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This year was very year-like.

I'm pretty over 2013 as a year, y'all. As the very wise evilsupplyco said, "If 2013 was an enemy, realize it is almost dead and you are yet alive. Show the corpse to 2014 as a warning."

/me shakes 2013 menacingly

/gives it a kick for good measure

Behold! A book meme! I would love it if y'all readers would do something similar on your journals, or just a list, or even just a brief interpretive dance expressing how you eschewed books for wolves and horses. I'm easy to please, man. And now I can post this because unlike back on 12/21 or whatever horrifying date it was that GoodReads emailed me all LET'S CELEBRATE YOUR YEAR IN BOOKS while there were still ten fine days left in December, I am finally ready to do my tally. Seriously GR, that was totally uncalled for.


Total # of books read: 110
Fiction: 98
Non-fiction: 12
Rereads: 19

Favorite book: Carol O'Connell's The Chalk Girl, a weird and creepy mystery set in NYC's Central Park, all about how middle school can be way more terrible than anyone could ever realize, this book was both awesomely funny and inexplicably gross. Which is a combination I'd be fine with having on my tombstone, really.

On the way home from school, we stop off for a slice of pizza -- Phoebe's treat. She says there's an upside to what they did to me today. I've marked my place in the annals of school history. She says, "They'll never get that bloodstain out."

Honorable mention to Michael Connelly's Angel Flight and Ian Rankin's Resurrection Men, both of which are chock-full of placeporn and demonstrate how to keep readers interested in really really long series.

Unexpected Pleasure: I went on a Xmas-themed mystery binge this year (like you do) and I'd been saving Murder Sets Seed all year for it because that is the color of my OCD. And it basically annihilated all the other Xmas books. So good. It's basically a Bechdel-test-passing crone-centric prairie gothic set in Missouri, and I loved the snot out of it. It has a huge run-down old house, a small town flower shop, eating your feelings, crazy snow pellets that people from California could never believe. All my boxes, neatly ticked.

Biggest Disappointment: I reread Man With a Load of Mischief as part of the Xmas binge, and just did not love it at all. I felt the whole thing would've gone a lot better if someone just put Jury over their knee. Whiny, whiny man.

Book Club Treasure: World War Z. I totally didn't imagine it would be as good as it turned out being. Hey look, I found a zombie book I really like. Although I also really dug Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues, which is about as different of a zombie book as you can get. Maybe the undead are growing on me. :)

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Read Again: Talking to the Dead. First book in a Welsh crime fiction series with a protagonist who supposedly hears the dead and thus can communicate with them and-- whatever. The reality of it was way, way grosser, featured my number-one pet crime fiction peeve (hooker-in-a-box) and the last third of it turned into Rambo VI: Cardiff Blood Beach. So much grah.

Biggest over-sharer: I started reading Linda Fairstein's NYC sex crimes prosecutor series by just randomly leaping into the middle of it (thus proving little_tristan totally right about my lack of respect for reading series properly) with The Deadhouse, which concerned the entirely fascinating history of Roosevelt Island (spoiler: abandoned mental hospitals) and I liked it so much I skipped ahead to Death Angel, set in Central Park. Much less awesome mainly because for a good 3/4 of the book the protagonist ran around bemoaning her romantic life and other people's perceptions of her romantic life. Grr.

Best dramatic performance when faced with sure death: Linda Fairstein again. Her protagonist, when cornered by the SKOTW (serial-killer-of-the-week) morphs from incisive, steely-eyed lawyer person to Linda Hamilton in The Terminator. I guess it's a skill you develop over 16 brushes with death, but it's a little weird and definitely why I don't rate these books higher.

Did you run any books over with a car this year? *whispers* Mebbe.

If so, please list them. *whispers from behind hand* Mainly they were everything by Mo Hayder and everything by Carol O'Connell that was not Chalk Girl.

(Authors, is it really so hard not to whomp on dogs in your books? I'm genuinely curious.)

I know I set out to do more awards but I've totally lost my train of thought and whoo-doge is this entry ever long enough already. So. Here's to the new year (*looks askance at 2013*). May it be healthy, productive, a little more balanced, and filled with good books.



( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 31st, 2013 09:00 pm (UTC)
You know how I can't resist your memes. Especially with such a great crop of books on my list this year. Although there were SO many rereads, I was guaranteed a good time.

