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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Best of 2014

This year was the opposite in reading to last year! I am looking over my entries in LibraryThing, and thinking "Oh! I have to mention this flight!" and  "Oh, that was a stand-out!" and "Wow! Still following this trail!" (Well, one of my friends said that is just me living my life: following things up and tracking them down. and Yeah! I like it! I love it!)

So, in just one weekend I read the best three books of the year:
Word Exchange, by Alena Graedon
More than this by Patrick Ness
Mermaid in Chelsea Creek by Michelle Tea

My other huge adventure of reading, and I can't believe it's not front page news everywhere, is Shakespeare's Beehive, a $75 hardcover but a $10 EBOOK! And the dictionary itself is available FREE online. With a great Canadian connection - sold on eBay by an (anonymous) Canadian book dealer, known to a book expert of my acquaintance, no less.

And by coincidence–no serendipity–I also bought The Dictionary of Indo-European Roots. The beauty of reading them together is that both are indexed to English words. Every entry is an informative wide-ranging humorous essay. OMG. I bought it in E, than had to buy it on paper, too, all the better to rummage in, my dear.

And science fiction about time travel being defined by verb tenses! How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe: A Novel by Charles Wu. Woo!

And a book called Nom de Plume by Carmela Ciuraru, which turned out to be a fascinating reading list itself, (not to mention movie watch list) and I actually found out I owned an unread Georges Simenon book, from his Inspector Maigret series, which I dug out and read for fun.

Had a bit of a crime wave:

Started with The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America's Coldest Cases by Deborah Halber, which got me fishing out of my pile
The Invention of Murder, Judith Flanders leading to the Victorian Scottish policeman James McLevy's memoir McLevy: The Edinburgh Detective and mystery fiction based on him: Shadow of the Serpent by David Ashton
and I always refer back to my hero Bill James and his book Popular Crime when I read other books that touch

New library assistant at the school library whose own passion is graphic works, (a MLIS with an undergrad in Fine Art, no less!) and following his suggestions has been a really great path: Brian Lee O'Malley, (author of Scott Pilgrim which is an amazing and favourite movie, but a little long and boring as a series of books) special shout-out for his Seconds, which was amazing: and the sweet and reliable Faith Larsen (his one-time partner); and Lucy Knisely did another memoir which I really liked: An Age of License.

And I received an adorable YR (Young Reader) book thru the LibraryThing Early Review Program: Rhyme schemer, by K A Holt. With a little schemer of a narrator who narrates in poetry, but poetry - not really rhyme or doggerel.

Read two Kate Atkinsons Life After Life first and OMG I loved it! Then Started Early, Took My Dog, from her series about the investigator Jackson Brodie, and I will continue reading everything I can get my hands on by her. And I read The Goldfinch, which I adored. A Brown graduate, like Graedon. They really produce interesting authors there.

Which reminds me that I bought a few books on a trip to Boston. (Oh wait, about, well, 20 or so.) Thoreau and Hawthorne in situ and a bunch about Isabella Stewart Gardner and the museum and her artists, but also Matthew Pearl's book about MIT (which was a block from our hotel) and the usual interesting historical thriller.

And I took out of my to-read pile (currently 438 or so books) a book for a trip that I thought would be disposable if I lost it, by a writer much loved by an Italian friend of mine, and it turned out to be FANTASTIC: Paul Auster's In the Country of Last Things - dystopian and heart-breaking and so tender! And Auster also wrote and directed a movie I loved–Smoke– and wrote and directed other movies and wrote other books and series. Clearly more work to be done here.

I read Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence with one kid for school (never read it before) and I'm looking forward to watching the movie over the holidays. I read the F Scott Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby,  (PS The Good Gatsby...The Large Gatsby...see also SH*T Rough Drafts by Paul Laudiero) for the first time, with the other kid, which she wanted to do after seeing the Robert Redford movie, which we quite liked for its much reviled quality of being too like the book and too slow for a movie.

A wonderful book about how to find the unexpected in reading, The Shelf: From LEQ to LES: Adventures in Extreme Reading by Phyllis Rose. Her effort was to get away from the sense of having her reading list mediated by awards committees and important reading lists and courses and received wisdom and even best seller lists, and she settled on reading thru a complete library shelf. How random! How fun randomness can be, if you can access it.

And I had a whole moment about Joseph Boyden's The Orenda, more about the moment than the book. Read it here.

So, what is that, 25 books?? Fully half of the books I actually recorded for this year.