So I lied… back in 2011, I said I would not read 100 books again. And here I am, at the end of 2013, and I’ve read 111! Of course, there’s a difference between having a goal of reading 100 books, and just reading 100 books because that’s how many books you wanted to read. This year, I didn’t have any sort of goal, I just ended up breaking a hundred again. Unsurprisingly, I read way more books in the months after we finished traveling. Somewhat surprisingly, my largest book month was November, at 15 books read. That was the same month in which I wrote a novel. So I guess I was just absurdly productive that month…
I did attempt a challenge posed by my friend Mary, but I failed because I quit. The goal was to read the last 15 winners of the Man Booker Prize and then one book by each of the last 5 International Booker winning authors. I got nearly halfway there (9/20) when I realized that I didn’t particularly like any of the books, except Midnight’s Children and Blind Assassin. So I quit, since I didn’t want to force myself to read more books I probably wouldn’t like. Sorry, Mary…
Anyway, have a look at my best and worst reads of the year! By the way, “On Writing” by Stephen King was a strong contender for the best list, but I decided not to include it. It was definitely the most influential book I read this month. It inspired me to get cracking and start writing fiction! Also, I just noticed that all of my best books were young adult fiction.
5. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
The premise of this book is DRAGONS! Dragons who can take on human form! They have a peace with humans and have ambassadors and stuff. It’s super wicked cool! And the characters are very likable. So go on, read it.
4. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
In Prentisstown, everyone can hear each other’s thoughts (including those of women), and there are no women. But one day in the swamp, our hero Todd finds a girl, and many interesting things happen! This is a really gripping read. I could not put it down. I recommend the whole trilogy.
3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Beautiful writing about two teenagers dying of cancer who fall in love. Yeah, okay, I don’t think teenagers talk like that either. But it’s a great book, plus John Green is super awesome. Be warned, though: the premise is inherently sad.
2. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
In the world of Steelheart, there are people with superpowers (Epics). But they’re all evil. It’s unclear whether this is because only evil people were ‘chosen’ for the powers or because absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is the first in a series, so hopefully we will know more. Anyway, the book is about David’s vengeance quest against the Epic named Steelheart who killed his father. I devoured it. It’s a great read.
1. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
This book is devastatingly sad, and heartbreakingly beautiful. Samantha is kind of a bitch, and one day she dies. Then she keeps reliving her last day, and learning things, and trying to change things. I loved this book. I know that I have put two super-sad books on my top 5. I don’t know what that says about me. But this is a great read.
- The Sea by John Banville – This was one of those Man Booker Prize books! Practically unreadable.
- Zoo by James Patterson – Hilariously bad! So at least it was enjoyable. What would happen if all animals started attacking all people? Because of… cell phones and stuff. Yeah, science! Also the main character was dumb yet depicted as brilliant.
- The Demon Lover by Victoria Holt – This is a book in which our hero kidnaps our heroine and rapes her a bunch, and later (years later to be fair) she falls in love with him. Oops, sorry, spoiled it for you. But not really, because now you never ever have to read it. Seriously, not cool.
- Kill the Messenger by Tami Hoag – In this book, there is a murder and everyone suspects the bike messenger. Which is not surprising, because he keeps acting ridiculously suspicious. Wait, are we supposed to feel bad for the guy? Just talk to the police, you jerk!
- Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow – Disney World in the future. But… actually, the whole book is largely about factions and politics and it’s kind of a snoozefest.
What were your best and worst books this year?