Every minute today brings us closer to 2015, which means a new year of resolutions, most of mine having to do with reading (naturally).
As promised, my chickadees, here’s my 2014 Book Roundup – in it, I hope to share some of my literary winners and losers from this past year, to help make your 2015 year of reading a little bit more interesting.
Using my handy-dandy Google doc – most of my work friends use Goodreads, which I’ve never gotten into – I keep track of what I want to read, what I have out, and what I’ve read (and the date I’ve finished it). Looking at this oh-so-scientific method of keeping track, I can see that in 2014, I have read…. drum roll please…
142 books. Not quite hitting my goal of 150, but close.
Of these books, 26 were young adult and 7 were juvenile chapter books (I’m not counting the endless picture books I’ve read) – both of these numbers are unacceptably low, given what I do. They’re going to have to go up in 2015.
18 of them I read in ebook format.
In no particular order, some of the winners from this past year (which, NB, may not have actually been written this past year,):
Kindred, by Octavia Butler – an incredible mix of fantasy and historical fiction from a talented writer. A top-three candidate.
Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh – Brosh turned her hilarious, thoughtful, and uniquely drawn webcomic into a graphic novel this year. Both Sister A and I loved it.
Dodger, by Sir Terry Pratchett – I love books that combine fictional characters (in this case Dickens’ Artful Dodger) with real-life figures. This was a young adult novel.
American Gods, by Neil Gaiman – A modern classic.
The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker – Sumptuously written and gloriously original. One of my top three from this year.
Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell – She just gets young adults and what it’s like to be a fan. Another young adult novel.
Dear Committee Members, by Julie Schumacher – An epistolary novel written in mostly letters of recommendation.
The Phantom of Fifth Avenue, by Meryl Gordon – A fascinating biography of heiress-hermit Huguette Clark.
Grasshopper Jungle, by Andrew Smith – A look at small-town teenagerdom, with murderous grasshoppers thrown in. Another top-three book.
The Martian, by Andy Weir – The movie “Cast Away” set on Mars, with a lot more interior monologue. Going to be a movie.
Belzhar, by Meg Wolitzer – Notice that Meg Wolitzer has made both lists! This is her YA book from this year.
The Bees, by Laline Paull – A book that takes place in a beehive. Cool and interesting.
Here are some losers from the past year:
Threats, by Amelia Gray – a mystery I couldn’t care enough about to unravel.
The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer – Not interesting.
The Good Girl, by Mary Kubica – Go ahead, abduct her. I don’t care.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan – It wasn’t bad; it was actually good, but I don’t think I was smart enough to understand 75% of what they were talking about.
In the top spot, well, cats love libraries too, dammit.
Do the books we used to love still hold up?
Sing, talk, and read – those are the keystones to early literacy, and it’s about time parents realized that.
From Friend D:
Iceland does Christmas right!
Casting news on a new adaptation of War and Peace.
Children’s books still have a way to go in terms of gender stereotyping (you don’t need to tell me that, sigh).
From Mama Bear:
The 50-page rule is actually A THING. (It’s okay. I won’t tell.)
These are nothing. You should see the stuff I get – and I’m just in children’s.
My library does this, too. And I belong to a few!
A happy and healthy new year to you all, my dear readers. Stay safe tonight.