Monthly Archives: December 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Resolutions

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The topic of this Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2015 — bookish, blogging or otherwise!

1. DNF more. This is always a goal of mine, as I have slogged through some excruciating books for no reason, when I should have just given them up. I’m learning. Slowly.

2. Get my Goodreads TBR under 100 books. I tend to hop over to Goodreads and throw titles on whenever I hear of something remotely interesting, but then I never go back and actually read them. Currently it’s hovering around 150 books. I need to do some pruning.

3. Read all those damn ebooks already. Just like with Goodreads, I tend to hop on the nook store every couple of weeks and look at sales. And if something is appealing and cheap, I’ll just buy it. And then never read it. I have eleventy billion ebooks sitting around, along with magazines and anthologies I keep avoiding. It’s kind of out of control.

4. Read more nonfiction. I genuinely like nonfiction, but, because it takes me longer to read, and because I don’t usually buy it, I tend not to read it as much. I’d like to branch out more from my little comfort sphere (medieval history, bios of queens and other powerful women).

5. Publish again. I finally had a few stories published in 2013 after many years of working for it, but 2014 was a non-publishing year. I’m trying to cut myself slack on that because, hey, heart surgery took up quite a bit of the year. But it still feels like a slide backwards. So! Submit, submit, submit, and hopefully publish, publish, publish!

6. Bite the bullet on The Novel. I’ve written novels before. They have generally been “practice” and not particularly good or saleable. But this year, I sat down and seriously worked on a project. It’s a fantasy novel that was actually the first thing I ever wrote, but I have worked it and shaped it and now it actually looks like Something. Something that works as A Novel. For Real. I hope. And now I have to stop being afraid and bite the bullet and try to get it out there into the world.

7. Work on my heart health. Heart surgery. It’s the pits. I had a lot of unexpected complications after my surgery, but at this moment I am healthier than I’ve ever been in my life. My condition was congenital and not really caused by my choices, but my choices didn’t particularly help, either. So I’m trying to break myself of bad habits, and retrain myself. It’s a process, but I will try every day to be in tune with my body and be as healthy as I am able to be.

8. Get back to hobbies.  I am the worst at picking things up and then dropping them the minute I realize they’re hard to learn. I played the guitar for like two minutes, I knitted for maybe a week. And then I didn’t practice enough and it wasn’t coming easy so I just quit. So my out of tune guitar is gathering dust, and all the yarn I bought is sitting tangled up in a basket. This year, I resolve to do things I’m no good at because, damn it, I need hobbies.

9. Get back to Photoshopping. This is kind of part and parcel of #8, but I used to really love playing around with Photoshop, and I haven’t really used it at all this year, so I need to start making things again!

10. Don’t read so much. It sounds silly for a book blogger to say, I know. But after the first half of the year, where I wasn’t really enjoying many of my reads and then I quite literally couldn’t read, I kind of swung wildly in the opposite direction and read to the exclusion of almost everything else in my life. I’m not good at having a life. If I didn’t have a full time job, I might never step outside of my house. It’s gotten a lot worse as I’ve gotten older, when I thought it would turn out the other way. So I definitely have to stop reading so much and start doing instead.

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Happy 2015, everyone! Let’s make it a party!

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Top Ten Tuesday: My Christmas List

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The topic of this Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing This Year. Although, I think list is a little late to make it to the North Pole.

 

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1. Neil Clarke (ed.)- Upgraded

I am technically a cyborg now, and I definitely want this anthology of cyborg stories!

2. Simon Garfield- Just My Type: A Book About Fonts

I reallyreallyreallyreally love typefaces.

3. Margaret Atwood- Stone Mattress

I just love Margaret Atwood so much.

 

208212634. Joyce Carol Oates- Lovely, Dark, Deep

Ditto.

5. Dan Jones- The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors

I will basically read anything about the Wars of the Roses.

6. Patricia Briggs- Shifting Shadows: Stories From the World of Mercy Thompson

The cover is so pretty!

158431727. Tim Federle- Tequila Mockingbird.

I don’t even drink anymore but I still want this book of literary cocktail recipes. If ever there was a book that had my name stamped on the cover…

8. Melissa Mohr- Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing

Wait, this is where I should say ‘if ever there was a book that had my name stamped on the cover…’.

9. Kirstin Downey: Isabella: The Warrior Queen

Cause Spain. And the Inquisition. And because baddass lady bios are my favorite type of bios.

10. Kara Cooney- The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt

See above, sub Egypt and pharohs.

 

All nonfiction or short story collections. Hmm. I guess we can see what I don’t ever actually buy for myself.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Best of the Best

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The topic of this Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten Books I Read In 2014.

