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yuletide reveals and 2014 reading

This year I wrote one fic for Queen's Thief (Megan Whalen Turner), Rooftop Sneaking for morganstern, 1,500 words, about Eugenides teaching Eddis how to sneak around her palace.

I already recced my fic but I want to rec it again: Kushiel's Keys, by vibishan, 8,000 words, a what-if AU if Morwen succeeded in getting a child from Imriel and what would happen. Very very cool to see what might have been - lots of callbacks to the books' real chronology but also a lot of inventiveness that makes the AU great.

--

Stats about my novel reading in 2014!

[brief rundown with mini-reviews of my favourite books this year]
I read 71 books this year1. First book: Weight of Stone, by Laura Gilman, 9/10, fantasy (Review). Last book: Emilie and the Hollow World, by Martha Wells, 7/10, fantasy. I would rec both, but I would only rec the first book of Weight of Stone's series (which is magic via wine/grapes); Gilman has serious plotting and tension issues and it is not a very satisfying resolution. The world itself is very cool.

In general my reading list, if you sort by author, is pretty clumpy. Quite a few authors I read 3 or more books from their catalogue. The most (n=5) was Sophie Kinsella. I'm swinging back to fantasy so a lot of stuff is in series. Main genres: fantasy, historical fiction, some sprinkling in of contemporary stuff and science fiction.

Outstanding books I read (that are not rereads): well, it'd probably be easier to make a list of stuff I didn't like, because I tend to DNF anything that doesn't catch my fancy. I don't ditch them exactly, I just put them down and forget to pick them up. That said:

Shades of Grey, Jasper Fforde, sf/f dystopia. Colour-dominated hierarchy of future British Isles, stellar all round. Except for the fact I fear that he will never get round to a sequel. (Review)

Lays of Marie de France: short pieces, some in prose and some in verse, of the twelve usually accepted as the work of Marie de France (c 14th century). Plenty of supernatural and interesting/sympathetic characters and a bit of insight into roles and perceptions in medieval French society. (Review-ish)

Queen's Thief, Megan Whalen Turner, fantasy? Set in vaguely Greek landscape about a thief pressed into stealing a precious stone, it's a series that's completely chock full of twists and I love it. (Reviews for: The Thief (read in 2013), The Queen of Attolia)

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, Howard Pyle, historical fiction. Fairly repetitive (if Robin Hood or his men end up fighting someone, 99% time the opponent will end up joining Robin's merry band), but lighthearted and fun and featured some truly hilarious English wording that has since shifted meaning or gone out of style. (Pyle lived in the latter half of the 19th century and into the 20th.)

Mistborn, Brandon Sanderson, fantasy. Notable because it was my huge summer book series. I read it every chance I got. I had a massive fit of BUT WHY at the third book, but the novels were magnetic. (Review)

The Dispossessed, Ursula Le Guin, science fiction. I loved her exploration of Anarres and its contrast with Urras. I'm still struggling to understand how a society of anarchists can survive. I can see anarchists surviving long term, I can see a community of anarchists surviving temporarily, but I am not quite convinced of it all together.

Blindsight, Peter Watts, science fiction. Alien first-contact novel. Very dense book packed with tons of interesting ideas. (Review)

Island of Ghosts, Gillian Bradshaw, historical fiction. The first few companies of Sarmatians are marched to Britain to serve as Roman soldiers on the Wall in the north. It's really just lovely. I reread it a lot. (Review)

Howl's Moving Castle, Diane Wynne Jones, fantasy. Why I did not pick up Jones earlier (despite having heard so much about her stuff) I don't know, and I deeply regret it. My life is so much better with this book. It is just wonderful.

1 I have an Excel spreadsheet that tracks this. I fill down for the numbers (A1 is the column heading "book"; A2 is a plain number 1; A3 is =A2+1 and I fill down). Sometimes I delete or add rows and apparently it messed up the numbering a lot; I noticed a mistake, which shrunk it down to 69, then re-filled down everything and instead of the 70 I thought I actually read 71.



Crosspost: http://silverflight8.dreamwidth.org/163248.html.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
cherrytide
Jan. 2nd, 2015 10:35 pm (UTC)
I haven't read any of these but you've made me want to check them out! The Lays of Marie de France sounds fascinating.

Happy new year!
silverflight8
Jan. 2nd, 2015 11:48 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I really liked her Lays! I also read Chretien de Troyes which is one of the other big French medieval works but his were much much longer (and the characters were not nearly as sympathetic!) so she goes on the list and not him.

