Welcome to November, friends! Cold days are made for candles, hot cups, and cozy reading corners (or in the case of writers, frenetic writing as they undertake the challenge of NaNoWriMo! But more on that in a couple weeks).
Here is the collection of what I’ve been reading lately (some real winners!). But I’m curious about what YOU’VE been reading. Maybe you’ve picked up one of these titles?
Greywolf’s Heart – May I just begin by saying that Banschbach really knows how to tell my kind of stories? Once again she knocked it out of the park with this one, a rugged tale of estranged brothers learning how to live, love, and fight for each other in a harsh world where disunity within the village and war with a rival tribe threaten to tear everything apart. It’s a heartfelt story of a broken family beginning to heal, all in a lively landscape of giant wolves and wildcats that carry their riders into battle! How fun is that?? The narrative was captivating to read, vivid in its imagery, exciting in its action, deep in its character development, and thoroughly enjoyable in its snarky retorts. 450 pages of joy, is what this book is.
Natsume’s Book of Friends, vol. 11–13 – It might sound strange, but this story is simultaneously exciting and relaxing. The episodic chapters are like ghost stories, tales of the supernatural, that ring with the loneliness, fear, hope, and joy of the human heart as the main character wrestles with the divide between the two worlds he is a part of. And we finally got to see some of his origin story! And go on a dangerous yokai adventure with a close friend that challenges Natsume’s resolve and burgeoning openness with the cherished people in his life. So fun!
Noragami, volume 24 – This suspense is absolutely slaying me. Things are really cranking up with the battle to save Yukine and put an end to the crafter and his nefarious designs. The art in this series is gorgeous, the action sweeping, and the clashing personalities brings out texture and humor to a dramatic storyscape. I’m not especially into paranormal/supernatural stories, but manga has this unique ability to make them super enjoyable . . .
A Silent Voice – I have loved this story ever since finding the movie adaptation on Netflix several years ago, and when I learned it was a manga I wanted to read it. Books always tend to give a better opportunity for delving deeper into the characters and story than movies, and this one was a TRIP. It’s a sweet, cute, and fun story about a couple of awkward teens becoming friends after rough childhood experiences. It’s also a deep, moving, and thought provoking story about miscommunication, disability, and bullying; how it can break a person and how difficult it can be to heal. But what’s so triumphant about this story is the stark contrasts and how the two main characters struggle at the brink of oblivion to find the courage and the will to rise above the hurt done to/by them and the lies they’ve come to believe. To change. To make connections. To value themselves. To forgive—both themselves and others—and to move forward. I honestly can’t get enough of this story. These kids make my heart ache and rejoice all at the same time. Absolutely wonderful.
Run on Your New Legs, volumes 1&2 – Oh my goodness, this story is great! What sets this series apart from all your other sports manga is that the MC has a prosthetic leg, and it’s all about how this kid goes from feeling like he can’t do anything anymore because of his handicap to finding a passion that drives him forward. Unable to play soccer anymore, he discovers a new world of possibilities when an entrepreneur prosthetist introduces him to a leg used in para sports. With the freedom to run again, he joins the track and field club at school in order to improve, all the while meeting other athletes and even kids with disabilities similar to his own, which helps him develop a new perspective and goal. I’m no buff or expert in para sports, but it comes across as well-researched and respectable in its representation of the field and people, too. In just these first two volumes I’ve already come to love Kikuzato’s snark and spirit and Chidori’s enthusiasm–they make quite the pair!–and I can’t wait to see where this journey they’ve undertaken will lead!
Fawkes – This is the most fantastical historical fiction I’ve ever read—which has also been one of the most fantastic historical fictions I’ve ever read. Centered around the Gunpowder Plot of the 1600s, it follows the son of Guy Fawkes in a world of magic based on the color spectrum (so interesting!) and harried by a plague that actually turns living things into stone (sorry but that’s fascinating!). Brandes has a vivid writing style with a page-turning story of identity, courage, and seeking the truth—no matter what the cost. I devoured this book in chunks, hardly willing to put it down through the mystery, danger, daring, and intrigue that filled every page to its epic and bittersweet conclusion. More, please.
Kaiju No. 8, volume 4 – Nooooo! YES BUT NOOOO!!! I don’t know how useful it is to have play-by-play reactions to this series on here, since I can only read ONE AT A TIME as they release (which is dumb, ‘cause they always end on cliffhangers), but I am enjoying it. The action doesn’t quit in this volume, with a battle against a particularly strong monster pushing some of our heroes to the limit—and Kafka out of the shadows, sacrificing what he is sure will be his life in order to save the corps from a devastating bomb. With his secret now revealed for all, how is he going to survive the wrath of the people he fights alongside??? More importantly, how am I going to make it until January for the next installment??!
Have you read any of these, or have you found one that piques your interest? Tell me about the last book you read, or about the one you’re currently reading!