(Y-11) Vacation Time

Today marks the first day of the two-week spring vacation period.

Also, tomorrow will be the mid-point day for this eleventh year of reading, for which I’ll post something on Monday morning to see how I am faring for the first half of this amazing year.

As always I have big plans for my reading, and in between, I’ll squeeze some traveling and hopefully some work on my little desert oasis to get in shape for the upcoming summer season, I have been promising myself to have this space to read comfortably outside.

And I will follow thru this time.

I have so much to go thru in this post, and I know that I have been really lazy, I mean this is the second of the month of April and it is almost half-way done.

 So let me begin with what I have been reading.

I finished five graphic novels, ranging from some good old Batman to the Mad Titan tearing his way thru the Marvel Universe.

On that note, and trying to catch up with Thanos’ recent storyline, I read Infinity Book II and Thanos Rising, the latter beautifully executed by Jason Aaron, on the controls as the writer, and the amazing artwork by Simone Bianchi.

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On the DC Universe front, from which most of the reading comes, I went thru some new, some past storylines I haven’t read and one historic milestone.

To start off, I finished reading the sixth volume of the current run of Detective Comics, beautifully executed by James Tynion IV, it is always great fun to run around with the Bat Family thru the dark crevices of Gotham City.

Detective Vol 6

For some passed storylines, I finally finished reading Forever Evil, by now legendary DC writer Geoff Johns.

I read the first two issues when it originally came out back in 2013 but lost track it and now came to find to read in my Kindle Unlimited subscription, so I took advantage, and let me tell you, watching Lex Luthor as the hero will always be disturbing.

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And to keep on transversing the DC Universe, I read some single issues of new material, or at least newly published here in Mexico.

Spinning off the events of Dark Nights: Metal comes a new story about the spooky Batman Who Laughs, developed by the all-star team of Scott Snyder and the wonderful Jock.

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Also in the Dark Knight department, the highly controversial and now infamous Bat-penis, I read the Spanish and censored edition of  Batman: Damned, by the always edgy Brian Azzarello and the stunning art of Lee Bermejo, this particular edition has the variant cover edition by Jim Lee.

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Another series I started reading is Justice League Dark, and I love it from the first page, I am a sucker for all the magical and weird characters from the DC Universe.

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I read the first two issues and yesterday bought the third one, which consequently is the conclusion of the first story arc.

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Which relates directly to the idea of bringing to the main continuity of characters such as Swamp Thing and John Constantine, from which I am currently reading the first story arc in the Rebirth era of DC Comics.

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And now to finish off my recent trek thru the DC Comics Universe, the historic and landmark issue number one thousand of Detective Comics, in which the Dark Knight not only reaches this historic number but he also celebrates 80 years of publication history.

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I got the Bernie Wrightson variant.

To close out the comic book/graphic novel front, I read the omnibus of B.P.R.D.: 1946-1948, where you can see the first years of the agencies peculiar cases, all of this pre-Hellboy’s involvement, for he was a wide-eyed kid living somewhere in the New Mexico desert.

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And some of the amazing sketch drawings of the series.

Now on the book front, I keep on pounding away on the third book of the Neverwinter Saga, Charon’s Claw, currently on page 327, and I have plans to finish the saga on the first week of the spring vacation so I can start reading the first two book of Brian Catling’s The Vorrh Trilogy on the second week.

In which we are taking a small trip, but more on that later.

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This has been an eventful couple of weeks, I went to “Fiesta de los Libros” which is an event of my Alma Mater where you can buy all its the scientific or historical publications but the catch is that the price is around 5 dollars for all the books you can fit on a paper bag they give you, needless to say, I took around 7 bags home with books related to my masters degree.

Below you can see the place and some of the exhibitions during this week-long book celebration.

The other event was a home game of the newly founded Mexican League of Football, in which our fair city, Ciudad Juarez, has one of the five inaugural teams.

They started losing the game by 16 to 0 at the half but came from behind to claim a 24 to 16 victory.

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The next game and season closer is on April 28, and hopefully, we will be playoff bound.

Now I will like to talk about my numbers.

For the eleventh year of reading, I have a total of 22,029 pages and closing in the last year total with only 10,119 pages to go, just before the halfway mark.

