I’m participating in the What to Read Next challenge for the Bout of Books 14 readathon. This challenge is hosted by Sarah from Sarah Reads Too Much. To make an entry, I need to recommend three books that I’ve read this year and say a bit about them. If you’ve been following my blog at all, you’ve probably seen me gooing and gaaing about these books earlier in the year. So here we go~ :”D
My first recommendation was a reread for me this year and is for those who have recently discovered they like graphic novels, maybe have read through two or three series and now aren’t sure where to turn. If you’re in this situation, I highly recommend you check out Trigun by Yasuhiro Nightow. This is a manga that is set in the future on a desert planet colonized by humans. It follows the main character Vash the Stampede, who is a wanted man with a $$60,000,000,000 bounty on his head for the destruction of several towns and cities. It seems no matter where this man goes, chaos follows, earning him the nickname ‘The Humanoid Typhoon’. The funny thing is though, through all the ruin and rubble, Vash has never taken a life. It turns out he’s a goofball with a donut obsession. A sharpshooter and a teddy bear. Always alert and always hungry.
The genre for Trigun is a mix: Sci-fi, western, comedy, action… it has a bit of everything. Aside from those just getting into graphic novels, I also recommend this series to anyone who has been into them for a while and is just looking for the next thing, fans of Firefly, fans of spaghetti westerns and fans of comedy. Trigun is considered a classic by manga standards and it certainly earns its’ title. It also comes in anime form, so if you’d rather check that out, go for it. Both the show and the manga are of excellent quality.
My second recommendation is a book that a lot of people have probably already read but I just got to earlier this year. It is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. This is a classic sci-fi comedy about a man named Arthur Dent who is whisked aboard as stowaway into an alien vessel when Earth is destroyed to make way for a new super highway across the galaxy. Apparently the plans had been in the Galactic meeting hall for hundred of years and none of us humans had though to check on it.
This book is full of quick wit and dry humor. Often times a joke is delivered before you realize it’s being set up. Arthur Dent is a wonderfully bleak character and in combination with his friend Ford and his copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that has the large words ‘DON’T PANIC’ written on the front of it and the super depressed and cynical robot named Marvin, the book is filled with colorful characters that drive the plot forward. To give you an idea of some of the humor in this book, read this excerpt from it:
Another thing that got forgotten was the fact that against all probability a sperm whale had suddenly been called into existence several miles above the surface of an alien planet.
And since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this poor innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity as a whale before it then had to come to terms with not being a whale any more.
This is a complete record of its thoughts from the moment it began its life till the moment it ended it.
Ah … ! What’s happening? it thought. Er, excuse me, who am I? Hello? Why am I here? What’s my purpose in life? What do I mean by who am I? Calm down, get a grip now … oh! this is an interesting sensation, what is it? It’s a sort of … yawning, tingling sensation in my … my … well I suppose I’d better start finding names for things if I want to make any headway in what for the sake of what I shall call an argument I shall call the world, so let’s call it my stomach.
Good. Ooooh, it’s getting quite strong. And hey, what’s about this whistling roaring sound going past what I’m suddenly going to call my head? Perhaps I can call that … wind! Is that a good name? It’ll do … perhaps I can find a better name for it later when I’ve found out what it’s for. It must be something very important because there certainly seems to be a hell of a lot of it. Hey! What’s this thing? This … let’s call it a tail – yeah, tail. Hey! I can can really thrash it about pretty good can’t I? Wow! Wow! That feels great! Doesn’t seem to achieve very much but I’ll probably find out what it’s for later on. Now – have I built up any coherent picture of things yet?
No. Never mind, hey, this is really exciting, so much to find out about, so much to look forward to, I’m quite dizzy with anticipation … Or is it the wind? There really is a lot of that now isn’t it? And wow! Hey! What’s this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like … ow … ound … round … ground! That’s it! That’s a good name – ground!
I wonder if it will be friends with me?
And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, was silence.
Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again. Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the universe than we do now.”
And finally, my third recommendation is for those who like weird, dense fantasy and it is Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. If you’ve never read anything by this author before, I recommend starting here. Perdido Street Station is the train station that sits in the city of New Crobuzon, which dwells in the middle of the giant ribcage of some long-dead creature. This book I feel is more about the city than the characters. The characters are definitely interesting, don’t get me wrong – a mad scientist, an ambassador from hell, a woman with a beetle for a head, multiple creatures with wings, and a garuda – a large bird-like creature that has appeared in both Hindu and Buddhist writings – that has lost his wings and his honor. But I feel these characters would be nothing without the complex, winding city the book takes place in. New Crobuzon to me feels like a bazaar, always busy, always foreign yet at the same time, enticing and foreboding. There are a couple subplots that happen throughout this book that tie in together in a way that is fascinating and bizarre. Reading this book is like blowing life into this city. You’ll think about it when you’re done, you’ll pine to wander its streets. I read this book back in January, finished it on the 2nd or 3rd of the month, and I still think about it. I miss this book, if that makes sense. So yes, this is my third rec. Hope you enjoy.