Good Reads for January & February

Hello hello!

I really like making comics but I also really like reading them. And I'd noticed that I'd stopped reading as much and was only working on making my own comics, which sounds pretty great and is! But I'd been feeling pretty down and uninspired by my work and I realised it was because I'd been putting out but hadn't been taking in. So for the last couple of months I've been trying to read more again and I've been feeling much better. As an encouragement to continue this dedicating-time-to-read, I'm going to start a regular bi-monthly post about the comics I've read. 

First up (in no particular order): 

1. Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes

This is probably one of my favourite new YA series (there are currently 2 books out in the series, with a third released this month). I've always been interested in math and programming patterns but never really had a head for it at school and quickly would get frustrated with anyone trying to teach it to me. But reading this book made me realise what was going on: I was a visual learner and my teachers weren't always using the visual cues that helped me understand the problems. 

What I really like about Secret Coders is that they explain a programming puzzle two ways: once in just dialogue and then visually (two different characters who think differently explain it to the reader in the different ways). It's written in a way that doesn't talk down to the reader and you are encouraged to try to figure out the puzzle first before turning the page to find out the answer at the end of each chapter. I really really enjoyed this book and recommend it to everyone!  

For those who love: binary, sassy teens & robots. 

2. Hotel Strange: Wake Up, Spring by Katherine & Florian Ferrier

This Bande Desinee style comic was a really fun read. Cute characters going on rad adventures through a semi-magical world meeting fantastical creatures. It's the kind of book I would have gotten obsessed over as a kid and I can't wait to locate and and read the whole series of books. 

Also how good is the name Florian?!

For those who love: exciting adventures, fanatical creatures & pipes. 

3. The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins

I wasn't sure at all which way this book was going to go before I started reading it. In fact, I wasn't sure which was it was going to go while I was reading it either. But the loose rhyming couplets style of narration and soft pencil markings lured me into this intriguing meditation on conformity or society or something like that. I enjoyed it even though I probably didn't understand the finer points of it. 

For those who love: beards, poetry & untidiness.

4. The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg

The second book by Isabel Greenberg, The One Hundred Nights of Hero,  is another love letter to storytelling and folklore. Greenberg just has this knack for creating new folkloresque tales in her own made-up universe that feel both new and old at the same time. One Hundred Nights interviews stories of the past and present and takes you on a rambling adventure that ties it all back together neatly at the end. 

For those who love: stories, brave women & deliciously inky drawings.


5. Plumdog by Emma Chichester Clark

Originally an online blog written from the point of view of Plum (an adorable dog), Plumdog is cute and easy to read. It was a very pleasant read but I have to admit it was hard for me personally to get through because ever since our family dog passed away last year my urges for wanting a puppy pal to hang out with have been growing. Unfortunately my partner Owen is super duper allergic to pretty much everything and getting a dog while living in a small city apartment without a backyard is really not feasible.  

For those who love: dogs, watercolours and more dogs.

6. Oishinbo by Tetsu Kariya & Akira Hanasaki

I've tried to get into manga before but, like superhero comics, I've just not been exposed to the right one for me and don't really know what to look for in the shops. I'd kinda given up on finding that perfect manga for me until I was recommended Oishinbo by my studio-mate Greg. It cut from fairly dialogue-heavy scenes explaining the intricacies of Japanese-style food preparation and culture to intensive family drama sequences.  

For those who love: fine food, dramatic manga & bad father-son relationships.

Anyway, those are some things I read over the past two months. I can't wait to read through the pile of comics next to my bed. 

What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?