According to Goodreads, I have read 176 books in 2014. I’ve read more but some of them weren’t worth notating. Which is a reminder to myself that I need to be far more selective when it comes to the requests I make from NetGalley and the books I receive from independent book publishers. I enjoy reading. I don’t enjoy writing reviews all that much but I really enjoy reading and my hope is that it is the joy of reading that I am sharing. I see plenty of reviewers out there ripping up someone’s effort and it seems to me at times to be an exercise in the reviewer’s narcissism and just some low down power tripping. So if I’ve written a bad review, believe me, you’ve either really disappointed me or really pissed me off.
So here, at the end of 2014, I would like to offer up my 12 best reads of the last 365 days. I’ve read each one of these and each has left me with some scar of their time shared. They are stories that I will not easily forget, nor do I really want to. They make treading through the swamp of some of the modern literature out there worth it. They are of course in no particular order, covering a wide variety of genres, nor were they necessarily published in 2014. They were just read or re-read by me in that time.
The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly – Sun-Mi Hwang
This small fable will in turn break your heart and reaffirm it. The story of an egg laying hen who’s sole desire is to have a child of her own. The struggle she goes through to realize her dream and the sacrifice she must make to keep it. This is one to share and read to your kids, just do a little careful editing.
Red Rising and it’s sequel Golden Son – Pierce Brown
Pierce Brown’s novel of a futuristic humanity, living throughout the galaxy, still subjugated by class warfare is as thrilling in its dystopian vision as it is frightening in how little has been learned. As color separates humanity and its place in society. Read Red Rising first, Golden Son will be published in early 2015 and is a damn good 2nd novel in this trilogy.
The Lost Sisterhood – Anne Fortier
A terrific re-telling of the fall of Troy and the forgotten race of Amazons who fought for its survival and their own.
The Ape Man’s Brother – Joe R Lansdale
A totally cool telling of the Tarzan story through the view of his best friend and chimpanzee companion. There is a little chimp on woman action but what’s a horny chimp in Hollywood suppose to do? Just fun.
The Original Sinners series – Tiffany Reisz
Tiffany Reisz writes the best BDSM erotica out on the market today. Why? Because she writes about the people and the lifestyle first and the sex second. If you think you won’t enjoy BDSM erotica, she will change your mind. Or worse, you read 50 Shades and think that is erotica, you need to step up.
The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
Sheldon Cooper falls in love, or at least calls it love as that is the socially conforming norm….funny book, really funny and endearing book.
Dorothy Must Die – Danielle Page
Dorothy must die because she is a ruthless murdering bitch. Think about it. Pick up the short novella No Place Like Oz first to set it Dorothy Must Die.
The Secret Place – Tana French
The Dublin Murder Squad face off against their most dangerous and ruthless murderers yet. A clique of privileged high school girls.
Batman HUSH – Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee
A comic book; yes. A graphic novel; yes. Arguably the best Batman storyline ever written.
The Poor Boy’s Game – Dennis Tafoya
The gritty violent story of a disgraced Marshall and her criminal father and the dark lives they lead. This is Dirty Harry with estrogen. Just let that soak in a little.
The Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey
A dark and yet heartwarming fantasy set in the unforgiving wilderness of Alaskan frontier. The Snow Child is about hope and the lack of it and the faith in the non-tangible. This is the kind of book that should be required reading in high schools today.
Obsession – Liliana Lee
The Princess Shanyin trilogy is not to be missed. From Princess to whore to mistress. Shanyin’s journey to end up with the one man she loves but can never have is an incredibly well written erotic trilogy. Its very much worth the effort to find.
Well there they are, as you can see, the majority of them are not well known books. Not highly publicized and marketed by the larger publishing houses. They are just really good stories. Each with something very worth while to say. Each one will leave you marked. Each one will remind you what reading a book should feel like.
I hope you give them an opportunity to be a part of who you are.
Here’s to the upcoming 2015 and what it has to bring.