Last year, I didn't beat my lame modest goal of reading 30 books; I attributed it to CFD and Cloud Atlas. This year, I attributed my inability to break the 30 book barrier to The Phone Photography Project, moving, and taking two months to reread Pride and Prejudice. So, I hereby declare yet again the goal of reading 30+ books in 2014.
Pictured above: books I awarded five stars on Goodreads this year!
+ As usual, some of my most favorite books of the year are of the jFiction variety. I am extremely anxious for Laurie Halse Anderson to complete the Chains/Forge trilogy; I liked Chains just a smidgen better, but they are both so good. John Boyne appears twice in my best books of the year; I really, really like his quirky magical realism. Shooting in Kabul has been on my list for a long time; Maddie read it for a summer reading assignment and immediately handed it to me. The premise is terrifying, and it is so well done. None of the jFiction books pictured here are happy, cheerful books, exactly, but I was just so satisifed by them when I finished.
+ I learned some interesting things about the world of photography in Picture the Dead and The Fairy Ring; namely, when photography was new, people were gullible. Wow. FASCINATING.
+ I read the first 100 pages of 11/22/63 over the course of a busy week, and the last 700+ pages in 24 hours. I haven't done that in a long time. I also haven't read Stephen King in a long time, as my overactive nighttime imagination doesn't really complement his books very well, but this one isn't scary in the traditional Stephen King kind of way.
+ Hyperbole and a Half might be among the funniest books I've ever read. It is not for everyone. You can have David Sedaris, and I will take Allie Brosh.
+ Most notably missing from this collage: Pride and Prejudice. I originally rated this five stars the first (two!) times I read it, but this time around... I had to bump it down a star. I felt terrible about doing this (nerdy book nerd hand-wringing) but there you have it: Pride and Prejudice is now a four star book for me.
Other notes from the four star books list...
+ The Blue Fox by Sjón was probably the most unique book I read this year. It was recommended to me by Matt, who heard something about it on NPR. I am fairly sure if I read it again (it is short) I'll pick up on more elements to think about.
+ Kate DiCamillo's newest book, Flora & Ulysses, was among the oddest books I've read. Halfway through I figured it out: she has written a Wes Anderson movie!
+ I subscribe to Kelly Corrigan's email list and signed up immediately to be one of the first 100 people to receive an advance copy of her newest book, Glitter and Glue, and then promptly forgot about it thinking I would never have a chance. And then lo and behold a copy of Glitter and Glue showed up at my doorstep! It pays to subscribe to author email lists. : )
I only gave two books a one star rating this year: Artemis Fowl (ugh, painful) and SnApp Shots: How To Take Great Pictures With Smartphones and Apps, which I felt a little guilty for rating one star in this year of being the class director for The Phone Photography Project, but it just wasn't very good.
I am starting off 2014 by reading an Anna Quindlen book I haven't read: Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. Anna Quindlen is my most favorite of all writers/essayists, and I'm excited to start off the year with her.
Do tell: what was the best book you read in 2013?