Well, I failed my Goodreads challenge this year. I aimed for 75 books, a little jump up from the 60 in 2013, and I only read just shy of 60. But, I don’t actually think I failed. I mean, yes, on actual book counts I fell short of what my goal was, and my #tbr is still utterly ridiculous (28 & counting…), but lets consider a couple of things. Firstly, I didn’t include most of the research books I read for my dissertation, and there were tons. Secondly, I think that maybe this year my reading habits just changed a bit. I’m still massively struggling to get through an entire novel, regardless of how much I’m loving it, and I’ve read a heap more short stories as a result. I’ve read so much more non-fiction than I usually do (John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead and Christopher Hitchens’ Love, Poverty,and War are standouts), and I’ve read SO MUCH short fiction online, and in litmags, and obviously that’snot on Goodreads. So I don’t think it’s a failure at all, and I think I need to stop being annoyed with myself for my novel-reading slump. Ha.
So, last year’s post was a roundup/review of all of the books I’d read throughout the year, but this year, I’m going to just sum up the best stuff I’ve read this year. Grab yourself a cup of tea and a biscuit.
I’ve read so much Angela Carter this year. I loved The Passion of New Eve so much that it became a third of my MSc dissertation, and then Dave bought me Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales for my birthday. I read The Bloody Chamber again after finding it in a charity shop, I read The Magic Toyshop in one day, in a cafe in the rain, I took Wise Children to Glastonbury with me for my ten hours each way on a bus, and I’m reading Nights at the Circus just now. Phew. Her writing is just amazing.
I reviewed Pulphead before, so I won’t again, but go and read it.
Michael Cunningham’s Flesh and Blood might be the best novel I read this year. It’s an incredible, sprawling epic and I absolutely loved it.
I couldn’t not mention Kirsty Logan’s The Rental Heart, either, because it’s fantastic.
Okay, still with me? These are my favourite online reads; short stories, longform writing, poetry, and litmags. Yay!!
Oxford American. Oh man. I’ve not read any of the new issue yet, but from the Fall 2014 issue, Sky Burial, by Alex Mar was an incredible read, and James Seay’s One Corner of Yoknapatawpha was Faulkner. Good stuff. Also, that cover image, Krista Steinke’s Insects is the background of my phone, because I think it’s beautiful.
The New Inquiry. Tons of stuff online, and from their magazine issues, which you can get a digital subscription to for $2 a month. I’m not even going to link to anything specific, because you should go and read it all.
Medium. I read tons and tons on Medium, She, on how Mulan is the best Disney “princess”, is great. The whole idea of Medium is that you can recommend articles, and bookmarks them, and curate them into collections of things you like, as well as publishing your own. You can sign in with Twitter and Facebook and it syncs up with your twitter & facebook friends for followers and recommendations. My little profile thing is here.
Okay, so I think that’s about it – that lot should keep you going over Christmas, at least 😉 So with all that in mind, I think that maybe 2014 has been a better reading year than I thought. Yay for all the books!!