Showing posts from December, 2014

Yet Another Best of the Year Post

I am a little shocked that we've gotten to "end of the year post" time already.  I know everybody says this but this year really has passed quickly it seems, at least the fall has.  

As always, these are things that were new to ME this year, not necessarily published or released this year.  And not just 10 of things!

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan BradleyThree Parts Dead by Max GladstoneThe Death of Bees by Lisa O'DonnellFive Days at Memorial by Sheri FinkMy Real Children by Jo WaltonLife After Life by Kate AtkinsonThe Lucifer Box series by Mark GatissThe Silkworm by Robert GalbraithPale Fire by Vladimir NabokovHard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki MurakamiKindred by Octavia ButlerThe Bone Clocks by David MitchellNight Film by Marissa PessiFever Pitch by Nick Hornby
Graphic Novels:
March, Book 1 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate PowellSaga, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona StaplesSex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick by Mat…

Total numbers!

I had a pretty good reading year!  I read a LOT of library books and many Kindle books too, especially in these last few months.  

Books Read Total: 112

Library books: 93
YA/Children's Lit: 30
Non-fiction: 10
Graphic Novels: 20
Audio books: 5
Kindle: 40

These numbers include 4 more non-fiction books that I'm not quite ready to discuss yet.  I feel like I did pretty well this year.  Studying for comps and doing an internship last spring had my numbers pretty low, but then being unemployed for 5 months, and half-time employed at a school since then, gave me a LOT of time to read.  I suppose it balanced out. Here's to great reading in 2015!

What I read on my Vacation

I got through 2 books on my vacation.  We met up with some of my family in Orlando for a few days and went to Disneyworld and Universal Studios with them.  

Jackaby by William Ritter:  This is a YA novel, which I didn't realize when I picked it up.  It is a sort-of mashup of Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes.  It takes place in the late 19th century in a fictional New England town.  The narrator is a girl, Abby Rook, who is about 20. She arrives after running away from university to find adventure.  She meets and becomes the assistant to Jackaby, a man who uses Holmes' methods to deal with fantastical creatures and supernatural beings.  It was a cool setup and a well-written world.  I figured out the mystery plot pretty quickly but it is written for middle schoolers.  I'd say I would have loved it at that age and I will read any sequels. a 6.

The Art of English Murder by Lucy Worsley: This book is a non-fiction look at murder and crime in British literature from the early 1…

Foreign books

I'm catching up on reviews!  I've read two very different books in translation recently. 

From Japan, I read Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgimage by Haruki Murakami.  It is about Tsukuru Tazaki, a man in his mid-30's who designs train stations (it's a better job in Japan than here I suppose) who's neither happy nor unhappy with his life.  He had intense friendships with 4 friends in high school but, during his first year of college, all 4 cut him off completely and will not tell him what happened.  He lets them go until a girlfriend tells him he needs to find out what happened to move on with his life.  He goes on a journey to contact them and discovers why things changed.  I liked it but Murakami tends to give us half-endings. He always leaves you wanting 1 more chapter of info.  This one ended up a 5 for me. 

From Sweden, I read Little Star by John Ajvide Lindqvist.  It is a horror novel. It also has some big unanswered questions, which, strangely, …

Sherlock Holmes books

So I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan.  I first read all the stories back one summer in high school.  I got a giant book with super thin pages of all the stories from the library and read it over the course of a month.  Since then, I've reread all the stories at least twice as well as various stories in singles again.  I've seen lots of adaptations too.  I recently read two non-fiction books about Holmes and the stories.

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes by Vincent Starrett: well, I say this one is non-fiction but the premise is that it is a biography of Holmes (and Watson) as if they were real people.  It was really interesting and did include some info about the Baker Street Irregulars, the superfan club that still exists.  Definitely one to read if you're willing to play The Great Game.  a 5.

The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics by James O'Brien:  This book was something like an encyclopedia; it took a topic, like chemistry or f…

Women's Books

Three books dealing with, and by, women's lives.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith: so, I was under the impression that this book was similar to We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.  It really, really isn't.  It was ok but since it was so far from what I expected I was disappointed.  also, the sisters annoyed me.  a 4.

How to Suppress Women's Writing by Joanna Russ: a non-fiction book about, well, women's writing.  Highly recommended.  a 7.

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters: a book about Victorian lesbians.  really liked this one too!  a 7.

Movies October and November

Just a quick list

Interstellar: Fabulous!  amazing effects.  a 7.

Edge of Tomorrow: also amazing.  Really surprised me as to how good it was. a 7.

The Lego Movie: Better than I was expecting. a 6.

Snowpiercer: good, but weird.  a 5.

Hunger Games Mockingjay pt 1: Fine, but is just too much part 1 of 2.  a 5.

I really like Octavia Butler

So much that in the past several weeks I've read 4 of her books!

The first of these books is Parable of the Talents, which is a sequel to Parable of the Sower.  In this one, we get 2 points-of-view: that of Lauren and Bankole's daughter who narrates what her life was like after she was taken from her parents as a baby, and Lauren's perspective in the form of her diaries that the daughter is editing. I liked this one but really wished there was more from Lauren's perspective.  a 5.

The other books I read were a series: Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago. This series is about the world being saved by aliens.  Before the first book starts there is a major nuclear exchange in the northern Hemisphere.  Aliens show up after that and rescue all of the humans they can find.  They put the humans in suspended animation for long stretches of time while they learn about humanity.  The aliens reproduce by exchanging genetic material with other races and require groups of 5.  On Earth,…


I read Criminal: Coward and Criminal: Lawless by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips which together collect the first 10 issues of the comic Criminal.It is a really fabulous series.  Very noir, more of a straightforward, less splashy Sin City.  Very good, a 6.

I also read Fatale: Death Chases Me by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.  This one was also noir but it also was a little...weird.  Without giving anything away, I'd say there were some horror elements that I hadn't expected that sent the story off in a different direction.  Fine but I don't think I'll continue.  a 4.

I also caught up on American Vampire by reading volumes 4 and 5 by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque.  We get a LOT of Skinner Sweet and learn about Dracula, who is like the worst of the worst and incredibly powerful.  I liked volume 4 better than 5 I think and I've got 6 on the way to me at the library.  a 5 for each. 

I've found I REALLY enjoy comic series that have the same author/illustrator thr…

Wow. I haven't updated in FOREVER!

There are various reasons I haven't updated in about 6 weeks.  I got a job (finally!) and started at the end of October so that's taking up lots of time.  I've also been sick the last 3 weeks so I haven't felt like doing much.  I've also got a personal thing going on that I'll probably feel like talking about in a few weeks. Overall, I've been super busy and, while I've been reading a bit, I haven't felt like writing anything.  I need to start getting caught up on my reviews so I can write proper year end wrap ups!

All that to say I need to write this RIP Wrap-UP post!  I ended up reading 7 mystery novels, most of them involving a murder.

A Mysterious Affair at Styles and The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie: these were rereads.  I've read Styles probably 5 times and Vicarage at least once.  Styles is a really good story; it's the first Poirot book and has a pretty intricate story.  Vicarage is ok but I've never really taken to M…