Book Get! #7: Christmas and Then Some (14 Titles)

I received quite a few more books in December than I thought I would, especially for Christmas. Normally I only get one or two books as gifts, often from friends. But this year my family gave me quite a few, which was pretty exciting.

And here we go:

The Urban Sketching Handbook: People and Motion by Gabriel Campanario
This is the second instructional manual by Gabriel Campanario, author of The Art of Urban Sketching. I haven’t quite finished reading the parent book or the first instructional book (Architecture and Cityscapes), but from what I’ve seen of them, I’m very excited to do so. I love sketch art and journal art, and I really like the beautiful work that comes out of urban sketching, even if I happen to be rubbish at it. Capturing people in motion is quite tricky, so any additional advice I can get on it is more than welcome.

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
I saw this book by happenstance on Amazon one morning. The premise of the story–three people stuck in a mysterious library–intrigued me, so I ordered it (handy that I had a Barnes & Noble gift card that week). When I received the book, I found that it wasn’t quite what I had expected. In addition to being very short, it had a unique design–I shouldn’t have expected less from Chip Kidd. While this one isn’t high on my priority list at the moment, I expect it’ll be very interesting once I get to it.

Scherzo by Jim Williams
I retrieved this novel from the free book bin at my workplace. Since I’m currently working on a music/opera-based story, I enjoy finding others books that work with a similar topic. This one takes place in 18th century Venice and appears to be a murder mystery. Fun times.

Otomen, vol. 5 by Aya Kanno & Otomen, vol. 12 by Aya Kanno
Though I’ve read all of the Otomen manga already, I didn’t start collecting it properly until volume thirteen. I’ve been trying to pick up the missing volumes over time, and this month I managed to order volumes five and twelve. I now only need to get six through ten. Hopefully I can get the rest of them without Amazon’s poor packing practices damaging any more of my copies.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
This was a Christmas gift from one of my good friends. She always gives me novels slightly outside my regular genres, which I appreciate, since it prevents me from getting bored. I had mentioned that I was on the fence about reading Gone Girl: intrigued by the premise but put off by how a lot of people whose tastes I question seem to praise it a little too much. She liked it well enough, and now I have the opportunity to read it for myself and decide if I like it. Thanks, Amanda!

The Last Wish (The Witcher #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski
I’ve been trying to get this book at my local Barnes & Noble for ages, to no avail (don’t ask me why I don’t just order it–that’s beside the point). I happened across it at the store in Tallahassee, Florida, of all places. This turned, unexpectedly, into a gift when my dad paid at the register. Apparently this is the story that inspired the Witcher video game. It also happens to be Polish fantasy, which I find very exciting.

The Defenders by Will McIntosh
This is another book that ended up being a gift from my dad. It was also something of an impulse buy because I couldn’t find the book I was looking for, and I happened to see this one on another blog a week or two prior. Truth be told, I can’t remember what this one is about. Science fiction, possibly about…robots? Maybe not. More on that later. I’m really itching to read more science fiction this year, so it’ll be toward the top of my list.

An Excuse to Draw by Tommy Kane
This is one of the art books that was on my Christmas list this year. I really enjoy Tommy Kane’s artwork, and I was excited when he released a book last fall. His whimsical style and travel sketches are a lot of fun to look at, and they’re very inspiring for someone like me who, despite being a freelance artist once upon a time, has really fallen out of the discipline. Looking at his work makes me want to get back into it–at least for myself. Not so much commercially. I’m also a control freak who tends to squeeze the life out of her drawings, so his more organic style blows my mind a little bit.

A Year in Japan by Kate T. Williamson
This is another of the art books that was on my wish list (and has been for quite some time). As indicated by the title, this is an illustrated account of Williamson’s visit to Japan. The artwork is simple but colorful, and I enjoy the cultural tidbits that Williamson includes. Quick to read, but easy to return to over and over again to admire the artwork.

Master Keaton, vol. 1 by Naoki Urasawa
As one of my favorite mangaka, Naoki Urasawa has a free pass to my library forever. When I first heard Master Keaton was being released, I jumped on it instantly and pre-ordered it from Amazon. Keaton is a lecturer at a Japanese university, but on the side he’s an insurance investigator with a special forces background. Pretty fun stuff with an unexpected protagonist. Now if I could just convince myself to order the Monster Perfect Edition….

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
A fantasy novel that seems to have both magic and political maneuverings, this book wasn’t on my radar until I read a review of it on one of the blogs on my feed (the same one that recommended The Defenders). After reading about that person’s rather intense response to the story, I decided that I had to get it. This one is actually up for a January group read over on the Goodreads group Dragons & Jetpacks, so I may very well read it in the next couple of weeks.

Evil and the Mask by Fuminori Nakamura
I bought this book on a whim after reading the blurb on Amazon and realizing it’s by the same author as The Thief. We’ll have to see once I get around to starting it, but it certainly sounds right up my alley. A boy is raised for the purpose of causing misery and destruction in the world, but he eventually begins to question the mandate of his family.

Saga, vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
As expected, I had the forth volume of the Saga series in my hands as quickly as possible. This volume came with a few unexpected surprises (as they tend to), and I’m on the edge of my seat for the next installment!



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