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Books, Graphic Novels, Great Reads, Librarian's Choice, Nicola, poetry

Best of 2013: Nicola’s picks

20.12.13 | Comment?

I’ve read a few awesome books this year, but these are my favourites. Surprise, surprise: two of them are graphic novels.

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Lies, knives and girls in red dresses , by Ron Koertge.

Reimagings of Fairytales are a dime a dozen these days, but this collection of poetry is one of the few that retains the bite of the originals. What happens to the Ugly stepsisters after Cinderella’s happy ending? What does the orge-queen have to say for herself? This is not a collection for those who like their fairy stories light and fluffy. The last poem, told from the perspective of the wolves who prowl through the stories eating the unwary and terrifying humans, really captures what this book is all about. “This is our forest. Perfect before you came.Perfect again when all your kind is dead.”

Book Cover courtesy of Syndetics
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Liuetenant , by Tony Cliff
Selim, the titular Turkish Liuetenant, would like a quiet life, enjoying tea (he’s a true connoisseur) and getting on with his job in the Janissary Corps. Unfortunately, his meek and bookish demeanour seem to be working against him, and his superiors find his loquaciousness annoying. Luckily – or unluckily- his slow paced world is interupted by the appearence of Delilah Dirk, an adventurer of no mean skill and reputation. Due to a seires of misunderstandings, Selim gets entangled in Delilah’s latest endevour: stealing back treasure from an evil pirate warlord. This is the sort of graphic novel I really love: a glorious, silly romp through a unique setting with gorgeous art and interesting characters. It plays pretty fast and loose with the historical setting – I doubt that there were female Indiana Jones types stampeding across Istanbul in 1807 – but it’s an amazing adventure story.

Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
Templar, by Jordan Mechner ; illustrated by LeUyen Pham & Alex Puvilland

Templar comes highly recommended by David Benioff and D.B Weiss, creators of the TV show Game of Thrones. I was a little sceptical about it at first: there are plenty of rather fanciful stories about the Knights Templar, the heroes of this book. However, this book is light on the conspiracy theories, but not a dry out and out reconstruction of historical events.What I really loved about the characters in this book was that they were, for their time, pretty normal people. There’s an epidemic of “Chosen One” in YA fiction at the moment, so this is a refreshing change.


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