Saturday, 13 December 2008

More Challenges

OK, I like joining challenges but then I don't like following them, feeling obliged to read certain books I decided to read months before. So what I'm going to do is, not choose the books! I'll join the challenges only if it's possible to pick the books along the way.
So far I've picked:

Dewey's Reading Challenge, in memory of Dewey.

We can pick 6 books for each year that Dewey blogged, or 5 books from any year. I've browsed her blog and there's so much to choose from! From my experience is more fun to choose books that I don't already own, and wouldn't have picked, if not for the review. It doesn't help tackling the pile, but it's more fun!
For now I've noticed a couple of books I might want to read, for example Spelldown by Karen Luddy, Misfits by James Howe, Dykes to watch out for and some others.

The second, and last for now, is the Manga Reading Challenge, hosted by Rhinoa.

I have no idea what I'm going to read and that's part of the fun of it. I was an avid manga reader in Italy. Here there isn't such a big selection, so I'll have to search for some good ones, and hope for the best.
As in my comments to Rhinoa's blog, I'd like to suggest a few manga that I've loved in the past, and some others that could be interesting too.

Anything by Rumiko Takahashi is great. She's funny and incredibly inventive. My favourite of hers is Maison Ikkoku. Set in a shared house full of quirky characters, is the story of awkward student Godai, who falls madly in love with the manager of the house, the lovely Kyoko. This manga is a lot about romance and humour and misunderstanding, but in dealing with all this, it shows japanese culture in a way I haven't encountered in any other manga.
There's also an anime of this series, like for most of Takahashi's works. She's one of the most famous mangaka, so if you don't know where to start, I think she's a good introduction.

Another author I've read as a teenager is Masakatsu Katsura, a sort of legend for any manga lover. He's the creator of Video Girl Ai. This manga was so popular in Italy that I remember going to a theatre representation of it! OK it wasn't very good, but it gives you the idea.
The drawings are gorgeous, and kind of erotic too, but not XXX! It's a very tender and romantic story, with elements of science fiction. It's essentially for young adults, although I think anyone should try it at least, because it's a classic.
It's about Yota, a young guy hopelessly in love with Moemi. When he realises that Moemi is in love with his best friend, Yota finds himself in a video store to rent a porn movie and console himself. He ends up taking a video starring a girl called Ai Amano. What Yota doesn't know is that the video is a special one. It contains a Video Girl especially created to cheer up the renter of it, by physically coming out of the video in human form. Unfortunately Yota's vcr is broken so when Ai jumps out of the screen she's not what she should be. First of all she's cranky. But most importantly, she starts feeling emotions towards Yota. Something a Video Girl should never do. If it sounds weird, it is! But it's also incredibly emotional and tender, and it deserves to be discovered.

Another favourite author of mine is Tsukasa Hojo. He's the author of City Hunter, but I'm not mad for it. As a child I loved the anime Cat's Eye, but as a manga, my favourite of his would be "Under the dapple shade". It's the poetic story of a girl who can talk to trees. It's really beautiful, both graphically and storywise. It's not on Amazon but it can be read on-line here. If you can bear to read on a screen, it's absolutely recommended. There's also tons of other manga to read on this website!

Other honorable mentions are: RG Veda by the Clamp. The artwork is fabulous. The story is interesting, but some of the morals of some characters, I think, are questionable, depending on what you make of them.
if you like fantasy comedy, try Those who hunt elves. I should actually look for it as well, cause the series was interrupted in Italy.
For sci-fi and action fans I'd choose Battle Angel Alita . Also Ghost in the shell (although I've only seen the anime), Eden, and obviously Akira (again, never read the manga, should probably pick it myself!)

Right now, I'm really into a manga called Nana. It's still in progress, and since Italy is publishing at the same time as Japan (plus the time for the translation) it's going really slow! I hope I can pick up the latest issue when I go home for Christmas :)
There's a lot of smoking going on but if you manage to bypass that it's kind of addictive. Darla has reviewed the first two issues on her blog. I love the relationship between the two Nanas ( I secretely have a little crush on punk Nana) and right now I'm waiting to see what will happen to their friendship. Ai Yazawa, couldn't you draw and write faster??

For more realistic manga try Mars by Fuyumi Soryo. It's oh so romantic.

Ok I'd better stop here, I'm getting carried away again. Please, if you've read any good manga, feel free to recommend it to me, I'm very open to try anything:)


Nymeth said...

wow, thank you for this post! I want to read everything you recommended!

valentina said...

You're welcome! I hope you do, can't wait to start this challenge!!