, when I follow up with a manga like D.Gray-Man, volume 24, which has lost all semblance of coherency, then I feel like I have reason to worry. I honestly don’t understand what’s happening in this manga anymore. I know that Allen Walker is struggling with his transformation into the Fourteenth, but beyond that I’m well and truly lost. This story ceased to make much sense about five volumes ago. Alas, after investing in so many volumes, I keep reading in the hopes that it’ll all become clear.
However, Ooku, volume 10 by Fumi Yoshinaga was a very good installment in the Ooku series. But damn this volume for being so heartbreaking. I could see where it was going a mile away, and I desperately hoped that it wouldn’t end the way I knew it had to end. But that’s what happens when so many political agendas are at cross purposes, only to be crowned with several environmental disasters at once. The first steps to stopping the redface pox have been made, but we have yet to see if the disease will be overcome for good. Ooku continues to be a series that impresses me very much, and hopefully volume eleven won’t take too long to arrive.
The perfect wrap up to my December was Saga, volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Since most of my comments about this series come down to incoherent fangirling, I’ll just say that this volume did not disappoint. There were some exciting plot points, and I can’t wait to see how they’re resolved in the next book.
And that covers December 2014. What did you read last month, and how did you like it?