End of the Year

I am making my vow right here. Next year I’m going to do better at writing this blog. I’m not sure I want to put a definite amount of times a week I’m going to be posting, but I have to do better than what I’m doing now.

Here we are in December and I’m on my second stretch goal. This year didn’t go as planned in the sense that I made goals that were ridiculously overambitious in the sense that I was trying to read a lot of the bigger, tougher books. Nothing wrong with that, but it took on the guise of being ‘assigned reading’ at that point. I ditched the list about halfway through the year and while I ‘missed out’ on some, I picked up some amazing books this year that were so much fun or that are going to stick with me in one way or another. For the sake of clarity I’m going divide my favorite books between books published this year and backlist.

Books published in 2014

  • An Untamed State and Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. For me, this was the Year of Roxane. She rocked my world with both these books in two completely different ways. I can’t take about one without talking about the other. An Untamed State was breathtaking. I had to remind myself to breathe the whole time I was reading it which I did in one sitting because I couldn’t bear to put it down. Bad Feminist is one that spoke to my ideals. I want to give a copy of this one to everyone I know.
  • Station Eleven by Emily Mandel. I was resistant to this one because I generally don’t do the whole dystopia thing as a rule, but Station Eleven was so much more than that. Mandel really delved into the plight of humanity instead of focusing on the event of the flu epidemic.
  • The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. I had to force myself to put TQotT down so I could savor it. I’m anxiously awaiting book two of the trilogy. Strong female protagonist, strong world building, and a gripping plot all made it work for me.
  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I listened to this on audio and she made me almost want to go back and binge on Parks and Rec (my husband and I are probably the last people to watch it). She’s amazing and inspirational.
  • The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriques. Can we have more books about the immigration experience like this? I need to go back and read everything in Henriques’s backlist now.
  • As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes. My husband introduced me to The Princess Bride when we first started dating. My parents were more rom coms and Stallone type action movies. I was an instant fan so I felt pretty great getting the audio narrated by the Cary Elwes and the surviving cast (except Mandy Patinkin and Fred Savage). We loved the hell out of this. It’s a great bit of nostalgia where you relive great moments but find out there was more going on than you realized. The bits about Andre the Giant were the best.

Backlist

  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Achidie. I also read Half of a Yellow Sun and watched Achidie’s TedTalks. I know I said it was the Year of Roxane, but I would be remiss in also naming it the year of Achidie as well in terms of making me think of things in a different, better way.
  • Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe. I credit this trade in getting me into comics. something I always wanted to do, but was super intimidated by. Rat Queens led me to Saga, Sex Criminals, The Wicked and the Divine, among many others that have been fun to lose an afternoon in.
  • The Gentleman Bastard series by Scott Lynch. So much fun. A fantasy series that has amazing world building, strong interesting characters and my new favorite quote. “A boy may be as disagreeable as he pleases, but when a girl refuses to crap sunshine on command, the world mutters darkly about her moods.”
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I had read American Gods last year, but Neverwhere was amazing. Coupled with the BBC radio performance starring James MacAvoy, I was blown away by the fantastical characters and setting.
  • The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. To be honest, the way Julie Otsuka wrote this threw me off at first; first person plural is a rare method, but it brought the book together nicely. I couldn’t help, but be drawn into the plight of the women in the story.
  • Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley. I love books about books. This is a gem of a book that  isn’t that well known as far as I know. It made me want to buy a bus and fill it with books and drive around the United States.

I also kept up on a lot of series that are auto buy for me. I wasn’t disappointed in any of the newest installations of any of them. Seanan McGuire’s October Daye and InCryptid series, the last book in Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series, Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, and Chloe Neil’s Chicagoland Vampires all were everything I have come to expect from them.

I really don’t want to talk about the disappointments I’ve had in books. The good far outweighed the bad this year. I did better about not forcing myself to finish books I wasn’t connecting with. I’m seven books away from finishing my stretch goal of 300. I’m thinking I’m going do some rereading since the month tends to get busy with Christmas and vacations. Next post I want to tackle next year’s goals and books I’m looking forward to. So get your thinking caps on now for yours as well.

What were some of your favorite books this year, either backlist or published this year?

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