Sunday, January 11, 2015

On the Mind: 2014 Year in Review

Seventy-seven posts in 2014, and probably half of those about books.  I read 34 altogether, which is actually a little over half the number I had last year.  Which is fine, I took about three months off and also read a lot less fluff than I normally do.

Here's's take on my year:

No surprise, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell was the longest book.  The least favorite book is also a no brainer.  Sorry, A Discovery of Witches, but you sucked.

My favorite book?  That's tougher.  Seven books earned five stars.  It might be a three-way tie between The God of Small Things, The English Patient, and The Shipping News.

My specific challenge for 2014 was to read 20 books that were short- or long-listed for the Man Booker Prize.  I came close, only missing out on two, and each from an author that I read another book from this year.  And I did manage to get in The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, which won the 2013 prize.

A recap:

2014 Man Booker Reading Challenge
19 books (20 if I can ever find my copy of The God of Small Things!)

  • Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
  • Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
  • number9dream by David Mitchell
  • On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
  • Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
  • The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
  • The Night's Watch by Sarah Waters
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
  • A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  • Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault
  • The Book of Evidence by John Banville
  • We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (ebook)
  • Get a Life by Nadine Gordimer
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susannah Clarke
  • Elizabeth Costello by J.M. Coetzee
  • Saturday by Ian McEwan
  • Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
  • The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard

Books took me across the world this year: India, Ireland, Zimbabwe, South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, England, Italy, and the ancient world.  Forward and backward through time, and through eyes I'd otherwise never get to see through.  This is why I read.

All that being said, I have something a little less specific in mind for my 2015 Challenge!

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