Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018 Book List and Recommendations


Happy New Year, 
Welcome to 2019 as well as a humble welcoming back to the annual retrospective of reading material I've enjoyed this year! As you'll come to see, 2018 was certainly the most comic book and graphic novel dominated year yet. I think this is also because I (to my shame) fell into the trap of watching a lot of Netflix. My housemate got a big television last fall in my house and it becomes this media centerpiece with such distracting gravity. Admittedly I don't have the willpower to resist this electronic tide-pool always,  I still read a little every day and still stubbornly prefer to read physical books.  It just feels better to me.

Regardless, there was almost nothing that I read this year that I didn't love or wouldn't recommend (unless you were adverse to certain gore-laden horror titles like the brutal “Crossed” series, which is not for the faint of heart, to put it lightly.) I ended up returning one book that was gifted to me last Christmas, which was frankly an unreadable block of technical surveillance history called “We Know All About You”. After a few attempts I had to put it down, which I've only done with maybe 2 books in my whole life. Anyway, it was a quality over quantity year for me when it came to putting my nose between pages.  Let's get into it.

Do you like reading physical copies of books, audiobooks or e-books best? Why?

Reading more Non-fiction:
Aside from the aforementioned “We Know All About You”, I've enjoyed a lot more Non-fiction reading than I normally do. I got such wide-eyed enjoyment and inspiration from real-life characters in expansive biographies about Cornelius Vanderbilt like The First Tycoon and micro-career summaries like The Great Reporters. I learned an excessive amount of helpful information and brilliant concepts in the fields of meditation and philosophy by diving into Sam Harris' Waking Up and Free Will. Reading up on the intrepid and baffling historical significance and usage behind the technology of hot air balloons in Falling Upwards was both a heartwarming and jaw dropping thrill that inspired some of an album I'd been working on. I rarely read non-fiction and know many more pragmatic friends who appreciate non-fiction exclusively, but this year was a good year for it (and juxtaposed nicely from all of the comics I was reading, in retrospect.)

Who are some of your favorite non-fiction writers? What are your favorite non-fiction books? Do you prefer one over the other?

Reading new writers:
I also read a lot of books by first time prose/writers for me (Alan Moore's second prose novel, Jerusalem took me the first 6 months of the year to get through but was easily the book of the year for me. I can't shake it! Every sentence and idea is an astounding feat of linguistic mastery and experimental imaginative expression that has real heart behind its immense brains.
Sam Harris is a new Non-fiction favorite, I've greedily gobbled up every episode of his podcast and Waking Up and Free Will were phenomenal influential experiences of books, both hugely readable and eye-opening as well. Shannon Wheeler was a first time comic writer for me with his “Too Much Coffee Man” series that I found very funny and familiar as a sleepless and struggling creative type who tends toward the neurotic and occasionally bleak. Reading John Darnielle's debut novel Wolf In White Van was a surprise and a treat (I recommend listening to his band “The Mountain Goats” if you like hyper-literate modern indie music or narrative-style folk tales). The biographers of The First Tycoon and Falling Upwards (T.J. Stiles and Richard Holmes, respectively) found gorgeous ways of turning a whole lot of historical and technical information about bygone lives and times into engaging, beautiful stories about the human will and spirit and what ambition and hard work gets us, I have much respect for both of them and may turn to more historical works in the future. Erin Morgenstern is a new author to me whose novel,  The Night Circus dazzled me with her Bradbury-meets-Rowling style fantastical tales of a magical circus with steampunk aesthetics ticking behind an imaginative P.T. Barnum nostalgia littering her wonderful scenes and characters. Her book was an impulse buy for me, in a vignette that showed advertising working at it's finest at a book store .

Please comment with writers I may not have read and let me know your favorites of theirs!

New Comic Series:
I started both Fables and Sandman this year and have to say they both live up to the hype. Bill Willingham's cast of characters in "Fables" and dazzlingly intricate plots are really appealing and dole out a wonderful blend of humor and serious concepts/concerns among the complex character's issues and entanglements. I'm only three volumes into Neil Gaiman's celebrated “Sandman” series but the genius of it and style of it is obviously up my alley, both high-concept but accessible stories that I look forward to finishing in the coming year. The art style of both of these is also right up my proverbial alley as well, being older series there isn't as much digital art and I really enjoy their experimental styles and bracketing of the stories and artwork.

Happy New year and Happy reading and exploring!  I intend on having a book or two of my own out by the end of the year...I hope you get to see it! Enjoy the full list below, I've emboldened some of my favorites reads for you.
Much love as always, I wish you a bountiful 2019!
-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo

Full reading list 2018:

Crossed
by Garth Ennis

Crossed: Family Values 
by David Lapham

Crossed: Psychopath
 by David Lapham

The Big Guy and Rusty The Boy Robot
 by Frank Miller

Fables 1-14 
by Bill Willingham

The First Tycoon (The Epic Life Story of Cornelius Vanderbilt) 
by T.J. Stiles

Jerusalem 
by Alan Moore

Dept.H vol. 3 and 4
 by Matt Kindt

Too Much Coffee Man: Omnibus
by Shannon Wheeler

“Heretics! The Wondrous and Dangerous Beginnings Of Modern Philosophy”
 by Steven & Ben Nadler

Paper Girls Volumes 4 & 5 
by Brian K Vaughn

Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative
 by Will Eisner

Sandman vol. 1-3 
by Neil Gaiman

The Great Reporters 
by David Randall

Cinema Purgatorio vol. 14 & 15 
by Alan Moore & co.

Bluebeard
 by Kurt Vonnegut

League Of Extraordinary Gentleman 4: Tempest vols. 1-3
 by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill

The Bojefferies Saga 
by Alan Moore

A Time To Kill 
by John Grisham

Glacier City 
by Jay Faerber

Waking Up
 by Sam Harris

Wolf In White Van 
by John Darnielle

Don't Sweat The Small Stuff (and It's All Small Stuff) 
by Richard Carlson

A Small Killing 
by Alan Moore

Falling Upwards
 by Richard Holmes

The Courtyard Annotated 
by Alan Moore

A Portrait Of The Artist As a Young Man
 by James Joyce

Gwendy's Button Box 
by Stephen King

Elevation
 by Stephen King

The Night Circus
 by Erin Morgenstern

American Gods 
by Neil Gaiman

Sirens Of Titan 
by Kurt Vonnegut

Free Will
 by Sam Harris

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