Friday, December 26, 2014

Cephalopod Coffeehouse December 2014

For this month's Cephalopod Coffeehouse, hosted as ever by Armchair Squid (whether or not he's seated at the moment, because he's a squid, okay?), I decided to recap the whole year with a ranking of what I read in the last twelve months.  And here we go!


  1. Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out by Mo Yan - I didn't anticipate calling this the best book I read all year, but here it is.  A truly astonishing glimpse of Chinese culture through the last sixty years or so, elucidating the effects of the communist revolution on a single family and succeeding generations struggle to reconcile the legacy of the landowner whose legacy was sacrificed so that Ximen Village could embrace the changes.  Most remarkably, it also serves as a study of reincarnation, as that landowner comes back in various incarnations to experience those changes firsthand.
  2. Joe the Barbarian by Grant Morrison, etc. - I've become more and more convinced that this might be comic book writer Morrison's bid for his own legacy, a modern fairy tale about a boy who goes into hypoglycemic shock, and enters a fantasy world that forces him to reconcile the void his father has left behind.
  3. S. by J.J. Abrams, etc. - I'm an unabashed fan of Abrams through his work in film and television, so it was an instant delight to experience his first foray into literature, which did not disappoint.
  4. Captain Kidd by Jerome Charyn - Over the years what began as a fascination with one recent, curious look at the Revolutionary War has turned into a full-blown obsession with Charyn's career.  This was the best of a generous helping I allowed myself this year from his catalog.
  5. The Ghosts of Nagasaki by Daniel Clausen - The best Goodreads Giveaways win from the year, always a mixed bag, but this is exactly what I always hope to find when I register in those lotteries, discovering a truly great new voice.
  6. Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino, etc. - I experienced most of Quentin Tarantino's latest film in its graphic novel adaptation first, when it was originally serialized in comic book form, then saw the movie, and then finally read the complete adaptation, and it was fascinating to see how closely the appeal translates, and where the subtle differences lie in the screenplay as it was before it was shot.
  7. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson - I finally read the Millennium Trilogy.  This was a rare instance of the product far exceeding the hype, and the most pleasant surprise was that the final book, which was the only one I hadn't experienced in a different form prior to reading the books, was actually the best of them.
  8. The Silkworm by J.K. Rowling - The second Robert Galbraith mystery is yet another reason to celebrate Rowling's mounting legacy.
  9. You Can Date Boys When You're Forty by Dave Barry - A new Dave Barry is always cause for celebration!
  10. Zenith Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison, etc. - Dipping into Morrison's origins was made possible when Zenith finally began being reprinted after being unavailable for several decades.  A truly inspiring look at the formative instincts of a master.
  11. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
  12. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  13. I Am Abraham by Jerome Charyn
  14. The Seventh Babe by Jerome Charyn
  15. Bikini Cowboy Vol. 1 by L. Frank Weber
  16. The Infatuations by Javier Marias
  17. The Guts by Roddy Doyle
  18. Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer, etc.
  19. Flashpoint by Geoff Johns, etc.
  20. Mom's Had a Rough Day by Julie Harrison
  21. 52 Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid, Geoff Johns, etc.
  22. Amulet by Roberto Bolano
  23. G.I. Joe: Cobra Vol. 3 by Mike Costa, etc.
  24. Green Lantern Vol. 3 by Geoff Johns, etc.
  25. Batman and Robin Vol. 3 by Peter Tomasi, etc.
  26. Batman and Robin Vol. 1 by Peter Tomasi, etc.
  27. Seven Soldiers of Victory Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison, etc.
  28. Billy Budd, KGB by Jerome Charyn, etc.
  29. Final Crisis by Grant Morrison, etc.
  30. Once Upon a Droshky by Jerome Charyn
  31. G.I. Joe: Cobra Vol. 1 by Mike Costa, etc.
  32. G.I. Joe: Cobra Vol. 2 by Mike Costa, etc.
  33. G.I. Joe: Cobra Vol. 4 by Mike Costa, etc.
  34. Justice League Vol. 1 by Geoff Johns, etc.
  35. Green Lantern Vol. 1 by Geoff Johns, etc.
  36. Action Comics Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison, etc.
  37. Batman and Robin Must Die! by Grant Morrison, etc.
  38. Batman Incorporated Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison, etc.
  39. Archeologists of Shadows Vol. 1 by Lara Fuentes, etc.
  40. Archeologists of Shadows Vol. 2 by Lara Fuentes, etc.
  41. Archeologists of Shadows Vol. 3 by Lara Fuentes, etc.
  42. Justice League Beyond: Konstriction by Dustin Nguyen, etc.
  43. Wonder Woman Vol. 1 by Brian Azzarello, etc.
  44. Star Trek Federation by David Goodman
  45. The Beast of Wolfe's Bay by Erik Evensen
  46. Little Demon in the City of Light by Steven Levingston
  47. Darlin' Bill by Jerome Charyn
  48. The Isaac Quartet by Jerome Charyn
  49. The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn
  50. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Denise Mina, etc.
  51. Epic Mom by Julie Harrison, etc.
  52. Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
  53. Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie
  54. Last Man Standing by Roger Moore
  55. The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt
  56. Orfeo by Richard Powers
  57. We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas
  58. Old Land, New Tales by various
  59. Allwenn: Soul & Sword by Jesus B. Vilches
  60. Astronaut Dad Vol. 1 by David Hopkins, etc.
  61. The Black Well by Jamie Tanner
  62. Song of Spider-Man by Glen Berger
  63. Teen Titans Vol. 3 by Scott Lobdell, etc.
  64. The Boston Rob Rulebook by Rob Mariano
  65. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  66. The Best of McSweeney's by various
  67. American Reckoning by Christian Appy
  68. The True Story of Noah by Kerry Barger
  69. The Harry and Sylvia Stories by Welch Everman
  70. The Decameron by Boccaccio
  71. Binary by Chris Hinz, etc.
  72. Stan by Richard Wold
  73. Lord Sananda Speaks by Narkael
  74. Glimmering by Elizabeth Hand
And two more books that won't be ranked: the first is the Ignatius RSV Catholic Edition Bible, which is to say reading it through in any form for the first time, and the second is Monorama, which is by the blogger himself.

7 comments:

  1. We only overlapped with the Goldfinch. I want to read your #1, which I've heard really good things about from many sources. I also want to read We Are Not Ourselves, The Blazing World, and Orfeo. You read a lot!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those were all my closest links to the contemporary literary scene in years. I was dreadfully out of practice. They were pretty good.

      Delete
  2. I didn't read any of these, but I applaud you for reading.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
  3. I haven't read a single one of the books on your list! I guess that's why this exercise is meaningful for all of us, right?

    Happy New Year, Tony!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...