2014: Books, Comics, and the Joys of Public Libraries

THRIFTED//2014: Books, Comics, and the Joys of Public Libraries

Guys, reading is my favourite. I’ve been an avid reader since I was a little kid thanks to my mom, who made reading together (and eventually on my own) a daily ritual. My goal for 2014 was to read 15 books. I ended up reading only 11 but I also read a decent amount of trade comics, which totally counts for something right?? I’m going to give 15 the ol’ Harvard try again in 2015 and I’m already down one book. Here’s a rundown of what I read last year. 

My favourite books of 2014 were:

Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution by Sara Marcus. 

I loved Sara Marcus’s book about the rise and fall of the Riot Grrrl Revolution. Sadly, I was far too young at the time to appreciate the movement and the women involved. For me, Riot Grrrl was such an important part of the ‘90s and I think that it’s worth an investigation at any age, especially for anyone who defines themselves as a feminist. Also check out the awesome documentary “The Punk Singer” to get a more personal look into the story of one of Riot Grrrl’s greatest warriors: Kathleen Hanna.

I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai

In my opinion, Malala’s story is of great importance right now and one that everyone should be more acquainted with. I’m sure Malala is a familiar name and face to many people since what happened to her is so horrific (and highly publicised) but reading her narrative about the events that lead to her being attacked by the Taliban gives a better picture about who she is and what she’s fighting for. Malala’s campaign for global education is an inspiration and it comes as no surprise that she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Srayed

I haven’t gone to see Reese Witherspoon reprise the role of Cheryl on the big screen yet. In all likelihood I’ll take myself to a matinee sometime this month even though 99% of the time film adaptations of novels disappoint. That being said, Wild, the book, was excellent. I completely identified with Cheryl’s journey. I haven’t hiked the Pacific Crest Trail but I understand the need to start fresh and forge a new path for oneself.

I also read The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (a magical little novella), The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (the author of The Secret Life of Bees delivered another great story), This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper (total fluff, which is sometimes necessary), The Vacationers by Emma Straub (good story but not particularly memorable), Horns by Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son also writes horror - another example of the book being better than the film), The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness (the end of the All Souls Trilogy – sort of like Outlander with vampires and witches), #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso (how to be a badass boss bitch), and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (am I the only person who didn’t like this book?).

THRIFTED//2014: Books, Comics, and the Joys of Public Libraries

I’m not a devout comic book reader. I don’t read single issues and most of the trades I read are borrowed from the library. Near the end of 2014 I got back into reading comics. None of the comics I read feature caped crusaders. In the past I’ve read some X-men and Wolverine storylines but these days I’m more into sci-fi and noir comics.

Even if you’re not a comic book reader I would recommend Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples to everyone. A killer inter-galactic love story with fantastic writing, which is hardly uprising considering that Vaughan wrote Y: The Last Man. My second favourite was Revival by Tim Seeley, the dead rise but only in a small town in Wisconsin and the “z” word doesn’t apply. I was also super into Fatale by Ed Brubaker, a noir mystery with sci-fi undertones (I also started reading Brubaker’s Criminal and Velvet – double thumbs up). 

My other comic reading endeavours included Fables Volumes 19 & 20 (I’ve been reading this series for nearly a decade and it’s hard to believe it’s coming to a close with only 5 issues left), Fairest Volumes 3 & 4 (a spin-off of Fables), Hellboy in Hell: Volume 1 by Mike Mignola (Hellboy is just perfection, so dark, so good), Baltimore: The Plague Ships also by Mike Mignola (I can’t wait to devour more as soon as my library holds come in), Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel & Faith: Season 9, #5 (I am a BTVS fanatic and will follow Joss Whedon and his writing crew wherever they lead me), Black Science: Volume 1 by Rick Remender (the first trade of this inter-dimensional story was SO good – more please), Pretty Deadly: Volume 1 (death and the old west, I have mixed feelings that I hope to resolve with Volume 2), East of West: Volume 1 (also death and the old west but different, well reviewed but just not my cup of tea), and Lazarus: Volume 1  by Greg Rucka (dystopian near-future where you can build your family a soldier sister).

In conclusion, libraries are just the best. I love that my library allows me to suggest content, nerd out with comics, read e-books, and send my husband to 3D printing classes for FREE. And if you’re a fellow Edmontonian you should know that EPL memberships are still FREE. Since I have a book buying problem, I’m going to take it easy in 2015 and borrow instead of buy. 

xo Allison