2014: A year in reading

It’s the last day of the year, and time for the obligatory look back at 2014.  According to Goodreads, I have read 213 books this year.  Pretty happy with that number, I have to say.

I didn’t do so well with keeping on top of 2014 publications (apart from awards entries), and I also didn’t do so well at reducing Mount To-be-Read, since I probably bought more books that I read.  Oops.

Here are some of my favourite reads of the year (links go through to the books on Goodreads):

Perfections Perfections by Kirstyn McDermott

I make no secret of that fact that I adore McDermott’s work, and I think that Perfections is some of her best writing.  I was on the Aurealis judging panel which awarded the book with Best Horror Novel when it was released as an ebook only by Xoum, and I was so happy when Twelfth Planet Press issued a gorgeous paperback.  Technically this was a reread for me, since I didn’t get to review it during awards judging, but I’m including it here anyway.  I reviewed it as part of the Australian Women Writers’ Challenge (review here).  It’s dark, but I’d recommend it to anyone, even those who usually don’t read dark fiction or horror.

 

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.15811545

Read as part of reading along with the books reviewed on the podcast by Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond, The Writer and the Critic.

This is the first Ozeki I have read, and I seriously want to devour everything she’s ever written.  The writing was incredible, and even months after finishing the book, the story haunts me.

 

 

 

17333324Ancillary Justice by Anne Leckie.

It won lots of awards.  It deserved to win lots of awards.  It made me want to read and write more science fiction.

I am looking forward to rereading this so I can read the sequel (which is sitting on Mount To-Be-Read).

Haven’t read this?  Please do so.  Right now.

 

 

4775494The Wild Places by Robert MacFarlane

I read a fair bit of nonfiction this year, including all of MacFarlane’s books, all of which could rightly be on this list

If someone gave me money and time, I would so follow MacFarlane’s footsteps through most of these places.  Someone give me a ticket to the UK right now please?

 

 

 

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The Memory Garden by Mary Rickert.

I think I picked this one up after hearing it discussed on the Coode Street Podcast.  And it’s just a gorgeous, magical book.  One whose prose makes me ache to be even half as good a writer.  It went straight to my favourites shelf.

 

 

 

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The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

I read this initially via an eARC received from Netgalley, but went out and ordered a hard copy soon after.  I rarely read epic or high fantasy these days, mostly because I’m burned out on seeing the same damn story over and over.

This is not the same damn story.  Nowhere near it.  I am so looking forward to the next books in the trilogy.

 

 

12814333
A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar.

Like a feverish dream, with prose so beautiful that it feels at times as though you are listening to a poem or a song.  This debut novel by Samatar has made me a life-long fan, and I will read everything she ever writes.

 

 

 

kaleidoscope
Kaleidoscope, edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios.

Several of the stories in this anthology are entrants in the Aurealis Awards YA Panel, of which I am a judge.

This is my anthology of the year (with Long Hidden as a close runner-up).  So many good stories, but I have to especially mention Sofia Samatar’s Walkdog, which is absolutely incredible.

 

 

There are quite a few more books that I have five and four star reviews to on Goodreads, and I could really make this list at least twice as long.  If you’re keen on looking at what else I read in 2014, you can have a look at my Goodreads shelf for 2014.

Next year I really want to make more of an inroads into my to-be-read mountain, as well as do some serious culling of my shelves.  Seriously, I ran out of shelf space a long time ago, and there are books in stacks kind of everywhere.  Plus, I can’t find anything right now.  I don’t think I can convince anyone to install compactus shelving in the house, so a cull is the only answer.

AWW14: Completed

This year for the Australian Women Writers’ Challenge I signed up at the Franklin level – read at least 10 books, reviewing at least 6.

My stats for the year:

Female Australian authors read: 52.

Reviews written: 7.

 

Links to reviews:

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina.

The Other Tree by D.K. Mok.

Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres.

The Swan Book by Alexis Wright.

The Secret River by Kate Grenville.

Perfections by Kirstyn McDermott.

Mullumbimby by Melissa Lucashenko.

 

Musings on the challenge

Overall, I’m really happy with my reading year in terms of this challenge.  The total number of books was easy to achieve, since I was judging for the Aurealis Awards both at the beginning and end of the year.

I had originally set up a mental challenge to myself to review at least one book a month, but that unfortunately fell by the wayside.  I feel fairly happy with the seven reviews I got written, though.  I’m especially glad that I picked up more books by Indigenous writers this year, and hope to extend that into my challenge for next year as well.  Of particular note is Mullumbimby, which I picked up specifically because it was linked from the AWW Goodreads page, and was probably a book that I wouldn’t have normally come across otherwise.

Many thanks to the organisers of the challenge, and if you’ve never given it a go, I encourage everyone to.  Even if it makes you pick up one book by a female Australian author, I consider that a worthy accomplishment.