Joining in the A-to-Z Meme: Books & Comics

A few days back, I agreed to join in a cross-blog “A-to-Z of Comics” series with Abhinav and Bane of Kings. In keeping with the theme and tradition of Civilian Reader, though, I’ve decided to expand the remit to include fiction and other books. Because, you know, I like to do things my way. And I’m difficult. Probably more the latter… A lot of the answers ended up feeling a little repetitive, but there we go. I also dropped a couple of Letters, because I couldn’t come up with anything. Let us begin.

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AUTHOR YOU HAVE READ THE MOST OF…

Fiction: Easy – Terry Pratchett. I think Bernard Cornwell is runner-up?

Comics: Huh. I’m not actually sure about this. Probably Ed Brubaker (because of his run on Captain America) or Bill Willingham (because of Fables).

BEST SERIES EVER…

Fiction: Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe, Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s Night Lords trilogy… I’m not very good at all at picking single “Best Of” anything.

Comics: DMZ. Easy. (So maybe I can pick them, sometimes…) This series is absolutely superb, and everyone should read it. I’ve reviewed it all on the blog in the past.

CURRENTLY READING…

Fiction: Lavie Tidhar’s The Violent Century.

Comics: Gregg Hurwitz’s second story-arc on Batman: The Dark Knight, featuring the Mad Hatter. [As an aside – his Scarecrow storyline is one of the best Batman plots I’ve ever read.]

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DRINK OF CHOICE WHILE READING…

Oh, this is probably the easiest question on here: coffee during the day, red wine in the late afternoons and evenings. Always.

E-READER / PHYSICAL…

Fiction: I like both, but recently I’ve been moving more towards Kindle – I have very limited shelf-space, and my 3hr-commute wrecks books (seriously – fantasy books are mammoth!), but not my Kindle.

Comics: I find it easiest to use my iPad for comics. Bigger variety, and all I need is an internet connection, and lots of issues I’d like to read are (eventually) discounted.

GLAD YOU GAVE THIS A CHANCE…

Fiction: Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora – I barely read any fantasy before reading this in 2008. Since then, I’ve been (quite obviously) hooked. Also Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts series. Dark, gritty, and thought-provoking Urban Fantasy. I still hold that Chess Putnam is a modern analog for Sherlock Holmes…

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Comics: Fables and Sandman. I am very wary of anything that “everyone loves”. So I took a while to get around to these, and loved them both. Going a bit further back, though, I suppose a number of the New 52 titles back in September-October 2011 – got me back into comics.

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IMPORTANT MOMENT IN YOUR READING LIFE…

Fiction: Chronologically? James Clavell’s Tai-Pan, Anne Rice’s The Vampire Lestat, Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe’s Tiger, the aforementioned The Lies of Locke Lamora, Michael Chabon’s The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Oh, and Terry Pratchett’s Guards, Guards – but I can’t quite remember when I first read it. I must have read it eight times, now?

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Comics: DMZ, Fables, the New 52, and when Myke Cole told me to read Ed Brubaker’s Captain America. Oh, and when I finally bit the bullet and tried Hawkeye – superb.

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JUST FINISHED…

Fiction: Francis Knight’s Before the Fall.

Comics: The first four issues of Constantine and Lucifer Vol.1: Devil at the Gates. Both very good, and the latter will probably become a new addiciton.

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KIND OF BOOK YOU WON’T READ…

Fiction: Romance/Mills & Boon/Supernatural Porn. I’m a prude, when it comes to reading, I guess. I don’t like reading sex scenes. They always read like they were written by a hyperactive, sex-starved teenager who’s never experienced it. I once read a scene in which the protagonist was made to orgasm purely by being touched on their arm. Please. So, if I get the feeling a novel’s plot is just what fills in between ridiculous sex scenes, I’m out.

Comics: Hmm… I wish I could say, “Stuff written by Grant Morrison?” but he’s been involved in so many key Events/storylines that I’ve read a fair bit, now. I don’t like gross-out comics, or sophomoric, but I guess I have to read it to discover if it’s something like that. I’m pretty open-minded, when it comes to comics, actually. Perhaps more so than with fiction. Not sure what that says about me.

LONGEST BOOK/GRAPHIC NOVEL YOU’VE EVER READ…

Ficiton: Either Tai-Pan or Patrick Rothfuss’s Wise Man’s Fear?

Comics: One of the Fables Deluxe Editions, I suppose. Not sure, because I don’t pay attention to page-lengths.

MAJOR BOOK HANGOVER BECAUSE OF:

Fiction: Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay – I have no idea how I’m going to review this. Not a clue. Loved it. Couldn’t read anything else for over a week after finishing it.

