Hello dear reader(s) and welcome back to the blog! I mentioned at the end of my last review that I’ll be participating in Dewey’s Readathon that would be held on Saturday April 6th. The official start time was on Saturday at 8:00 EDT, or 14:00 CEST for Croatian readers. April’s Readathon ended a couple of hours ago and since it’s raining this afternoon in Split I decided to write down some musings about the event and review my to-read pile in one go. Two birds, one blog post. 😀
For this spring’s Readathon I decided to go down the graphic novels and manga route. Mainly because I’ve read all of the shorter novels I have, and I couldn’t make up my mind about the longer ones I wanted to read. As a result my stack with the Rivers of London graphic novels and Junji Ito’s Uzumaki manga seemed like the perfect choice. Firstly, they’re shorter pieces and the content varies – each piece tells a different story. Moreover, I can get through them faster without feeling bogged down by page numbers and lastly I could bask in the glow of accomplishment of reading 7 books in a day. 🙂 Mind you, once I add all the pages from the graphic novels and the manga it turns out I’ve read over 1.300 pages! That’s quite something if I do say so myself.
Regardless of the type of books, their number or the total page number I’ve read during this Readathon it was quite a relaxed affair. There’s never any pressure during a Readathon to read a huge number of books; you can read as much or as little as you want, the only thing that matters is that you read and enjoy your day. Personally I look at Dewey’s Readathon as a self-care event that allows me to dedicate a whole day to the activity that I really love – reading. I am aware that I can dedicate any weekend or a whole day off to reading, but Readathon is not just about reading.
Reading is mostly a solitary affair; you pick your reading spot and whatever you want to read and just read. During a Readathon you know you’re not alone, you know there are hundreds of people around the globe reading with you. They might even be reading the same books/e-books/comic books/graphic novels/mangas as you are. You interact with your fellow readers on social networks, cheer each other on, share beverage and snack tips, recommend music to help you stay focused or just tell folks what you’re reading and updating your progress report. 🙂 Participating in a Readathon is a wondrous experience and one that you can adapt according to your own needs and desires. If you haven’t participated, the next one will be held in October, but until then let’s review my choices for this April’s Readathon.
Rivers of London graphic novels published by Titan Comics and they belong in the same universe as Ben Aaronovich’s Rivers of London novels. He co-wrote them with Andrew Cartmel, while Lee Sullivan and Lee Guerrero are the illustrators for the series. At the moment the Rivers of London graphic novel series consist of the following volumes:
- Body Work
- Night Wich
- Black Mould
- Detective Stories
- Cry Fox
- Water Weed
- Action at a Distance (forthcoming)
The graphic novels are a real treat for the fans of the Rivers of London series – the tone and style of the novels is there, enriched with Sullivan’s and Guerrero’s gorgeous
illustration. It’s like watching a TV or movie adaptation of Rivers of London, but without the fear that they’re going to screw up the special effects or cast the wrong person or something like that. 😀 Among the things I particularly liked in the graphic novels is how every character from the main series gets to have their moment. In other words a character that, for whatever reason, wasn’t prominently featured in the main series got a lot more space to develop in the graphic novels. The variety of stories and characters in the graphic novels coupled with the little funny slices of life pages at the end of each volume, made reading entertaining and interesting. I never knew what to expect when I turned the page, but I knew I wouldn’t be bored. If urban fantasy meets CSI is your jam I highly recommend these graphic novels!
In contrast to that Uzumaki manga is a whole different genre of weird and the strange. Written and illustrated by Junji Ito, the manga focuses on the strange events in the small, fictional Japanese town of Kurōzu-cho and its inhabitants; particularly the high-schooler Kirie Goshima and her boyfriend Shuichi Saito. Kurōzu-cho is a town cursed with spirals… And yes, that sentence adequately sums up the weird and strange events of this manga without spoiling the plot. 😀 I have finally managed to sum something up in a wacky sentence without spoiling anything! Excuse me while I go get myself a drink. 😀
Given the Uzumaki’s uncanny nature it’s difficult to describe the disturbing horror elements. You have to see it and read it in order to feel it. The creepy feeling comes from ordinary things that Ito twists (heh, the puns people, the puns…) and makes strange. However, some things are downright creepy without adding the horror element to the story. As an illustration I’ll use one of Kirie’s classmates who became obsessed with her and was stalking her in order to get her to go out with him. The very fact that someone is so obsessed with another person that they are stalking them is creepy in and of itself without the added horror elements. Can you imagine how you would feel if someone was obsessively following you around, gathering information about you in order for you to become their partner? I don’t need a weird spiral added to the mix to make me scared or to feel the horror. Nevertheless, it is added and the whole thing gets weirdly disturbing.
Despite the amount of weirdly disturbing and horrifying themes, or because of them Uzumaki is a fascinating must read! You know it’s scary, you know it’s disturbing and creepy, but the quality of the writing and drawings is such that it sucks you in and compels you to read and turn the pages! In my opinion Uzumaki is not for the faint of heart, but if you’re a horror fan or enjoy the genre you’ll love every page of this manga! The drawings are uncanny, both the black and white ones and the few coloured ones. Ito’s skill and talent shine from every page.
This concludes my Readathon reading pile for the month of April! Let me know in the comment section or on Twitter (@NarratriceNessa) if you participated in this Readathon? Did you achieve the reading goals you set out for the Readathon? What would you change for the next one and what did you read? Give me some recommendations or let’s just chat about all things book related. 🙂 Until next time dear reader(s)!