Sunday, November 24, 2013

Goodreads Choice Awards and reading challenge

Sometimes when I look at these "best of lists" I get annoyed because I feel like I read a lot and yet, I haven't read anything on the list.  On Amazon's editors top 100, I'd not read a single one.  But I've read 64 books this year.  Most of them new books.  A few of amazon's picks are on my to-read list, but none have been read.

However, I was pleased to see that several of my favorite books from this year have been nominated for Goodreads Choice Awards.

My four favorite books from this year were written by two different authors.  Susanna Kearsley's Winter Sea and its sequel, Firebird, and Jojo Moyes' Girl You Left Behind and Me Before You.  If anyone asks for a book rec, I mention those four.  I read Winter Sea and Firebird one right after the other, so in a way, they're one big story in my head.  But I'm told it's possible to read Firebird as a stand-alone, but why would you want to do that?  Both books are great.  Winter Sea is set in Scotland, while Firebird takes place in Russia.  Wonderful settings, interesting history and so very romantic.  Firebird is nominated for best fantasy.  I would think of it as more historical, but I do understand the fantasy label.  Two people in present time are using their psychic abilities to see what happened in the past.  I'm not describing it well, but trust me, it's a great story, even if you aren't all that into paranormal or fantasy type books.  For me, I just sort of accept that psychic abilities are a real thing, so it didn't seem all that "fantastical" maybe.  But point being, you should read Winter Sea and Firebird.

Also, Me Before You is nominated for Best Fiction.  Easily my choice.  Though in the first round of voting, Girl You Left Behind was also nominated.  I loved both books and they're very different books.  Girl You Left Behind is about a painting, and part of the story takes place in France, so as an artist who loves all things French, I was a little partial to that.  But even I voted for Me Before You.  That book is amazing.  It left me an emotionally drained mess who couldn't stop crying when it was over, but nonetheless, amazing.

Other books I've read and liked that are nominated for Goodreads Choice Awards:  Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald is nominated for Best Historical Fiction.  I think any fan of the Fitzgeralds would enjoy this.  And in the humor category - Wallbanger by Alice Clayton.  Such a cute, funny story.  I loved it. 

So I was able to vote in four categories this year, made me feel somewhat accomplished.  I did find it odd that I'd not read any of the paranormal or romance books - since that's mostly what I read these days.  But oh well. 

And in other reading news, I'm one book away from reading my goal of reading 65 books this year.  Clearly, I will surpass it.  Last year I read 63 books.  I sort of feel like I've cheated because several of the books were short novellas.  But at the same time, quite a few of the books were around 800 or more pages.  My page count has by far exceeded last year's page count.

A few of the books were re-reads.  I listened the Handmaid's Tale, narrated by Claire Danes - it's a great version if you're into audio books.  I've read the book a few times, but was nice to have it read to me.  I also re-read Discovery of Witches, my third time to read that.  I was doing a real-time read, following along the same days as the characters.  Doing the same with Shadow of Night now, but won't finish that until next year.  I also finally started reading the Outlander series, or rather listening to the audio versions of those.  I'm on the fifth book.  Don't like it nearly as much as the first two books, but it keeps me entertained on my commute to and from work each day.  I finally finished listening to Great Expectations, and wasn't all that impressed.  And I listened to the entire Beautiful Creatures series.  I'm becoming quite a fan of audio books.

Well, closer to the end of the year, I'll put together my best of list, just because.  Looking over the list of books I've read, I'm seeing a lot of favorites.

I'm sort of thinking after Thanksgiving this year, I'm going to read nothing but Christmas-themed novels and novellas and anthologies.  Because I want my brain to turn to candy?  I don't know.  I don't have a real Christmas, so I have to immerse myself in fictional ones.  Same reason I watch so many Hallmark holiday movies. 

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