Comics: Irredeemable #12

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NUMBER OF SHELVES I OWN/NEED…

Fiction: Not nearly enough. I actually have five where I’m living at the moment, but I also have seven massive boxes of books (haven’t unpacked from the latest move), and I have a couple shelves and boxes at Alyssa’s. I have books everywhere.

Comics: One long shelf of Hardcovers, special editions and special-to-me trade paperbacks.

ONE BOOK/COMIC YOU HAVE READ MULTIPLE TIMES…

Fiction: Anne Rice’s The Vampire Lestat and Terry Pratchett’s Men At Arms.

Comics: DMZ volume 1, The Definitive Irredeemable Vol.1 (#12 is the only comic to ever make me cry, and choke up when talking about it afterwards).

So much for “one”…

PREFERRED PLACE TO READ…

In bed, in a coffeeshop, on the sofa… But, really, it’s anywhere with Alyssa. [Gross-out-soppy-moment-alert!]

READING REGRET…

Fiction: Not reading some of the classics – of genre fiction, but also some of the classics of literature in general. Unlike most people, I was always in an “experimental” year for English classes, and I seem to have gone through life without reading many of the defining novels.

Comics: Taking so long to discover that there is one hell of a lot on offer in comics.

SERIES YOU NEED TO FINISH…

Ok. Here’s the thing about finishing series: I am terrible at it. Awful. I could list so many series – and especially trilogies – that I have failed to finish. I don’t know why, but this affliction has only grown worse since I started receiving more ARCs. Partly, I think it may be the fear of a story ending, which I know is ridiculous. It’s certainly not because I disliked the story. So, here are a selection of series I really need to finish…

Jon Sprunk’s Shadow Series

Brent Weeks’s Lightbringer Series (have to read book two before third is released)

Daniel Abraham’s The Dagger & the Coin

N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy

Joe Abercrombie’s post-First Law novels (they’re kind of a series, right?)

Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts (book six is coming out soon, and only read the first two)

Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire

And so very many more…

Comics: Ongoing series I’m not sure I should count in this, but I do definitely want to catch up on Fables, Batman, The Sixth Gun, and Skullkickers. Already complete series I need to finish include Sandman, Lucifer, and Ed Brubaker’s Captain America.

THREE OF YOUR ALL-TIME FAVOURITE BOOKS/COMICS…

Fiction: Anne Rice’s The Vampire Lestat/Queen of the Damned (I’ve mentioned before – I consider them one, and they’re always read together), Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora, and Terry Pratchett’s Men at Arms.

Comics: DMZ, Fables, The Sixth Gun

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Next to impossible to truly only pick three… I could maybe pick a hundred.

UNAPOLOGETIC FANBOY FOR…

Fiction: Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s Black Library fiction. He is one of the best writers today. It saddens me that people who hate/don’t like/avoid tie-in fiction, or Warhammer 40,000 fiction will never get around to his novels. Think he’s superbly talented fellow.

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Comics: DMZ – love it, love it, love it. Go! Go buy volume one, and thank me later.

VERY EXCITED FOR THIS RELEASE…

Fiction: Mark Charan Newton’s Drakenfeld

Comics: Fables Deluxe Books 7 & 8.

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WORST BOOKISH HABIT…

Fiction: Buying things for my Kindle, and then forgetting they’re on there. Bloody infuriating. Worst thing about Kindles – you can’t glance at one, like a set of shelves, and be inspired to read something. Mind you, buying more books in general is a weakness of mine. There is only so much time in the year/one’s life, after all…

Comics: Splurging on ComiXology’s sales. So many awesome ones, recently (Sweet Tooth, American Vampire most recently).

Mieville-IronCouncilX MARKS THE SPOT: START AT TOP LEFT AND PICK THE 27TH BOOK ON YOUR SHELF…

China Mieville’s Iron Council – the third in the author’s New Crobuzon series, and one I’ve never got around to reading. I thought Perdido Street Station was bloated and rather dull. The Scar, on the other hand, I have read (inhaled, really) three times, and I love it. The other week, I found this book on a Take-One-Leave-One shelf at the start of my commute. Seemed fortuitous. Hopefully I’ll get to this relatively soon.

YOUR LATEST BOOK PURCHASE…

Fiction: Holly Black’s White Cat.

Comics: Hellheim #1-6, the first story-arc for Cullen Bunn’s new series published by Oni Press (who also publish The Sixth Gun).

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ZZZ-SNATCHER BOOK…

Anything I’m reading can keep me awake well into the night. The last two books that really kept me up waaaay past bedtime, though, were Peter V. Brett’s The Daylight War and Joe Abercrombie’s Last Argument of Kings. (I think I went to sleep when my neighbour got up to go to work for both of those…)

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