What I read in 2014

Getting the Kindle and, more importantly, discovering that I can borrow library books through the Kindle meant for a ton of reading this year. Mind, I still have too many books left to read, both paper and electronic, but hey: Who doesn’t.

Here’s the full list, or at least the ones I remembered to put in Goodreads. I may add one or two books to this before the end of the year, but what I have on my plate right now is another Liane Moriarty book and an ARC that doesn’t actually come out until March so I’m not really sweating it.

Now, the highlights:

the-sparrowBest: Jo Walton’s My Real Children, Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow (yes, it came out in ’96, sue me) and Chris Taylor’s How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, which I actually reviewed like a goddamn adult.

Runners-up: Genevieve Valentine’s The Girls at the Kingfisher Club (I love her pop culture writing but flunked out on her first novel because circuses are my kryptonite, but this was charming,) and A.S. King’s Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future. In the fluffy beach reads category, Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot.

It Was Fine But Didn’t Live Up To The Hype: Erika Johansen’s Queen of the Tearling. Stop trying to make ‘the lady Game of Thrones‘ thing happen. It’s a serviceable enough book, but the only people who will compare this to something like A Song of Ice And Fire are people whose only real experience with SF/F is Game of Thrones. And publicists. Don’t be that publicist.

(On that note, I totally devoured The World of Ice and Fire.)

Actually Lived Up to the Hype: Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. It’s not high art, but for what it is, it’s great. And yeah, I did read it before I saw the movie. Psst: Sharp Objects is the best pseudo-V.C. Andrews novel since the actual V.C. Andrews kicked it.

I’m Just Shocked It Didn’t Totally Suck: Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line. Star Wars pretty much ruined me forever for tie-ins, but this one more or less worked? Somehow. I’m not examining my reaction too closely. Or rereading it.

It Was Trash But I Am Still Totally Going To Read The Sequel So Who’s Laughing Now? Chris Beckett’s Dark Eden. The characters are awful but the worldbuilding intrigued me.

I Only Bought This Because I Had A Brand New Kindle And It Was On Sale: The Fault in Our Stars. Yes, I enriched John Green somewhat and yet remain unmoved.

Observation: This is the first year in who knows how long that I actually read and enjoyed more Star Wars nonfiction than I did fiction. (Well, after the past few years of mainly lackluster novels, ‘enjoyed’ is maybe the wrong word…) It’s just a bit strange is all, though I’ve never exactly been one to only read Star Wars books. (Those people confuse me. The truth is, I got into Star Wars as a reader because I already was a reader. Which is, if not exactly unusual, somewhat uncommon. Apparently.) This wasn’t a big year for Star Wars fiction, though – I never did finish the first new ‘canon’ novel and I didn’t even bother with the second. The third… Well, that’s the ARC I mention above. So we’ll see. But the original trilogy costume book is pretty solid, if you’re into that sort of thing. It may not be as flashy as the prequel stuff (the book you want for that is Dressing A Galaxy) but if anything it’s all the more impressive for creating so many iconic looks that are more function than flash.

In conclusion: I read a lot. I read even more with the Kindle. Well, there are worse things.

3 thoughts on “What I read in 2014

  1. I love this post for just being what it was. Not some survey to fill out or top ten list with requirements to be met. Just a list of books you wanted to mention before the year ended. :)

    And I have the same thoughts on the Veronica Mars book. I listened to it and I think have Kristen Bell read it elevated the material as well. But I don’t think I’d go back to it any time soon.

    And if I see “Game of Thrones for women” on the cover of a book or ad for a tv show/movie, I just ignore it as I feel like it’s a bit insulting, as though I shouldn’t enjoy it.

    Since I’ve seen the Gone Girl movie already, is the book worth reading or now that I’ve been spoiled will it lose it’s luster? I feel like I should read a Gillian Flynn book at some point.

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    1. I do not have it in me to do that kind of list; I find arbitrarily ranking things to be tedious and pointless, and how the hell am I going to have to say something about book #9, if I ever figure out what book #9 is?

      Almost all blatant marketing is insulting, or at least I find it so. ‘NYT Bestseller!’ and ‘Blah blah blah five star reviews on Amazon’ TELLS ME NOTHING. I don’t care how much the damn thing has sold or been fawned over by a bunch of randoms, tell me something about the damn book. Hell, at least ‘Game of Thrones for women’ tells me something, even if it’s wrong.

      I picked up Tearling just knowing it sounded somewhat familiar without specifics – it was the movie deal, I think. I ran across the lady GOT thing after, and – no. Last book I remember being explicitly tied to ASoIaF in reviews was The Name of the Wind, and while it was more true there in that it’s at least, like, a distant cousin, it didn’t help the book at all in my mind. I have never thought ASoIaF read like some dude’s RPG character bio/Tolkien fantasy with the serial numbers filed off, which is exactly the kind of thing that drove me away from big fat dudebro fantasy series in the first place. The love for Rothfuss eludes me.

      I would totally read Gone Girl. The problem the movie had is that it really made Nick the (slightly) more sympathetic one, when he’s just as much of an asshole as she is. (Granted, sans murder.) And Amy’s own narration gets a tad defanged, most pointedly the whole ‘cool girl’ passage.

      I liked all three of the Flynn books, but there’s certainly a reason GG became the hit.

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