So my goal for 2013 was 190 books and comics, and I’ve surpassed that by… a lot.
There were a few duds this year (as always) and some truly stand out novels by new authors. Putting this list together, I noticed that I went through a lot of nostalgia this year and re-read some old
favourites. I also started quite a few series from 2012 so with new installments coming out in 2013 I had to re-read those as a refresher. But all in all, I’m really satisfied this year.
Currently reading, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman so that’ll make 2014 (:
My grand total: 241 books. (ha give or take)
2014 goal: 300
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith aka J.K Rowling
I’m just going to put this one first, not because I think it’s the best book of all time but based on the fact that the revelation that Robert Galbraith is in fact Rowling was one of the biggest news stories (in books that is) that happened this summer.
I admit to seeing this book chart when it was released, put it on a “Perhaps” list and promptly forgot about it until some lawyer twit told his wife and then she told everybody. (Apparently client confidentiality is not a thing.) I was obviously excited, (I’m pretty sure I will read anything about Rowling.)
I could totally understand why Rowling wanted to try writing another series under a pseudonym, I mean after Harry Potter, who wouldn’t? (She chose the name Robert after Robert F Kennedy and Galbraith after her childhood dream name of Ella Galbraith, she was tempted to actually be L.A Galbraith but ended up with Robert.)
Anyhow, her first novel away from the Potter franchise The Casual Vacancy received many mixed reviews. There were people that loved it, people that hated it and many people who still couldn’t distance her from Harry Potter. So it’s understandable why she wanted to step far away from her “writing persona as far away as possible”.
So, onto why I feel that Cuckoo’s Calling is a great book and a fab read.
I’m just going to say right off: If I didn’t know that J.K wrote it, I still would have enjoyed this book enormously.
The main character is Cormoran Strike who’s a private detective with a prosthetic leg, courtesy of stepping on a landmine in Afghanistan. When we meet him he’s the quintessential P.I. He’s just got out of a really messy break up with a gorgeous woman who he was in love with, he’s got debt collectors calling every night and day and he’s living in his office.
He recently hired an assistant named Robin whom he met in a rather unfortunate (and painful) encounter and it’s delightful how she blossoms along the story, from being a mere secretary to actually helping Cormoran on his case… it’s great!
The case: John Bristow does not believe that his supermodel sister, Lula Landry committed suicide.
The best way I can describe reading this novel and meeting all of the characters is that you’re in one of those mazes full of funhouse mirrors and just when you think you’ve spotted a way out, it turns out it’s nothing but a mirage. Or just when you think you’ve got it figured something else distracts you.
I think by this book I definitely came to understand Rowling’s “style” (if you will.) She has this tendency to reveal a bit of a bunch of different things and it’s not until it’s near the end when she pulls it all together leaving you gasping and going, “WHAT?! BUT WAIT, WHAT?! WHAT?! WHAT?!”
The second book in the Cormoran Strike series has already been written and will be published in 2014.
F in Exams by Richard Benson
Actually made me laugh out loud. Some of the answers are so cheeky, I love it!
ames Potter and the Vault of Destinies by G. Norman Lippert
I was almost finished this book when I made my 2012 list, and I finished it in the first week of January, but I also re-read it again when the latest James Potter book was released.
I Miss Mummy by Cathy Glass
It was very repetitive and a little bit sad. It delved right in, no intro or anything. It’s one of those books that always feature a picture of a child and they’re always in a group of other books about abused children. They’re mostly by the same author… I guess she takes in a lot of foster children and then writes books about them.
Jack the Ripper by Mark Whitehead
It was an alright book… really scattered.
Twelve Days of Fast Fiction by Lee Barnett
A very amusing and twisted take on Christmas. Lee’s friends give him a word and he then spins a story from it. I really enjoyed it, it made me laugh so much.
Naughty Teachers Yearbook 2010 by Virginia Artemief
Never realized how many female predators there are in in the teaching profession… But my thing with this book (and I’m assuming series) is that it kind of glamorizes it in a way. Making it out to be cheeky when it’s really gross and shouldn’t be for an illicit giggle.
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
An ethereal novel… I can’t explain it, it just left me with this immensely satisfied, peaceful feeling. It was a beautiful story, I highly recommend it.
Georgia Nicholson series 1-10 by Louise Rennison
Laugh a minute! I love, love, love this series and especially Georgia!!! I still have the most massive crush on Dave the Laugh.