A couple months ago, I lost the file where I write all my reads for the year. It was pretty awful. It was the sort of silly thing I never felt the need to back up, but after it was gone I realized how much I used it. I don’t put every book I read on Goodreads, and while I have star reviews, I had an easier-to-see system going in that file to mark off my favorite reads. So, basically I’m whining about all this to say: there are gaps on this list. Lots of them. Because I don’t even have a list of all the books I read this year, much less my full reactions to them. There’s no real order, and I’m missing so many good books, and I just…sigh…

Lesson I never learn: back your shit up! Ah well, onto the books.

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Best Sequel I Avoided For Too Long

N.K. Jemisin- The Shadowed Sun I think I kept putting this off because I wasn’t sure I could love any characters as much as I did Ehiru and Nijiri, but now I think I love Hanani even more.

Best I-Wish-I’d-Read-This-Sooner book

Daphne du Maurier- Rebecca This book. Just. This book, guys. I wish I’d read this in college. I wish I could read it again right now. It’s amazing. If I ever teach writing, I would teach Rebecca.

Best Nonfiction book

Bill Bryson- One Summer: America, 1927 I am forever thankful to my brother for introducing me to the works of Bill Bryson. This is a wild, silly, and surprisingly informative micro-history. I was actually interested in baseball for two seconds, which is something I never would have foreseen. And I learned a lot about aviation and politics and crime and all the sorts of weird facts that Bryson always digs up.

Best YA book

Marissa Meyer- Cress I waited so long to pick up Cress. Alas, not long enough, because we have to wait a damn year for Winter. Whhhhhhhhhhhhy? Oh my goodness, I loved Cress so much. It was adorable, and funny, and exciting, and poignant. I think it worked better as a sequel then Scarlet did, in terms of balancing the different storylines. Just such a great book.

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Best Use of Puppy Cannons 

Courtney Milan- The Suffragette Scandal All the squees. This is such an adorable book. It hit all my feminist buttons, and I was rather surprised how much I felt for the hero, Edward. One of my favorite Milans (actually, most Milans are my favorite…)

Best Use of Lord Byron (with bonus Eleventh Doctor)

Mary Robinette Kowal- Valour and Vanity I could read the adventures of Jane and Vincent for weeks and not get tired of them. This one had Venice and conspiracies and cool new applications of their glamours. It was billed as Jane Austen meets Ocean’s 11, which is just about right.

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Best What the Fuck Did I Just Read?

Jeff VanderMeer- The Southern Reach Trilogy I never read books like this, and I’m still chewing them over in my mind.

Best Book That Broke My Hard Little Heart

Erin Lindsay McCabe- I Shall Be Near To You a fantastically written Civil War book that rather unexpectedly moved me quite a bit.

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Best Introduction to a New Favorite Author

Tana French- The Likeness Cassie Maddox goes undercover when a dead body that looks exactly like her turns up, and she gets in way over her head. I absolutely adored this creepy mystery.

Best Use of David Hasselhoff

Jo Nesbo- Nemesis Might be my favorite Harry Hole book so far, although I’m only about halfway through the series at the moment. I loved untangling the mystery, and I loved the fact that the villain was constantly referred to as David Hasselhoff, though it was corny as shit.

Best Unexplained Time Travel/Alternate Universes 

Andrew Sean Greer- The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells This book broke me in a lot of ways. And it was a lot better than the other unexplained time travel/alternate universe novel I read this year (no, I’m not telling)

Oooh, I think I hit more than 10! Guess I’d better stop.

What are your top reads of 2014?

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: New Authors

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The topic of today’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014.

I read a lot of new authors this year, but most of them didn’t really do it for me. I think a big part of me wanted comfort and familiarity this year. Here are a few new-to-mes that stuck out, though.
208210431. Tana French- I read ALL the Tana French this year. All of it. And I need more.

2. Andrew Sean Greer- The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells really hit me hard on a lot of levels. But I’m not sure his other work appeals to me.

3. Abraham Verghese- Likewise, Cutting For Stone was a beautiful book (though there was one big thing about it that bothered me, I won’t address that here), but I don’t think any of Verghese’s other work would appeal to me.

4. Erin Lindsey McCabe- debut author time. I really, really, really loved her novel I Shall Be Near to You.

5. Jessican Soffer- another lovely debut novel with Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots.

6. Jeff  VanderMeer- the Southern Reach Trilogy was one of the most unusual projects I’ve seen in the publishing world for awhile. I loved the way FSG brought out these books, and though they definitely weren’t the kind of stuff I would usually read, I really enjoyed them.

7. Ann Leckie- There’s a reason this woman is winning ALL THE AWARDS. Ancillary Justice is super innovative, and I expect really good things from her in the future.

8. Emma Donoghue- Donoghue has been on my radar since Room, but Frog Music was the first one I picked up by her. Definitely not a book for everyone, but I found it incredibly compelling and liked the structure of it.

9. James McBride- I really enjoyed the style of The Good Lord Bird and I look forward to reading more from McBride.

10. Daphne du Maurier- How oh how did I make it 29 1/2 years before reading Rebecca? I mean REALLY.

 

 

 

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