The second of my December re-posts of books reads for the last couple of years. At the end of the year when I usually look back and reflect on some of the books I read during the last 12 months. 2014 I consider a poor year for reading, being only approximately 30 books in total, a drop from my reads of 2013, which numbered 45. I plan/sincerely hoped to do better in 2015 (you’ll see in my next post I did worse), although the reason for my low read count was owing to circumstances outside of my control. We’ve had a lot of disruptions, not least of which finally reaching the decision we’ve been toying with and deciding to move.
So, a handful of the books I read this year are:
Under the Dome, Stephen King (started in 2013)
Birmingham Noir, Joel Lane and Steven Bishop
A Feast for Crows, George R.R.Martin
A Discovery of Witches, Deborah Harkness
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman
Doctor Who Companions, Andy Frankham Allen
Lover Revealed, J.R.Ward
Deadlocked, Charlaine Harris
The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, Mark Hodder
Dead Ever After, Charlaine Harris
Shifting Hearts, Dominique Eastwood
Flesh and Blood, Jonathan Maberry
Fire and Ash, Jonathan Maberry
A Peach of a Murder, Livia J Washburn
Teacher, Teacher, Jack Sheffield
The Bride Wore Black Leather, Simon R Green
The Exotic Marigold Hotel, Deborah Moggach
Murder and Marinara, Rosie Genova
The Dance of Dragons, Part 1, George R.R.Martin
Thud, Terry Pratchett
Changes, Jim Butcher
Horns, Joe Hill
The Night Before Christmas, Scarlett Bailey
I also read and caught up with a number of books in the Space 1889 series, and if I were to list them all in order of preference they would be toward the top of best-reads of 2014. As you can see, many of the other titles were of lighter content this year–a sure sign of stress and a lack of concentration on my part.
Still, I usually choose my read of the year…only this year that’s extremely difficult. I enjoyed Under the Dome, and was exceedingly disappointed in the television adaptation. My advice would be stick with the book.
I continue to like the works of George R.R.Martin because I’ve always had a soft spot for fantasy and one thing Game of Thrones does is present a realistic world completely with fallible characters and the messiness of war. It doesn’t just present high fantasy, swords & sorcery, and doesn’t shy away from the realities of subjects like torture.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness was a pleasant find, but I didn’t realise it wasn’t entirely a standalone read and I’m not sure I can commit to another series just now so may not pick up the next book. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is typical Neil Gaiman and I may like his work to various degrees, but I’ve never come across a story of his I didn’t like.
Doctor Who Companions by Andy Frankham Allen was another surprising read. I’m not what one could call a ‘dedicated’ fan of Who in the sense I would want to know all there is to know, but this book is written with a warm, comfortable tone that made the information interesting, and I discovered many things I didn’t know or had forgotten. It belongs in every Whovians home.
Charlaine Harris’s last books in the Sookie Stackhouse universe came under some controversy, and I have to admit I had learned who Sookie finished up with before I read the last book. I stand by the author’s right to decide the outcome for her characters, and at one point in the series, I had seen this might be on the cards; however, I didn’t ‘feel’ it at the end. There was a time when I did earlier in the series, and therefore I had already made the possible link in my head and heart, but when it came down to it I personally found it to be a letdown because the emotions weren’t there for me. Still, it’s been a good series, with some unforgettable characters, and no author deserves the kind of abuse that Ms Harris faced over the outcome of these books. I’m at least happy the series reached a conclusion.
I’ve read Jonathan’s Maberry’s adult and YA books, and not only do they entertain, but it’s interesting for me as a writer to see how another author handles the degrees of violence and horror for different age groups. If you like zombies, check out his work.
Horns was a surprising read. I was intrigued when I saw a trailer for the film, and not having tried Joe Hill’s work before thought I’d take a look. I had read some disparaging remarks quoting the book as not being very good, but I enjoyed the overlapping layers contained in the story, the way the facts were revealed, and while the subject of the book–a man who grows horns–may strike many as bizarre and fantastical, it served the purpose of the story well. I did feel the writing could have been tweaked in a number of places, but that’s the thing with books–it’s all personal opinion.
One book that could undeniably do with an edit was unfortunately the one I ended the year on. I don’t usually read what many would describe as chick-lit, but while Scarlett Bailey’s characters aren’t the most likeable in The Night Before Christmas, it does make them somewhat real. Alas, the book has so many typos and missing words it made the task of connecting with them even more difficult. I picked it up as a light read as we were on the move all Christmas and new year week, but feel this is one book that will end up going to the charity shop.
So from my least favourite book of the year to my favourite overall…the trouble is this year I don’t have one. Under the Dome, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, The Exotic Marigold Hotel, Thud, Changes, Horns…these are all worth a look. If absolutely pushed…I guess I’d have to choose Thud. Nothing beats the genius of Terry Pratchett.