Thursday, January 02, 2014

Part Deux, the Books!

So here's the second part to my 2013 book recap!

What's the best book you read this year?
I don't like to choose, so I selected 3: Below Mercury, Mark Anson; All That I Am, Anna Funder; and The Universe Versus Alex Woods, Gavin Extence.

Any other reading highlights?
Runners up would be Written on the Body, Jeannette Winterson, and Let's Pretend this Never Happened, Jenny Lawson. I read a lot of different genres, and I definitely was pleased with most of the books I read this year. Those would be my top 5, between this question and the last one.
OH! I have to say I absolutely ADORED Wives and Daughters, by Elizabeth Gaskell. So we'll make it a top 6.

What's the most challenging book you read this year?
Defining challenging is the trick here. Was anything difficult reading level wise? Not particularly. Wrapping my brain around the thoughts and ideas, a little more so. I think the most "challenging" book was for me was Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx, which was a decade long study of teenagers in the Bronx. It was eyeopening and heartbreaking.

What's the worst book you read this year?
Ugh, that would probably go to the final book in the House of Comarre series, Last Blood by Kristen Painter. I was SOOOO disappointed in it. I also hated Jane Was Here, by Sarah Kernochlan for similar reasons. (Basically use of racial stereotypes, and all the people of color died in both books).

Which authors featured most prominently for you in 2013?
Isabel Allende and Alison Weir had new books out, and I was thrilled to read them. I read a lot of Lilith Saintcrow, and I was mostly pleased with the books I read from her. I tried to make sure I read a lot more female authors, and books that I already owned instead of buying more.

Were you part of a reading challenge? Did you meet it?
I had a goal of 115, because I missed that # last year. I succeeded, mightily!

Are you signed up for any in 2014?
I'm going to shoot for 100 books, because I plan to write more this year instead.

What books did you get for Christmas?
I actually did not get any books for Christmas! I did buy books for my birthday (Nov. 17) with my Amazon gift card, and those are:
13 Women: Parables from Prison, Karlene Faith
Bittersweet, Nevada Barr
Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice, Janet Malcolm
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
Rubyfruit Jungle, Rita Mae Brown
Wise Women: From Pocahontas to Sarah Winnemuca, Remarkable Stories of Native American Trailblazers, Erin H. Turner

What books are you going to buy next?
I don't know! I usually purchase Kindle daily deals, and I also check my local Goodwill for books on the cheap. Although Alison Weir and Kate Atkinson both have books out that I need to acquire. I do have a $50 gift card that I should use up, mwahahaha.

Which books are you most looking forward to reading in 2014?
I'm looking forward to reading the Native American anthology mentioned above, because I'm working on a "badass lady" project. I also want to finish Jo Walton's Farthing trilogy.

(these questions I stole from last year's post)

Unexpected Terrible Book: I was disappointed in the Kindle serials I read. I think that the cliffhanger idea, while neat does not make it easy to read when the chapters are finally reconstituted into the whole. I know that it is an old idea (Dumas did it for most of his books) but I think that the segues should have been neater. (Disenchanted, by Robert Kroese and The Scourge, by Roberto Calas).

Worst Series: I really really really was disappointed in Last Blood. Like everything was squished into one book, a hanging thread left behind, and I just did not approve of the ending at all.

Unexpected Surprise, Nonfiction: A Brief History of British Kings and Queens, Mike Astley. This is an excellent reference work, and actually included Scottish kings and Welsh kings. Incredibly helpful for elucidating chronologies!

Unexpected Surprise, fiction: Wives and Daughters. Oh man, when I learned she never finished the novel I wanted to cry! I loved the story, I loved the characters, and I love that there wasn't an "evil" character. I really really really enjoyed that book!

Best Series of the Year: Gail Carriger's Finishing School Series! Love these books. They're targeted at YA, but I find them to be utterly adorable.

Best Young Adult Novel of the Year: Again I have to submit the Finishing School series! Loved them. A good runner up would be A Silhouette of a Sparrow, by Molly Beth Griffin, a book I won on Goodreads Giveaways. Great LGBTQIA book.

Most Important Book I Read This Year: Fearless Girls, Wise Women, and Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World, Kathleen Ragan. This is a book that I will read to any future children I may or may not have. Just saying.

So I'm still working on my first two books of this year, carry-overs from last year. I am working on The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt (I do not really like this book, but I am nearly done with it), and 13 Women: Parables from Prison, by Karlene Faith (this is better than Orange is the New Black).

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