Thistle (thistle_chaser) wrote,
Thistle
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2014: A year of books

Inspired by 50bookchallenge, my goal is to read 50 books per year. Last year I made the goal, but this year I didn't thanks to a couple things:

1) Two very long books. The two Stormlight Archive books took me about the same amount of time reading four normal books would, so that's about eight short of where I might have been.
2) I lost six weeks in the beginning of the year and two weeks later in the year to being in the hospital (zero reading done).

I hit 41 books read for the year ("read" being "reached at least the 50% mark"). I had 8 books that I didn't reach the halfway point of.

I ranked them as to how much I liked them:
Loved: 13
Liked: 5
Okay: 5
Disliked: 14
Hated: 3
Uncounted: 1 (#2: graphic novels and unfinished)

The average was "okay" almost exactly on the nose. Last year the average was just over "liked". Each rank was assigned a number for easy averaging (loved/5, liked/4, etc).


1) Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy: Liked
" For all it was perfect, for all I identified with the main character, for all I loved how the story was told, I had no drive to read it."

2) "Catchall" for graphic novels and unfinished books (unfinished at end) :
The Other Dead: Okay
Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Rift Part 1: Loved

3) The Plagues of Kondar: Disliked
"It was only at the 50% point of the book that the first hints of this plague appeared, by which point I was more than ready to give up on the book."

4) Exiled: Memoirs of a Camel: Okay
"I love talking animal stories, however I like my animals to be animals, not people in animal shape. These camels might as well have been human."

5) Gone: Loved
"I can't believe [these books] were YA, they were so dark and brutal." (Applies to books 5-10 on this list.)

6) Hunger: Loved

7) Lies: Liked

8) Plague: Loved

9) Fear: Loved

10) Light: Loved

11) Enclave: Okay
" I've never spent so much time while reading a book saying to myself "No, I don't think that works that way...", "No, the human body doesn't work like that...", "No, I don't think people would react that way...". "

12) Outpost: Okay
"Unfortunately this lead to lines like her loving Fade so much she wanted to "crawl into his skin" to get closer to him."

13) Horde: Disliked
Additional post, and another.
"Excuse me while I die laughing. So the father could hold his wounded son under water until he stopped struggling, but he couldn't give him a quick death?"

14) Loki's Wolves: Disliked
"She turned into a fish at one point, so it's quite likely that she's the great great great grandchild of one of the gods or of a trout."

15) Pictures of You: Liked
"I hadn't expected the ending at all, but looking back on it once I was finished, it fit."

16) Lionboy: Loved
"The worldbuilding was amazing -- so good that I was in awe of the authors."

17) The Mayan Sisterhood: Disliked
"Female orgasms were a theme of this book. Magical, powerful female orgasms."

18) Clan Lord: Disliked
"I had to reread the very first sentence of the book to figure out what the author was trying to say."

19) The Windup Girl: Disliked
"10% in and I was ready for some plot. 20%, no plot. 30%, no signs of a plot. 40% and we finally got hints that something might be happening."

20) What Will Come After: Loved
"The author played with tenses in a way that shouldn't have worked but that totally did."
"Edelman did something that always makes me want to kiss the author: He trusted his readers."

21) Taken by Swarm - Seduced by WEREBEES (part 1): Hated
Review of part two of the book.
"I totally want credit for "beestiality" if it somehow appears in her next book."

22)The Very Best of Tad Williams: Loved
"While I didn't like more than half of the short stories (10 out of 17), I enjoyed the others enough to give this book a 'loved' rating. Two of the stories alone would have been worth the cost of the book."

23) A Boy and His Dragon: Loved
"So the first three-quarters of the book was them getting to know each other and making lusty-eyes across the room at each other, but dragon/human relationships aren't as simple as human/human ones, so there was a lot for the characters to work through before the relationship came to a climax. So to speak."

24) After the End: Disliked
"All the children were named after Alaskan cities. All the animals were named after famous writers, artists, etc. I was really loving this world the author had built."

25) The Cats of Tanglewood Forest: Okay
"The writing was boring, but I belatedly realized this was a children's book instead of a YA or adult, so that explains that. The story was fine, but had no real ups or downs."

26) Sheepsquatch: Disliked
"You know, if a book bills itself as being bad, it should be. With a title like Sheepsquatch, I thought this book would have to be amusingly bad. It wasn't. It wasn't even plain-bad (though it wasn't good, either)."

27) BZRK: Disliked
"It pains me to give a book by Michael Grant the same rating that I gave Sheepsquatch."

28) Salvation: Disliked
"Unfortunately the cover was the best thing about Salvation."

