Monday, December 30, 2013

Books Read in 2013

71 books read this year, including kids' books I read to-- or listened to with-- The Son, book club books, and graphic novels.

Juvenile Fiction

A Hero for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi
Roman Mysteries: Thieves of Ostia by Caroline Lawrence
Roman Mysteries: The Secrets of Vesuvius by Caroline Lawrence
Roman Mysteries: The Pirates of Pompeii by Caroline Lawrence
Roman Mysteries: Assassins of Rome by Caroline Lawrence
Alanna by Tamora Pierce
Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan
Roman Mysteries: The Dolphins of Laurentum by Caroline Lawrence
Roman Mysteries: The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina by Caroline Lawrence
The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan
Roman Mysteries: Enemies of Jupiter by Caroline Lawrence
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood
Pharaoh's Daughter by Julius Lester
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
Magic by the Lake by Edward Eager
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Unseen Guest by Maryrose Wood
100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson
The Time Garden by Edward Eager
The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
The Edge Chronicles: Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart
The Roman Mysteries: The Gladiators from Capua by Caroline Lawrence

Young Adult

Voices by Ursula K. LeGuin
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Coen and David Levithan
The Safe-Keeper’s Secret by Sharon Shinn
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
The Truth-Teller’s Tale by Sharon Shinn
Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier
Reached by Ally Condie
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Steverner
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
The Dream-Maker's Magic by Sharon Shinn
The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarity
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier

Adult Fiction

The Help by Kathryn Sockett
Second Glances by Jodi Picoult
Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card
Ilium by Dan Simmons
Timbuktu by Paul Auster
Brothers in Arms by Lois McMaster Bujold
Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill
The Merry Misogynist by Colin Cotterill
The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atikinson
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Love Songs From a Shallow Grave by Colin Cotterill
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan


The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Unearthing Atlantis by Charles Pellegrino
Lost at Sea by Jon Ronson
84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
At Home: a Brief History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
Setting Limits with your Strong-Willed Child by Robert J. Mackenzie

Graphic Novels

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
Blankets by Craig Thompson
Sin City, Vol. I: The Hard Goodbye by Frank Miller
The Good Neighbors: Kin by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh
The Good Neighbors: Kith by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh
Feynman by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick
The Vicar Woman by Emma Rendel
Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell

Hits and misses by category:


Hit: This is the toughest category to pick just one favorite, since I read so much outstanding children's fiction this year, including the Roman Mysteries series, the Kane Chronicles trilogy, the second book of the WondLa trilogy, the New Olympians series, and the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series. But if you held a gun to my head and forced me to pick just one "best" book, it would have to be The Golden Compass, a truly remarkable book that deserves to be considered a modern classic of children's literature.

Miss: I already blogged about my disappointment with Alanna, so I'm going with The Edge Chronicles: Beyond the Deepwoods. The worldbuilding was cool, but you're never given a reason to care about the protagonist beyond the fact that he's the protagonist and you're supposed to care about him. There was no plot, no story goal-- just this whiney little shit stumbling from one disaster to the next. And there was not one but TWO unrelated grotesquely obese female villains, which rubbed me the wrong way, AND one scene had perhaps the most offensive extended metaphor for menstruation (and female maturation in general) that I've ever heard. I was literally yelling at the CD player: "My GOD! Ten-year-old boys are going to read this stuff, you know!"

 Young Adult:

Hit: Sorcery and Cecelia. I didn't care for the sequel, but this first book was just an utter delight. Honorable mention to Voices, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and Fangirl.

Miss: Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, and Emerald Green. I have no idea why I read the whole trilogy. It was really dumb, and the protagonist got on my tits in a major way.


Hit: The Rook. It's like The Bourne Identity meets Men in Black, with a little James Bond and Hitchhiker's Guide thrown in for extra flavor. Oh, and a female protagonist. So, so good. Honorable mentions: Ilium, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

Miss: Timbuktu. Pretentious twaddle.


Hit: At Home. Brilliant.

Miss: I feel bad choosing The Last Lecture, so I'll just say I certainly didn't think it was bad or anything, but nor did I find it as full of wisdom as everyone else seems to.

Graphic Novel:

Hit: Gunnerkrigg Court. I wasn't sure whether to include this on my list at all, since I'm reading it online, but I think of it as a graphic novel and not "just" a comic. The art is gorgeous, the worldbuilding is full of Lost-worthy mysteries, and the story is complex and constantly evolving as the characters age and mature. Bonus points for many strong female characters who are all strong in different ways. More bonus points for fearlessly melding Science Fiction and Fantasy elements. Super-duper bonus points for creating a SF/Fantasy series about teenagers in an English boarding school that is in no way reminiscent of Harry Potter. It's right below Sandman as my favorite comic of all time, and that's pretty much the highest praise I can give it.

Miss: Sin City. I knew it was dark, but I didn't know it was THAT dark. It was just bleak and hopeless and crazy-mega-violent, and I felt like I needed some kind of ritual cleansing when I was done with it. It's not a bad graphic novel, but it still counts as a miss for me.

That's the year in review! Any questions, counter-arguments, "me too!"'s?

1 comment:

  1. All your hits thrill me! They have all been things that I love and have loved, many of which I read this year. Gunnerkrigg! The Rook! The Golden Compass! Sorcery & Cecelia! Four of my lifelong favorites! And I gave up on Ruby Red after book one--though if it hadn't taken me so long to get book 2 from the library, I probably would have followed through with it on inertia.

    My book twin!