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text 2017-12-23 09:22
2017: My Reading Year in Review

I’ve been reading a ton of fiction in 2017, which has been so good for the soul and also gave me the little kick I needed to start writing some fiction of my own once again. 2017 neatly encapsulates why I believe we need critics. And never more so than now when any Indie Author can epublish any old book he or she's written. Paradoxically, given all the web-shouting about evil traditional publishers who wilfully smother the voices of debut authors, self-publishing has made good new authors harder to find. The wheat:chaff ratio is now fantastically asymmetric. I've read enough to already have a to-be-read list that I will never get through in my lifetime. I have neither the time nor a pair of rubber gloves strong enough to sift through the all the world's self-epublished rubbish to find a pearl that fell into the bin. So if I am to hear about fine debut voices and books, I need well-read critics (praise be some of my fellow Booklikes critics) to do some work for me.


If you're into this sort of thing, read on.

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text 2015-12-31 22:03
2015 Year in Reading Review

According to Goodreads, I read a total of 398 books this year (my goal was 390).  A portion of those were short or graphic novels.  I knocked 163 books off by TBR mountain (and have no idea how many took those places), and I was aiming for 150.  I also completed the Popsugar and A to Z reading Challenges.   I added three books to my ick-attack shelf.  I DNF 18 books.


Without further ado, the highlights (and some lowlights) –


Award to the Book that would win many things on this list - Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  If you live in America and have not read this book, read it.  Seriously.  It is one of those hyped books that really are worth it.


Favorite New Author Discovered This Year -  This one is a tie between Dreda Say Mitchell, whose fictional book Hit Girls, I loved and Fatema Mernissi whose non-fiction I discovered this year (and whose work I have since read more of than Mitchell’s).  Of course, then  Mernissi died this year because apparently that’s what happens when I “discover” older writers.


Favorite New Series Discovered This YearLove the graphic novel series.  Each volume focuses on a different animal.  The first one was a tiger, the second was a fox.  The illustrations are stunning and there is no dialogue.  It is absolutely wonderful.  Seriously, read this series.


Book that Made Me Think – Besides Coates’ book mentioned at the beginning of this list, Headscarves and Hymens.  Be warned, though, Elthaway’s book will turn you on to a host of other writers, like Mernissi.


Book that Made Me Mad and Want to Murder the Author - False Rape Claims.  Not only does the author name his penis Pokey, and not only does he seem to want us to take him seriously, he also writes like this

                                "If the 'male gaze' is too strong for her then where is her strong women image; beaten by our gazes? Our glances do they crucify you. Then die on the cross for us our gentler living dildo is no-able; hers cannot say yes or no. her mechanical love is tiresome. Try the real thing. You then too have proven empathy, without it none. Pornographic rape is the mind of the dally dildo."


And no, I am not going to name him because that would give him too much notice.


Book that Made Me Mad and Want to Murder PeopleLiberty and Sexuality tied with May You Be the Mother of a Hundred Sons


Book that Made Me Mad and Want to Kill the People Who Put it on the Bestseller List -   it is any of the paranormal romance books I read with were bear stepbrothers who may be brothers and where the author does not even use spell-check.


Book Readers Should ReadThe Mysterious Disappearance of the Reluctant Book Fairy  tied with What We See When We Read


Book I’m Glad I Stuck with – the Brutal Telling


First Novel Award – So I didn’t read a first novel that was published this year – so first novel award goes to a first novel that I read for the first time this year but published earlier.  Sanaaq – a novel about Inuit.


Best Entry in a Series  (Fiction)The Bull of Min  by L.M. Ironside (She-King series).


Best Entry in a Series (Non-Fiction)Women Heroes of WW I


Worst Entry in a Series-  British Legends: George III tied with Pumped by the Pterodactyl.


Best Book Published 2015 (Non-Fiction) – Coates’s Between the World and Me.  Though a close second is Ravensbruck by Sarah Helm.


Best Book Published in 2015 (Fiction) Unpredictable Worlds – Stories  by Jessica Knauss


Best Book Re-released as Kindle Version this Year – The Geometry of Love.  Open Road Media released this for Kindle this year.  It is stunning.


So That’s How You Got Published Award – The Lost Painting


The Poor TressFeminist Fairy Tales


Graphic Novel of the Year – If you are tired of me raving about Love then check out Rat Queens.


Everyone Loved it but MeHouse of Special Purpose tied with Grave Mercy


Best YA book Read this Year – The Green Knight  by Vera Chapman


Best Children’s Book Read this YearArtmouse


Best Children’s Fairy Tale BookFinn Family Moomintroll  (a re-read)


 Teacher’s AwardGhettoside.  A hard looking book at murder in LA.  My students loved it.


English Teacher’s Award – Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog


Reporting Book of the Year – Dancing with the Devil in the City of God tied with One of Us


Most Disappointing Book Read This YearDear Zari


Best Audio BookFrench Revolutions.  The audio of one man’s quest to ride the Tour De France will make you laugh milk up your nose.  I know this.


OMG This was better than I thoughtMounted by a Monster: Werepuffer.  Seriously, you think it would suck.