Still, I am 30 days behind my reading schedule, but what are vacations for if not for closing down gap from crazy reading projects.

In concern of my total reading for my project, I have amassed 255,056 pages of reading and on the next significant milestone, which is reaching 500,000, I have 244,944 pages to go.

And in my projection, which started as the finishing date of the particular number to be on July 26 of 2029, now it has come down to May 14 of the same year, slowly but surely I am gaining ground.

In order to chip away at the page at my total pages to read and on to get that finishing date closer I have promised myself to grab my enormous pile of to read books and try to at least knock down 3,000 pages and a couple of months of ground gained.

Here are some of my reading materials for the upcoming weeks.

Well, I am off to chase those pages and rest my ass off.

azr.

(Y-11)And then, the pages came.

I have been away for quite a while, both from reading and from writing in this blog.

But not anymore.

So, what have I been up to?

Let me start with what have I been reading.

I finished a couple of fantastic graphic novels, the first one is Viva la Vida: Los Sueños en Ciudad Juarez, it is a harrowing retelling of one of the most violent and painful periods in the history of my fair city.

This is capture thru the eyes of two French illustrators, Baudoin & Troubs, I am not sure if an English version of the book exists, but it is worth the effort to translate and enjoy this beautiful piece of work in which, the citizens shared their hopes and dreams in exchange for a portrait.

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The second graphic novel I finished was a collection of fantastic artist reinterpreting the songs, this in comic book form, of one the most influential singers in history, Bob Dylan, illustrating 13 of his most iconic songs, it is a must in the collection of any comic book or music lover.

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Here the many facets of the legendary singer and Nobel Laureate.

After these two less traditional comic books, I went and read the newest installment of the now legendary Batman story The Dark Knight, for this particular story we get treated to an epic creative team.

Helmed by the original writer, Frank Miller, who needs no introduction, and joining him for the writing duties another legend of the world of comic books, Brian Azzarello.

And to put the cherry on top, Miller does a bit of the artwork with the collaboration of Andy Kubert, one of the most iconic illustrators to ever work with the Dark Knight, and as if this wasn’t enough, Klaus Janson, the legendary inker of the original series, now also contributing with some fantastic artwork .

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And here some of the covers.

Right now, I am working on a couple of things.

First off I keep on pounding away on the third book of the Neverwinter Saga, Charon’s Claw, as always it feels like home when I go out and run around with the legendary drow Drizzt Do’Urden.

I am currently on page 90 of 442, moving slowly and loving every minute of it.

The second thing is the fourth volume of Batman: Detective Comics, part of the DC Universe Rebirth, in which we get to indulge in the adventures of many sidekicks of the Dark Knight, including Clayface himself.

I particularly enjoy seeing the character Azrael back in action, crazy as ever.

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In between all of this reading, I took some time do a couple of things I love, eating and going to a live show, all in the same day.

I went to see an impressive group, Le Butcherettes, in a great venue in our sister city of El Paso, The Low Brow Palace, this small club always delivers some iconic performances.

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And to close out the night I went to my favorite hamburger joint, What-A-Burger, arguably the best burger chain restaurant and a true Texan icon.

I did not take a picture of the burger, it was devoured diligently.

Now I will like to talk about my currents number, both in this year of reading and my overall total and also a bit of a forecast of what I think the year has in store for me.

To start off, for the eleventh year of reading I have a total of 18,210 pages.

I have steading my pace but still behind my reading schedule by a whopping 28 days, but with the upcoming spring vacation, I think there will be plenty of opportunities to kick back and read an hour or four.

As for the forecast for this year, and if all things keep on the same course, I am looking for a total of 21,521 pages by the half-way point of the year, which is in exactly 30 days.

With these numbers, I am expecting to finish the year with little over 43,000 pages, but the real goal is to surpass my best year, 47,705 pages in the first year of reading, but always aiming of at least gracing that 53,000 page goal.

As for my overall total, it stands at 251,257 pages, and according to my calculations, and again if everything holds steady as now, I will be reaching the next significant milestone of 500,000 pages by the 10 of July of 2029, which to start of it is not acceptable and I am working on bringing down.

So far I have shaved approximately 15 days of this date and will keep on working to reduce the distance to such a significant achievement.

I have a long weekend ahead of me, here in Mexico we have the day off on Monday, this in celebration of the birthday of the famous president from which our fair city gets its name.

