Hope Swann (coffeebased) wrote,
Hope Swann

there's a tangled thread inside my head

Happy New Year! :)

I was able to finish reading Elantris on the 31st, so I ended up posting my photo-list round-up earlier than I thought I would. It was a good thing too, as even though I meant to do a proper round-up of my reading on the first of January, I’ve been so embroiled in holiday things (and fine, reciting my thesis out loud and torturing commas by removing them and putting them back before I submit my third draft to my advisor this week. Science, she takes her time.) such as watching the Christmas special of Doctor Who with my buddies, dealing with year-end adult things that required hours of travel, and the actual New Year, I suppose :))

More on what I think constitutes a proper round-up after a bit of blather.

I haven’t gotten a lot of reading done, but I did get to see the Pratchett PH members last night, to kick off the year of the Reciprocating Llama. It was pretty brilliant, even though there were only seven of us, a shockingly tiny number after the HSPH meet ups I’ve been to. I can’t wait until the next one. :D

Speaking of HSPH, I’m really looking forward to our first official meet-ups of the year: we’ve got Taftstuck 2014 on January 10, and even more exciting, Jacynthstuck on January 18! Jacynth being a member we’ve had since practically the beginning, but one we’ve all never met because he lives in Australia(!!!), and we’re all pretty jazzed about this whole thing.

I’ve always liked the presents that come and go with Christmas, but New Year’s always just appealed to me more. The idea of fresh starts and all the cliches that everyone’s familiar with. 2013 was a bit of a bumpy ride, but I think I enjoyed it, over-all, and came out of it a better person, so it would be silly to complain when we’ve got a fresh bouquet of days to appreciate (and possibly fuck up, but hey).


So, what do I mean about a proper round-up? The thing is, when you’ve been doing data analysis for the better part of, I don’t know, many, many, many months, you get into a habit. I’ve never been one to under-analyse, so whatever. I’ll restrain myself here.

It’s nothing super-interesting, just some numbers, and my... thoughts on them.

In 2013, 70.5% of the books I read were either sci-fi or fantasy. 88.5% were fiction, and 66.7% were published before 2013. 50% of the 156 books I read were written by a female author, 48.7% by a male author, and the remaining 1.3% was comprised of a short story collection and an essay anthology with various authors.

Raw numbers:

Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 6.11.28 PM

The numbers show that my reading goals for 2013 (that I never wrote down anywhere; they were more of a nebulous collection of well-meaning suggestions I made to myself) were achieved: I wanted to a) read more genre fiction, b) read the new releases that I had been waiting for, c) read an equal-ish amount of books by male and female authors, and d) knock a number of books off the reading pile every person accumulates in their life.

The super obvious goal I had was that I had wanted to read 150 books, more out of a weird pride thing that said I had to outdo last year’s count, and while I am happy that I managed it, I didn’t enjoy the pressure I put on myself to get through it. I’m being silly really, as I really fucking enjoyed reading all those books, but I will definitely be taking a less aggressive stance towards my reading.

I also started doing a next (n) reads thing somewhere in June, and while I am not very respectful of it as I jump over numbers and add things that weren’t even there, it has helped me structure my reading. I no longer feel overwhelmed when I finish a book, confronted by every book written/translated in/to English and confused about where to go next. Getting a Shelfari helped as well, even though it made me fixate on how long it had taken me to finish a novel.

Relaxed reading goals for 2014
Read at least five books a month.
Read at least one Russian novel this year.
Continue weekly book blogging.

Personal Top 10 for 2013

1. Hainish Saga by Ursula K. Le Guin
2. Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
3. Moby-Dick, or The Whale by Herman Melville
4. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wacker
5. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
6. The Dreamblood Duology by N. K. Jemisin
7. You by Austin Grossman
8. The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner
9. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
10. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

I read a lot of amazing things this year, but the ten up there were the ones that really stuck with me. I didn’t make a rubric or anything, like individually assess everything I read strictly by style, plot, characters, novelty, etc., because I would like to live like I have a life, so this isn’t hammered out in metal or anything, but yeah, I’ll defend these books forever and push them on everyone I know.


Incomplete list of 2014 Releases I’m looking forward to:

What Makes This Book So Great by Jo Walton 1/16
Words of Radiance Brandon Sanderson 3/6
This is My Life by Meg Wolitzer 3/25
Defenders by Will Mcintosh 5/13
My Real Children by Jo Walton 5/20
City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare 5/27
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo 6/3
Landline by Rainbow Rowell 7/8
Through the Woods by Emily Caroll 7/15
Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley 7/15
Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan 8
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray 8/5
Magician's Land by Lev Grossman 8/5
Exile by Tamora Pierce 9
Clariel by Garth Nix 10
The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black 10/2
Armada by Ernest Cline 10/7
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld 10/28
Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan 11

Unknown Release Date

The Thousand and One by Saladin Ahmed
Games Wizards Play by Diane Duane
The Last Great Tortoise Race by Jasper Fforde
Jasper Fforde's super secret standalone novel
Untitled by Megan Whalen Turner

I’m sure there are a lot more that are missing, but this is the list I’ve come up with using pubdb, Goodreads, and Amazon. Looking forward to them all! :D


And now that we’ve dealt with the past, and the future of my reading, let’s write about the present.

Finished reading:
68427 (1)186074

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson was obviously his first novel. While the obvious Sandersonian (oh, Hope) themes and objects are there, the style in itself feels very fresh and doesn’t feel as set. The Sanderson Avalanche/ Cascade is also very present, but doesn’t feel as solidly done as the other ones I’ve read. I enjoyed it a great deal, and to be honest, I’m probably nitpicking because it was still amazing.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss had a framing story that I found a bit tiresome, and apropos of nothing, reminiscent of the Sanderson short story in GRRM’s Dangerous Women to the point that it was distracting. However, when I got to the meat of the novel, the humungous flashback, I was immediately taken with it. Bildungsroman with magic, a mystery, and snark? Yes, please. The terrible thing about it though is that it is LONG but doesn’t really have a sense of closure. I get that it’s the first book, but I was a bit nonplussed about how the framing story is kind of just left in the air??? The next book seems to be a continuation of the flashback, and may actually bring the framing story to relevance at some point or another. :))

Now reading: Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch


Reading next: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller and Tam Lin by Pamela Dean

1. Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplighter
2. Servant of the Underworld by Aliette Bodard
3. The Scar by China Mieville
4. S by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
5. Parasite by Mira Grant
6. Babayaga by Toby Barlow
7. The Dragon Charmer by Jan Siegel
8. Happiness Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta
9. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
10. Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
11. The Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh
12. The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse
13. The Magic Kingdom by Stanley Elkin
14. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
15. My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl
16. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
17. The Magic Kingdom by Stanley Elkin
18. Something More Than Night by Ian Tregillis
19. The Man Who Was Thursday by J. K. Chesterton
20. Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

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