Hello, folks. Another year gone, time for new goals to fail and new resolutions to forget about. A clean slate. But first – a quick flashback.
This year I technically failed my reading goal. I actually stopped going onto Goodreads in order to avoid their constant “You are nine books behind!” shaming. I had to overcome a broken ankle, a crazy exam, but more importantly – really long books. Like, reeeeally long. In 2016 I read 24 books that totaled to about 9200 pages. In 2017 I read 16 (!!) books that totaled to about 8500 pages. That’s an average book length of 572 pages (because, as we all know, Goodreads doesn’t only like shaming, they also like providing you with very detailed statistics about everything you do). That’s a difference of eight books between the two years but only 700 pages. Allow me to be impressed. Sixteen is a new low for me, and one I hope to never sink down to again, but if you go for sixteen, at least do it with style, ya know?
So what did we have?
I have not forgotten about my last W&P post, don’t worry. I’ve just started a new job recently and it’s a bit difficult to get around to. However, my success has awakened something inside of me, which brings me on to the big question up top: Which English Crime and Punishment translation is most recommended? I have the Garnett one but my weekend of Internet research seems to disagree. In case it matters, I read Louise and Alymer Maude for W&P and it seemed fine.
SOS to Russian lit fans. Lemme know.
This week I bought a bunch of books online. Only, of course, after committing to not doing so a couple of weeks back. So much for that. Well, anyway, I thought I’d share with you all my newest additions to the already double shelved bookcases. This would also be a good time to recommend a website called The Book Depository for all you international folks out there. An angel sent to Earth in the form of a bookstore salesperson told me about it a couple of years ago, and life’s never been the same. So when the lovely second hand book stores fail you, go ahead. They sell brand new, very reasonably priced books with FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING. Yep. You heard correctly. No more of that $12.99 Amazon bullshit.
Yay! Another Top Ten Tuesday! (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)
I’m changing this up a bit and including
- New To Me Authors that I Plan On Looking For More of Their Books
- Old to Me Authors that I Discovered Before 2013 and Read More of In 2013
in order to make this more interesting. Furthermore, I won’t be writing too much about each book because due to December entailing an awful lot of “summary” and “yearly review” posts I end up repeating myself a whole lot more than I’d like to. Alright? Alright.
New To Me Authors that I Plan On Looking For More of Their Books
- Eshkol Nevo – I need to read more Hebrew, and since I loved World Cup Wishes (משאלה אחת ימינה) I’ll definitely be looking for more good books by this incredible man. (World Cup Wishes)
- Emma Donoghue – Discovered her through Room, which is now one of my favorite books. (Room, Landing)
- Tom Perrotta – great writing, very enjoyable reading. (Little Children)
- Mohsin Hamid – (The Reluctant Fundamentalist)
Old to Me Authors that I Discovered Before 2013 and Read More of In 2013
- George Orwell – loved Animal Farm last year, read 1984 this year. (Animal Farm, 1984)
- Libba Bray – genius. Just… genius. (Going Bovine, Beauty Queens)
- John Verdon – my friend recommended Think of a Number to me last year, we both loved it. When Shut Your Eyes Tight came out she spent ages trying to get me to read it till in January she got it for me for my brithday and said “that’s it. you have no excuses.” Took me eight months to get to it, three to actually read. (Think of a Number, Shut Your Eyes Tight)
- Douglas Adams – To save y’all the repetitiveness, this guy is my inspiration, love, lord and savior. Basically. (Hitchhiker’s Guide Series 1-5, Dirk Gentley’s Hollistic Detective Agency, *Douglas Adam’s Starship Titanic: A Novel By Terry Jones)
- David Levithan – inspired my writing this year. (Will Grayson Will Grayson, How They Met & Other Stories)
What new authors have you all discovered? Do you plan on reading more of their books? Are there authors you discovered before 2013 and read even more of this year?
“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
Part two of my 3 part survey series! (sounds fancy when you put it that way). Credit, of course, to the wonderful lady at Perpetual Page Turner and her post, which can be found at – 4th Annual End of Year Book Survey.
- Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?
- Little Children by Tom Perrotta
- Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
- Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman
- Most memorable character in 2013?
Not too sure about this one. Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gentley is definitely a memorable guy, but I’m going to go with Ram Mohammad Thomas from Q & A by Vikas Swarup. It’s usually easier to connect to the character telling the story, and Ram’s is told beautifully – due to both content and writing.
- Most beautifully written book read in 2013?
Room by Emma Donoghue. The entire story is written from the point of view of a five year old boy. It’s a chilling, calmingly scary story and the POV makes it both creepier and more beautiful. The idea to tell a story through a character that doesn’t understand what’s going on most of the time is absolutely brilliant, and the writing is fantastic. World Cup Wishes (משאלה אחת ימינה) by Eshkol Nevo is pretty close though, maybe even just as great.
- Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?
Room by Emma Donoghue. The story was so intense it was hard to break out of the mood for a couple of days at least, if not more. I read the entire book in around twenty four hours and I was so into it that when I finished returning to the world felt like I’d fallen out of the sky and landed head first on the ground. Unfortunately, I also realized just how… how not-so-outta-this-world kidnapping is, which was not a very great conclusion to reach around the same time the news was filled with stories about the Castro kidnapper.
I feel like it’s also neccesary to mention David Levithan’s How We Met & Other Stories because one of the stories in it inspired my very first proper short story, that was followed by another four over the course of the year. It’s the short story I read at a talent show in New Hampshire this summer, that led to a fellow writer telling me I inspired her and writing a poem about me. It really affected me, and has immense impact on my writing and on my feelings about being a writer in general.
- Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?
I don’t think I have an answer for this one. I guess 1984 could qualify, but on the other hand I’m very glad I read it at this certain point in my life, so it doesn’t really answer the question.
- Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?
- “Yes, expenses were, well, expensive in the Bahamas, Mrs. Sauskind, it is in the nature of expenses to be so. Hence the name.” – Terry Jones, Starship Titanic
- The Electric Monk’s day was going tremendously well and he broke into an excited gallop. That is to say that, excitedly, he spurred his horse to a gallop and, unexcitedly, his horse broke into it. – Terry Jones, Starship Titanic
- “Well, yes. But it takes a village to raise a child, as they say in Africa… If you’ve got a village. But if you don’t, then maybe it just takes two people.” – Room, Emma Donoghue
- “You’re afraid of monsters, aren’t you?””It depends on the monster, if it’s a real one or not and if it’s where I am.” – Room, Emma Donoghue
- “I don’t know,” says Ma. “How could he not? If he’s the least bit human…” I thought humans were or weren’t, I didn’t know someone could be a bit human. Then what are his other bits? – Room, Emma Donoghue
- Lucy had a good brain even though she had lived all her life in LA. Despite the continual exposure to carbon monoxide and people from the film industry, she had remained smart. – Terry Jones, Starship Titanic
- Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. So short yet so good. Shut Your Eyes Tight by John Verdon. Took me three months (minus 3 days, longest time I’ve every spent on on book in all of my almost 17 years on this planet.
*I’ve decided to cut this at seven questions because of length considerations, expect the remaining ten in the last part!
This week’s TTT topic, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR. Winter in Israel isn’t very… wintery, nor is it very long. Our seasons can pretty much be summed up into SUMMER and KIND OF COLDISH SUMMER. It’s currently in the 60s and it’s rained maybe three times, lasting no more than an hour each. So yeah. No winter. However, seasons have nothing to do with my reading and seeing as there’s a fixed TEN spots for this list the length of said nonexistent winter does not matter! Yay!
Also, I’ve just looked up the list for 2014’s Eclectic Reader’s Challenge. It’s in its third year, and so far I’ve failed the previous two, but I’m determined to complete 2012’s this year and do 2013 along with 2014 next year. This means making a plan and starting early – two things I keep not doing and keep failing because of. Here’s my list, paired with the category it fits into. 2014 is the year in which I FINALLY SUCCEED IN COMPLETING MY OWN CHALLENGES GODAMMIT. *ERC 2013 *ERC 2014
Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR
- Wish Me Away – Chely Wright (memoir, 2013)
- Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell (published in 2013, 2013)
- Wide Awake – David Levithan (lgbt, 2013)
- World War Z – Max Brooks (made into movie, 2013)
- Zombie Survival Guide – Max Brooks (humour, 2013)
- The Boyfriend App – Katie Sise
- Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven – Susan Jane Gilman (travel-non fiction, 2014)
- Aristole and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Saenz (award winning, 2014)
- One Handed Catch – MJ Auch
- Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury (alternative history fiction, 2014)
Failing is one of my greatest talents. I have managed to fail pretty much every reading challenge I took on this year. 2014 SHALL BE DIFFERENT… I hope. So here’s an organized plan that includes books I’ve been wanting to read anyway, which should help it feel natural, as opposed to forced, and keep me on track. Hopefully this all works.
On Sunday Perpetual Page Turner posted her 4th Annual End of Year Book Survey and reading her post made me want to write up my own, and by doing so finally returning to blogging. The year isn’t over yet but since I’ve given up on completing both Eclectic Reader’s Challenges and I’m so busy I’ve decided to only finish the 2012 one which requires finishing my current – Shut Your Eyes Tight by John Verdon, and reading a horror book – most likely Thomas Harris’s Silence of the Lambs. If I decide to include either of those in the post I’ll edit it. For now, this is it.
(I’m going to be splitting the post into THREE parts, each answering NINE questions..)
- Best Book You Read In 2013?
