46 books for 2016

My annual list of things I've read grows longer again this year, partly because I continue to abjure television and get my fill of visual storytelling through comics. The reason for the preference is mundane – I spend too much of my day in front of a screen and prefer to avoid it in my free time. I may well be missing out. Given the stranglehold superheroes have on the comics medium, and how everyone keeps talking about a golden age of television, my guess is that comics in aggregate may well be less innovative or interesting.

My comics consumption has been further encouraged by my agreeing to contribute columns to the London Graphic Novel Network, an initiative designed to get people to take advantage of the great selection of comics offered by London libraries. I owe my comics enthusiasm entirely to libraries (they are otherwise a very expensive form of entertainment), so this was a no-brainer for me. Links to my bits for the site are collected here.

I've also read quite a lot of Japanese fiction this year – my partner is Japanese, so it has been a way of getting to know the culture in which she grew up. It's a bit of a turnaround for me, as I'd previously avoided reading literature in translation, assuming that too much of the author's technique was lost in the process. I still think that's the case, but what you gain is still a pretty direct insight into a foreign society and history, which is hugely valuable in itself.

A lot of the non-fiction is drawn from recommendations at work (Haidt, Moretti), or following up things from the MA I did six years ago (Ryan, Tully, Geuss).

Ordered (sort of) by subject then preference. Links in the comics section go to things I've written (mostly for the LGGN), otherwise they are quotes I've posted here as I've been reading. I keep track of all this stuff on Goodreads here.

Richard Ellmann - James Joyce [link]
Alan Ryan - On Politics: A History of Political Thought from Herodotus to the Present [link] [link]
Jonathan Haidt - The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
Ian Buruma - The Japanese Mirror: Heroes and Villains of Japanese Culture
James Tully - An Approach to Political Philosophy: Locke in Contexts
Jared Diamond - Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Richard Vinen - Thatcher's Britain: The politics and social upheaval of the 1980s
Enrico Moretti - The New Geography of Jobs
Gareth Stedman Jones - Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion
Michel Foucault - Interviews & Other Writings 1977-84 [link] [link]
Simon Parker - Taking Power Back: Putting people in charge of politics
Hugh Kennedy - The Great Arab Conquests [link]
Ben Thompson - Seven Years of Plenty: A Handbook of Irrefutable Pop Greatness, 1991-1998
J. Hoberman - Film After Film: Or, What Became of 21st Century Cinema?
Jessica Hopper - The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic
Raymond Geuss - History and Illusion in Politics [link]
James Joyce - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Ryū Murakami - Almost Transparent Blue
Yasunari Kawabata - Thousand Cranes
Mari Akasaka - Vibrator
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki - Seven Japanese Tales
Ryū Murakami - Piercing
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki - Some Prefer Nettles [link]
Yōko Ogawa - Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales
Kieron Gillen / Jamie McKelvie - Phonogram [link]
Grant Morrison / Chris Weston / Gary Erskine - The Filth [link]
Warren Ellis / Jason Howard - Trees, Vol. 1: In Shadow [link]
Hayao Miyazaki - Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Greg Rucka / Michael Lark / Santi Arcas - Lazarus
Matt Fraction / Christian Ward - Ody-C vols. 1 & 2 [link]
Gail Simone / Walter Geovani - Red Sonja [link]
Kazuo Koike / Ryōichi Ikegami - Offered
Magnus - The 100 Pills
Paul Pope - 100% / Heavy Liquid [link]
Jonathan Hickman / Ryan Bodenheim - Red Mass for Mars
Jonathan Luna / Sarah Vaughn - Alex + Ada [link]
Kieron Gillen / Ryan Kelly / Jordie Bellaire - Three [link]
Matt Fraction / Howard Chaykin - Satellite Sam vols. 1 & 2 [link]
Ben Gijsemans - Hubert [link]
Kentaro Miura - Berserk vol. 1
Sean McKeever / Brian Fraim - The Waiting Place vol. 1
Kelly Sue DeConnick / Emma Ríos - Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1: The Shrike
Rick Remender / Wes Craig / Lee Loughridge - Deadly Class, Vol. 1: Reagan Youth
Mark Waid / Minck Oosterveer - The Unknown
Grant Morrison / Yanick Paquette / Nathan Fairbairn - Wonder Woman: Earth One
Bryan Lee O'Malley - Seconds

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