Arne Bellstorf

Best Books of the Year: My personal Top 20

2012 Juli Frantje-Haus Selfpic.

(After a popular list last year [Link]…)

…here are the 20 very best books I’ve read in 2012:


20: JASON SHIGA, “Bookhunter”, Graphic Novel, 2007.

19: GAYLE FORMAN: “If I stay”, Young Adult Novel, 2009.
If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)

18: DAVID MARKSON: “The Last Novel”, (postmodern) Novel / Lists / Trivia Collection, 2007.
The Last Novel

17: SHARON M. DRAPER: “Out of my Mind”, Young Adult Novel, 2010.
Out of My Mind

16: OCTAVIA BUTLER: “Kindred”, (Fantasy) Novel, 1971.

15: JOHAN HARSTAD: “Buzz Aldrin, what happened to you in all the Confusion?”, Novel (Norway), 2005.
Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?

14: KRISTEN D. RANDLE: “The only Alien on the Planet”, Young Adult Novel, 1995.
The Only Alien on the Planet

13: DANIELA KRIEN: “Irgendwann werden wir uns alles erzählen”, Novel (German), 2011.
Irgendwann werden wir uns alles erzählen

12: TENNESSEE WILLIAMS: “A Streetcar named Desire”, Play, 1947. […alternative / runner-up: HENRIK IBSEN: “A Doll’s House”, Play (Norway), 1879.]
A Streetcar Named Desire and A Doll's House

11: ARNO GEIGER: “Der alte König in seinem Exil” (Austrian) Alzheimer Memoir, 2011.
Der alte König in seinem Exil

10: SARAH LEAVITT: “Tangles. A Story about Alzheimer’s, my Mother and me”, Graphic Novel, 2010.
Tangles : a story about Alzheimer's, my mother, and me

09: ARNE BELLSTORF: “Baby’s in Black”, Graphic Novel (German), 2010.
Baby's in Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles in Hamburg

08: SCOTT SNYDER: “Batman: The Court of Owls”, Graphic Novel (and good start for new “Batman” readers):
Batman, Vol. 1: The Court of Owls

07: STEWART O’NAN: “The Odds. A Love Story”, Novel, 2012.
The Odds: A Love Story

06: JOACHIM HELFER, RASHID al-DAIF: “Die Verschwulung der Welt”, Essay (German / Persian), 2006.
Die Verschwulung der Welt.

05: ALEXIS M. SMITH: “Glaciers”, Novel, 2012.

04: JOE HILL: “Locke & Key” series, Graphic Novels, 2008 to 2013.
Locke and Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft

03: MARLEN HAUSHOFER: “The Wall / Die Wand”, Austian novel, 1962.
Die Wand

02: GERBRAND BAKKER: “The Detour / Der Umweg”, Dutch novel, 2010.
Der Umweg

01: RUTH KLÜGER: “Still alive. A Holocaust Girlhood remembered”, Memoir / Essay, 1992.
Weiter leben. Eine Jugend.


For a complete list of books I’ve read in 2012, please go here [Link].


In comics, I’ve also enjoyed Guy Delisle’s travelogues / non-fiction graphic novels “Burma Chronicles” [Link], “Pyongyang” [Link] and “Jerusalem” [Link], the “New 52” DC comic books featuring “Wonder Woman” [Link], “Green Lantern” [Link], “Swamp Thing” [Link] and the “Birds of Prey” [Link] – and large parts of Naoki Urasawa’s “Pluto” [Link]

…and “Honey & Clover” [Link], a “Scott Pilgrim”-like, bittersweet / comedic coming-of-age manga series about five friends at an art school.

Here’s a collage of my notable graphic novel discoveries in 2012:

Wordpress Graphic Novels Best-of 2012.

Have a good 2013! More to come!


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Underdog Literature, October 2012: 15 fresh or surprising, off-the-wall titles


Here are 15 books that caught my interest lately.

Fresh, off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention:


01: ROBIN SLOAN, “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Book Store”, 304 pages, 2012.

02: JENS PETER JACOBSEN, “Niels Lyhne”, 152 pages, 1880 [Danish].

03: DONALD HALL, “The Best Day The Worst Day – Life with Jane Kenyon”, 258 pages, 2005 [Memoir].

04: ELIZABETH ARTHUR, “Antarctic Navigation”, 816 pages, 1995.

05: A.S. KING, “Ask the Passengers”, 296 pages, 2012. [Young Adult]

06: SHANNON MESSENGER, “Keeper of the Lost Cities”, 496 pages, 2012. [Young Adult / Fantasy]

07: KATJA MILLAY, “The Sea of Tranquility”, 380 pages, 2012. [Young Adult, might be trash…?]

08: BOUALEM SANSAL, “The German Mujahid”, 240 pages, 2008. [Algerian]

09: GAITO GASDANOW, “Das Phantom des Alexander Wolf”, 192 Seiten, 1947. [Russian emigré writer, new German translation]

10: YI IN-SEONG, “Jahreszeiten des Exils”, 318 pages, 1983. [Korean, new German tanslation]

11: SEPP MALL, “Berliner Zimmer”, 188 pages, 2012. [Austrian]

12: ANNETTE KOLB, “Das Exemplar”, 210 pages, 1913. [German]

13: DANIEL MEZGER, “Land spielen”, 318 pages, 2012. [Swiss]

14: TILMAN RAMMSTEDT, “Die Abenteuer meines ehemaligen Bankberaters”, 190 pages, 2012. [German]

15: SABINE FRIEDRICH, “Wer wir sind”, 2032 pages, 2012 [German].


Here are five books that made me curious enough to buy them:

01: MARLEN HAUSHOFER, “The Wall” / “Die Wand”, 240 pages, 1962. [Austrian]

02: MARCEL BEYER, “Flughunde”, 301 pages, 1996. [German]

03: SERGEJ LUKIANENKO, “Wächter des Morgen”, 464 Seiten, 2012. [Russian; German translation.]

Ich habe die “Wächter”-Reihe u.a. HIER besprochen / empfohlen: Link

04: NIKOLAI VOGEL, “Spam Diamond”, 210 pages, 2012. [Austrian, Rezensionsexemplar, danke an Haymon!]

05: ANDREAS STICHMANN, “Das große Leuchten”, 240 Seiten, 2012. [German; Rezensionsexemplar, danke an Rowohlt!]


…and finally, here are three books that I read – and that were really good:

5 of 5 stars: ARNE BELLSTORF, “Baby’s in Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and the Beatles in Hamburg”, 208 pages, 2010. [Graphic Novel]

4 of 5 stars: TOVE JANSSON, “Fair Play”, 127 pages, 1989. [Nonfiction / personal essays – not half as good as her “Summer Book”, though.]

4 of 5 stars: MILENA MICHIKO FLASAR, “Ich nannte ihn Krawatte”, 144 pages, 2012. [Austrian; Rezensionsexemplar, danke an Verlag Klaus Wagenbach!]


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