Just out of curiosity, I looked up Mo Hayder on Amazon. You have my sincerest sympathies. She sounds like exactly the thing for you, and yet... It must be unbearable. *hugs*
Dec. 31st, 2013 11:08 pm (UTC)
Excellent! And you know, your remark about rereads hits the nail on the head: I picked so many books I knew were good to re-read because I needed really good books. It's nice to have a shelf full of sure things.

I read Hayder's Ritual and it was really good -- deeply weird and grim and scuba diving. Then I went on to Birdman which, okay, way grimmer and animal harm to birds, but okay, a very solid crime book with a lot of well-deserved critical acclaim. But the sequel, The Treatment I could see her setting up to take out a big, soft old dog and HELL NO. HELL NO. Pop ahead to Poppet because mental institution and she just flat out whops a dog in chapter 2. GRAH. Put the Subaru in drive, then reverse. Drive, then reverse.

I suspect it might be because I would otherwise love her books for their evil grittyness that I'm so annoyed at the gratuitous dog-whopping that she keeps winding up under the left front wheel.
Dec. 31st, 2013 11:56 pm (UTC)
Exactly. As I read plots and reviews for her books all I could think was they sounded perfect for you. But if she can't leave the dogs alone, what are you gonna do? Other than specify a Mo Hayder wheel, of course.

I'm grinding through a bizarrely unflattering history of London from the library and looking forward to officially opening the 2014 reading season with the Liquor series. Because nothing starts a year off right like good reading.
Jan. 1st, 2014 01:03 am (UTC)
Oh no! I saw you were reading that and I hoped it was going to be good. But yeah. THE BOARD IS READY. Let's begin 2014 as we mean to continue it. With hot young boys in love algebra otter-based cross-stitch.

Wait, I think I lost the thread somewhere...
Jan. 1st, 2014 01:20 am (UTC)
I decided to follow your example and blow it off, due to that whole life being short and my shelves and Kindle being chockablock with stuff I'm dying to read. It's possibly an okay book for people who know all the kings of England in order, but I was confused. Also, the author seems to hate everything that's changed in London, ever. Seriously. He's in love with the original Romans and seems to feel that it's been all down hill since about the birth of Christ.

Tonight I'm back at work on the academic Shirley Jackson bio and literary analysis so the board can start fresh with Liquor.;)

Don't worry about Awesome Otter of Awesome. There's a place on Pinterest for him, too. And he's already there.
Jan. 1st, 2014 01:58 pm (UTC)
He's in love with the original Romans and seems to feel that it's been all down hill since about the birth of Christ.

There are so many things wrong there I don't even know where to start.

Do we have to start with Value of X or no?
Jan. 1st, 2014 02:57 pm (UTC)
Ah, I forgot that Value of X sort of comes first. I say no, just because it's the restaurant I've so been looking forward to. I'm pinning Liquor first.
Jan. 1st, 2014 03:50 pm (UTC)
You realize that might be the longest entry ever, right?
Jan. 2nd, 2014 12:24 pm (UTC)
Possibly. Unless I decide to read Gone With the Wind. Or World War Z.

Edited at 2014-01-02 12:24 pm (UTC)
Dec. 31st, 2013 09:56 pm (UTC)
World War Z is one of my favorite books! I even lent my copy out to an appreciative coworker this year.

I don't know if I can really answer much of this meme, because I'm not in a book club and I tend to stop reading books I can't get into (but I withhold judgment on dissing the book to others because I haven't read the whole thing). These are the books I did read, though.
Dec. 31st, 2013 11:10 pm (UTC)
Excellent! Off to look at your books!

Oh I'm terrible about starting and stopping books. I go through so many Currently Reading statuses, because I get so jazzed about a book's description and dive in, and then have zero tolerance for animal harm or just bad writing. Life is too short to finish those books. Way too short.

Happy New Year!
Dec. 31st, 2013 11:24 pm (UTC)

That's a gorgeous list of boooks, yess. Also you read hella things on my reading list! How did you like Manhunter: Origins and Alif The Unseen? And You. And John Dies at the End? (Which was a book I tried but couldn't ultimately get that far into. It just seemed like it couldn't get a grip on what the in-game rules of its universe were. Did that change? Did you think that?)


Sorry, that is a lovely list of books you have over there. :)
Dec. 31st, 2013 11:33 pm (UTC)
I picked up the layout from a layout page, but the person has closed that page since. If you like, I can find a way to copy-past the code for you.

