throwbackthursday

#TBT Book Memories: XXXHolic

I know this is a day late, but unfortunately my tablet went missing last night and it was much to late to finish my post by the time I found it. In the spirit of Throwback Thursday, every week I share a memory related to a book. It could be my impressions of a book. It could be a memory of when I received the book, or what was happening in my life while I read it, and how the story affected me. If you would like to play along, simply do the same, and post your link in the comments.

Manga and graphic novels are one of my favorite forms of literature. They offer me a reading experience that is both visually and mentally stimulating, and thoroughly different than reading a novel. Instead of relying on my mind to illustrate the world I am momentarily inhabiting, I get lost in the world the author and extremely talented illustrators have created for me. This week, I have chosen a manga for Throwback Thursday; “XXXHolic” by CLAMP. The XXX in the title is misleading as there is nothing explicit about the story.  I will preface this by saying that I am not, nor have I ever been, a huge CLAMP fangirl. “Chobits” is the only other manga / anime by them that held my interest. “XXXHolic” is more adult and mature than the other works of theirs I have had the opportunity to glance through, like “Card Captor Sakura” and “Angelic Layer”.  Back in 2004, CLAMP was most well known for their shojo (girly) stories. “XXXHolic” was a departure from that, featuring a male lead. The cover art is what caught my eye and the summary sealed the deal.

It is difficult to explain what it is I love about XXXHolic. The word that comes to mind when I think of the story is ‘haunting’. The protagonist is literally haunted by demons and ghosts, but he is also haunted by his thoughts and the plights of the people that he interacts with throughout the story. The dimensional witch, Yuuko, is haunting in her own way. She is mysterious, powerful, and somewhat frightening, as many a fictional witch are. The woodblock print art style with gothic lolita elements and the color palette for those images that are not in black and white further the feeling. “XXXHolic” is dark, beautiful, and emotional. And yes, as with most manga, also a little bit silly. I stopped reading several books in for financial reasons, but the upcoming Kumoricon in Vancouver, WA got me thinking about the mangas I used to read and the animes I used to follow. It is an older story, but worth checking out. I, for one, intend to finish it one day.

xxxholic

#TBT Book Memories: Galax-Arena

Every Thursday my Facebook feed is filled with grainy old photos from way, way, back. Some show smiling toddler version of my friends. Some show the high school faces I remember fondly. It’s always nice to reminisce about our pasts on social media. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter help us keep up with our friend’s presents, but on Thursdays, they also offer us a walk down memory lane. For book geeks, our trips to the Shire, to Hogwarts, and beyond through little black letter printed on paper and sandwiched between cardboard are as much a part of our past as vacations to Disneyland and birthday parties in the park. So, every Thursday on All Night Reading I want to share a book that had an impact on me, or a memory surrounding literature and reading.

Today I have chosen Galax-Arena by Gillian Rubinstein. Galax-Arena was the first book I can remember reading that had cursing in it. I know that is a strange thing to remember about a book, but as a goody-two-shoes in middle school, I was slightly scandalized. I wondered if the librarian knew such a book was on the shelf for tender 11-year-olds like myself to pick up. I vowed I would not tell and continued reading.

What I read was an interesting glimpse into science fiction and a dystopian world where young children were kidnapped and forced to perform acrobatics for a mysterious group of aliens. They were treated like circus pets, forced to perform, and sometimes given affection, but never treated as fully thinking and individual human beings. A twist at the end showed me that not everything in the world was as it seemed. It left me wanting more (and I just found out there was a sequel!) When I look back, Galax-Arena was likely the book that spurned a lifelong love affair with dystopian science fiction, anime and manga, and more.

I read it so long ago that the small details are a bit fuzzy, so I plan on picking it up again after I get through the ARCs on my shelf. I wonder how much more I will understand now that I am a bit older, and now that I know the secret at the end? Has anyone else read Galax-Arena? What did you think?

galax_arena_cover

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