SEX by Madonna
Really gorgeous book. She embodies all these little characters to kind of make a story but the photographs were really beautiful.
Made Men by Greg B. Smith
A boring, non-linear story about the rise and fall of a New Jersey mob family–the Decavalcantes. It was a struggle to finish this story because it was so BORING and it jumped around so much.
L.A. Noir by John Buntin
Immensely interesting. It chronicles the early L.A.’s crime life. John Buntin focused mainly on two people that shaped gangland L.A.– Chief William Parker and the mobster Mickey Cohen. In the beginning it did seem like he was trying to play Parker and Cohen off of each other but it actually reads two separate stories about L.A. One chronicling the formation of the LAPD and the other it’s mob activity. Along the way it explores some major moments in L.A. crime lore like Bloody Christmas and when Khrushchev missed his trip to Disneyland.
If you’ve ever watched or read L.A. Confidential a lot of it will seem really familiar already. I didn’t realize a lot of those events were true until I read Buntin’s book.
Phantom by Susan Kay
I LOVE THIS BOOK OH MY GOD. It chronicles the backstory of the Phantom (of the Opera). It really fleshed out his past that was mentioned very briefly in the original story. I personally adored this book even though some argue that it’s “not canon”. But it was a great story!
The Naughty Bits: The Steamiest and Most Scandalous Sex Scenes From the World’s Great Books by Jack Murnighan
Loved, loved, loved this anthology! Jack analyzes sex scenes from a bunch of different sources. From Shakespeare, to Monica Lewinsky’s deposition and really brings them to life in a very beautiful way. It’s not raunchy at all. It really shaped the way I view erotica now. There’s always a little wistfulness and involved and I highly recommend this book to everyone. I mean he made the Monica Lewinsky bit sound incredibly romantic.
N or M? by Agatha Christie
This was my first Agatha Christie novel and I did not enjoy it. Probably because I don’t like cozies as a genre.
Janie Face to Face by Carolyn B. Cooney
The conclusion to the Janie series. Janie marries Reeve, ugh. Everything became way too rushed near the end. I also felt the character of Hannah did a complete 180. How she was describe in the earlier books was not how she was by the end.
The Old Man and Me by Elaine Dundy
Okay, so I somehow got it into my head that all of Elaine’s novels were autobiographical so I got really confused when she fully admitted her plan to murder this man. I was like “… uh… this doesn’t seem smart…”
The novel of the language reminds me of a Hepburn film. It kind of reads like a movie from that time.
Archie and Friends vol. 17, 61, 57, 113, 70, 67, 66, 65, 64, 63, 62, 61
Always trying to make a dent into my Archie comics collection. Still the same good, clean fun as always.
V for Vendetta 1-10 by Alan Moore
So good! Alan Moore is an amazing story teller.
Psycho by Robert Block
Not as scary as everyone said it was going to be. It was a short, quick read. I would love to have seen more split personalities. But maybe I’m just desensitized.
Harry Potter 1-7 by J.K. Rowling
Always a Spring/Summer tradition. Fun memory: When I was reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on the subway the girl across from me was reading The Casual Vacancy and at one point we both looked at each other and smiled.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Like Psycho, not as scary as everyone told me it would be. A strange, short tale that I enjoyed in it’s way.
Dirty Laundry by Heidi Cullinan
I downloaded this book because the cover made me giggle. Sappiest slash love story ever. I’ve never read an easier or a healthier relationship. It was just so funny.
The Elite by Kiera Cass
The second book in the Selection series. It’s officially sunk to annoying YA drivel. I just couldn’t with this girl.
F for Effort by Richard Benson
Equally as funny as F in Exams.
The Racketeer by John Grisham
Enjoyed it despite the abrupt ending. I thought I had it figured out until Grisham threw in a twist.
Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie
Really, really enjoyed this one. After N or M? I had my reservations but this was so good! I kept guessing until the end (I was wrong) and it was just a really lovely written book.
xkcd vol. 0 by Randall Munroe
The math jokes kind of threw me for a bit but the rest of these comics were equally sweet and clever.
Average American Male by Chad Kultgen
Really abrasive, shocking, sad and angry but I love it. I guess it kind of falls in a “lad book” genre but I think that’s doing a disservice to it. I can’t really call it an “angry, young man” book… because he’s not really angry… more apathetic. This novel confirmed all my worst fears about men but it also made me feel really sad for them lol.