Manhunter: Origins was alright. The plot's more-or-less okay but I like the main character. Alif the Unseen I read through really fast. It has its flaws (the convert character seems like a self-insert for the author, for example) but I was definitely swept up into the proceedings.

I more-or-less appreciated reading John Dies in the End, but then again my humor sometimes leans frat boy and I wanted to see a totally different take on cosmic horror. I enjoyed the first half more than the second, though, and sometimes it tried to hard to drop a meaningful statement about the universe. I did get the feeling that it might have used the "rules are constantly changing, bro!" device to cover up weaknesses, but then again the author just intended to post chapter by chapter and didn't intend for an actual novel until at least halfway through posting the story.

I'm so glad I started reading Dorothy B. Hughes! Thank you, alumni access to inter-state university library systems!

Jan. 1st, 2014 01:07 am (UTC)
Inter-library loan is the hill I'll die on. It's why as an adult I've never worked any place that wasn't a university. And I likely never will. They offer terrible salaries then they hold out the magic card with free books and free buses and free gym attached and I'm a goner.

How are you liking GoodReads, btw?

See, I read the first six issues of Manhunter and had the same response: I like this character, but I wish she had a better plot to work with. So depressing. I'm not sure I'll go on with her storyline.

As long as it wasn't just me shooting pointed looks at the author of John for what looked a whole lot like fancy footwork to cover the fact that the whole thing wasn't holding together. Then again, with less than 50 pages under my belt, I'm not sure I'm the best person to judge that book. Did you get around to the sequel?
Jan. 1st, 2014 01:16 am (UTC)
Goodreads is really helpful for a list-obsessed person like me. I don't feel like rating or writing reviews there much, but I like being able to follow friends and to have all the titles I know in my own categories.

I didn't feel like going on to the sequel. I read about what happens, and while some of it seemed interesting, I didn't feel like investing the time. I know the author from his Cracked articles, which are hit and miss even within the article for me.
Jan. 9th, 2014 07:33 am (UTC)
Inter-library loan is the hill I'll die on. It's why as an adult I've never worked any place that wasn't a university.

THIS. So much truth. I've had access to a university ILL system for the past 7 years now and it would be desperately hard to give it up!
Jan. 1st, 2014 04:02 pm (UTC)
Hurray for end-of-year book memes! Your year-in-review is always so entertaining – whether I've read the books or not. The only title here that I've also read is World War Z – obviously – and I must say the undead appear to be growing on me as well. Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues could be in the line-up for 2014. :)
Jan. 1st, 2014 05:19 pm (UTC)
Exactly! Hurrah! And thank you! :)

I was so so so anti-undead, for what I thought were valid reasons, and I think my reasons remained intact through reading World War Z, but it worked so well because it focused so much on the survivors, and the zombies got just as short a shrift as vampires or werewolves would've in the equivalent situation. But then White Trash Zombie blew everything out of the water. I'd love to see it get read at OLC, even as an inbetweener.
Jan. 1st, 2014 06:35 pm (UTC)
Oooh, yes, an inbetweener, I like that idea. :)

I am afraid I am going to drive you and LT mad over the next little while proselytizing for Eleanor & Park. It was my last book of 2013 and did it ever end my reading year with a bang of punk rock misfit teenage bittersweet.
Jan. 5th, 2014 03:03 am (UTC)
Good idea keeping tracks of the books you've read. I'm going to do that for this year, and maybe even write a few words about each one. I'll use some of your recs, too.

I'm so over 2013. It can go screw itself.

Linda Fairstein. Years ago, I was very interested in her as an author after I read a New York Times piece (with pics taken in a town near me) about her work prosecuting sex crimes. I read her first two books, and by the end of the second one I was completely turned off by her protagonist, who I found to be way too full of herself. Plus, all that yacking she did about her clothes bored me. Meh.
Jan. 5th, 2014 05:50 pm (UTC)
Plus, all that yacking she did about her clothes

THIS. I hadn't realized it until you mentioned it but holy smokes, this. Between the clothes and her romantic hand-staple-forehead entanglements, I was so annoyed. But dagblammit, Deadhouse really did have lovely NYC history-porn, for those of us who roll that way. I am still conflicted.

I hope you had a very nice Christmas and that the coming year brings you nothing but the best. And book reviews :D
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )


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