Title: Ghost World
Author: Daniel Clowes
Category: 17. Read a book that was turned into a movie
Okay, this is also a cult classic and was almost the movie I picked except I wanted to check out the comic first. So here we are. Comics are definitely not my favourite way to read but I do like to check one out every so often. I figured sneaking one in this year would plenty, especially since the book I picked up included the entire series as well as comments from Daniel Clowes.
Anyway, this comic so perfectly sums up what it’s like to finish high school and not really know what you’re going to do with your life. Particularly that first summer when you’ve just finished up with exams and you’re just kind of bumbling around town probably drinking and sleeping in. I spent most of my first summer out of school working in one of those shitty fast food jobs but I also had plenty of time to laze about and contemplate life. I think the experiences of these guys are pretty common. That person you were so close to in high school, you slowly have less and less in common with the, until you realise that you don’t really want to hang out with them anymore.
I had a bit of an issue with Enid to be honest because she just came across as so manipulative of Rebecca. She spends an awful lot of time particularly in the early comics deciding with she and Rebecca will do with their days. Honestly, if she was my friend I don’t know that I would want to hang out with her either.
This isn’t an uplifting read or anything like that and it leaves you feeling just a little bit melancholy when you’re done but if you haven’t checked it out it’s a pretty cool comic.
Rating: 3/5 stars
Title: Two Nights
Author: Kathy Reichs
Category: 26. Read a book published under one of the Big 6 publishing houses
If you’ve been with me since the start of this blog then you will know that I absolutely love Kathy Reichs’ books. I’ve read every Temperance Brennan book there is and kept going with those long after I stopped watching the Bones TV show. Two Nights is a standalone (possibly series?) that focusses on a new protagonist though, Sunday Night.
Rather than focussing on the forensic side of the investigation as she does with Brennan, Two Nights focusses on a more hands on investigation with Night acting more as a private investigator who used to be a cop.
I definitely still prefer the Temperance Brennan books over this one but I did still enjoy it because I do like Kathy Reichs’ writing style. If you’ve checked out any of her other books then this is also worth your time.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Title: Sunday’s on Squire’s Isle
Author: Geonn Cannon
Category: 16. Read an unknown book, with no more than 100 ratings on any one website
I know there’s those of you who just love your ebooks but I honestly prefer to be able to feel the weight of a book in my hands which is why I either buy my physical books or head to the library. It’s only indie authors that I’ll ever read in eformat. At which time I either borrow my fiancee’s Kobo or end up reading through Kindle or Kobo apps on my phone. I used my phone to read this one reading a little here and there until I finished it.
I really wanted to enjoy this book because it was a great concept. Honestly, I think it would make a much better book if everything was expanded out a little more. Rather than a series of slightly connected short stories we actually got a chance to see the characters progressing more in their lives and goals. The thing that really made it hard for me with this book was that all of the characters sounded kind of the same and I dind’t have much interest in the stories because of it.
You can check this book out for free on Smashwords and honestly, I would encourage all of you to check out books on sites like Smashwords or to give new indie authors a shot because many of them are putting out truly amazing books and deserve our support. I’d love to see more indie books getting recognition so I’ll be placing my focus more on indie books next year than what I have this year (though there will still be plenty of traditionally published books since I’ve got a huge to read list going).
Rating: 3/5 stars
Title: Slaughterhouse Five
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Genre: Science Fiction/Satire
Category: 32. Read a book that was, or currently is, banned by a government
If you check out wikipedia’s list of books banned by governments you won’t find Slaughterhouse Five on the list but it’s on almost every list of banned books you’ll find. It’s often challenged because of it’s language as well as nudity and the way God is discussed. So I decided to go with it anyway since it’s been banned often enough by various groups.
Honestly, it’s not really my kind of book. I’ve definitely read other books about war this year but they’ve been quite rooted in reality while this book brought in a lot of science fiction aspects that just aren’t really my thing. Not to say I don’t like sci-fi I just don’t want it mixed with my war book.
I can see what people like about it but I didn’t enjoy it at all. Despite how short it is, it took me quite a while to get through.
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Title: Before You Forget
Author: Julia Lawrinson
Genre: Young Adult
Category: 50. Read a book set in your country
OKay, so I’d already read a lot of the well known books that are set in Australia. Or didn’t have much interest in them. But, Australia has always had quite a good young adult market so I thought I’d find something there. Lo and behold I found this little book by one of my favourite authors as a teenager. Now, for any Aussies out there you might habe been expecting a John Marsden or Melina Marchetta book to make this list but I loved both of those authors and have read pretty much everything they’ve written. Don’t worry though, I’m going to reread Tomorrow When the War Began since it’s a favourite of mine.
