Category: graphic novel


I know, it’s a bit late for a Best Of 2009 list!  I had to think about the December books for a while and get some perspective on them, and I had to figure out how I defined “Best Of”.

When I find an author I enjoy, I will track down and read as many books by them as I can, so I’ve broken my “Best Of” into two sections:

  1. Awesome authors I discovered in 2009 
  2. Amazing Books I read in 2009

But first, lets look at my reading statistics – I am a scientist after all. 🙂

In total, I read 194 books in 2009 (including audio books).  I read the most in December (22) and the least in April (11).

Looking at genre, in 2009 I read:

107 fantasy books (55%)
13 science fiction books (7%)
31 romance books (16%)
16 graphic novels (8%)
21 fiction books of other genres (mystery/thriller/chick lit/whatever) (11%)
and 6 non-fiction books (3%)

In conclusion, I really like fantasy!  (Please note that some of the romance and most of the graphic novels could be also be defined as fantasy.)

Awesome Authors I Discovered In 2009

Can there be anything more fun than reading an amazing book that blows you away and then finding out the author has a backlist of books for you to glom?  I don’t think so!

  • Ann Aguirre
  • Kristin Cashore
  • Colin Cotterill
  • Jeaniene Frost
  • Linnea Sinclair
  • Nalini Singh

Amazing Books I Read In 2009

These books all have something extra that makes them stand out in my memory. (To get on this list I had to have read these books for the first time in 2009.)

  • Cordelia’s Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
  • Thief With No Shadow by Emily Gee
  • Fire by Kristin Cashore
  • Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Eight by Katherine Neville
  • A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham
  • Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair
  • Trick of the Light by Rob Thurman
  • Fables: The Dark Ages by Bill Willingham

Wow – these authors and books are pretty wonderful!  I only hope that I can find some equally amazing  new authors and equally special books in 2010.

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Shaun Tan writes and illustrates beautiful non-typical picture books, that are equally as rewarding for adults and children.

My favourite is The Arrival, a wordless graphic novel that nearly made me cry.  I had never thought of myself as an immigrant before, having moved by choice from NZ to the UK, and then to Australia; but that is what I am, and I really identified with some of the situations the protagonist finds himself in.

My second favourite book is Tales from Outer Suburbia, a collection of short stories written and illustrated by Shaun Tan.  The stories are beautiful and gently moving, about:

the quiet mysteries of everyday life: homemade pets, dangerous weddings, stranded sea mammals, tiny exchange students and secret rooms filled with darkness and delight.

The story of Eric (the tiny exchange student) can be read here, and there is an interview with Shaun Tan here.

Shaun Tan: Tales from Outer Suburbia

I’ve previously read most of Shannon Hale’s books, they are mostly YA fantasy,and really enjoyed them. When I saw she had written a graphic novel with her husband, I had to buy it.

Rapunzel’s Revenge is an entertaining and lighthearted retelling of the fairy tale, set in a fantasy version of the Wild West.  I felt there were a few clumsy moments, and the depth that I had expected from reading Shannon’s previous work was not there, but overall, I enjoyed this book.

The illustrations, by Nathan (no relation) Hale, were lovely.  My only quibble is with the colouring of some of the characters, I guess they were supposed to be olive coloured , but I thought their skin made them look a bit like zombies.  It was a little disconcernting!

I already own this book and I feel it is a good addition to my sub-genres of humorous fantasy and retold fairy tales.  If Shannon and Dean publish another graphic novel, I’ll be sure to buy it.

Other books by Shannon Hale that I have reviewed: Princess Academy