Friday, 2 January 2015

2014's Most and Least Enjoyed

With 2014 now finally over, it's time for my annual list of the books I enjoyed the most - and the least - over the last year.

2014 wasn't quite so heavy on quantity (working too bloody hard took care of that, along with some new responsibilities and a bunch of books that clocked in at the 1000-page mark) but it did also feature a lot more that I enjoyed (probably due to no longer downloading as many Kindle freebies. They're free for a reason, it seems) and so, without further ado, let's take a look at 'em, shall we?

(Click for full reviews of each)

Most Enjoyed

1. Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell
Quite simply, I fell head over heals for Eleanor and Park this year, and so should you.

2. Lancaster & York: The Wars of the Roses, by Alison Weir
The most vivid, fascinating and comprehensive education I could have wished for. Bring on the quizzes!

3. Mauritius Command & Desolation Island, by Patrick O'Brian
Numbers 4 & 5 in the continued adventures of Jack Aubrey and his BFF Dr Stephen Maturin, and they just keep getting better and better (and my crush on Stephen gets worse and worse)

4. Necropolis: London & Its Dead, by Catharine Arnold
A brilliantly readable look at how London has dealt with its dead through the ages, that had a wealth of astonishing facts to tell.

5. Beyond Lies The Wub, by Philip K Dick
A collection of Dick's short stories, than housed zero duds.

6. Small Favor & Changes, by Jim Butcher
I tore through everything remaining in the Dresden Files this year, finding each as fun and fantastic as the last, but these two well and truly raised the stakes and nearly made my head explode with glee.

7. House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton
Reading like Jane Austen's older, more scathing, worldly-wise and scandalous cousin, House of Mirth was what might have been had one of Jane's heroines not managed to snag a husband.

8. Stiff: the Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach
An informative and funny (yes, really!) book that gave me plenty of food for thought, but be warned as if you're at all squeamish it may also give you plenty to throw up about.

9. Storm, by Tim Minchin
A late entry but managing to storm (ba-dum tish!) into my top 10 by giving me plenty of stuff to throw back at people wanking on about bollocks.

10. The Red Queen, by Philippa Gregory
Not only a sequel that betters its predecessor, but a look at a formidable lady from the Lancaster side. A formidable and very, very bitter lady.

With honourable mentions to Tesla, The Princes in the Tower, and The Robber Bride.

Least Enjoyed

The second in a trilogy about King Arthur, this one managed to ensure I will never read the third thanks to the rage-gasms it inspired.

The start to a paranormal series starring a crap version of Constantine and a crap cop who between them completely mangle the English language, bicker constantly and work my last fucking nerve. 

A lesson in why you should always read the synopsis before buying a book.

4. Legends of the Chelsea Hotel, by Ed Hamilton
Definitely breaching the promise of 'legends', Hamilton decided to ignore the more famous residents in favour of reporting fascinating anecdotes about eavesdropping on boring conversations, amongst other gems.

5. Dead Witch Walking, by Kim Harrison
At no point did the heroine of this book die, which was unfortunate as she was one of the more irritating 'heroines' I've ever had the misfortune of reading about.

6. Space Captain Smith, by Toby Frost
I think this book was supposed to be funny. It wasn't.

7. Moving Pictures, by Terry Pratchett
I'm still trying to become a fan of the Discworld series. But while every now and then there is a good entry, so far many have been more like this.

8. Runemarks, by Joanne Harris
Featuring lots of Norse gods, this ought to have been right up my street, but it sadly squandered its potential.

9. Hotel Babylon, by Imogen Edwards-Jones
Making me quite certain I don't ever want to stay in a top hotel, as they're exclusively populated by pricks.

10. The Way Home, by George Pelecanos
Another lesson: Don't buy books just because it has 'by one of the award winning writers of The Wire' on its cover.

What about you? What blew your mind this year, and what made you wish you'd never learnt to read in the first place? 

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