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Wanda's Book Reviews

I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles.  (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).

Currently reading

A Book of Spirits and Thieves
Morgan Rhodes
A Crown of Swords
Robert Jordan
Progress: 203/880 pages
Lisa Moore

Review of the 2014 Reading Year

Total number of books read: 116

5 star books: 7

4 star books: 48

3 star books: 51

2 star books: 8

1 star books: 1

Unrated books: 1

Nonfiction: 27

Female authors: 39

Total no. of pages : 36,894


Books read from the NPR list of classic sci-fi & fantasy: 30


Best Books of 2014

River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Empire Antarctica by Gavin Francis

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Among Others by Jo Walton

My Real Children by Jo Walton

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson


Book I was excited about & thought I was going to love more but didn’t

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. This book had everything in it that should have made it every bit as enchanting as Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, but I just didn’t get into it that much. Enjoyed it, but not hugely. I was really disappointed in the ending and I guess I have picked up the prejudice from my real-life book club—no more cancer books, please!


Favourite new author discovered in 2014

Hands down, Jo Walton (she wrote two of the books which feature in my best books of 2014).


Best book from a genre I don’t typically read/was out of my comfort zone

Maus by Art Spiegelman. My first encounter with the graphic novel. Also, outside my comfort zone in subject matter (Holocaust).


Most memorable character of 2014

Mark Watney of Andy Weir’s The Martian. For one thing, I can actually remember the main character’s name without consulting my notes—which means he made an impression. Plus, he was remarkably funny during a serious situation and a very resourceful character. Loved him!


Most beautifully written book read in 2014

River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay. Kay was my new favourite author from 2013, when I read Under Heaven for my real-life book club. Needless to say, more of his works are on my 2015 reading list!


Most thought-provoking/life changing book of 2014

It would have to be Crow Lake by Mary Lawson. Some of the events in the novel mirrored events in my own life and triggered more thought about my personal history than any other fiction that I have encountered. Wonderful new angles on an old problem.


Book I can’t believe I waited until 2014 to finally read

The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve been a Tolkien fan since my early teens and although I attempted this book several times during earlier decades, I finally must be old enough to appreciate it.


Shortest and Longest book I read in 2014

I think my shortest book was The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The runner up: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The longest book was definitely Dhalgren by Samuel Delaney. Runner up was Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon.


Best book I read in 2014 based solely on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure

The Bees by Laline Paull. This book would never have entered my consciousness if not for my GoodReads friends, who were reading it, reviewing it, and giving it high marks. Although it didn’t make it into my top 10 for 2014, it is certainly one of the honourable mentions.


Book I regret reading (AKA the worst of 2014)

Good Advice from Bad People by Zac Bissonnette. An excellent idea, but not nearly as amusing as it should have been.  Ironic, isn't it, that my most regretted book was one in the Self-help genre.