Average American Marriage by Chad Kultgen
Still evokes the same feelings as Average American Male, and still as good! Like the first there’s still some times when I really, really feel for this character and that is a surprisingly good feeling. I almost want him to succeed in whatever whim comes to mind.
Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie
Very perplexing mystery with so many twists and turns! The only thing I didn’t like was the ending of a romantic couple, but that’s just me ha.
Vain by Fisher Amelie
The writing in this book is so annoying. The plot and overall story was completely predictable and unoriginal. The synopsis sounded a lot more exciting than the story itself. All it really made me want to do was travel to Africa.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Okay, so I have been avoiding this book for ages because it terrifies me. So I finally faced my fears and I love this book. I loved the ending. Even though it was mainly social commentary it made me even more afraid of pigs.
Grimm Diaries Prequels 1-15 by Cameron Jace
The premise sounded really interesting and imaginative… unfortunately the writing and character development was awful. I could barely get through these very short books without wanting to pull my hair out repeatedly.
Admittedly as he continued on in the prequels the writing cleaned up considerably but it still needs massive amounts of work.
Snow White Sorrow by Cameron Jace
The first full length in his series. I have to say this for Jace: he is open to input and works on improving all the time. That being said this first novel was filled with repetition and one dimensional characters that all blur into each other because they all sound the same and act the same. His characters could be more fleshed out and developed more. He needs to trust the reader and not spoon-feed them everything.
He also relies way too heavily on metaphors.
Waiting To Be Heard by Amanda Knox
The way the Amanda Knox case was (and is) being handled was just a big mess. It literally makes me go, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” Every five seconds whenever I read some article about it. Waiting to be Heard is the novel Amanda Knox wrote when she was acquitted from the murder of her roommate. It details her side of the story and what she was going through during the case.
Angel Face by Barbie Latza Nadeau
I was going “ugh” throughout this whole book. Nadeau was one of the many reporters assigned to stay close to the Amanda Knox case and her whole “book” read like a whiny blog post in which she takes jabs at her haters. All the prosecutors were “sexy” while any Amanda defendants were “not”. There was barely any factual reporting, just glorified opinions written like a 50s tabloid. In one tiny chapter she tries to explain the crime and if you cut out all of her adjectives you’d end up with less than a sentence.
Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume
Delightful. Judy Blume writes coming of age stories so well.
1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham
The graphic novel prequel to Willingham’s Fables series and it’s an incredibly beautifully illustrated and amazing story.
Fables vol. 1-58 by Bill Willingham
I started this comic series this year and I am in love, love, love, love with it!!! It’s a very modern and sexy take on classic fairy tales and literary characters. I highly recommend this to everyone to read. You will look at Prince Charming a different way and Snow White is so kick ass… same with the Big Bad Wolf (aka Bigby). It makes my hand flail all the time.
Little Altars Everywhere, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Ya-yas in Bloom by Rebecca Wells
A re-read during the summer and still as delightful as ever. One of my favourite series ever.
Tampa by Alice Nutting
Celeste is one of the most pathological and psychotic characters I’ve ever encountered. I’d rank her up there with Patrick Bateman. Celeste is a pedophile with a penchant for 14 year old boys. She makes absolutely no excuses for her behaviour and she walks you through her process of finding the “perfect” target.
It’s an uncomfortable read, mainly because of the tone she uses which is so matter of fact and cold. Nutting wrote this book after reading some comments on articles about female teacher pedophiles that always said, “What a lucky kid!” or made the teacher out to be some Mrs. Robinson. In taking us through Celeste’s process she’s basically asking those people, “Do you think that child is lucky now?”
The Baby-Sitters Club #2-12 by Ann M. Martin
Hee… feeling nostalgic. Until Koobob died and everyone in the world knew I was reading Kristy and the Snobs.
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath by Sylvia Plath
Lovely and incredibly inspirational for me. The way she writes in her journal is just magical… it definitely has opened my eyes and even inspired my journal writing.
A Lover’s Discourse by Roland Barthes
Very interesting work. Breaking down the way we communicate love, the how, when and the why. The most interesting chapter for me was the “I love you” chapter.
Kiss and Tell by Alain de Botton
de Botton is one of my favourite writers. This is not a love story as I originally thought. It really opened my eyes about perspective and how much things shape our lives and our personalities.
The Best of Everything by Rona Jafe
Lovely novel filled with such disappointments that made the lovely parts even more poignant. I love novels from this era. It was such a great book for working women when it came out. It really resonated with them and it’s still amazing to this day.
