Octavia Butler

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, March 2012: 15 fresh or overlooked, 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: CLAIRE BIDWELL SMITH, “The Rules of Inheritance”, 298 pages, 2012.C

02: ISMET PRCIC, “Shards”, 400 pages, 2011.

03: JEFF MARTIN, “The late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books”, 165 pages, 2011.

04: GUY DELISLE, “Jerusalem”, 334 pages, 2011. [Graphic Novel; nonfiction]

05: LIZ MOORE, “Heft”, 352 pages, 2012.

06: EOWYN IVEY, “The Snow Child”, 389 pages, 2011.

07: AMY KROUSE ROSENTHAL, “Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life”, 240 pages, 2005.

08: ERIC WALTERS, “Safe as Houses”, 160 pages, 2007. [Young Adult]

09: SHARON M. DRAPER, “Out of my Mind”, 295 pages, 2010. [Young Adult]

10: RYAN KNIGHTON, “C’mon Papa: Dispatches from a Dad in the Dark”, 272 pages, 2010. [Memoir]

11: ALISON BECHDEL, “Are you my Mother?”, 224 pages, 2012. [Graphic Novel / Memoir]

12: HAVEN KIMMEL, “She got off the Couch; and other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana”, 320 pages, 2005. [Humor]

13: JULIE ANNE PETERS, “Between Mom and Jo”, 240 pages, 2007. [Young Adult]

14: MILLEN BRAND, “The Outward Room”, 240 pages, 1937.

15: STEPHANIE COONTZ, “The Way we never were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap”, 432 pages, 1992.


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

01: WOLFGANG HERRNDORF, “Tschick”, 253 pages, 2010 [Young Adult, German].

02: SARAH OCKLER, “Twenty Boy Summer”, 290 pages, 2009 [Young Adult].

03: PATRICK DeWITT, “The Sisters Brothers”, 352 pages, 2011.

04: ROHINTON MISTRY, “A Fine Balance”, 603 pages, 1995.

05: REBECCA SKLOOT, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”, 370 pages, 2010.


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

1: 5 of 5 stars: STEWART O’NAN, “The Odds”, 179 pages, 2012.

2: 4 of 5 stars: BRIAN FRANCIS, “Natural Order”, 384 pages, 2011.

3: 4 of 5 stars: OCTAVIA E. BUTLER, “Kindred”, 288 pages, 1983.


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