Oh god. What’s with all of the “favorite” questions?! You guys know I can never answer these! I’m terrible at choosing just one. Let’s try narrowing it to… Top 5 *not in any particular order.
- World Cup Wishes (משאלה אחת ימינה) – Eshkol Nevo
- Beauty Queens – Libba Bray
- Room – Emma Donoghue
- 84, Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff
- Q & A – Vikas Swarup
- 2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. It was my second attempt at horror, following last year’s Cell by Stephen King which I didn’t even finish out of boredom. Unfortunately, it wasn’t much better. I just wasn’t… scared. It’s part of the Hannibal Lecter series and it was supposed to be terrifying and it wasn’t. Definitely disappointing.
- Most surprising (in agood way!) book of 2013?
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff.The book is an epistolary novel and I haven’t read many of those because I somewhere early on developed a dislike for them. My mom recommended this one to me and since it was short I gave it a try and fell in love. It’s a wonderful book and manages to deliver a very powerful story in so few words.
- Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?
I guess this would be a tie between two – Eshkol Nevo’s World Cup Wishes (משאלה אחת ימינה) and Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. I ended up buying both books, on seperate occasions, as birthday gifts. Or was it both of them for one person? Not sure. Anyway, both absolutely wonderful and both highly recommended by me to any living creature with reading abilities.
- Best series you discovered in 2013?
The only two books I read that are part of a series are Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon (1/4 Hannibal Lecter franchise) and Dirk Gentley’s Hollistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (one of two Dirk Gentley novels). Both were pretty disappointing compared with my expectations. Douglas Adams did live up to his God of all Writers status I have in my brain so in that sense he was the best, but neither were fantastic.
- Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?
Definitely Eshkol Nevo. I rarely read Hebrew and I will definitely be reading more of his books now.
- Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
1984 by George Orwell. First dystopian novel! I think it’ll take a while before I get used to the kind of book endings that go with this genre. That kind of simultaniously satisfying and unsatisfying and ugh I wanna hug the writer but also kill him kind of thing.
- Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?
Room by Emma Donoghue. Read it in two days. I have no words to describe my love for this pile of paper, or in this case electronic text cause I read it on my Kindle during my book craze week in June.
- Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Hm. This is a tough one. I’m gonna go with 1984 by George Orwell just because it seems like the kind of book that needs to be read more than once. I didn’t care much for the plot and the characters but the whole political and social aspect is what got my attention.
It’s cool to go over my reading log for the year and see what different things I’ve read this year and look at them through these questions. Twenty seven questions in one post is definitely too much so rather than bombard y’all with a ton of info all at once I’ll make a three part series for the survey instead. That way I can answer more at length and you guys have more patience to read it all.
If anyone else wants to do the survey or has already done it be sure to credit Jamie @ Perpetual Page Turner and please comment with a link to your own post so we can all see your choices too!
Hey folks! Another Tuesday has arrived, and with it another The Broke and the Bookish Top Ten Tuesday meme post! However, I’d decided to stray from the offered topic and to COMBINE two from the old ones I’ve never done instead! As I’ve mentioned ENDLESS times before, I haven’t been reading many series lately and so I feel like this week’s topic of best/worst series endings isn’t very relevant for me. Instead, I’ve decided to go with
Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors + Top Ten Books For People Who Liked X Author
And create the hybrid I’m now titling – Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors and Their Best Book I’ve Read
*best book shall be colored in a lovely blue
Let’s get to it!
- Douglas Adams – anyone who’s been following me for over a week will probably have noticed this man’s name come up… quite a bit. No need to elaborate – he’s mentioned all over my posts. The man is a genius. His writing is freaking fantastic. Books I’ve read: Hitchiker’s Guide Series (1-5), Dirk Gentley’s Hollistic Detective Agency, *Douglas Adam’s Starship Titanic – A Novel By Terry Jones – The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
- Libba Bray – enjoyed Going Bovine, fell in love during Beauty Queens. Bought two more of her books when I was in the US in August, can’t wait to get to ’em. Books I’ve read: Going Bovine, Beauty Queens – Beauty Queens
- John Green – his books basically define my favorite genre. Sophisticated Young Adult, I like to call it. I have to admit, I’m kind of sick of the whole intellectual teen type thing, but he just does it so well. Books I’ve read: Will Grayson, Will Grayson, The Fault in Our Stars – TFiOS (although WGWG was wonderful, but I think it’s less… likeable by most, as opposed to TFiOS which was literally loved by every human who ever read it)
- Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket – read Series of Unfortunate Events in 3rd grade, rediscovered him as a young adult writer sometime last year. Another author where the writing matters more than the plot. Books I’ve read: Series of Unfortunate Events (1-12.5), Why We Broke Up, The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming – Why We Broke Up
- JK Rowling – got A Casual Vacancy the day after it came out – only b/c I assumed it wouldn’t come out in Israel the very same day it did in England. Gotta say it kinda threw me off JK – the writing was wonderful, the plot bore me to death. The week I finally gave up on it I read FIVE WHOLE OTHER BOOKS and rediscovered my Kindle and its wonders. Now I’m slightly more hesitant with her, not gonna lie. Books I’ve read: Harry Potter Series (1-7), 1/3 of A Casual Vacancy – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
- Jodi Picoult – again, one I’ve cooled down with. I had a crazy Picoult stage after I read My Sister’s Keeper and then recognized her name on Plain Truth at the library I never visit and hate. After that I devoured her books, and I own nearly ten, I think, although I kind of took a break from her, she got sort of… repetative with her style and endings and I kind of lost interest – although that didn’t stop me from continuing to buy her work. Might return soon. Books I’ve read: My Sister’s Keeper, Plain Truth, Nineteen Minutes, The Pact, The Tenth Circle, House Rules – My Sister’s Keeper
- Daniel Levithan – insta-love after Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Books I’ve read – Will Grayson, Will Grayson, How We Met & Other Stories – Will Grayson, Will Grayson (I refuse to let John Green outshine him)
- Stephanie Perkins – I’ll admit, I’ve only read one of hers, but there was something really simple and easy to like about it. If I come across more, I’ll definitely check ’em out. Books I’ve read: Anna and the French Kiss – obvious.