The first Julia Lawrinson book I read was quite by accident. I found it in my school library and the blurb sounded just like my life so off I went. For the record, that book was Obsession about a teenage girl with an alcoholic mother (I had an alcoholic father) who starts at a new school and develops a crush on a girl a little older than her.
What I’ve always loved about her books and continued to love in this one, is that these books really do reflect what it’s like to be a teenager growing up in Australia (and probably to some extent in other countries).
Before You Forget is the story of a girl starting her last year of high school but her dad is acting really weird and her best friend is acting really weird so she ends up with no one to talk to. Her dad is suffering from early onset alzheimers and her friend is suffering from an eating disorder. There’s lots of awkward little encounters with her family and friends that bring me right back to what it’s like to be seventeen and so excited to finish high school but also terrified of what comes next but also to feel like no one quite understands you. This is a book I wished I could have read when I was in high school.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Title: The Circle
Author: Dave Eggers
Category: 45. Read a book labelled as a Satire or Allegory
This is almost certainly my favourite book of this year. Way back at the start of the year I read 1984 and quite enjoyed it, but The Circle is like the modern version of 1984 as far as I’m concerned.
The basic idea of The Circle is a company that is slowly taking over the world with technological advancements that take away privacy in a way that is both believable and subtle to those experiencing it.
Mae is the main character and we meet her on her first day working at the Circle. The job she starts in sounds a lot like my worst nightmare but that’s not really the point. We get to watch Mae as she slowly gains more screens and responsibilities until it seems like she couldn’t possibly have enough hours in the day to get it all done. We also watch as she slowly gives up her privacy to become part of The Circle.
I won’t spoil this much more, but don’t take the reviews of the movie as a reflection of the book.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Title: Curvy Yoga
Author: Anna Guest-Jelley
Category: 46. Read a book from the Self-Help, Health, Travel, or Guide category
I love yoga but I can’t stand many of the women who prctice it. Particularly those who seem completely unaware that some people have different bodies or different abilities. Whilst this book is called Curvy Yoga it’s really a great read for anyone who wants to get into yoga and maybe isn’t all that flexible.
Curvy Yoga is part body positivity, part memoir, part yoga instruction. I could have done with a little less of the memoir and a little more of the yoga instruction but it’s a great instruction either way. I think the biggest problem with the memoir section for me was the way that it focussed so much on the body, which is obviously the way to show how much has changed.
It’s full of beautiful full colour photos and different practices to try. If you’re going to get this book it’s definitely worth getting the paper version rather than the ebook version.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Title: The X-Files: Deveil’s Advocate
Author: Jonathan Maberry
Genre: Young Adult/Mystery
Category: 51. Read a book not set in your country, but exists today
So I’ve been a fan of X-files since I was way too young to be watching it. I’ve seen all the episodes including the movies and the latest season and I’m eagerly awaiting the next season in January. So getting a chance to see a teenage Scully in action was a real treat. Especially since she starts off the book not as a skeptic but a believer. It’s not until the end that we get to see a Scully we’re more familiar with.
This book is honestly a good read even if you didn’t watch the X-Files, it works well as a standalone thought I’ll definitely be looking up the Mulder version. But if you didn’t watch the show or you need a refresher, you’ve got a lovely reminder of teenage Dana Scully at the top, who I just found out was actually played by Gillian Anderson’s younger sister.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Author: Stephanie Garber
Category: 36. Read a debut book from this year
This is the first in a series, something I was not aware of when I chose the book (or when I read it). Honetsly, when I was looking at the start of the year for debut books there wasn’t a lot of choice and I was left with Caraval or the Keeper of Lost Things. Since my library had Caraval I ended up choosing that.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book though. I went in not expecting much but it was one of the best things I read all year.
I love the idea of a magical event that is half party, half mystery with a bit of performance for good measure. This one is a must for anyone who loves a bit of magic in their stories.
Title: Shadow of the Titanic
Author: Andrew Wilson
Category: 19. Read a History book, fiction or nonfiction
This isn’t the first book this year that could have fitted into this category which is great because it’s honestly a bit of a dense category as far as reading goes.
Shadow of the Titanic is a non-fiction book that explores the experiences of Titanic survivors (and their families) following the tragic sinking in April 1912. As someone who has been fascinated by the Titanic for most of my life. Since I was six and picked up a children’s reader that talked about the sinking and discovery of the wreck . So this book was a natural choice and I’m really glad it exists because most books about the Titanic talk about either the voyage and subsequent sinking of the ship or about the discovery of the ship by Robert Ballard including various explanations for how an unsinkable ship could sink. So the stories that are part of this book are largely not included in other discussions of the topic, at least not in their entirety.
Unfortunately, I found the writing a little dry and had a lot of trouble getting through the book. It’s certainly not a book I would recommend for anyone who is not a passionate fan of the topic as I don’t think I would’ve bothered finishing it if I wasn’t such a fan.
Rating: 2/5 stars