Wow. 4 years now of posting lists of my read books, in my eternal quest to become a well read (and hopefully well educated, though I suppose those don’t always go together) person. At this point, I mostly post them to a) keep track of what I’ve read, cause I forget, and b) get recommendations from other people. I don’t always get to take them, but I DO love recommendations!
So here we go. I got up to 37 books this year. I always aim for 30, so I’m feeling pretty proud.
And does anyone have and recommendations for next year?
1. The Calculus Diaries by Jennifer Oullette. Review is here.
2. The Science of Kissing: What our lips are telling us” by Sheril Kirshenbaum. Review is here.
3. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection by Charles Darwin.
4. Microcosm by Carl Zimmer.
5. Blood Work by Holly Tucker.
6. Soul Made Flesh by Carl Zimmer.
7. Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer.
8. Planet of Viruses by Carl Zimmer. (Obviously, at this point I recommend ANYTHING by Carl Zimmer)
9. Dirty Minds by Kayt Sukel. Review is here.
10. Wicked Bugs by Amy Stewart. Review is here.
11. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 5 by Edward Gibbon.
12. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 6 by Edward Gibbon. FREE AT LAST. It was not remotely entertaining, and often boring to the point of pain. But I did actually learn a good bit, I think. And I definitely disagree with him on the actual causes of the Decline and Fall. Or rather, I agree with his PROXIMATE causes, but the ultimate cause I think he found, and was very careful to gloss over.
13. The Girl in the Green Sweater: A life in Holocaust’s Shadow, by Krystyna Chiger and Daniel Paisneer. Really fascinating.
14. Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff.
15. Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher. Hysterical and at the same time terribly sad.
16. Nom De Plume, a (secret) history of Pseudonyms by Carmela Ciuraru. Really interesting.
17. Outliers: the story of success by Malcolm Gladwell. While I did enjoy it, and there’s some very thought provoking things in there, it’s useful to keep in mind that some of the points are anecdotal. So while I found many of his points extremely persuasive, I would want to see the data on a case by case basis. Sometimes the data is presented, but sometimes not.
18. Summa Theologica by Thomas Acquinas, volume 1. 592 pages of the WORST book I have EVER READ. SERIOUSLY. I quit. No more. I can’t DO THIS. *nasal voice* Question X: it seems that God cannot do blah de blah, because it makes no logical sense and contradicts everything that you have previous said about what God can and cannot do. Thomas: NUH UH. Cause the Bible SAYS! And St. Augustine SAYS, and cause GOD SAYS SO.
19. The Decameron by Boccacio.
20. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. (Who stole some of those tales from the Boccacio I notice!)
21. Persuasion, by Jane Austen.
22. The Children of Hurin by Christopher Tolkien.
23. American Gods by Neil Gaiman. SO. SO. FANTASTIC.
24. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
25. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.
26. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I really enjoyed this trilogy, I’m looking forward to the movies (though from what I can tell in the trailer, Katniss is not skinny enough, too clean, and WAY too well dressed). What I particularly enjoyed was that I did not LIKE Katniss. She was a real survivor, and a real survivor is not always a hero, not always wise, and not even very nice. I liked how clear that was. And WOOO some of those creations will give you some nightmares.
27. Batwoman elegy by Greg Rucka. It’s a graphic novel, but really, REALLY wonderful. I raced through it. One of the best things about it, I think, is that it depicts a lesbian heroine who is just…a heroine. Who happens to be a lesbian. It’s not the center of the plot, it’s not dwelt upon for any purpose, it’s just part of WHO she is, which makes the character that much more believable.
28. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. I ripped through this. Really interesting, great plot and the villain is just awesome. I only wish there had been a little more exposition.
29. The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines. Ok, this is not exactly a series of books you read for self improvement. But they are fun, enjoyable reads with interesting plots and very strong female characters. And it passes the Bechdel test in the first 5 pages.
30. The Mermaid’s Madness by Jim C. Hines.
31. Red Hood’s Revenge by Jim C. Hines.
32. The Snow Queen’s Shadow by Jim C. Hines.
33. Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer. FREE AT LAST. THANK GOD I AM FREE AT LAST (I finished the previous books last year, you can’t truly hate on something unless you KNOW IT). And what was the CRACK she got into. This. Is. COMPLETELY. Insane. Also, that final climax was incredibly boringly fizzlingly tepid. Can’t bear to kill off any of the too handsome characters for fear of getting mauled by her dear fans. That and wish fulfillment. That was a few hours of my life I won’t get back.
34. Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey. Readers of previous lists will know that I LOVE Mercedes Lackey and all of her super sweet bad for you fiction. She never fails with strong female characters, but she’s been cranking ’em out for a while now and so you always feel a little disappointed in the later novels. That said, if you’ve got a kid who’s 11-14 and interested in fantasy, I cannot recommend Arrows of the Queen enough.
35. Brightly Burning by Mercedes Lackey.
36. Foundation by Mercedes Lackey. I have to throw in a bit of extra eye rolling for all fantasy authors who try to throw in regional accents. It…it just never works. It’s right up there with inventing new fantasy names by farting apostrophes at random. David is too boring? D’a’vid is SO fantasy, don’t you think?
37. Goddess of Spring by PC Cast. Normally, I don’t count romance novels (though I read, and LOVE, me some terrible romance novels) because they are by nature almost worse than reading nothing at all. But this was actually…ok. Playful! Good concept! Charming! I’m a bit impressed against my will.