(Hey, merry Christmas!)

This year I wrote a book. Not a crochet book that’s mostly patterns and photos, but a book of words. And so I learned that in my brain is an inverse relationship between writing and reading: the more I write, the less I read. I can’t remember the last time I read only thirteen books in a year. Maybe it was when Owen was an infant. (Nope, I just looked it up.) This has been an epically abysmal year for reading. But I did write that book, so I’m not beating myself up about it (Might Ugly will come out early next fall. I’ll tell you about it, don’t sweat it.)

I should qualify, I guess, and say that I did start a lot more books than I ended up finishing. So maybe writing so much just made me fickle and loathe to commit. And it’s not like the books I put down were crap. I still haven’t finished reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane for heaven’s sake, and that book is outstanding. I’ll mention the unfinished books at the end I guess.

And suffice it to say, I intend to kick off 2014 with a hell of a lot of reading. (Like, I find myself pondering the relative benefits of a Kobo Glo vs. an iPad Mini to enhance my experience of reading in the dark. If you have an opinion regarding this particular comparison, please let me know.)

I keep track of all my reading adventures on Goodreads, if you want to follow along. I tend not to be “friends” on there with people I don’t know personally, since Goodreads is really great at recommending things to you if you’re friends with people who have similar taste. But since most people don’t have exceptionally similar taste, I love that they make it possible to have a one-way follow relationship with absolutely anyone.

  1. The Circle, by Mats Strandberg and Sara Bergmark Elfgren. Recommended to me by the ever-wonderful Hanna Andersson, I recommend to you it if you’re into solid YA, fantasy, magic, kick-ass female characters, or Scandinavian fiction.
  2. Saturday Night Widows: The Adventures of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives, by Becky Aikman. I wasn’t excited to read this book, anticipating a tear-jerking, self-indulgent memoir, but what I got was a moving, inspiring tale of women refusing to be told how to be widows and supporting each other in the healthiest of ways. Read it even if you’re not into this sort of thing.
  3. The Madness Underneath, by Maureen Johnson. It was slow, but ended in a place that excites me about the final book in the trilogy (not out yet).
  4. Delirium, by Lauren Oliver. YA dystopia where love is considered to be an affliction of hysteria, so people are lobotomized when they reach mid-adolescence. First in a trilogy. It’s good.
  5. Pandemonium, by Lauren Oliver. Second in the trilogy. Also good.
  6. Requiem, by Lauren Oliver. Smashing third in the trilogy.
  7. Last Night in Montreal, by Emily St. John Mandel. A lovely book I’d had on my list for a long time, and I’m glad I finally read it. It’s not earth-shattering, but it’s well crafted and I’m looking forward to reading more by this author whose name is my favourite of all names in the whole world (for real, say it out loud; it’s the “cellar door” of names).
  8. The Diviners, by Libba Bray. I’d been meaning to dive into Libba Bray’s oeuvre for a long time, and naturally I ended up picking the first book in a trilogy that isn’t completed yet. I loved this novel. And I’m not usually a fan of period fiction, so that’s really saying something. I plan to read a lot more of her books while I continue to wait for this trilogy to continue.
  9. The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling). I bought this book the day the news came out that J.K. Rowling had secretly published this crime novel under a pseudonym. It wasn’t so much that I wanted in on the action, but that I wanted a good book to read and figured Rowling would write one. She did. It’s a great crime novel with solid characters, and I hope she writes more even though the security of anonymity has been ripped from her white-knuckled hands.
  10. Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman. I loved this YA fantasy novel, first in a trilogy. It received rave reviews, and deservedly so. And I’m not usually a fantasy fan, so.
  11. Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity, by Emily Matchar. You may recall that I couldn’t stop talking about this book when I read it. In case you missed it: the rant about how I love being an unnatural mother, the rant about the apocalypse, and the feminist rant.
  12. Mother, Mother by Koren Zailckas. This tale of the twisted actions of a narcissistic mother seriously messed with my head.
  13. Allegiant, by Veronica Roth. The final book in the Divergent trilogy highlights how hard it is to write in the first person. Sadly, it accomplishes this through the terribly executed alternation between two first-person perspectives. (The first two novels, outstanding both, were told in the first-person voice of the protagonist; this one alternates between her voice and her boyfriend’s, and both voices sound the same. It’s a mindfuck, and annoying, and really detracted from the story.)
  14. Cora’s Heart, by Rachael Herron. No beach holiday is complete without a Cypress Hollow tale, so I felt especially lucky that Rachael‘s newest knitting romance novel came out a few weeks before we went to Mexico. Delicious.

Books I didn’t finish but plan to (in the interest of finally publishing this, I’m not digging up links just yet): The Dinner, The Constellation of Vital Phenomena, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, The Golem and the Jinni,

Books I started but don’t plan to finish: Pirate Cinema, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty.

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Great list, thanks for the mention and some more interesting books to check out! :-)

Happy New year to you and yours

Nancy Cavillones

Well, don’t feel bad! I only read 7 books, which I find hard to believe but I guess it’s true and I only have myself to blame!

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