Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Year in Books: 2014.

Ever since I challenged myself in 2009 to read 52 books in the year, I established some good reading habits to keep up the momentum. I've relaxed on the challenge aspect of reading, since I don't want to deter from reading longer books just because they may take more time.

This year I managed to read 42 books. It was an inspiring year in reading; I discovered a lot of writers partly because I was seeking out original voices and going to book readings in Brooklyn, and partly because I joined a couple of literary groups. I met people in those groups and followed them on social media and heard of a lot of new writers; some of them were even writers themselves.

Here are the the books I read this year in chronological order, the star rating I gave them on Goodreads, and those that are bold became all-time favorite books of mine.

01 The Best American Magazine Writing 2013, ASME *****
02 Powers, Vol 1: Who Killed Retro Girl?, Brian Michael Bendis ***** (re-read)
03 Like Life, Lorrie Moore ****
04 A Story Lately Told, Anjelica Huston ****
05 1800 Miles to Nowhere, Brian Diaz ***
06 Salvador, Joan Didion ****
07 Ms. Marvel, No 1, Willow G. Wilson *****
08 S., J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst ***
09 The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton *****
10 Disgrace, J.M. Coatzee *
11 The Last Thing He Wanted, Joan Didion ****
12 Songs for the Missing, Stewart O'Nan **
13 After Henry, Joan Didion ****
14 The Yellow King and Other Stories, Robert W. Chambers ***
15 Swimming, Joanna Hershon ****
16 The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham ****
17 Powers, Vol 2: Roleplay, Brian Michael Bendis ***
18 Powers, Vol 3: Little Deaths, Brian Michael Bendis ***
19 Powers, Vol 4: Supergroup, Brian Michael Bendis *****
20 Powers, Vol 5: Anarchy, Brian Michael Bendis ****
21 The Book of Unknown Americans, Cristina Henriquez *****
22 Powers, Vol 6: The Sellouts, Brian Michael Bendis ****
23 Powers, Vol 7: Forever, Brian Michael Bendis *****
24 Powers, Vol 8: Legends, Brian Michael Bendis ****
25 Powers, Vol 9: Psychotic, Brian Michael Bendis ****
26 Powers, Vol 10: Cosmic, Brian Michael Bendis ***
27 Powers, Vol 11: Secret Identity, Brian Michael Bendis ****
28 The Most Dangerous Animal of All, Gary L. Stewart and Susan D. Mustafa **
29 Cutting Teeth, Julia Fierro *****
30 Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, ed. Sari Botton ****
31 The Woman Upstairs, Claire Messud ****
32 Friendship, Emily Gould ****
33 Wild, Cheryl Strayed *****
34 Middlemarch, George Eliot ****
35 Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay *****
36 Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ****
37 Nightwood, Djuna Barnes ****
38 All the Roads That Lead From Home, Anne Leigh Parrish ****
39 NW, Zadie Smith ***
40 A Million Miles, Amy Fleisher Madden *****
41 Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel *****
42 Tiny Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed *****

Like I said, it was an inspiring year in reading. One of my favorite new authors, Roxane Gay, who wrote Bad Feminist, had a fun superlative-y way of of recounting her year in reading -- here's me trying to do the same...

My favorite book of the year, and perhaps the last decade--a novel in which I saw myself and my mother and the important stories of of those who rarely have their voices heard: The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

My second favorite book of the year, because when one becomes inundated with apocalyptic premises, this one will sneak up on your and make you realize the beauty in your own world: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

A book dear to my heart that fills me with pride in my friend and honor to have been asked to edit it as it headed towards publication: A Million Miles by Amy Fleisher Madden

Examples of well-written novels that are great reads without having a "relatable" protagonist to root for (something I despise when people evaluate a story): Cutting Teeth by Julia Fierro, The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud

Example of a not-so-well-written true story with a narrator you're supposed to like but by the end you kind of hate and you were glad when you got some money for it when you traded it in before moving across the country because c'mon, not even a DNA test?: The Most Dangerous Animal of All by Gary L. Stewart (who believes his father was the Zodiac)

She wrote how many pages at what age and won what award what am I doing with my life this is amazing!?: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Book I tried because of its Celebrated Author but became confused as to why it was any good at all: Disgrace by J.M. Coatzee

Now understand why this marvel is a classic: Middlemarch by George Eliot

Book that started out like watching the pilot episode of LOST and then became the final season of LOST and just...uh...lost me: S by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

Short stories that stayed with me for such a long time I had to take breaks between reading the next story: All the Roads That Lead From Home by Anne Leigh Parrish

Cannot wait for the movie because LUPITA: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Books that made me cry in public: Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed, The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

What was the best thing you read in 2014?

Previously: 2009 | 2012 2013

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