I always feel bad about not reading more — which is lame and ridiculous, given how much I do read. It’s not a competition, after all. I mean, in addition to 53+ books (I’ll finish at least two more before December 31), I read 1700 Shimmer submissions (is that possible? checks and checks again and oh my), and who knows how many blogs and recipes and rants and… My days are filled with reading. Here are some notes on some books. I liked some of them and others infuriated me:
Classics Binge: I went on a little binge of the classics this year, finally reading The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald). I also wanted to read Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Capote), as it remains a favorite movie. The book (novella?) was surprisingly different than I expected — Holly Golightly is darker here, and I loved her even more than I thought possible. She’s more real here, less adorable Audrey Hepburn (and it’s kind of astonishing that they cast Audrey once you read the source material!). The Sheltering Sky (Paul Bowles) falls into this paragraph — and infuriated me for its treatment of its heroine. I also went back to Egypt with Mountolive, #3 in Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet. Hopefully I can read Clea next year!
Romance, Romance: Romance books! You bet I read them. The one I enjoyed most this year is Untamed (Anna Cowan). I love unusual books and this is definitely that, with a cross-dressing hero. On a writing-level, the prose is put together in so so so so so many unique ways. I love the voice of this book, and it’s one I already want to revisit. My friend Natalie Luhrs introduced me to this one — as well as Courtney Milan. I’m reading The Duchess War right now, and will devour books two and three asap. Another unique voice, and brilliant characters.
Steampunky: I discovered a new-to-me writer this year, Rachael Acks. She has a wonderful series of novellas involving Captain Ramos and Mister Simms, and wee dogs, and airships, and oh. Again, I return to the point of the voice — these novellas give great voice, and it’s been hard not to devour them all at once. I have two more to read. I’m lucky in that I get to work with Rachael on a story she has upcoming in Shimmer. Wheee!
I Can’t Even: So, Game of Thrones is everywhere. And initially it repulsed me — I tried to read book one forever ago, and got about 50 pages, and quit because those pages don’t treat its women well. But then I have a really good friend into the books and show, so I tried again — and I read the entire first book, and am somewhat into S2 episode-wise. I want to like this franchise more than I do. There are awesome things here — Arya and Daenerys, I am looking at you — but there is also a lot of crap and I struggle to figure out why our culture values the culture shown in these books, a culture that absolutely does not respect women. I don’t mind death in books, but the way Martin doesn’t let you get attached to anyone also complicates this reader’s enjoyment.
The Strangest: Probably I Who Have Never Known Men (Jacqueline Harpman). This is a book that Beth led me toward, and it’s one of the oddest books I’ve ever read. You are wholly in the heroine’s POV, which results in an amazing/frustrating experience.
Books by Friends: People I know published things this year, and oh I’m behind on reading all of them it feels like, but hey, self, it’s not a race, remember. DES Richard published 3024: Short Stories Series One and Jacqueline Koangagi published Ascension, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia published This Strange Way of Dying, and Mary Robinette Kowal published Without a Summer, and Alethea Kontis published Hero, and Robert N. Lee is still cranking out his cracktasic The 666ties series, and and… The Kowal and Kontis are in the 2014 stack. It’s going to be a good year…