I've wanted to pen (haha, tap out) a post on my adventures in reading for this year, but here we are and I'm on day 4 of some cruddy, icky thing that throws a new symptom at me daily (today's symptom is eardrums feeling as though they will explode at any second, maybe the worst symptom so far, although the ability to actually feel the walls of my throat squeeze against each other every time I swallow may being running in a neck and ear tie...), so this will be my list and maybe a little bit more.
Depending on where I've catalogued my reading this year I've read 73 (goodreads) or 76 (52 Books in 52 Weeks forum on ravelry) books this year. The discrepency is Sherlock Holmes. I finished up The Complete Sherlock Holmes this year and added that as one book in goodreads and the separate books in ravelry. (An aside: If you want to read them and think they are a little dry, try the audiobook narrated by Simon Vance. He rocks it.) Anyway, I read a lot for me, a lot for a lot of people, but some people read tons more than I do. Hard to imagine.
Here is where I may have put a screen shot of my books by ratings for the year, but I wouldn't say it is representative of what my favorite 10 are just by the 5 star rating. Some of my 3 star books definitely deserve a consideration, the stories might be great, but the writing a little bit lacking and some of my 5 star books (like any Bloody Jack book that gets 5 stars) might be rated solely on what I wanted that book to be for me and not on any literary merit. Some books are rated highly because they coincidentally popped into my life and spoke to something I was thinking or feeling at the time and some might be rated lower because the book read just previous to it was so good that the current book didn't stand a chance. Or maybe I was in a bad mood (everybody writes shit these days!). Or a great mood (SO MANY GOOD BOOKS! I LOVE LIFE! THE SUN IS OUT! I READ A BOOK! AT THE BEACH! SO MUCH BLUE! MY NEW GRAND-DAUGHTER WAS BORN! EVERTHING IS PINK AND BEAUTIFUL! I wish I could give this book 10 STARS!!). I do try to mention it in a brief review so that you know you are taking a chance with my ratings, but that's how I do it.
Changed my mind:
There are some books in the 3 star rating category that deserve a read. Take Orest Stelmach's Nadia Tesla Trilogy. These books are well researched, have a great story line and a female protagonist that is smart and strong. The books aren't overrun with sentimentality or too much inappropriate witty banter that so many mystery/action books are and I loved that. The writing style was a little abrupt for me, there were phrases with periods that could have been joined together for complete sentences, although I did read and listen to these books and I didn't notice the same issue in the audio. The narrator must've been adapting for flow. The author donates part of his proceeds to a charity that benefits the children of Chernobyl and I learned so much about that area from his books. Anyway, if you are looking for good reads, don't only stick to the 5 star books.
So, in no particular order, my favorites this year:
- The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. Carson McCullers
- Olive Kitteridge. Elizabeth Strout
- The Golem and the Jinni. Helene Wecker (maybe my favorite)
- The Goldfinch. Donna Tartt
- Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. Laura Hillenbrand
- The Earth Hums in B-flat. Mari Strachan (another favorite)
- The Grapes of Wrath. John Steinbeck
- Frankenstein. Mary Shelley
- The Things They Carried. Tim O’Brien
- All The Light We Cannot See. Anthony Doerr (definitely in my top three)
Thirty-nine. I think I'm headed to the Minute Clinic. Ugh.