For me, this means extended periods of reading and trying not to get out of bed, and with the forecast of possible snow for Saturday, that only gives me more reasons not to venture outside the warm comforts of my blankets.

Well there you have it, a kind of long post, but given the circumstances, I had to bent some things that have been roaming around my head for the past week or so.

Tomorrow, I’ll visit one of my favorite coffee house, same great coffee but they updated their accommodations, and I have been itching to write a new caffeine pilgrimage entry for so long, what better way to get back on the saddle than with an old favorite.

As you can tell, I have a slight case of insomnia.

Better put it to good use and run alongside some dwarfs and elves, and hopefully, they will carry me off to dreamland.

azr.

 

 

 

 

 

(Y-11) Some extra art activities

For the past week, it has slipped my mind to talk about a new exhibition in the city’s museum of art.

This time is a photographic retrospective spanning five decades and the lenses of many photographers working on capturing the always intricated reality of our border city.

I am not sure until when the exhibition is going to be on display, but if you are in Ciudad Juarez or El Paso, you should go and check it out.

It would not disappoint.

Back to it then.

azr

 

(Y-11) Dia de Muertos

Yesterday was my favorite Mexican holiday, Dia de Muertos, The Day of the Dead.

It is a special celebration, in which, we honor our dearly departed by putting their pictures and all of the things that they loved the most.

On the University’s grounds each year, the students and faculty, put up the traditional “altares” many dedicated to famous figures of Mexican and international cultures.

A really colorful celebration celebrating the life of our loved ones.

And with this day my Monster Mash period comes to a close and of the eleven tasks, which include reading horror books and watching some classic horror movies, I only completed two, reading the first volume of Hellboy in Hell and watching the new Halloween movie, so better luck next year.

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The other good thing is that I finally started reading the second volume of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing run, just a few pages in and it is already surpassing all expectations.

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For now, I’ll work on this graphic novel and try to make some headway with Gardens of the Moon, currently on page 147 of 645.

The plan is to work my way thru the main storyline of The Malazan Book of the Fallen, that is, the ten novels written by Canadian author Steven Erikson and then jump back in with the infamous Drow Drizzt Do’Urden and continue my journey in the Forgotten Realms.

Now let’s talk numbers:

  • Total pages for (Y-11) : 1,254 pages.
  • Pages to go to achieve first milestone (10,000 pages): 8,746 pages.
  • Pages to go to achieve the main goal of the year (53,000 pages): 51,746 pages.
  • Pages to go to be the second-best year of reading (32,001 pages): 30,747 pages.
  • Pages to go to be the best year of reading (47,705 pages): 46,451 pages.

Now back to it, for the night is dark and full of reading.

azr.

(Y-10) This is the curtain call.

I am hours away from finish/starting another year of reading.

This was a fantastic year for my crazy little project.

I can enlist the many things this year of reading brought me, so lets now make a quick recap of things:

  • Total pages for (Y-10): 32,072 pages, which makes it my second best year of reading, begin only to the inaugural year which had a total of 47,705 pages.
  • Total of pages read in the last three years (Y-8, Y-9 & Y-10): 65,806 pages, my goal was to read 130,500 pages over those three years, this total gives me about 50% of that goal, not bad, not great either but there is room for improvement.
  • Total of things read this year: 220, which can be broken down as followed: 26 books, 126 single issue comic books, 63 graphic novels, 3 mangas, and 2 Novellas.
  • Longest Book: The Lord of Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien with a whopping 1,112 pages.
  • Shortest Book: The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss with 159 pages of pure delight.

But the most fulfilling things is watching this blog steadily grow.

I could have never imagined that my words would reach so many countries and different cultures, I am deeply honor and grateful to share this journey with all of you that take the time to read my ramblings.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now for the plans for (Y-11), to start off the idea of keep on reading fantasy books comes as a natural follow-up of last year theme, and besides, I have a lot of pending books on my to-read pile, and consequently, they are mostly fantasy novels, so let’s keep the theme rolling.

This year total goal is 53,000 pages and as for the last three years, the total combined for (Y-11), (Y-12) & (Y-13), must be at least 130,500 pages.

Why aim low when you can aim high.

