I'm a few days late, but it's time to close the door on 2014 and start 2015 fresh! Last year was the worst reading year I've had since I've started blogging, clocking in at just 53 books. Let's never have that happen again. What lacked in quantity was made up for by some really quality books, though sadly it wasn't all that great of a year personally either and I really didn't blog much about the books I read. Let's never have that happen again either. Right now I have a LOVELY stack of books on my end table that I'm super excited to read and tell you all about for January, so let's hope the passion stays! January 1st is quite the arbitrary day I've always thought...just another day...but there is something refreshing about a new start symbolically, isn't there? It really can energize you if you let it. So back to 2014...here are some of the books I really loved this past year, in no particular order:
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi: Oh I struggled so so much with putting
this book on my best of list for the year. The book is 80% amazing and then fails completely at the end. But it's going on the list because it fails with promise which sounds horrible, but I swear the ending feels like an editor said "hurry up and end it". I was so damn captivated with Oyeyemi's writing throughout the book. More so perhaps than any other book I read this year...and fascinated with the amazing things she did with her characters. This book was pure magic in the most real way. And the ending had so much potential too had she only given it about 100 more pages and done it justice. Sadly, the way it ended felt like a slap in the face. I won't say more for fear of spoilers because I DO still think this is a book that should be read. And I'm so looking forward to reading more of her work. And THAT COVER. Gorgeous!
Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan - I adore Shaun Tan's work!! His books are works of art. I could look
at his artwork for days, but with his books he gives us amazing stories to go with those works of art. Rules of Summer is one of my favorite books of his to date. It's dark, it's quirky, it's endlessly explorable. I think I stayed on each page for about 5 minutes at least just soaking it all in. Every page turn was like a present. Get this one!
Two Weeks With The Queen. So I should've known damn well what I was getting into when I picked up a Gleitzman book about the Holocaust :/ I fell so hard for the characters in this book, a group of children so innocent that they literally cannot fathom what's before their eyes. It was a view of the Holocaust that I hadn't experienced before and an expertly written tale that left me angry and sad and wanting to pick up the next book in the series verrrrry hesitantly.
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer - This might be the first time an
author's ever had two books on my end of the year list! I'm not a vegetarian, but when I do eat meat, I try to eat it consciously. Even more so after reading this book. This is not a book just for vegetarians, it's a book that everyone should read. It's important to know where your food comes from, not just for sanitary reasons (and trust me, you will do your research as to where your meat comes from after reading this book), but also out of respect for the living beings that die to sustain us. I'm thankful to Foer for the time and effort he put in to giving us this manifesto on the lives of animals and how they become our food. He's become a favorite author after this year.
Morning Glories (Vols. 1-7) by Nick Spencer - THANK YOU DEBI!!! This
is a graphic novel series that I never would've picked up had it not been for Debi telling me to! But damn am I ever happy that I did. It's my favorite series that I'm reading right now. This series will fuck with your mind. There's no other way of putting it. I still have no clue what the hell is going on in this series but I'm having a really fun time waiting to find out. A group of kids are picked to go to a boarding school and right off the bat you know that things are a little bit off....and then they're a lot off...and then it just keeps getting worse. I cannot wait for volume 8 to come out in February.
Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham - Oh this one has gotten some I mostly agree with what Roxanne Gay had to say about #Lenagate. I really liked this book. I thought it was an important book and I think that Dunham can be blunt to a fault at times, but it's part of what makes the book what it is...she's not perfect and doesn't pretend to be. She says "I fuck up and that's ok". She explores the gray areas with this book which is perhaps the MOST important thing about this book. There are plenty of books that talk about the black and the white, but not many that dare go into the gray. Thank you Lena for doing that.
flack...and I could write a lot about that flack. I'll just say that
Constable & Toop by Gareth Jones - Another thank you to Kristen for
making me read this one too! I hunted EVERYWHERE to find this book and finally found a copy at a branch of my library. This has to be one of the most charming ghost stories that I've ever read. And I mean charming in that it feels timeless and Victorian and wonderful and I want to read 100 more books set in this universe. Oh I really would be so happy if there were more Constable & Toop books though I don't know how likely that is >_>
Yes Please by Amy Poehler - I love Amy Poehler. And I am going to be so
sad when Parks and Recreation ends this year :( :( :( Do yourself a favor and get the audiobook version of this book. It is so damn good and Poehler deserves a grammy for it.
And now if you're still reading, CONGRATULATIONS! You've made it this far :p How about some stats?
Total books read this year: 53
Total pages read this year: 11,285
Comics/Graphic Novels Read: 24
Nonfiction: 9 (this needs to go up! Surprised by this number)
Short Story Collections/Essays/Anthologies: 1 :(
Poetry: 1 :( :(
LGBT Themed books: 5 really???
Written by Women: 14 :( (Though interesting to note, 6 of the 14 books by women I read are in my top 14 of the year of the year listed above...READ MORE BOOKS BY WOMEN CHRIS!!)
Written by Men: 39
Chunksters (450+ pgs): 2
Average pages per book: 213 pgs.
Plans for this year, read more books by women...a LOT more books by women....definitely more poetry and short story/essay collections...and more nonfiction. This really was just an awful year for me. The worst I've had overall as far as quantity and I'm just really unhappy with my stats too. I think I'm going to stray from holding myself to themed reading and challenges this year, but I may go on some poetry/nonfic/essay binges here and there. Hope everyone has a wonderful 2015 in between the pages!!