That Year That Was 2014

Everyone is doing these fun lists on their blogs about their favorite books they read from the last year, which I really love because then I can add more books to my TBR pile!  Well, at least the pile in my head.  The virtual pile.

So I feel like I should have a list!  But I don’t exactly have one. Hmm, how about a list of Top Five Book-Related Thingees for 2014?

1. I got a Little Free Library for my birthday!  It’s not up yet, cuz we (ahem, my husband) had to build a stand and dig a hole, and just stuff.  So my daughter and I just picked out paint colors for it this last week.  Hopefully we will paint it soon, but it’s stinkin’ cold out so we might have to do it inside the house.  We’ll see how that works…

2. Along with a friend from my local library’s Friends group, I started a monthly Science Fiction Book Group for the library.  We have a small group, about 6 average, who come faithfully and a few more who trickle in depending on the subgenre of the book.  We’re limited in what we pick to read by what the library owns, since we need to have enough copies for everyone who wants to participate.  It’s a little tricky sometimes because our library system is geared toward more modern readers, so sometimes they only have a few copies of the classics.  Still, we’ve been able to come up with some good titles.  Here was our roster for our first year:

  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • Best of Connie Willis: Award-Winning Stories
  • The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Foundation by Isaac Asimov
  • The City & The City by China Mieville
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • Flashpoint by Nancy Kress
  • Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
  • Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  • The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

We did a mix of classics and new stuff, as you can see.  Our best discussions were probably with Oryx and Crake and Ender’s Game. I think my favorite was Ender’s Game, but I’m conflicted about it because I think Orson Scott Card’s personal politics stink. My other favorite was the Connie Willis story collection.  I liked her so much that I read Bellwether, which was a really funny take on fads, and Passage, which is a more serious investigation, but not at all fluffy, of life after death.

3. One of the readers who joined our Sci-Fi group got involved with the Friends group and then started another book group, this one for Graphic Novels and Comics, which has been wildly popular. We regularly have 15 people or more, and we have fabulous discussions.  People who come to that group seem to have very open minds!  Here’s the titles we read this year:

  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
  • Black Hole by Charles Burns
  • Watchmen by Alan Moore
  • Preacher by Garth Ennis
  • Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  • epileptic by David B
  • Habibi by Craig Thompson
  • A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi

I liked most of these at least somewhat, except for Preacher, but for that one we had one of our best discussions, so it was totally worth coming.  Hyperbole and a Half was the absolute laugh-out-loud funniest.

4. I finished writing another issue of my book review zine, Bookstore Thief.  A whopping 68 pages! It’s from all my notes I took on books I read in 2013.  I know, it takes me forever to catch up!

5. My mom can still see to read.  This is a big deal.  We always discuss books together and like some of the same mystery authors (our fave: Deborah Crombie), and just in the last couple months she’s had a scare with spots in her vision.  She couldn’t read at all for a few weeks, which had us all very sad and frightened. Right around Christmas she was able to see better and is reading again!  Hooray! (Okay, I know this is a totally personal list item, but let it make you appreciate taking for granted that you can see to read this.)