Monday, December 19, 2016

A Sort of Best of 2016 Audiobook list

Some of the best stuff I read this year (though it didn't necessarily come out this year).

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson seems to be the lone stand-out among many fictional series this year.

I finished the Dead Six series which ended with a copious amount of guns and violence.

I ran out of Philip Marlowe to read. (This makes me sad, but reminds me that I should get more Elmore Leonard)

Very early in the new year I finished Michael J. Sullivan's Riyria series (both of them) and started The Legends of the First Empire.

I jumped back into the Pendergast series, reading books 5 - 8 back-to-back-to-back-to-back. 5 - 7 are basically a trilogy, with each ending in such a way I immediately needed the next.

The non-fiction front was dominated by Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs (remains one of the highest recommendations I can make) and Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections), both are good history lessons. Also, But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present as If It Were the Past.

Last Week's Comics Today - 12/20/2016

I put Turtles at the bottom of my stack because I didn't expect much from a holiday issue.  That was good and bad.  Bad that I didn't get to such a great issue sooner and good because if I'd read it earlier, nothing after it would have stacked up.

Pick of the Week

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #65 - Fantastic issue!  Practically every character in the series shows up as the turtle brothers throw a Christmas party (which made me wonder if Splinter shouldn't celebrate some Japanese holidays).  This is packed with character moments and artistic easter eggs.  If anyone has been considering picking up the series, this would be a great one to try.  There's certainly some things that will go over your head due to referencing past events, but it's a rare done-in-one with gorgeous art.

Honorable Mention
Descender #17 - This issue has three storylines happening simultaneously, often on the same page.  It works really well and while, ultimately, not that much happens, what does happen is significant in each case.  This book continues to impress me with every issue.

Green Valley #3 - I did not see that coming.  No idea where things go from here, but that's been true for the first two issues too.  Great art, completely unpredictable (while still being good) script.  For fantasy fans looking for something new.

Moonshine #3 - In a review of Frostbite #3 I only ever wrote in my head, I said, "Only bad things happen to this character."  It seems equally true for Lou Prillo.  Still, the art and writing are phenomenal and I couldn't be happier to read this title every month.  Recommended for any 100 Bullets fans.

Everything Else
Reborn #3 - Seeing Capullo draw dragons instantly flashed me back to the Angela mini series.  Other than that?  All I remember is the art.  Like a cat-person driving a flying bike-thing.  And essentially a tree-truck getting pulled out of the ground.  And a dog going over a cliff.  Story-wise, we're getting closer to the "all hell breaks loose" phase but aren't there yet.

Gotham Academy Second Semester #4 - Stand alone issue set... well, last semester.  It's well written and drawn with just the right amount of weirdness the series is known for.  Another solid issue all-around, even if it doesn't impact current goings-on.  It felt a little Halloween-y, but maybe that's just me.

Transformers Lost Light #1 - Helpfully, there's a lengthy recap at the end of the issue that covers the previous series.  Because this is about as good a jumping on point as any and everything picks up directly where the previous series left off.  If you were reading before, you likely still are now.  If not, well like I said, it's a great jumping on point.

Transformers Optimus Prime #1 - Earlier this week I recapped the series this spun out from, and one of the things I wrote is very nearly stated by Jetfire in this issue, "One too many people told [Optimus] he's the space messiah and he started to believe them."  It's interesting watching Optimus go down a path everyone says he shouldn't for the best of intentions.  Even after all the trash I've talked about the last series, I'll try this for at least a few to see where it's gonig.  The new artist really helps.

Wonder Woman #12 - Characters creepily smile at each other and Wonder Woman stumbles her way through English.  Then there's the last page reveal.  That's about it.