The Year in Review: Books

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Looking over the book list, one thing is obvious: I read a lot of graphic novels. For good or for ill, almost two-thirds of the 31 books read in 2012 had pictures.

“Best of” book lists are different from “best of” movie lists in that movie lists tend to be more timely, as in, tied to a specific time period. Books, for me at least, are not so time bound. You can read a book from any time period, and, if it’s the first time you’ve read it, it’s like reading it on the big screen.

I said all that to say this: since books are different than movies, making any sort of year-end ranking is a bit arbitrary. So, here’s to arbitrary.

Top 3 Books I Read This Year

  1. The Road, Cormac McCarthy. Wonderfully depressing. McCarthy’s style of writing does more to set mood than any camera could do. You knew it wasn’t going to end well, but you yearned for the hope that it would.
  2. Goldfinger, Ian Fleming. I like Fleming’s economical writing. He says a lot without using a lot of words. That’s probably the journalism training.
  3. The Information Diet,  Clay Johnson. It’s an interesting read on what technology is doing for us … and to us. While the ending “how-to” takes some buy-in, the first half of the book makes up for it.

Top 4 Graphic Novels I Read this Year

  1. My Friend Dahmer, Derf Backderf. I don’t know how to describe it, other than a collection of stories by someone who was friends with Dahmer in high school. It’s an interesting story, made all the more interesting by the mode of its telling.
  2. The Influencing Machine, Brooke Gladstone. Loved this book so much, I required others to read it. Or at least glance at the pictures. We get the media we deserve.
  3. Journalism, Joe Sacco. Like Dahmer, this collection of stories defies a clear explanation. These stories haunt you, and I think, like Dahmer, it’s partly because of the way these stories are told that they have such resonance.
  4. Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud. A total breakdown of how comics work. A theoretical work … but not in a boring way.

If I have a goal for reading in 2013, it’s to read more printed literature, not necessarily less graphic ones.

Check out the book list page. What would you suggest I put on the 2013 reading list?

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