5 Best Books I Read in 2020

2020 is almost dead! it wasn’t all a bad year. I read a few good books. . . that part was okay

5. Phantom of the Opera

“Are people so unhappy when they love?”

Author: Gaston Leroux

Spoiler warning:

There’s a crazy man living in the basement of the Paris Opera house!

What?! You already knew that without reading the book?

This novel suffers from the same fate as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Everyone knows the big plot twist just thanks to western culture. I really liked this book, and recommend it to fans of the classics, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.

The romance plot of the leads is the weakest part. The leads are dry and kind of stupid. Copy paper has more dimension and color than these two!

Like many other classic novels the foreigner is the best character. Much like Van Helsing the Persian is more interesting than any of the major characters. The Persian has a nice backstory and I wanted to know more about him.

The theater owners have a subplot that is rather funny. I did enjoy that.

That’s all I really can say about this book. I’ve never seen the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, but I understand it follows much the same plot. I’ve seen the Lon Chaney silent film. Does that count Phantom fan girls?

4. Clash of Kings

“People often claim to hunger for truth, but seldom like the taste when it’s served up.”

Author: George R. R. Martin

The King is dead, long live the one true hire to the throne. Long live king (insert name here)

With the deaths of King Robert and Ned Stark, the seven kingdoms are in chaos. The North is in open rebellion against the crown. The Iron Islands are in rebellion against the North, Joffrey sits the Iron Throne, but both of King Robert’s brothers claim the throne as his heir.

Basically everyone is fighting each other, and completely ignoring the coming winter and the ice zombies!!

3. Who’s on First

I’m asking YOU who’s on first!

Authors: Bud Abbott, Lewis Costello, John Martz

This is a children’s book. This is a real children’s book!

The classic Abbott and Costello routine is in a children’s book. The plot is one simple joke: A baseball coach is trying to explain that his players are named things like: Who, What and I Don’t Know. confusion and hilarity follows.

2. Case Closed

Author: Gosho Aoyama

Case Closed, AKA Detective Conan, AKA Meitantei Konan is a manga with a bit of an identity problem. Created in the mid-1990’s when there was a weird push to westernize anime and manga. Case Closed is weird even by manga standards.

Case Closed never really caught on here in the United States like Inuyasha or Attack on Titian. I blame the weird westernization of the series. The characters are clearly in modern day Tokyo, but the names and places are westernized, except when they aren’t. It’s especially annoying since many of the cyphers that crop up in the series involve kanji. Still, I love this manga and all it’s craziness.

Note: I will be using the original Japanese names for these characters because that’s what makes the most sense to me. So if you pick up the translated manga, be prepared for name changes.

17-year-old Shinichi Kudo is already a brilliant detective. While on “not a date” with his “not girlfriend” Ran Mori. Shinichi stumbles across some mysterious men. Following them, Shinichi gets in way over his head. The mysterious men poison Shinichi with a mysterious drug.

Shinichi manages to survive, with one notable side affect.

He now looks like a seven-year-old kid!

Realizing he’s in over his head, Shinichi decides to lay low. He adopts the name Conan Edogawa, and moves in with Ran and her dad, local private detective Kogoro Mori PI. Posing as a little kid, Shinichi helps Kogoro solve crimes while trying to find out more about these mysterious men and he still has to solve the toughest case of all: the emotions of teenage girls!

This is a really fun manga. it’s an episodic ‘who done it?’ style mystery series, which is fun. plots range from Hardy Boys style capers, to Parry Mason style court room dramas and everything in between.

. . . and if you like love triangle subplots, good grief there’s like 50 of them! My favorite is the Takagi, Sato, and Shiratori triangle!

1. Batman Jekyll and Hyde

Author:Paul Jenkins

If you only have it in you to read one Batman comic. Make it this one.

No one ever seams to talk about this comic, and I don’t know why. Hush was good and Court of Owls was intense, but if you don’t know at least a little about the Batman comics, they don’t really work. This comic you can read as a one shot.

As you may have guessed from the title, it’s a story about Two-Face. While Batman has to use detective skills to track down Two-Face, Harvey Dent is remembering the childhood trauma that lead him to become Two-Face.

That’s it. It’s a detective story and a character piece, and it’s great! Paul Jenkins is the same author who wrote the Wolverine Origin comic over at Marvel, and this is almost as good. I loved this story.

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