Happy new year to you too!
sherrilina
Jan. 2nd, 2015 11:18 pm (UTC)
Damn girl, how do you have time to read so much?! O_o Lol you must not watch much TV and read really fast!

Reverse those digits and you'll have the number of books I finished this year...;) (Although another 3 I almost finished. And will count towards 2015).

Would you mind posting a list here? I'm curious...like which Sophie Konsella novels did you read? I used to like her stuff alright, but I'm really behind on the Shipaholic series...
silverflight8
Jan. 3rd, 2015 12:11 am (UTC)
Yeah, I don't watch any TV! :P A good chunk were re-reads too, so I could read a lot faster.

Any standout books you liked this year?

Here's the list. It's kinda ugly because I didn't want to mess too much with formatting but it should hopefully be readable. This list is slightly embarrassing >.> I read all the Shopaholic books except the newest one, the Hollywood one. I have it in epub, I just can't...quite make myself read it yet. IDK, I guess I'm afraid it might ruin my happy bubble about the books.
[Spoiler (click to open)]

Weight of Stone , Laura Anne Gilman
The Shattered Vine , Laura Anne Gilman
The Stranger I Married , Sylvia Day
Shades of Grey , Jasper Fforde
The Lays of Marie de France , Marie de France
Firethorn , Sarah Micklem
Arthurian Romances , Chrétien de Troyes
The Queen of Attolia , Megan Whalen Turner
The King of Attolia , Megan Whalen Turner
The Thief , Megan Whalen Turner
The Leopard Prince , Elizabeth Hoyt
The Serpent Prince , Elizabeth Hoyt
Hawksong , Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Skybreaker , Kenneth Oppel
Airborn , Kenneth Oppel
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood , Howard Pyle
Northanger Abbey , Jane Austen
The Eagle of the Ninth , Rosemary Sutcliff
The Sky is Falling , Kit Pearson
Looking at the Moon , Kit Pearson
The Final Empire , Brandon Sanderson
The Well of Ascension , Brandon Sanderson
The Hero of Ages , Brandon Sanderson
To Beguile a Beast , Elizabeth Hoyt
The Lights Go On Again , Kit Pearson
The Secrets of the Jedi , Jude Watson
Dragon Rider , Cornelia Funke
Snakecharm , Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Hawk of May , Gillian Bradshaw
The Crystal Cave , Mary Stewart
Take Two , Evangeline Anderson
Among Others , Jo Walton
Scandalous Desires , Elizabeth Hoyt
Once Upon a Winter's Eve , Tessa Dare
One Dance with a Duke , Tessa Dare
Any Duchess Will Do , Tessa Dare
Wildfire , Sarah Micklem
The Vogue Factor , Kirstie Clements
Sense and Sensibility , Jane Austen
Iron Man: Extremis , Marie Javins
The Elusive Wife , Callie Hutton
A Dangerous Beauty , Sophia Nash
The Pre-Raphaelite Language of Flowers ,
The Wicked Wallflower , Maya Rodale
The Disposessed , Ursula K LeGuin
Confessions of a Shopaholic , Sophie Kinsella
Shopaholic Takes Manhattan , Sophie Kinsella
Shopaholic Ties the Knot , Sophie Kinsella
Shopaholic and Sister , Sophie Kinsella
A Confusion of Princes , Garth Nix
Mini Shopaholic , Sophie Kinsella
A Lady's Secret , Jo Beverly
Three Weeks with Lady X , Eloisa James
The Rogue Pirate's Bride , Shana Galen
When You Give A Duke A Diamond , Shana Galen
True Spies , Shana Galen
Sapphires Are An Earl's Best Friend , Shana Galen
Blindsight , Peter Watts
Exploring Typography , Tova Rabinowitz
Silverwing , Kenneth Oppel
Anne of Green Gables , L M Montgomery
Anne of Avonlea , L M Montgomery
Anne of the Island , L M Montgomery
Malory Towers , Enid Blyton
Island of Ghosts , Gillian Bradshaw
From Russia With Love , Ian Fleming
Swordspoint , Ellen Kushner
Howl's Moving Castle , Diane Wynne Jones
Dirty Magic , Jaye Wells
Cursed Moon , Jaye Wells
Emilie & The Hollow World , Martha Wells
sherrilina
Jan. 3rd, 2015 02:45 am (UTC)
Ah you're missing out--so many great shows on TV these days! ;)

And okay then, lol, if you count RE-reads then yeah, I've read more than just 17 books! :p I just count new books finished...I usually don't reread covet to cover anyway. (Like with Kushiel's Justice who the hell wants to reread the never ending journey? ;)).