29) The Flesh Cartel, "books" 10-16: Disliked
"The whole story took a left turn, one of the brothers escaped [being enslaved] and met two ~dreamy~ people from the FBI who decided to take down the [slavery] cartel because the male ~dreamy~ agent was in love with the escaped brother."

30) Ice: Loved
"When I say this book was flawless, I mean it. I fully believed each and every character as a real person. Cassie going from a world where science was her religion to a world full of spirits and "magic" would have been a journey on its own, but that was only the very start of things."

31) Mutegi's Sweet One: Hated
"To sum it up, this book is everything that's wrong with the self-publishing industry. Crap quality (sorry for insulting you, crap), a $5 price tag!, and writing worse than most any fanfic."

32) No Safety In Numbers: Loved
"Unlike many YA books like this, the adults were not only alive, but they were visible, realistic characters."

33) No Easy Way Out (No Safety In Numbers: Book 2): Disliked
"Everything I liked about Safety was absent in No Easy. The teenagers, who had been likeable in the first book, were generally awful people in this one. The adults were either absent or there only to push teenagers' plot points along. The adult characters were also generally very unbelievable."

34) Zhukov's Dogs: Disliked
"Though the book was described as "new-adult, science-fiction, action-adventure romance" (way to cover all the bases), I figured it was another dystopia YA novel, and I was right."

35) The Way of Kings: Loved
"The alienness of the world didn't slap you in the face, it kept expanding with what seemed a never-ending series of small details until their world felt just as real and fleshed-out as ours."
"He's written hundreds of thousands of words in notes about the world it's set in, and boy does that show."

36) Words of Radiance: Loved
"Words of Radiance was longer than anything GRRM has ever written. It's longer than anything Stephen King has written. Never once, for a single moment, did I think "Man, this book needed a good editor" -- there was no extra padding, no useless stuff, nothing I for even a moment wanted to skim over."

37) The Flesh Cartel, "books" 16-19 (end): Hated
"Anyway. I'm glad to be done with that story. In the beginning I did enjoy it ('breaking and rebuilding people' is probably my most favorite story element ever), but in the end it turned out to be nothing but a disappointing conclusion and a money-grab."

38) Informatzia: Liked
"The main character of Informatzia is a werewolf, but neither that nor magic were the focus of this story. It was more a tale of spies and the Russian culture."

39) Survey Ship: Disliked
"But even without the foul background of the author, the story was just pretty darned boring."

40) Thor: Okay
"The writing was amusingly dated, even though it was published in 1992."

41) Sixth of the Dusk: Liked
"...tells the story of a young man (a trapper) on an island full of animals who hunt by sensing thoughts, in a world where birds bestow magical powers to people."




Unfinished books:

Treasure Planet (Man-Kzin Wars): Disliked
"...I think I got my cat aliens mixed up; I think I had been thinking of the Pride of Chanur books. In Kzin, the female characters are literally animals -- they rub and purr and act like housecats to their mates. In Chanur, it's females who go spacefaring, the males are thought to be too wild and uncontrollable to be permitted on spaceships."

Nightshade City: Disliked
"I'm really tired of books that are just barely on the far side of 'okay' -- not bad enough to hate (and then perhaps be amusingly bad), but just unskillfully written, boring story, flat characters. "

Force Over Distance: Liked
"Whispers, murmurs, no one spoke in a normal voice anymore. Men in a physical fight would murmur to each other. A military commander snapping out "Report!" did it in a whisper, and the soldier replied in a murmur. For no reason, murmur and whisper outnumbered 'said' two or three to one."

The Treacherous Path

Hatch: Hated
"Hatch is the reason people hated self-published books to begin with."

Snow Blood: Hated
"If you're going to write a first-person story told from the POV of a dog, you must be able to get a dog's voice right. Unfortunately Snow Blood failed badly at that."

Ruin: Disliked
"I need to create a Bad Book Bingo or something..."

Quarantine #1: The Loners: Hated
"Want to read a book about a group of awful teens doing awful things in an awful situation, yet the results of their awful acts are random? Written with awful poor writing skill? Then this book is for you!"


Process-wise, I'm pretty happy with how this year went. I'm going to keep everything the same, except just use loved/liked/okay/disliked/hated as the ranking, drop the 5/4/3/2/1 number score that went with them. They're not necessary, I can just apply them when doing the year's average.

I didn't do a 'a year of books' summary post previous to 2013, but I want to add those stats to years going forward.

Total books read:
2014: 41 read, 8 unfinished, total average rating: okay.
2013: 53 read, ??? unfinished, total average rating: liked.
Tags: 2014 books, 2014 books overview, book review
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