As book readers, there are a lot of common problems we universally run into: our ever growing and (dangerously) tilting TBR pile, using scraps of trash and old receipts as makeshift bookmarks, going into Third Place Books to buy one book and leaving with seven... we've all been there!
Another wriggling bookworm problem is knowing where to start when it comes to an author with a prolific amount of work. Do you start with their first book, or their most well-known? What if they write essays *and* fiction? What if you hate the one that received the most accolades and spiral into self-doubt, wondering if you should even consider yourself a Proper Reader if you just don't get the hype??
With our new series, we're hoping to help give you an entry point to some of the authors and artists out there with a body of work that can seem overwhelming to any curious newcomers!
We first turn to Dean, witchy little wraith of our hearts and LFP's go-to for all things Junji Ito!
So Dean, for the uninitiated, who is Junji Ito?
Dean: Junji Ito is the current heavyweight champion of horror manga. I first picked Uzumaki, a tale about a rural town that becomes obsessed with spiral shapes, and was exhilarated by every twist and turn (and swirl). Upon finishing, I sought out every bit of his work I could get my hands on. His art is crisp and expressive - his stories reliably ghastly, ever bizarre and at times pooling with melancholy.
What is a good place to start for someone who's never read his work?
Dean: In order to get your enmeshed with Ito's work, I would suggest his (one of many) short story collection Shiver. This 10 story collection is a wonderful showcase of Ito's versatility and offers plenty of WTF moments. My favorite story being one featuring a terrifying, 9-foot-tall fashion model with rows of sharp teeth and an appetite for her competition. Iconic.
For those of us who are already fans of his, what's a deep cut that we should definitely pick up?
Dean: If you have already burned your way through Ito's lengthy bibliography, might I suggest The Art of Junji Ito: Twisted Visions. This book collects some of Junji's never before seen work, almost all in color (a rarity for the Ito), grey gilded and larger than ever before. It also has some interviews and insights from the man himself. A masterful book for a master of books.