This seems to be the time for the book blogging community to make its plans for 2011. It will be the first year ever that I’ll make any sort of reading plans, so to be ready I’ve made a calendar in my Moleskine Passions Book Journal (my precioussss). Like this I’ll be able to keep monthly track of read-alongs and bookclub books. On the page before the calendar I’ve listed the books I know I must read but without a fixed date: anything Challenge-related, the ones Joanna chose for me and joint reads I’ll do with some Bookcrossing friends.

By my accounts, these planned readings will be around 1/3 of all 2011 books. It’ll be sort of a personal experiment, because until now I’m been pretty random in my choices.

I’m also planning to limit my Challenges to three and make them overlap as much as possible. Apart from “One, Two, Theme”, I’ve signed up to the Steampunk Challenge (for which I have no plan, as no specific number of books are needed)  and recently I’ve also signed up for the 2011 Graphic Novels Challenge.

Belgium has a great tradition of graphic novels. Tintin, the Smurfs and Lucky Luke were all born in this small country, and I doubt there’s any city in the world has as many dedicated comics shops as Brussels. Ever since I’ve moved here I’ve been meaning to read more graphic novels, but it’s only now, because of the enthusiasm of so many bloggers out there, that I’ve decided to make it an objective for the upcoming year.

I’ll focus on the Franco-Belgian school and when possible I’ll read them in the original language, which  hopefully will improve my French. This is my initial reading list:

(Question: where are all the Franco-Belgian women graphic novel artists?)

Continue reading Les Cités Obscures (written by Benoît Peeters and illustrated by François Schuiten). In the imaginary world of the Cities of the Fantastic, humans live in independent city-states and each developed a distinct civilization, though all are in some way focused on architectural styles. Visually, Schuiten seems to illustrate just for me 🙂 I’m especially looking forward to reading Brüsel, which is about the way some modern towns have developed (and are developing). He wrote it having in mind the concept of Brusselization, which according to Wikipedia “is a term used by urban planners to describe anarchic commercial property development in a historic city” and originates from what happened here during the 50s and 60s.

Djinn (written by Jean Dufaux and illustrated by Ana Mirallès) is an adult adventure-thriller. The first four volumes make up the “Ottoman Cycle” (perfect for my Istanbul theme!) while the following five are the “Africa Cycle”. An “Indies Cycle” is in the works.

Continue reading  A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O’Neill), as I’ve only read the first and have the two following books in the TBR (Volume II and the Black Dossier). I’II include them in the Steampunk Challenge. According to Moore, the concept behind the series was initially a “Justice League of Victorian England” but quickly grew into an opportunity to merge all works of fiction into one world.

Le Chat du Rabbin or The Rabbi’s Cat (written and illustrated by Joann Sfar), is a story set in Algeria in the 30s. An old rabbi’s gaunt and bony cat eats a parrot and discovers he can talk. The cat follows the rabbi’s daughter everywhere, so fearing bad influences, the rabbi decides to teach the Torah to the cat. How great does that sound?

Continue reading Fables (written by Bill Willingham, illustrator depends on volume). I’m half-way through the second volume – Animal Farm.

Harzach (written and illustrated by Moebius) caught my eye at the bookshop. The stories follow Harzach, a silent warrior who rides a flying-dinosaur-like creature through a strange, desolate landscape. I though it was a recent release, but it turns out that “these stories had an enormous impact on the French comics industry”. When I was studying art back in the day, Moebius was a favorite among graphic-art lovers.

Les Aventures Extraordinaires d’Adèle Blanc-Sec or The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Dry-White (written and illustrated by Jacques Tardi) are about a Parisian novelist-come-reporter who in the years before and after World War I investigates the mystical world of crime. There’s a movie too!

Fable of Venice (written and illustrated by Hugo Pratt) was bought on location earlier this year. It will be my first Pratt – looking forward to it!

Asterix chez les Belges or Asterix in Belgium (written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo). Now that I’ve lived here for a while I’ll really appreciate the inside jokes. I can already picture the jokes about beer and chocolates 🙂

So this is the plan. Any interesting suggestions? Have you read any of the above?