OMG That’s A TitleTaken by the Gay Tank by Randy Dangle


Best Travel Book – Samarkand by Colin Thubord


There’s A Book About That?The World of Poo


Art BookBooks without Words the Visual Poetry of Elisabetta Gut


Collection of EssaysKilling Rage


Still as Good as when I first read itDuncton Chronicles tied with Handmaid’s Tale


Animal Book (Fiction)House of Tribes


Animal Book (Non-fiction) The Great Horned Owl


People Don’t Like This, Surely you are joking -  Causal Vacancy


Fantasy of the YearTwo Serpents Rise


Mystery of the Year – Rhode Island Red


I’m Not Sure What This Is But It is GoodNunslinger


Short Story CollectionVictorian Fairy Tales


Not Another Book about ____ , OMG That was GoodDead Wake 


Book about ShakespeareThe Millionaire and the Bard


Audio DramaThe Starling Project


Poetry – Conference of the Birds tied with Manifestation Wolverine


Souvenir Book – Peacock Room Comes to America


Fairy Tales – Norway Home of the Trolls


You Demented Writer you – Crimson Frost  by Jim C. Hines tied with Deck the Halls  by Edward Lorn


Wow, I Did Not Know ThatIvory Vikings tied with Harlots, Hussies, and Poor Women


LGBT - Shirewode









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text 2015-12-27 16:13
Reading Year in Review Part 3 - A to Z Challenge

A - America's Most Haunted

B - Bull of Min

C - City of God

D - Do Penance or Perish

E - Eva's Eye

F - Footsteps in the Sky

G - Great Shakespearean Actors

H - How to Fail in Literature

I - Iron King

J - James the Connoisseur Cat

K - Kindertransport

L - Loneliness of the Long Distance Time Traveler

M - Man Killed on Christmas Day

N - Night Horses

O - Orc Warfare

P - Paris 1919

Q - Song of the Quarkbeast

R - Rochefort Family

S - So Anyway

T - Thick of It - Missing Dosac Files

U - Unbound

V - Victorian Fairy Tales

W - World of Odysseus

 x  -   Experience of Modern Sculpture

Y - Dobyrd

Z - Short Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan


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text 2015-12-27 16:05
Reading Year in Review Part 2 - Popsugar Challenge - Completed

A Book with More Than 500 pages

                The Tale of Heike

A Classic Romance

                Three Arthurian Romances: Poems from Medieval France

A Book that Became a Movie

                Rose Water

A Book Published This Year

                The Rocheford Family

A Book with a Number in the Title

                Women Heroes of WW I

A Book Written by Someone under 30

                Night Horses

A Book With nonhuman Characters

                James the Connoisseur Cat

A Funny Book

                So Anyway

A Book by a Female Author

                Eva’s Eye

A Mystery or Thriller

                Rhode Island Red

A Book with a one Word Title



A Book of Short Stories

                Victorian Fairy Tales

A Book Set in a Different Country


A Nonfiction Book

                The World of Odysseus

A Popular Author’s First Book

                The Evil Seed

A Book from an Author you love that you haven’t read yet

                The Loneliness of the Long Distance Time Traveler

A book a friend recommends

                The Dovekeepers

A Pulitzer Prize-Winning Book

                To Kill a Mockingbird

A Book Based on a True Story

                City of God

A Book at the Bottom of Your TBR List

                How to Fail in Literature

A Book your Mom Loves

                The Secret Rooms

A Book that Scares You


A Book More than 100 Years Old

                Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


A Book Based Entirely on Its Cover

                Wings of Flame

A Book you were Supposed to Read in School but Didn’t

                Treasure of the City of Ladies

A Memoir

                Dead White Guys

A Book You Can Finish in a Day

                American Legends: Gene Kelly

A Book with antonyms in the Title

                Sister Light, Sister Dark

A Book set somewhere you always wanted to visit

                Do Penance or Perish

A Book that came out the Year you were born

                Shelley the Pursuit

A Book with Bad Reviews

                The Green Knight

A Trilogy

                The Duncton Chronicles

A Book from Your Childhood

                Finn Family Moomintroll

A Book with a love triangle

                The Heptamon

A Book set in the Future

                Abducted by the Star Prince


A Book set in high school

                Causal Vacancy

A Book with a color in the title

                Black Betty

A Book that Made You Cry

                Shoulder a Coffin a Kura Vol 4

A Book with Magic

                Song of the Quarkbeast

A Graphic Novel

                Complete Elfquest Vol 1

A Book by an Author you’ve never read before

                Love #2

A Book You Own but Never Read

                Hit Girls

A Book that takes place in your hometown

                Summer 1787

A Book that was originally written in a Different Language

                The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony

A Book Set during Christmas

                Christmas Frost

A Book Written by an Author with your same initials

                British Legends: George III

A Play

                12 Angry Men


A Banned Book

                Huck Finn

A Book Based on or turned into a TV Show

                The Thick of It – DOS Files

A Book you started by never finished

                A Brutal Telling

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text 2015-12-27 15:26
Year in Reading Review Part 1 - Olga Godim's Interview Questions

So Olga came up with the categories, and I am just jumping on the bandwagon. 




Most memorable encounter  A Distant View of Minaret and Other Stories by Alifa                                                           Rifaat


Best vacation spot                French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France by Tim                                                         Moore


Most exciting adventure        Love # 2 


Favorite place                      The Peacock Room Comes to America


Least favorite place              Horrorstor


Worst person you met          Abducted by the Star Prince by Juno Wells


Most embarrassing memory  James the Connoisseur Cat


Worst weather of the year    Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson


Scariest event                      Dead Wake Erik Larson


Funniest moment                So Anyway by John Cleese


Saddest moment                  One of Us by Asne Seierstand


Worst food you ate              The Dinner  by Herman Koch


Best food you ate                 Dreams of Trepass By Fatema Mernisi tied with the                                                            Winemaker books

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