The Romantic Movement by Alain de Botton
I’ve rarely related to a character as much as Alice to the point where it was almost a little bit uncomfortable ha. I really liked how he broke down Alice and Eric’s relationship step by step and analyzed it. One of my favourite novels this year.
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning
I devoured it. It was a nice, light novel that left me contented.
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
The timing and prose of this novel was at times choppy and sloppy. I enjoyed the growth of Zelda’s character towards the end but all in all, it was an alright book. It was not particularly seamless.
11/22/63 by Stephen King
Amazing. It really made me think of time itself. I loved how it connected with his other novels at the same time. Especially Derry ‘58. When I read the date and the fact that Jake was in Derry I was thinking, “IS IT… IT?! IS IT?! IS IT?! IT IS OMGGGG” Classic Stephen King it was too amazing. Sadie and Jake’s love was epic!!!
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
My first Hemingway book. His blunt prose made it very laborious for me to read. But I’m still excited to read his other stuff.
James Potter #1-4 by G. Norman Lippert
So I had to re-read James Potter 1-3 when the Morrigan Web was finally released because so much had happened that I couldn’t piece everything together right away. Needless to say I loved the Morrigan Web. It was exciting and had a lot of twists. The only thing I disliked was that with every new James Potter book Lippert releases, the longer it is and the more times he uses “grouse” and “rasps”.
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
A bit confusing to get into, but it’s full of great quips and fabulous characters.
More Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
So many bombshells and a clever ending as always. The charm of 28 Barbary Lane is beginning to rub off on me.
PUSH by Sapphire
Finally got around to reading this and I loved it. The formatting was brilliant as was the open ending.
The Poems of Tennyson by Lord Alfred Tennyson
Tennyson is one of my favourite poets and I finally got a book of his poems and read them all. They’re so fantastical and remind me of a lute.
Further Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
Another delightful romp with all of my favourite people. I’m so glad that it ended so happily.
Babycakes by Armistead Maupin
I CAN’T BELIEVE (INSERT CHARACTER NAME HERE) DIED!!!!!!!! JFC. FTofC ended so happily!!! I really started to dislike Mary-Ann here. I almost didn’t want to continue on because I knew that she would hurt Brian.
Significant Others by Armistead Maupin
Ugh, Mary-Ann’s the worst!!! I was actually terrified for Brian for a long time there. In reading this I’m beginning to see the way Maupin uses Mary-Ann. It was very much a breakthrough for working women in her time. These are the choices she’s making and a lot of people are going to hate her for it because it’s ultimately what’s going to make her happier.
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot
As imaginative and amusing as the musical. I could finally read what sometimes gets garbled up in the singing.
Sure of You by Armistead Maupin
UGHHHHH MARY-ANN!!!!!! I actually disliked her personality a lot in this novel. It was still so good but just KSJDFKLDJ MARY-ANN.
Michael Tolliver Lives by Armistead Maupin
I was a little bit disappointed that MTL wasn’t in the format the other books in the series were because I kind of wanted to go more in depth to check in with the other characters. It was also kind of jarring to see them come into the modern age when I got so use to them living in the 80s, 90s.
Mary Ann in Autumn by Armistead Maupin
Jesus what a twist! Armistead always has the greatest twists. This kind of “redeemed” Mary Ann for me but I still dislike her and that’s okay.
Cage of Love by V.C. Andrews
“The secret of happiness was in finding a way not to trap yourself.” Could have been a creepy story. It kind of veered there for a bit but hey, this is an Andrews story. But it kind of spoke to me near the end. Of freedom being good but it’s also great to have a place to come back to.
Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
Mildly humorous book about parenting five kids. Slightly heartwarming.
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores & More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell
Hilarious! I can’t believe these things actually happened! God there are a lot of stupid people in the world. There are also so many little book stores that I want to go to now!!
Edge by Koji Suzuki
Hands down the most amazing novel I’ve read this year! The epilogue tie-in was shocking and just how everything connected and fit at the end was mind blowing. It made me look at math and physics in a whole new light. Ugh, I can’t get over how great this novel was.
Factotum by Charles Bukowski
You wouldn’t think it would flow this easy but it does. Henry is pitiful but I can’t help but admire his ease at accepting whatever comes.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Still as great as when I read it all those years ago.
Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
The second book in the Giver quartet. Lame ending until you get to The Messenger. This book was kind of like the gateway book to set it up for other things to come.
The Messenger by Lois Lowry
Much better than Gathering Blue. I think the timeline for the quartet is that Gathering Blue and The Giver are kind of operating at the same time… with GB starting a little bit after Giver. The Messenger kind of brings it all together and sets it up for the last book.
Son by Lois Lowry
Good ending. I like how it all came about. I had my doubts about this but this was really well done.
Halloween Party by Agatha Christie
So full of twists and turns. I always feel Christie’s novels begin and work in a roundabout way but it ends up so amazing. Near the end you flip your opinions and theories so quickly.
I Am an Executioner: Love Stories by Rajesh Parameswaran
Very fantastical short story collection. Also very dark for “love stories”. My favourite was the story of the elephant.
Jack the Ripper: The Hand of a Woman by John Morris
Repetitious. Tries to cram the truth down your throat while pretending not to. He seems to enjoy smearing another author’s theory and he tries way too hard be sensationalist, yet reasonable. I figured he was gunning for Lizzie in the early chapters and had to slog through a bunch more repetitions before getting to the “how” and “why”.
The theory that Jack the Ripper was a woman is pretty credible, I just feel that this book may have been better as an article.
Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket
Classic Snicket. Very funny and engrossing. It’s a prequel of sorts to A Series of Unfortunate Events. I loved Pip and Squeak who accepted book recommendations as tips for their taxi service. While reading this I wonder if Sebald code is in effect.
When Did You See Her Last? by Lemony Snicket
I’m still not getting how this all ties in with ASoU later on but it’s still a great read. I’m about 95% sure that Sebald code is in effect.
Katherine by Anya Seton
Really romantic love story. Although some parts made me go “ugh” because Katherine was so whiny. This is one of the clear cases in history where the mistress ends up the wife lol. It’s a true story to boot! Strangely, the spiritual parts dealing with God was what spoke to me the most.
Love and Misadventure by Lang Leav
I adore Lang’s poetry and her collection does not disappoint!
L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy
I love a good neo-noir novel and no one does that better than Ellroy. I loved the movie and I understand why they scaled down all the convoluted turns but god damn it’s amazing. After watching the movie I thought I knew where the book was going but it’s the best mystery ever.
The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl
Classic Dahl. A little absurdity wrapped around a great message.
The Adventures of Giuseppe Bergman 1-5
The Art of Spanking
Piranese the Prison Planet
Diary of Sandra F
by Milo Manara
Beautiful artwork and clever sexy stories as always.
The Mile High Club ed. Rachel Kramer Bussel
Funny, amusing, sad and sexy stories of planes 😉
Bedding Down ed. Rachel Kramer Bussel
Meh didn’t enjoy this one as much as the others. There’s so much saccharine in this collection.
Suite Encounters ed. Rachel Kramer Bussel
Fantastical and funny stories of hotels 😉
The Godfather by Mario Puzo
My friend Janet is currently reading it and after having some discussions about it and her sending me her reactions, it really made me want to re-read it again.
The Godfather is one of those classic books that rally take you on a journey and really leaves you going, “Now what?” when you’re done reading it. It’s action packed and wonderfully executed and it’s not simply a tale about the mafia and getting revenge, it’s also a really great tale about family and what we do for our families.
I know some people try to criticize it by going “Oh it’s not cleverly hidden that Michael is going to be the new Don.” But that’s not the point. Yeah you already know it, but it’s his journey to become the Don. How that happens, why that happens and how he proves himself.
Naive. Super by Erland Loe
This is a quietly powerful novel. It’s short, simple and doesn’t really use any of the classic tropes that help a character “find himself”.
I felt like this was a good novel to end the year with (ha literally finished it at 1AM today) I really related to the character who is this 25 year old man and every time he tries to think about time or even start he feels completely overwhelmed with life.
I… can’t even explain it? I came away from it feeling really satisfied and by the end of the book he was really satisfied. And you think that he’s going to meet this spunky 5 year old that will change his life, NOPE. He just babysits him and they have fun. Then you think he meets this girl and she’s going to be that manic pixie dream girl but they only went on two dates and he’s just happy something’s starting and you barely see her. You don’t even know if they last. He goes to New York to bond with his brother and you think there’s going to be some family tragedy to bond them together but nope they just hang out and it’s nice.
It’s just the little, simple, easy things that slowly pull him back.