Books I've read last month

No, the month isn't over yet, but if I wait until the end of the month, my blog post will be too long. In June, July and August, I demonstrated my taste for comics and graphic novels, and as you can see in the picture below, I didn't lose that taste; on the contrary!

But let's start by picking up an old thread: I started reading The Chronicles of Narnia in March (The Magician's Nephew), I continued later that month with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Horse and His Boy. In May, I continued with Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and now I've finally finished the complete cycle:

C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair; 1953, p839-1028 (translated as De zilveren stoel)
C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle; 1956, p1029-1184 (translated as Het laatste gevechtl)
I'm happy I've finally finished the book. The first stories, especially The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Horse and His Boy were entertaining, but I didn't really enjoy reading the rest of the books. The adventure in The Silver Chair isn't appealing and the moral tone of the ending in The Last Battle is... hopelessly outdated. Ah well, it's another classic I can move from my must-read to my have-read list.
Marvel Comics (different authors), X-Men; 2007-2009 (Dutch editions, number 310-318)
I've been buyng these comics for Inigo for a while, and then suddenly ZPress stopped the series. I know there's a number 319 (and maybe a number 320), but I didn't find it anywhere in the book stores I visited back in 2009. Inigo likes X-Men, but the problem with these editions is that they hardly ever contain a full story. These magazines are compilations of what has been published in the original American version, and complete story lines are missing. The publisher tries to compensate by giving us a summary in plain text, but... that's not the same as reading the whole comic, is it?
Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn, Walking dead
    Volume 1: Days Gone Bye; 2004, 136p (translated as Vergane dagen)
    Volume 2: Miles Behind Us; 2004, 136p (translated as Ver van huis)
    Volume 3: Safety Behind Bars; 2005, 136p (translated as Achter slot en grendel)
    Volume 4: The Heart's Desire; 2006, 136p (translated as Waar het hart vol van is)
I couldn't resist when I saw the hardcover edition in a special box of the Walking Dead series. I had been reading about it, and I was very curious to find out if the fans were right. After reading the first four volumes, I've caught the zombie virus myself: I'm a fan too! This is much more than a brainless story about the living dead. The setting (a small group of people travelling through Georgia in the hope to escape from a large crowd of walking dead) is ideal to raise questions about our society, about humanity, etc. Granted, this isn't a philosophical work: it's pure entertainment, but it won't insult your intelligence.
Milan Hulsing, Stad van Klei; 2011, 136p
This graphic novel is based on an Egyptian novel al Khaldiyya by Mohamed El Bisatie. It's a political fairy tale that often made me think of the world of Franz Kafka. It's about a civil servant who "invents" a city in a master plan to fraud, and then gradually starts to mix reality and fiction. The graphics are very original. Given the current evolutions in Egypt and neighboring countries, it's a very actual and relevant story.
Jirô Taniguchi, Chichi No Koyomi; 1995, 277p (translated as Het dagboek van mijn vader)
I bought this book because I really like A Distant Neighborhood by the same author. Unfortunately, I was a little bit disappointed. The story had the same theme, the same drawing style, the same tone, but it didn't move me the way A Distant Neighborhood moved me. I can't say why not. I've recently seen the movie Hachi (the American version by Lasse Hallstrom), and I had the same feeling. I like Japanese story telling, but I think we, Western people, will always have a hard time understanding the way people deal with emotions in Japan.
Fun Home, Alison Blechdel; 2006, 234p
Reading Fun Home, I had to resist mailing Griet and Melissa (a lesbian couple I know) saying: you should read this! ;-) Fun Home is the autobiographical story of a lesbian girl/woman with a latent homosexual father (who has a taste for young boys). This isn't a theme I'm familiar with, but I was pleasantly overwhelmed by the many references to classical as well as 20th century literature. I know Greek mythology, I've read James Joyce's Ulysess; but now I also want to read classics such as The Great Gatsby, and the many other books that are mentioned by Alison Blechdel. I don't know if I'll advise Inigo to read it, though. I don't think he's ready for this type of story yet.
Posy Simmonds, Tamara Drewe; 2005-2007, 134p
By some silly coincidence (the book was a gift), I own a French copy of this very British graphic novel. I'm fluent in French, but I had a hard time understanding the new language used by youths nowadays (un texto is an SMS, that I know, but SMS language in French is hard to understand if you haven't lived in France in the past 25 years). It took me more time to read than the other graphic novels on this list (even those with more pages), but I enjoyed the story. Because of the French, and because of the setting ("far from the madding crowd"), it made me remind of my summers in France; the boredom we experienced at the age of 14 in a God-forgotten town in Northern France didn't differ that much of the ennui of the main characters in rural England. I guess that feeling is something of all times.

And that's it for now. Unless I find the next Walking Dead box, unless buy a new stock of graphic novels, or unless I start rereading from my old stock, I'll have to switch to another genre now. Maybe, I'll read some plays for a change. To be continued...


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