Month: December 2015

2015: The Year in Books

2015 has been an interesting year. I’ve been really busy, mostly because of dogs. That and an extended foray into Minecraft from which I only recently returned. Books were on the back burner this year. I only blogged about fifteen of them, but I read forty-two, according to Goodreads. That’s a little shy of my annual fifty-book goal, but it’s not too shabby, either. I got busy and had Other Things to Do. 2016 will probably be the same.

That said, here’s my usual list of all the books I read, not just the ones I blogged about. Bold means I really liked it, italics means I hated it, and plain text means it was reasonably good.

That’s a good bit of bold! I did pretty well this year despite my lack of reading enthusiasm. But which is my favorite? That one’s a little difficult. This year has been long and stressful, and I hardly remember anything about most of these books. I think I’ll offer a pairing this year of my favorite and one of my my least favorites, as they’re by the same author (and even in the same series!). So? Drumroll, please…


Yep, that’s Rabbit, Run by John Updike. I’d put off reading it for years because I thought it was about basketball, and I was so surprised by how much I liked it!

Which leads me to the first of my least favorite books of 2015:

reduxI hated Rabbit Redux, the next book in the Rabbit Angstrom series, at least as much as I loved Rabbit, Run. It catches up with Harry a few years later, when he gets himself and his kid mixed up with druggy sexcapades, and it’s so extreme that it’s almost unreadable. It’s like DeLillo’s search for new extremes (usually involving the desert), but with moving people into his house with his kid and letting every single thing fall apart. It was painful, and it makes me not want to read any of the rest of the series for fear that Updike will continue to look for new extremes.

And here’s the second. I can’t leave this one out because this might be my least favorite of all time, and I’ve read a lot of books:


You know that movie we all love? Whatever you do, don’t read the book. It’s terrible and will ruin your childhood and possibly your entire life. For a point-by-point breakdown, read my review.

Well, there you have it! Hopefully I’ll be better about reading and reviewing books in 2016, but we’ll see how that goes, as Puppy.

2015 Book #15/42: Slade House

sladehousecoverI can’t end this year without talking about Slade House, David Mitchell‘s latest novel. It’s been out for a few months, but I just managed to get my hands on it and devour it.

But first (and briefly), I’ll explain the numbering in the title. Slade House is the 15th book I’ve reviewed on this blog this year but the 42nd book I’ve read (according to Goodreads). No, I’m not going to hit my goal of 50 this year, but I’ll talk about that later.

So. Slade House. It’s my fourth Mitchell novel. First came Cloud Atlas, then The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, then The Bone Clocks, all of which I’ve talked about here. Mitchell intrigues me, and Slade House has only added to my interest. At this rate, I’ll be a fanatic before long.

It’s a genre-bender: a supernatural mystery of sorts. Every nine years, something happens at Slade House, and each of these occurrences has its own story with its own first-person narrator. The first is a boy, brought there by his mother, who expects to meet musical society-types there, sort of reliving her past. The boy meets a new friend in the garden, and they play a game that ends in everything going strange – and eventually wrong. Nine years later, a policeman finds the house, and something similar happens. Every nine years, the same thing.

Of course, things eventually become more complicated, and we get closer and closer to figure out what’s really going on. So it’s basically a ghost story about a mysterious house, but since it’s David Mitchell, it’s not quite that simple, and it’s tied to some of his other books, especially The Bone Clocks. (The connections are bonus-level: you really don’t have to have read The Bone Clocks to know what’s going on.) It’s a super-fun quick read.

Mitchell has several other books that I haven’t read yet, but I liked Slade House enough that I’m going to move them up in my TBR Pile. I’ll do my best not to reread Cloud Atlas or The Bone Clocks anytime soon, but no promises. Since I’m reading relatively little right now, I’d like to stick to books I haven’t read.

Which all means that you should run to your local library or bookstore and get your hands on a copy of Slade House. You won’t regret it. I generally hate mysteries, but I guess the ghost story part was enough to hold my interest. And if you’ve read Bone Clocks, you definitely need to read it. Drop what you’re doing and go.

Featured image credit: Elliott Brown

I’m baaaaaack!

See, I told you I’d eventually come to my senses.

After taking off a little more than 6 months, I’m bringing the blog back. Why, you ask? Because it’s (about to be) a new year – and all I have to do is work, raise a puppy, and start library school! Wait.

The actual answer: It’s been long enough that I miss it. Writing about books also encourages me to read more of them, and I haven’t done enough reading lately. Not that that’s especially easy for me right now. And, really, we’ll see what happens after school starts. I’m hoping I still have time for puppy AND books, but if that turns out just to be puppy, there will at least be a lot of cute pictures. That’s something, right?

I’m not even going to try talking about all of the books I read but didn’t write about, but you can check out my ratings on Goodreads if you want an idea. And expect my usual list of likes and didn’t-likes to appear around the 1st of January. Also, expect a change of theme. Soon. I’ll be switching from Divi by Elegant Themes to Extra, a brand new one that I’ve been looking forward to for well over a year. We’re back in business! Wish me luck.

Finally, I’m not going to explain the dog story here, but here’s a video of Penny play-fighting with Shakespeare:

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