2014 was a strange year for books in my reading life. 2013 was just one mind-blowing stack of amazing after another. 2014 started with a book I didn’t really like and was immediately followed by some iffy, if maybe sorta briefly enjoyable, choices.
On the 30th I’ll be unveiling my annual year in books list and blog hop (so get yer lists ready to link up or put in the comments), and today, by way of awards I’ve invented right now, a preview of some of the best and the worst of what my eyes have seen in 2014.
Let’s start with some stats.
Number of books read: 115
Books by women/books by men: 55/61*
Books by PoC: 9
Books read in German: 7
Books re-read: 5
Comics read: 15
Apocalypses read: 17
Books by Americans and Britts/books by authors from the rest of the damn world: 100/15
Fiction/nonfiction: 101.5/13.5 (that .5 is for Nightmare Magazine, which was both)
And now, the awards…
Debutants on my reading list whose careers I will now obsessively follow until the end of time: Simon Ings, Lauren Beukes, Catherynne Valente, Chuck Wendig
It may not have been a year for intense new favorite books, but it was a year for intense new favorite authors.
Author whose life work I came closest to reading in full: Catherynne M. Valente
Having only read five of her books this year, I haven’t even come close. But that’s exciting too: there is so much to look forward to.
Books on repeat: Only three re-reads this year: Patricia C. Wrede’s Dealing With Dragons series. There were also two re-listens: Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling because Jim Dale’s voice forever. Rereads were down, and disappointing first-time reads were way, way up. Which brings us to…
Fuckin’ A! The year’s most disappointing read: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
I wanted to love it. Maybe I’m not a big enough Jane Eyre fan? Maybe I like The Unwritten style of lit fetish story better?
Books that have made me a worse person (also known as year’s worst read): The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
I read three of these fuckers! Why did I do that to myself? Oh yeah, because I have the hots for all the actors in the movie, which I watched while trapped on an airplane. Which does not a good book make. But hey, I thought, if they aren’t making any more movies, I’ll just have to read the books and imagine the actors! Reverse fan fiction! But I couldn’t force myself to read to the end. It just got too ridiculous. Ugh. Let us never speak of this again.
Books that made me worse, and angry: Arslan by M.J. Engh (I wrote such an angry review of this, and then the Beard accidentaly deleted it, *cue further anger*) and Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank (my computer did not eat my angry review of this)
Most boring: The Scarlet Plague by Jack London
I’ve got at least ten books about the end of the world from pre-1900 on my phone waiting for me and I really really hope they aren’t all as boring as this one was.
Best fiction: Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne Valente
Just go read it. This was the novella that won my heart over to her writing forever.
Best non-fiction: How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read by Pierre Bayard
Hilarious and lit snobby and critical of lit snobbery. JUST LIKE ME. Erm. Or something. I loved this book a lot. I expected some sort of fluffy humor piece and got a really well-done bit of self-aware, satirical-yet-serious literary criticism. Somebody please buy me this for Christmas so it can sit on my shelf and smile at me every day.
Sexiest sexytimes: Fledgling by Octavia Butler
“But that book is full of pedophilia!” you’re thinking to yourself, having read the many internet freakouts that have followed humans reading this book. But I think they’ve got it all wrong—this is a book about interspecies relationships (and, yes, sex), interdependence, and polyamory (among many, many other things)—and a long review is coming soon to a Book Punks near you. In a nutshell: this is definitely not a book about pedophilia, and it is definietly awesome.
Best series of the year: The Southern Reach by Jeff VanderMeer
But you already knew I was going to say that. I can’t wait to reread it.
Surprise obsession resulting in many lost hours and euros: The Raven Boys sequence and The Unwritten
I never thought I would like The Raven Boys. Which means I also never thought I would become obsessed and read the first three books in the series one after another with growing urgency and increasingly hair-brained conspiracy theories about how it’s all going to end.
As for The Unwritten: it turns out that 2014 is the year that I learned to love comics. This is going to be an expensive habit.
I was also pretty surprised to read Nightmare Magazine’s Women Destroy Horror! Issue and to find out that I still love horror a lot a lot a lot.
Burn it all down! The best apocalypse: Mira Grant’s mold-ocalypse shorts in The End Is Nigh and The End Is Now
Best comic, maybe of all time: Saga
Saga, fucking Saga! If you haven’t read it, I envy you the first read of this you still have in front of you, and I don’t envy a life without the best fucking SFF comic I have ever read.
My full year’s reading list and a “link up your year’s reading list” blog hop are coming on Tuesday, so get ready.
What were some of your notables this year?
*This is not a math mistake. One book was co-written by a man and a woman, so I counted it twice.