Books, Comics, My Bookshelf

CJ’s Bookshelf: April Reads

My bookshelf is actually light on books this month – not that I haven’t been doing quite a bit a reading. I only finished one actual novel (even though I have about three others started) and a book of poetry. The majority of my reading this month was actually devoted to reading comic books.

Equal Rites cov2Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

I’m continuing my Discworld read with Equal Rites. I had been told that the first couple novels are a little slow, but once you get to the third you’ll be hooked (some even recommended starting with this one). I think this is accurate, as I definitely enjoyed this one more than the first two (though I did enjoy those as well). There are so many little things I love about this world and Pratchett’s writing, it makes me really sad that I didn’t start these books sooner. I really loved that this story was about a girl trying to become a wizard, something traditionally only a man could do. She has to prove that she can be a witch and a wizard, and that she can do wizard magic just as well as any man.

Vintage Hughes by Langston Hughes

April is National Poetry Month as well as poetry month for my 2015 reading challenge. I honestly don’t read a lot of poetry, not because I don’t like it necessarily, I just tend to not have patience for reading it. That sounds bad, but what I really mean is that when reading poetry I feel you need to take time with it, and think about it, it’s not as straight forward as reading a novel. I rarely find myself in the mood to really sit down and read poetry and get meaning from it. However, there is some that enjoy. I went to a poetry reading in college where Danny Glover read Langston Hughes and that really stuck with me. I loved the rhythm and sound of Hughes’ poetry read aloud. reading it in a book isn’t exactly the same experience, but some still stood out to me.

Daredevil various writers and artists

As you may have noticed from my week of Daredevil reviews, I really loved the show on Netflix and was inspired to actually take the time to read the comics. Now, I’ve always been a fan of the Marvel Universe, even before the MCU came along and made me love it even more. I love superheroes, and I’ve always loved the X-Men, Spider-Man, and all those characters, but I’ve never had much of a chance to read the comics. I have a few that I’ve picked up here and there over the years, but I never subscribed to any one title. Most of my knowledge of the storylines came from one of my best friends in elementary school who was an avid comic reader and was subscribed to nearly ever title available at the time.

Despite being a firm “read it before I watch it” person, I never took the time to read the comics because: A. Comics can be expensive, especially if you want to go back and read the back issues in trade volumes and B. There wasn’t a whole lot of reason because superhero movies are written to be enjoyed by audiences whether they read the comics or not. However, Marvel has created this wonderful subscription service that for a monthly or annual fee gives you access to nearly their entire back catalog of comics as recent as six months ago. I had resisted the urge to subscribe for some time, but after New York Comic Con I couldn’t resist any more. There were too many story arcs I really wanted to read (Civil War, for example). This was probably one of the best investments I’ve made recently, as I have now started reading through as many issues of Daredevil as possible.

The other MCU movies haven’t given me the urge to read the comics nearly as strongly as Daredevil has. Something about that series made me fall in love with the character and want to know more about him. I also decided with Daredevil I didn’t want to be that person who only watches the series and doesn’t really understand the character. Since reading the comics I have a whole new appreciation for how well the series was written and adapted. I’ve also discovered an increased interest in the other New York City heroes, particularly Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. I hope to read some more of their comics before watching those series when they come to Netflix.

Man without FearI started with The Man Without Fear by Frank Miller, as it was one of the arcs heavily referenced in many of the interviews with the Daredevil cast. It was this arc that inspired a lot of what we see in the series. Next I read Born Again, and the tone of that story reminded me so much of the tone of the series. Following that I started with the Guardian Devil arc written by Kevin Smith, which kicked off a new run of Daredevil in 1998. This storyline had some fascinating parallels and contrasts to Born Again. When I finished Guardian Devil I decided I would just continue on reading up to the present (or as close as I can get with Unlimited) then go back and start at the beginning with the older issues.

I really liked the Bendis and Maleev stuff. The tone was of the stories and the artwork was gritty and dark. Most of the Marvel comics I’m used to reading are X-Men, so this was a change for me but it fit in with a lot of the other graphic novels I’ve been reading lately. I find the conflict and struggle within Matt Murdock really interesting and compelling. I’ve now made it up to the Shadowland event and find myself as concerned about Matt as the rest of his friends.

So that’s what I’ve been reading this past month. Hopefully in May I’ll balance it out a little more, as I really do have a growing stack of novels that I really want to read as well. I just got really caught up in Daredevil this month.

My current reads include (a few have been on the list for a while because they got displaced by other titles):

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Mort by Terry Pratchett
Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me
by various authors

And my upcoming reads include (Subject to change based on whim and mood):

Cleopatra by Stacey Schiff
Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
Orphan Train by Christine Baker Kline
Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

If you’re interested in staying up-to-date on what books I’m reading you can also find me on Goodreads.

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