Standouts would be Gone Girl, and also finishing at last the Otherworld Series (originally called Women of the Otherworld) by Kelley Armstrong, which I've been reading for 10 years. I would really recommend if if you haven't read them and like a good urban fantasy series--great world building, interesting plots, and a focus on female characters. Before finishing the series I did a lot of rereading of the old books.

Oh the Shopaholic books, lol...the last one I finished was the sister one, and then I got halfway through the baby one, to be finished at some point. I fear they are beginning to get a bit tiresome though--idk how Luke can stand her and her spending habits, the fact that she can never seem to reform. I can't relate at all.
silverflight8
Jan. 3rd, 2015 03:45 am (UTC)
:) The last time I really watched and kept up with TV was when I was a kid - Treehouse was my favourite :P For some reason I just kind of stopped during school. The TV gathered dust in the basement and totally disused by the entire family, haha. I like reading your TV recaps though!

I don't count brief rereads, but I often re-read cover-to-cover (some of them were childhood books so I was curious to see if my memories were correct or if they held up. Mostly, they did.) I'm slowly rereading Blue Succubus at the moment actually.

Oh, I think I read one Kelley Armstrong and kinda bounced off them, but I'll look into Otherworld.

RE: Shopaholic. I agree, honestly. I like Becky but I think the structure of the books really holds Kinsella back; she can't really develop Becky because then the books wouldn't be about a shopaholic anymore...it's a problem.
littlerhymes
Jan. 3rd, 2015 04:08 am (UTC)
Spreadsheets are the best. :DDD

There's a lot on your list I need to get to! So many to-be-reads, sigh.

I love DWJ, Howl's Moving Castle was one of the first ones I ever read. Have you had a chance to read any more? She is so great!
silverflight8
Jan. 3rd, 2015 03:29 pm (UTC)
They are so useful!

I knowwwww. My to-read pile grows by the day and it's terrifying.

I haven't read her other ones yet! HMC has a couple sequels, right? I think I'll go after them next.
littlerhymes
Jan. 4th, 2015 01:28 am (UTC)
There's a couple of HMC sequels but I think they're pretty weak (by DWJ standards, which is still pretty good). But, anyway, there's so many DWJs for you to discover - sometimes I wish I could recapture that feeling of reading her for the first time. :)
silverflight8
Jan. 4th, 2015 09:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, OK! I've also heard about Chrestomeci (spelling???) which I definitely need to go after.

sometimes I wish I could recapture that feeling of reading her for the first time. :)
I definitely know what you mean! I wish sometimes I could read some of my favourites brand-new again, because they are amazing on reread but even more so the first time.
littlerhymes
Jan. 5th, 2015 11:55 am (UTC)
The Chrestomanci books are great! Uh, not that you asked, but if you did happen to be looking for good starting points for Chrestomanci and elsewhere: The Lives of Christopher Chant, Witch Week, and Archer's Goon are all brilliant.

A selective memory wipe would be so handy sometimes! Would also be good to erase inadvertent spoilers from incautious internet browsing. :)
silverflight8
Jan. 8th, 2015 03:02 am (UTC)
No, I'm glad you gave me the rec and for the advice on where to start! I never know where to start in the big famous book series. I was in the library today to drop off an overdue book (D:) and took a look around to see if there were any DWJ books, but it wasn't a Chrestomanci book so I left it for now. The local branch is very tiny, alas; I use it mostly to pick up holds and return books *cough*

Yes, selective brain bleach! Oh man. Though of course open to the possibility of someone bad getting hands on it...
littlerhymes
Jan. 8th, 2015 11:22 am (UTC)
Oops, I read over my comment and realised I was totally unclear - Christopher Chant and Witch Week are Chrestomanci books; but Archer's Goon is a stand-alone. ANYWAY they're my faves but most of them are relatively stand-alone.

I remember reading them as a kid, at my own not-that-great local library, so I read them in the most random order according to whatever was available. :)
silverflight8
Jan. 8th, 2015 11:37 pm (UTC)
*fixes note* No worries :)

so I read them in the most random order according to whatever was available. :)
Oh god me too. For other books I mean. I have started SO MANY series from book 2 or 4 or whatever because I picked up the book on the shelf and it just happened to be number whatever.

Hold systems at libraries are the best things ever.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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