Saturday, January 03, 2015

Books in review Part Two!

So here's the second part to my 2014 book recap!

What's the best book you read this year?
I can't choose, as per usual: Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn; Serena, Ron Rash, and Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides. All three were the highlights of my year.

Any other reading highlights?
I read two very important books this year -- A People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn, and Elie Wiesel's Night

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. Always Coming Home, by Ursula K. Leguin definitely fits the bill. It's a future anthropological survey of a post-apocalyptic society.

What's the worst book you read this year?
The Reflections of Queen Snow White, by David Meredith, and Reconstructing Amelia, by Kimberly McCreight. Reflections was a weak take on the Snow White mythos, while Amelia just jumped (literally and figuratively) into soap opera territory.

Which authors featured most prominently for you in 2013?
I joined Gail Carriger's reading group, which led to a lot more female authors in my life. I also finally caught up on George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, so those were the Big Authors this year. I also met an author at work, whose book I am going to order as well.

Were you part of a reading challenge? Did you meet it?
My initial goal was 100, because I planned to write more. I did not, because I did other things too -- I learned roller skating, and I achieved my lifelong dream of appearing on the show Jeopardy. Needless to say, reading wasn't one of my top priorities. So I dropped the goal to 75 about midway through the year, and I did ace that. I got to 77.

Are you signed up for any in 2014?
I'm going to shoot for 100 books, because I will have a small baby in May, and I assume I won't have a lot of time to read for pleasure then.

What books did you get for Christmas?
I actually did not get any books for Christmas! People know better than to do that for me. I am using my Amazon money for some of that though -- here are the titles I purchased so far:

Battles Of Cuba - Containing An Authentic Account Of The Battles Fought On That Island In Her Late Struggle For Independence
Colombia and the United States : War, Unrest, and Destabilization (Open Media Series)
A Dangerous Inheritance: A Novel of Tudor Rivals and the Secret of the Tower
Between Resistance and Adaptation: Indigenous Peoples and the Colonisation in the Choco, 1510-1753 
Talabarske: The True Story of Two Brothers with One Extraordinary Bond Finding Life After Ruin in World War II
More than Petticoats: Remarkable Illinois Women

What books are you going to buy next?
One of my customers is an author on books on human trafficking, so I am going to purchase that. I will also probably be purchasing other books in Gail Carriger's reading group, so I'm looking forward to seeing what else she has for us.

Which books are you most looking forward to reading in 2015?
I really want to read Alison Weir's books --- it seems like a few new ones have gotten away from me. Gail Carriger is releasing new books next year as well. There are also a lot of unread books in my library!

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

Unexpected Terrible Book: Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice. I guess I didn't realize how terrible a person Gertrude Stein was, but this book just bored me.

Worst Series: Ugh, Insurgent & Allegiant were so bad. Way to ruin everything, Veronica Roth.

Unexpected Surprise, Nonfiction: Murder on the Mountains, Emily Monroe! I was so pleased that she finally was able to finish the book she's been working on for years, and I was never so happy to purchase a book!

Unexpected Surprise, fiction: Gone Girl. That twist, man. And I know everyone freaked out about this book, but I thought it was overhyped. IT IS NOT. 

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. (This is still true this year!)

Best Young Adult Novel of the Year: Divergent was really good. The sequels, NOT SO MUCH.

Most Important Book I Read This Year: Again, Night (Elie Wiesel) or A People's History of the United States (Howard Zinn)

Thursday, January 01, 2015

I managed *only* 77 books this year. Here we go, in chronological order, under the cut.
 The * designates my favorites, while ** designates the ones I hated the most.