Somehow, 2013 was not a brilliant year for reading, but there were a few good ones:
I read a few must-reads, and found them formulaic. Step forward:
and Rainbow Rowell for Eleanor and Park.
These two books actually made me realize that the teen-age-outsider-romance genre is offically over-mined. The books can be cute and readable. Most YA fiction is strong on plot and character, and goes down easily, but, like hamburgers compared to filet, often wolfed in a hurry; cheap, but even at the price still too many calories for the nourishment provided.
I read a book I expected to be formulaic, and actually copied a quotation to carry around in my device: Step up Anne Tyler for
Back When We Were Grown-ups.
I've written separately about my fabulous Tudor moment this summer, featuring, in part, Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel,
Namesake by Sue McLeod (in YA, from Pajama Press, a little starlet of Canadian publishing). All great books that make this list.
I did find two graphic efforts quite superior to almost anything I've ever read in the category:
Laika by Nick Abadzis, from 1st Second–possibly the best graphic publishing house on earth. Laika is a fictionalized, graphicized version of the Soviet space program sending Laika the dog into space. Real characters and timelines. Graphic images that brought an extra dimension to the story that words could not. Not exactly beautiful, but SENSATIONAL. I cried through most of the book. My kids cried through most of the book.
Over the past couple of years I have read a bunch, but a bunch, of laddish science fiction books. I think it is a kind of mini-genre. I found them funny at first, but they were so sophomoric, that despite a certain shock value–which is a quality I often go for–they became boring and many I could not be bothered to finish reading. I find my buddy Shelf Monkey has recommendations on LibraryThing for these books, one of which actually made it onto the list of best reads:
On the list of laddish also-rans that still might be worth considering we have:
I did abandon this book part way through. Love him so much I might get back to it.
Mark Leynor's Sugar Frosted Nutsack: A Novel. Just about unreadable.
David Wong's John Dies at the End
I did read it all. Apparently also coming as a major motion picture. Or something.
And that's it. The year that was.
The marigold does wonder nervously if all reading will become graphic at some point...?