Well, what did y’all think of my hybrid? Feel free to use it on your own blog, or create your own hybrids for those Tuesdays where the theme just doesn’t fit your needs! Share any of my choices? Have good ones of your own? Lemme know, and if some of mine were new go try them out – I gaurantee fantastic-ness for all of them!
This week’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you as usual by the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish is:
Top Ten Book Turn-Offs
This topic reminds me of the one we did a while back regarding book COVER turnoffs, though this one has to do with plots. To make it more interesting I’m also going to include certain plot-lines that usually affect my liking of certain characters.
- Cheating – I find it very hard to like cheaters in books. Tom Perrotta’s Little Children proved to me that this isn’t exactly 100% true, but I do struggle with liking people once I know they’ve cheated.
- Bad Boy Falls for Nerdy Girl – these aren’t nessecarily bad, there are just WAY too many of them and they tend to all follow the same template. Repetitive? No thanks.
- Girl’s Entire World is Saved by Guy – I mean this not in the supernatural sense, but in the oh-I’m-so-clumsy-and-weak-and-silly-I-need-a-man-to-save-me sense. (ahem ahem Twilight?) I don’t mind infatuation, I just don’t really think books that perpetuate the stereotypical weak woman needing a man are very good for promoting progress and change in society, and that’s one of the things books are supposed to do.
- Historical – again, not 100% true, but I tend to go for more modern stories. I’m not a big fan of historical fiction. I’d say most of the stories in the books I read take place no more than… thirty years ago. I like feeling like I’m in the character’s world and recognize things that relate to myself. I mean, you can “get lost” in historical novels as well, but for example one thing I found lovely in the Pretty Little Liars series was that they’d suddenly mention some famous singer or movie and I’d be like OHMYGODTHAT’SFROMREALLIFE and it was great.
- Absent Parents – at least give us an explanation! Maybe they don’t care much, work late, are busy, etc. But there is NO way a teenager spends an entire novel not mentioning them even ONCE. I know there’s a spectrum for parental involvement, but even when they aren’t there they still exist in the kid’s brain – so SAY SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
- Very Big Books – I’ve mentioned this multiple times on this blog, my downward spiral from big-book-lover child to -big-book-coward… older person. I feel like big books are this huge burden, this huge commitment and that I’ll never ever finish them. The Kindle has actually helped with that, not seeing the book in pyhsical form makes it easier mentally to take on, despite the length.
- Long Series – something I used to love and no longer do. When I read a series I read it in proper order and straight through, so taking on long series means committing to something specific for a very long time and I don’t like doing that.
- Very Long Nature Descriptions – no thanks. Everyone told me The Hobit’s full of ’em, but it turned out pretty okay. I understand the desire to create a believable setting, but sometimes it’s just too much.
- Sci-fi Books That Break Their Own Universe Rules – I’m perfectly alright with stories taking place in fictional worlds, but if there’s a set of rules in said universe YOU. MUST. STICK. TO. THEM. You CANNOT break your rules for the sake of a plot-line, even if you’re the one who wrote them. No. It makes it seem messy, not well thought through and hard to believe. Stop it.
- Tiny Font – tiny font can make even the smallest book feel like #6 Very Big Books. Why must you print so tiny? It makes me give up before I’ve even started. Plus, not a big fan of squinting, thank you very much.
So, that’s it! This was actually an interesting one… y’all should give it a go! Lemme know your answers – link, comment, whatever. Go go go!