We have hit that wonderful half-way point again. I am currently nearing 200 pages into Cinder, and wow! That review will be coming soon. I wanted to stretch out a bit this week and take a look at manga & why I believe it so wonderful (I cannot be convinced otherwise). I am also sharing some of my personal “not-so-new” favorite series, and then following up with a quick poll to see how everyone prefers their novels. I personally jump around a lot. Short and sweet today. I am not going to lie, I am beat after returning to work. Sometimes I really question whether extended weekends are worth it.
First of all, any fans of manga or graphic novels? I am a huge fan! But admittedly, this is a new passion that was developed this past year as I found myself re-entering the world of anime. One of those, one thing led to another moments 😉 Shh, don’t tell. Comics in general can provide a gratifying, yet entirely unique reading experience. I have learned this over the course of the last several months.
There are several reasons I personally enjoy manga. Here are my top 5:
1.Endless possibilities! – Manga has a huge selection of genres and styles. If you can think of it, there is a manga somewhere that covers it. Fantasy? No problem. Hey so maybe you are into a bit of darker stuff? Got it covered. There is something for everyone. Check out.
2. The story line – If you are a fan of anime, then you already know just how detailed and amazing the stories can be. Manga is exactly the same. The stories are incredible, with normally over the top characters that you just cannot get enough of and amazing settings. Manga is more than a comic. I promise. In fact, it can be a very emotional experience.
3. The art of course! – Normally a large portion of the story line in manga is conveyed through the art. This equates into a beautiful, graphic experience. Since this is a style of comic storytelling, we rely on the visual experience as much as the reading to understand what is happening. Therefor the mangaka (Japanese cartoonist) will create characters that are very expressive just on sight. Overall, manga can be a truly aesthetic journey.
4. Culture – Manga is a style of Japanese comics or graphic novels. This can easily translate into a cultural experience. You are exposed to many various Japanese customs through the reading experience, including the use of Japanese honorifics and the experience of reading in a different direction (not nearly as hard to adapt to as you might believe). And honorifics are just the beginning!
5. Instant gratification – Manga is typically an easy and short read. This is not always going to be the case, and there are definitely some series that seem to never end, but generally a manga can be read in a small amount of time. This is perfect when you are seeking to satisfy your reading fix quickly, but still crave a great story.
I personally find nothing more than sitting down with a pile of my favorite manga at times and just tearing through them. A few of my personal favorites include: Pandora Hearts, Fairy Tail, Alice in the Country of Hearts, Death Note and Mushishi. I did not touch as much on graphic novels, but I highly recommend Fables, if you have not checked it out. I may review a few of these in the future. What are some of your favorites if you are a fan? What are the reasons you believe manga or graphic novels provide a satisfying reading experience?
Top 10 Favorite Series
Song of Ice and Fire – George R.R. Martin
This series is one epic battle after another for the Iron Throne. Recommended for anyone who enjoys high elements of fantasy and historical fiction. Warning: This is mature reading, and the series has not yet been completed. Looking at you Mr. Martin 😦
Discworld – Terry Pratchett
I believe there are now over 40 titles in this fabulous series! Sadly, the author passed in March of 2015. His daughter originally planned to takeover, but I believe this has since changed. Discworld is unlike anything of I have ever laid hands upon. Full of eccentric characters and constant parodies, I would recommend this series to all fans of fantasy and comedy.
Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling is no stranger to many of us. Harry Potter is the beloved young boy we have all come to hold dear. Living under the staircase of his not so wonderful aunt and uncle, he is swept away to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry on his 11th birthday to discover he is a wizard. This series for all with children (share it!), fans of magic, adventure and fantasy.
Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
This fantastic fantasy story is actually one novel, but often referred to as a trilogy since it was published in 3 volumes. Setting the mark for many fantasy novels, this beloved title tells the amazing story centered around the battle for Middle Earth and is often topic of debate among fantasy readers. Recommending this for everyone! Sorry, but I do. It is okay to not be a fan, but I believe this is one of the rare, must read at least once titles.
Fablehaven – Brandon Mull
Fablehaven is about a refuge for magical creatures. Full of mystical and lovable characters with moments of excitement and enchantment, Fablehaven is a must read for fans of YA and Fantasy. This is also perfect for sharing if children. My son is currently working on this series.
The Hunger Games Trilogy – Suzanne Collins
The Hungers Games is a dystopian novel where lower standing citizens between the ages of 12 and 18 are forced by the capital through a drawing, into an annually televised event where they must fight for survival, with only one left standing. This is not necessarily for everyone, but I normally suggest this series to fans of YA dystopian reads. It really is an excellent dystopian story.
Sookie Stackhouse Series- Charliane Harris
This is one of the few series that I call my “guilty pleasures” because this deviates greatly from my normal reading habits. Sookie Stackhouse is a small town cocktail waitress who just happens to have the ability to read minds. She also happens to find herself involved with the new resident, Bill. Bill is a vampire. I do not know why, but this just works and the author is wonderful. Recommended for all fans of paranormal with hints of romance and action.
The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
Nearly everyone if familiar with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. These are the titles that followed, expanding on C.S. Lewis’ magical world. Full of fantastic creatures and strong moral values tucked within, this series is epic! I think I have to add this to the “read at least once” list as well. Due to the chronological order of events being different from the actual publication order, there has been much debate on how to read these stories. I personally prefer chronologically based on events. Do some research and decide for yourself though.
(Forgotten Realms) The Dark Elf Trilogy – R.A. Salvatore
This particular series follows the dark elf and prince of Icewind Dale, Drizzt Do’Urden. This is a great series for all fans of action, adventure and high fantasy. This will hit home with D&D fans. If you enjoy those elements I would highly recommend Forgotten Realms titles.
The Inkworld Series – Cornelia Funke
This author is fabulous. I am not sure what happens, but when I pick up this German storyteller’s work, I cannot put it down. Inkheart is another heavy fantasy based series that involves 12-year-old Meggie, who learns her father can read books to life. Again, high magic and fantasy content. Beautifully written. For all young at heart and lovers of rich story-telling.
These are 10 of my favorites “not-so-new” series. They are, of course very fantasy heavy. I have a soft spot in my heart for fantasy. It has always been my escape. What are some of your favorite series that have been around for a bit?
And this is where I will wrap things up for the day. Until Next time..