Monday, January 2, 2017

Looking back at 2016: Top Five Reads

I figured I would spend this week looking back at some of my favorite things of 2016. A lot of negativity was spewed last year and about last year, but I enjoyed some great things over the course of the calendar year and wanted to share them here.

We start off with my top five non-comic reads of 2016. That doesn't necessarily mean these books were released in 2016, only that I finished them within the calendar year. While my non-graphic reading was probably as low as it has been in decades, I found some true winners to peruse over the course of the year.
  1.  An Accidental Affair: Eric Jerome Dickey's pot boiler is three years old, but it is still a compelling look at infidelity in the modern world, from a writer that never fails to impress me with his gift for prose.
  2.  Bible Adventures (Boss Fight Books #7): I love the modern publishing world because things like Boss Fight Books can exist. A series of ruminations and histories of video games both well known and barely known, this edition by line editor Gabe Durham remains my favorite so far. Here's hoping this series goes for a long long time to come. 
  3. Jezebel Johnston: Devil's Handmaid: Nancy A. Hansen produced an amazing piece of pirate fiction with the first book in her series focused on a mulatto girl disguising herself as a man to adventure as a pirate. The first book tells her adventures on the ship Devil's Handmaid, while subsequent volumes look to follow her from ship to ship. I honestly cannot wait to see what Nancy has in store for book two, which should hopefully be out sometime this year. 
  4. Black Widow: Forever Red: I have read a few of Marvel's original novels and have found the results ranging from poor to spectacular. Forever Red falls in the latter category, a refreshing take on Black Widow, even if it doesn't quite jibe with either movie or comic book continuity. Margaret Stohl has a firm handle on superheroics, which certainly explains why she'll soon be writing the adventures of Carol Danvers in Marvel Comics. The addition of the Red Widow makes things especially intriguing, especially with the sequel now in my read pile. 
  5. Lion's Pride: The Turbulent History of New Japan Pro Wrestling: I have been a wrestling fan for most of my life, but only in the last few years have I become more focused on watching Japanese wrestling. I have favorites in promotions like Dragon Gate, Big Japan and All Japan, but it is New Japan where the greatest talent in the world congregate. Home of some of the most compelling athletic spectacles available today, the promotion recently went worldwide with its NJPWWorld service and with a weekly show on AXS TV. Chris Charlton's Lion's Pride gives a detailed history of New Japan from its early origins to Antonio Inoki's rise as a megastar in Japan to the low points of the early 2000s. This is easily one of the best reads on wrestling today, even in Charlton can't tell the difference between Green Hornet and Green Lantern. 

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