19 Books in 2014

Turns out I fell short of my “Read 30 Books in 2014” goal.

Here’s what I read (not in order of when I read it):

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
I started this book in 2013, it was given to me by JP’s dad. The parts about grief were a slog for me to get through – necessary to the story but it just took me time. It’s now a film and I’ll probably go watch it. It’s gotten me thinking a lot about hiking and next year I’d like to plan an overnight hiking trip. Overall, I liked it.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
I am not sure how I feel about this book, it’s a very British-y world war 1&2 type book – which I honestly find pretty boring. At first, I didn’t like the repetitive nature of how it was written but then I thought it was interesting how the readers’ memory ended up paralleling experiences of the protagonists déjà vu regarding which life she was in. Not sure if it was intentional, but if so, it’s a brilliant style idea. Ultimately, I think it could have been shorter in length and I felt it leaned too hard on sad/sappy outcomes.

The GoldFinch by Donna Tartt
I really liked parts of this book, I found the protagonist interesting and tragic but failed to connect with him when he got older. There were some fantastic events that were unbelievable but I didn’t mind it. The end was a bit too cinematic feeling, but it still surprised me. I liked how her writing style changes depending on location and characters.

Eeeee Eee eeee by Tao Lin
This book was weird and funny and read like a zine. The main character kept talking about killing everyone, but it was funny and non-chalant and I felt like those weird subconscious thoughts are probably really similar to weird, young, introverted dudes that play too many “shooter” video games. I liked the fantastical parts with the Dolphins and bears. I didn’t like how it ended, seemed too loose — like the author didn’t want to be definitive but in a lame way.

Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams
I was searching for a book about Machu Picchu that was a fun, light vacation read — this was perfect. I learned a Wikipedia-basic understanding of the history of Macchu Picchu. It’s written by a dorky journalist who played a good comedic foil to many of the historical characters referred to in his search to understand Machu Picchu. Recommend for anyone, also inspired me to start hiking regularly.

How Should a Person Be? By Sheila Heti
I read this book at the beginning of the year and found it to be really funny with some sadder/reflective tangents. I think it also helps that I probably hang out in similar social circles as the protagonist in this novel – art-wise and friend-wise. Oh, also the protagonist has a super weird/intense sex-based relationship with someone that creeped me out.

The Handmaiden’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
This is one of those books that I felt like I should have read when I was a teenager. I hammered through a few of Atwood’s books that were written in the 80s at that point in my life. It was good and I can see why people made a big deal about it at the time. Now it seems old timey futuristic.

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
I liked this book but it could have been edited down a bit. I think I have a soft spot for memoir-ish books. I am not a fan of how Atwood likes to throw ephemera at the beginning of some chapters. It probably reads worse on a kindle. She had a similar male character in her books that cropped up in a Handmaiden’s Tale, sort of this brutish, hard-luck hobo type. Wonder if he appears in her other stories or whether she’s even aware that she is repeating this side character.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie
This book was motivating to read in the sense that it’s one of his first novels. His stories are gut-wrenching and I like them but I had to take multiple breaks between reading them.

The Rules of Attraction by Brett Easton Ellis
I read this after watching American Psycho, again. I realized I never read any of his books before. He was a really popular writer to read back when I was in my early to mid 20s probably because his characters were of similar age. I thought his style would be more pulpy or hipster-y but it wasn’t what I expected. Which is good.

Trap Lines by Eden Robinson
I read Monkey Beach a couple of years ago and read more about her other writing. She wrote this novel for her masters project which is super cool. You can see I’m reading a lot by authors when they were first starting out. I loved Monkey Beach, I wasn’t as in love with some of the characters in this book but I think she’s a terrific writer and look forward to reading more by her.

The Sasquatch at Home by Eden Robinson
This book is a great short read that talks about how you can write about culture and tradition without being blasphemous or tokenizing it. She has a really funny anecdotal story of when she goes medicine picking with an elder.

Godless but Loyal to Heaven by Richard Van Camp
A variety of different characters, voices and tones. I liked most of the short stories. The kid that gets made fun of for wearing his clothing to bed stuck with me. Probably because I fall asleep in my clothing way too often.

The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
I’m skeptical of these advice-y/girl power books but I also haven’t given them a chance. This one is really great for the first half of it. Nothing rocket science about it, but it was almost like a friend patting me on the back telling me that it’s normal to have anxiety about failure, and what to do to combat it.

The Days of Augusta (poetry by Augusta Tappage)
Photographer, Henri Robideau, gave me this book. It was really nice of him. It’s kind of an interesting poetry book, the text is great but it’s mostly transcribed and formed into poetry by the editor. The editor and Augusta had a positive relationship with one another, sharing lots of knowledge and stories. I read it at an event a while ago, a lot of discussion came out regarding authorship which I found interesting.

Rookie: Yearbook 1
This book has a lot of cool interviews with actors, writers and comic artists. It’s designed by Sonja Ahlers, who I love. I can’t believe how young the editor is.

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt
This book is hilarious and I really liked the writing style. It’s very surreal, not going to try and describe it, just go read it.

A Storm of Swords by some dude.
It took me forever to get through this. It’s kind of ridiculous.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
A book I probably should have read when I was younger. It was very sweet and I liked it a lot.

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