One of my friends did a list of her top 12 books from 2012 for her library. I saw her list and went, man, we read very different stuff. I’d heard of four of her books and read none (though a few are in my interminable and not written down anywhere “to read” list). But here’s my list of books I really liked that were released this year. All the links go to my reviews if you want more information than might be conveyed in the specific prize each won.
What were your favourites?
Hope Larson kicked ass in her comics adaptation of Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. I reviewed the book last year, so I won’t dwell on the story because Larson doesn’t deviate too much from it.
She drew it in a timeless kind of style, with rotary phones, but not expressly a period piece, which I think worked well. It is an old-fashioned sort of story. I appreciated how subtle the evilness of the evil in the story was drawn. And by that I mean that Charles gets spirally eyes and sharper expressions when he falls under IT’s sway, but he doesn’t become monstrous looking. Even the darkness and the red-eyed man were pretty subdued (unlike in Faith Erin Hicks’ excellent review of A Wrinkle in Time). The only thing that got the full-on icky feeling was IT, which is suitably jiggly and veiny and gross. I also loved the multiple speech bubbles from Aunt Beast, and Mrs Whatsit and Mrs Who were both suitably jolly in human form, and Mrs Whatsit in her angelic form looked so completely different the question of what to call her made perfect sense.
I was kind of sad there was no Punch of Love!! in the book but otherwise it was great. I’m looking forward to our library getting it so I can put it in people’s hands. I think it’ll be a good gateway comic.
Mercury is a comic by Hope Larson that takes place in Nova Scotia in two timelines. In 2009, Tara is new to Grade 10 in the town she grew up in. Her mother is off in Alberta working in the tar sands. She meets a boy who looks just like her and they go looking for buried treasure. In 1859 Josie’s farming family (Tara’s ancestors) take in a young prospector who Josie’s mother thinks is shady and up to no good. The intersection between the stories comes in the form of a quicksilver filled pendant.
It’s a very cleanly drawn book and the similarity in appearance between Tara and Ben works well. I liked the jumps between the timelines, but on the whole it felt like the story needed something more. It wasn’t quite understated enough to play that as a strength but not enough happened. I do feel we got to know Tara well, but Josie much less so.
But yeah. It wasn’t bad. Good Canadian content and all, but nothing I’d be rushing to put in people’s hands.