The first book on my reading list is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the 200th anniversary illustrated edition, last year was the first year that I did not read some version of Mrs. Shelley’s book in over 6 years, it is nice to get back to one of my favorite traditions.

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But to kick off the new year’s festivities, I will have the help of one of the best creative teams ever assembled, I am talking about Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., and the now legendary comic book Kick-Ass.

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Fortunately, the first three volumes arrived today, after almost a month and a half of waiting for them, but the important part is that the misadventures of David Lizewski are in my bookshelf ready to be devoured.

So, at the stroke of midnight, I’ll start my new journey to another year filled with all the drama that books and real life can give.

Will you please join me on this journey to read my ass off.

Onward then, to the unknown.

azr.

 

(Y-10) 8 days…Lead the way, Mr. Gaiman

Just about to enter the final week of this spectacular tenth year of reading.

This week I broke a little my rule of no more books and read a couple of Novellas from one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman.

Spinning off his monumental work, American Gods, we get to spend a little more time with the enigmatic Shadow Moon, The Monarch of Glen and Black God are beautifully weird little snippets into the eternal quest of Shadow thru a land filled with ancient gods and creatures.

I am going to close out the day with the second volume of Spawn: Endgame, the glorious return of Todd McFarlane to his most famous creation.

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Now then, lets us talk number

  • Total pages for (Y-10) : 30,941 pages.
  • Pages to go to achieve the primary goal of this year (read more than the two last years combined): 2,793 pages.
  • And lastly, Pages to go to reach my ultimate milestone (best year ever of reading): 16,764 pages.

Those 2,793 are burning a hole in my mind, but my focus is now in chipping away as much as possible.

I have a couple of graphic novels line up for this week, and hopefully, I can reduce that number close to 2,000 pages.

For now, I will go and find a suitable bottle of wine to toast the ending year and say welcome to the eleventh year of reading.

Cheers!!!

azr.

 

 

(Y-10) 33 days…let there be a light

This weekend I had a little breath and did some reading and started working on my bullet journal for (Y-11), the last one was an experiment.

I made some headway with The Wise Man’s Fear, currently on page 464, and finish the first manga of my list, The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time.

So, this leads us to a quick recap:

  • Total pages for (Y-10) : 28,270 pages.
  • Pages to go to reach main goal of this year (read more than the two last years combined): 5,464 pages.
  • And lastly, Pages to go to reach my ultimate milestone (best year ever of reading): 19,435 pages.

Not optimal but not dreadful, I’ll shoot for 30,000 pages but with bigger goals in mind.

The other part of my weekend my next bullet journal took a little bit of form.

I wanted to have it ready so that I can fill it up.

 

For this journal I had the privilege of a fantastic artist, who is a very close friend, make a couple of pieces of some of my favorite books/movies.

I thank Horte Minguez for this fantastic pieces.

Need to read more.

azr.

 

 

 

Another badge of honor

I will like to take this small blip to thank each and everyone who reads and likes my entries.

This blog is a reflection of all that I love and it is exhilarating to see that someone reads this line, lines that keep me sane and pushing.

Onward then, into the unknown.

azr.

 

 

.

 

(Y-10) 78 days… so close I can smell it

Today was a very successful one.

Firstly, I finally finish the DC Universe by Mike Mignola graphic novel, showcasing the extraordinary early work of the now legendary creator of Hellboy, and personally my favorite comic book artist.

The graphic novel collects some of his work in not only the different DC Comics titles but also a wide range of his cover work, eerily beautiful.

Judge for yourself.

 

Also, I started my journey through one of the latest DC Comics major events, Dark Days, just read the first two issues, which a considered the prelude to the event.

The Forge and the Casting, written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV with the support of not one but three legendary artists Andy Kubert, Jim Lee and John Romita Jr., this was an epic start to what promises to become a legendary tale in the rich annals of DC Comics.

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Pencils by John Romita Jr.

And because of this great burst of reading is that I stand on the verge of achieving one the immediate goals of this year, reaching 25,000 pages.

Well, I’m painfully close, for my total, as of now, is 24,996 pages.

Just four measly pages away.

To close out the night, I will read the first issue of Dark Days: Metal and make some headway with The Name of the Wind, currently on page 411, picking up the pace.

Happy Readings!!!

azr.

 

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