First of all, hi! How is everyone doing? I miss you all. Well, probably. Except for you. Yes, you. You’re on my list, pal.
I read a ridiculous amount of books last year, so this post is a bit longer than usual. Also, the books I read, on average, last year were very, very good. Either I’m really easy to please or I am getting REALLY good at picking out books to read. The full list of all 156 books I read last year is below the cut, but as usual, I wanted to feature my favorites (and my least favorites) so I can bring everyone over to the dark side of reading all the books I love. Just so you know, I have excellent taste.
From my review: “HOLY SHIT, Y’ALL. Sending out the Bat Signal. This is a book you should read probably as soon as possible . . . Everyone should be reading this book and singing its praises to the rooftops. Fucking everyone. Golden Boy centers around Max Walker, an intersex teenager who identifies as male. The only people who know about his ambiguous gender are his parents, who have done all they could since he was a baby to make his life as normal as possible. In fact, everyone loves Max. His brother adores him, he’s popular at school, is great at sports, the top in all his classes, and is kind to everyone. But when Max is raped by a trusted childhood friend, things fall apart quickly. It sets in motion a process of self-discovery not just for Max, but for his entire family, and the girl he’s fallen in love with.
What I say now: This was my favorite book I read in 2014. I made my book club read it. I bought it for at least five people on their birthdays. It’s got some rough material in it, and Max is such a gentle soul I can see where someone might have a hard time dealing with it, but the payoff for sticking it through is so good, and the journey of getting there so rewarding. I guarantee you will want to throw the book across the room during some parts, but the way Abigail Tarttelin structures the story is so so so satisfying. This is a book I will return to over and over again, and I will not shut up about it until you read it, too.
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From my review: “It’s sort of hard to describe this book without using the word ‘awesome.’ It’s told mostly in astronaut Mark Watney’s first person POV, as he writes a log as a way to pass time, and to document his attempts to stay alive. You know, just in case the log is all that’s left of him when the next mission to Mars in FOUR YEARS comes along. (This is a problem because Mark doesn’t have four years of food left and everyone thinks he’s dead.) There is a lot of science in all of this (as Mark is a scientist and solves his problems with science), but by no means is it inaccessible. Mark’s voice is very human and very lovable, and he gets so excited about all the science and he explains it really well that you can’t help be just as excited about everything as he is.
Normally the nature of this type of story (man has to survive perils thrown at him) would just exhaust me and stress me out, but Andy Weir makes the incredibly smart decision to have Mark’s problems be ones that derive naturally from both his actions and his situations. He doesn’t just throw shit at Mark for dramadrama. Everything that happens to him makes sense. Mark is so resourceful, it’s thrilling to watch him overcome these obstacles, all while creating (knowingly or unknowingly) more problems for himself down the line. I finished the book and pretty much wanted to start it all over again (which wasn’t an option because: library, six month waiting list).”
What I say now: This book is funny. It’s thrilling. It holds up on re-read. I love all the characters. I love the scope of the near future world. It has excellent swearing content, and it makes science not just fun, but exciting. This is a book anyone can love, even those who normally don’t like sci-fi. Read it. Read it now. Continue reading