Monday, December 30, 2013

Book Club 2013

For a while now I have been keeping track of all the books I have been reading throughout the year.  It started as just a personal interest thing in 2011 and now it's become a bit of a habit.  I like looking over the novels and remembering how I felt about each one and why I chose to read them.

  1. L. Taylor - Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  2. L. Taylor - Days of Blood and Starlight
  3. H. Oyeyemi - Mr. Fox
  4. G. Joyce - Some Kind of Fairy Tale
  5. L. Taylor - Lips Touch Three Times
  6. T.H. White - The Once and Future King
  7. S. Meyers - Twilight
  8. Woodkid - The Golden Age
  9. F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
  10. P.K. Dick - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  11. B.E. Ellis - Lunar Park
  12. C. Sagan - Contact
  13. N. Gaiman - The Ocean at the End of the Lane
  14. D. Mitchell - Cloud Atlas
  15. L. Livingston - Starling
  16. D. Bayles & T. Orland - Art and Fear
  17. B. McCay - Stargate: Rebellion
  18. B. McCay - Stargate: Retaliation

Looking over my list, this year was a real mixed bag of novels.  Some of the books I read I really disliked: H.Oyeyemi's "Mr. Fox" and T.H.White's "The Once and Future King" were particularly disappointing.  "Mr. Fox" is labelled as 'experimental fiction' which, as it turns out, I don't really like.  I thought that "The Once and Future King" would be a fun tale about King Arthur, but turns out it's a long depressing tale about Sir Lancelot.  It was a slog and the ending was terribly written.  I also re-read S.Meyers "Twilight" for the simple fact to see if I would like it better the second time around.  I didn't.

The stars this year were authors that I have loved for a little while.  I got the second part of L.Taylor's beautifully written series "Days of Blood and Starlight" and I just had to re-read the first part to refresh my memory and revel in its loveliness all over again.  After reading that I found a collection of short stories she did in "Lips Touch Three Times" and it was likewise beautiful.  N.Gaiman, whom Aaron and I have been collecting feverishly since we found out about "American Gods", doesn't disappoint with "The Ocean at the End of the Lane".  It was a little "American Gods" and a little "Coraline" pushed together.  I love the myth-making that Gaiman pulls off in all his stories. 

Some books were chosen directly because of things that were happening at the time.  Aaron pulled out "Blade Runner" one night and we downloaded "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" the next day.  Similarly, we both read "Cloud Atlas" after watching the DVD.  I was never forced to read "The Great Gatsby" in school and when the movie came out I thought I might be missing out on some great American literature, so I gave that a read as well.  C.Sagan's "Contact" was recommended to me by Aaron and sparked a book club reading with all of our friends taking part, so that was pretty cool.  I enjoyed all of these novels as source material, even if P.K.Dick's was a little difficult to get through just based on the sheer number of ideas that he included in his rather small text. 

The novel that has stayed with me the most has been Brett Easton Ellis's "Lunar Park".  Aaron also recommended this to me.  I had never read any of Easton Ellis's work before so this introduced me to a whole genre of writing that I have not experienced.  Further research into his collections made me realize that I didn't want to read Easton Ellis as his other works are all a bit horrifying.  This is the guy who wrote "American Psycho", after all.  However, "Lunar Park" was extremely touching and sad, and given that I didn't know anything about Easton Ellis before starting this novel, I fell for everything he said as truth.  Except for the ghost bits.  And maybe even that a little bit.

I didn't match or beat last year's 21 novels, but this has not been a normal year.  Looking towards 2014, I have the "Complete Collection of Sherlock Holmes" by A.C. Doyle on my Kobo to get ready for BBC's third season of "Sherlock" and am looking forward to "House of Leaves" by M.Z.Danielewski, another recommendation by Aaron.  If you want to read my other Book Club posts, here are 2012 and 2011.

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