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A Literature Review (or, I suspect I read more when I didn't have to plan lessons) - She doesn't know what I do...
...but she knows who I am.
A Literature Review (or, I suspect I read more when I didn't have to plan lessons)
I have kept a list of the new books I read this year, which tallied up to sixty-four. Which is a perfectly respectable number and doesn't count the fact that I re-read a LOT this year.

Other interesting facts. Of these books:
- 53 were written by women, and only 11 by men
- 7 were written by New Zealanders (this number was, I imagine, larger in 2009, when I went on an Emily Perkins, Margaret Mahy, Maurice Gee binge)
- 36 were Young Adult or Children novels
- 9 were Georgette Heyer novels

Of these books, I found these particularly notable and interesting:

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I don't have anything to say that others haven't already said, but I do know that I couldn't stop reading it and then had to go and buy the sequel that day because I couldn't bear not knowing what happened next.

2. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
One of only a few pre-twentieth century novels on my list. I love Margaret Hale: she is fierce.

3. Ash by Malinda Lo
Wherein Cinderella is less than enamoured with the handsome prince because she's madly in love with his huntress. Lovely, lyrical writing.

4. The Year of the Shanghai Shark by Mo Zhi Hong
Clear, functional writing, fascinating characters and an interesting perspective on a place about which I know very little. One of the few books I read written by a man.

5. A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
My crush on Lorrie Moore continues apace. And it's about university and babysitting. I so rarely find books set during a time I have inhabited for five years.

6. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
Tiny Cooper! Tiny Cooper is the best character in the universe! Enjoyed John Green's parts a lot more - mostly because he uses capital letters.

7. 8th Grade Super Zero by Olugbenusola Rhuday Perkovich
Karen Healey says it best.

8. Possession by AS Byatt
Mostly notable because this book has been making me feel like a failure since I was fifteen-years-old and my English teacher recommended it to me ("I wouldn't normally recommend Byatt to a year eleven, but you willingly read Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung. I think you can handle it." I didn't like to say that the Wagner was solely because I was told there Lord of the Rings moments and I was a massive nerd). But yes. Very much enjoyed the unraveling mystery and I liked Roland a lot.

I may have skipped all the awful awful Victorian poetry. I have my limits.

9. Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan
Demons and romance and fighting evil and sword fights and literary allusions and kick-ass ladies!

10. Twelfth Night by Shakespeare
I have seen it performed but never read it and then I had to teach it to my year nines and I fell in love with Viola and Olivia and laughed a lot at Orsino (why are Shakespeare's males always less dreamy than his females?)

11. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Dickensian cons and harsh lifestyles and brutal situations and nightmare fuel (oh god, the asylum). But then also, the wonderful, true love of Maud and Sue.

12. The Crossing by Mandy Hagar
New Zealand dystopian literature that explores race and gender and religion, but in a Pasifika setting. Also, Mary was fierce as hell and I was impressed with how Hagar made me go from wanting one character to fall off a boat, to wanting him and Mary to start a grand romance in the sequel.

So there you have it. I completed my first book on 2011 an hour ago (One Day by David Nicholls) and plan to read more this year than I did last year.

What's the best book you read last year?

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13 comments or Leave a comment
labellementeuse From: labellementeuse Date: January 3rd, 2011 08:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I also liked the Sarah Rees Brennan books, a lot! IDK why everyone has such a big problem with the Levithan bits of WG,WG tho. I liked them, like a lot, but then I am ok with lack of caps and I loooove D.Levithan, so. It was tough because will grayson is SUCH a dick at times, but yeah.

Ash and Possession are on my list for this year!
aimeesworld From: aimeesworld Date: January 3rd, 2011 09:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I preferred Demon's Covenant because, Mae! But Demon's Lexicon is so ambitiously written and clever.

Most of my thing was that I really disliked will grayson. Wasn't particularly enamoured with Will Grayson either but I liked the characters associated with him more and his parts had more of a positivity about them.

Possession is actually great. Just can be a bit of a slog - Victorian poetry by imaginary poets can be a bit of a slog. And Ash is wonderful.
sherbert0lemon From: sherbert0lemon Date: January 3rd, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Georgette Heyer is my new fave. I read all of those Heyer books that you picked from the library for me, and now I just want to keep reading more and more. I really liked Cotillion and Devil's Cub.

Flag living in an Austen novel - Heyer all the way!
aimeesworld From: aimeesworld Date: January 10th, 2011 12:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Hahaha, I do not want to live in These Old Shades. But I am going to marry Frederica's little brother, Jessamy, so it'll work out well in a Heyer novel.
fadeintodawn From: fadeintodawn Date: January 4th, 2011 01:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I love Possession and thoroughly enjoyed the Hunger Games series. And I discovered Georgette Heyer in the past year, too!

My favorite books of the last year were probably Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, and The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti.
aimeesworld From: aimeesworld Date: January 10th, 2011 12:14 am (UTC) (Link)
I have read some Tim O'Brien and enjoyed him. I should probably read more, but I still have so much Lorrie Moore to read!
wacky_iraqi From: wacky_iraqi Date: January 4th, 2011 05:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Have you read 'Room' by Emma Donoghue? I didn't read it last year - I bought it yesterday and I've been whizzing through it. Amazing stuff.

It's about a little boy called Jack (age 5) and his mother, and they're locked inside a room and not allowed to leave. Based mildly on the Fritzl saga (but don't let that put you off) and told from Jack's point of view. It's just wonderful.
aimeesworld From: aimeesworld Date: January 10th, 2011 12:15 am (UTC) (Link)
No, I haven't. Sounds fascinating though, I'll look it up.
lovedayart From: lovedayart Date: April 14th, 2012 07:30 am (UTC) (Link)
it was superb but harrowing!
brokenwings07 From: brokenwings07 Date: January 6th, 2011 05:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Best books I read this year:
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Edinburgh - Alexander Chee

I can't think what else. They were all pretty good.
I read lots, but I haven't finished reviewing all of them *sigh*
brokenwings07 From: brokenwings07 Date: January 6th, 2011 05:58 am (UTC) (Link)
*last year
aimeesworld From: aimeesworld Date: January 10th, 2011 12:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I really love Jane Eyre at the moment (I go back and forth on it a lot) - mostly because Jane is such a fierce character. I have many issues with the romance though.

And also, Charlotte Bronte is a bit of a dick.
lovedayart From: lovedayart Date: April 14th, 2012 07:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Jane Eyre is one of my all-time faves.
13 comments or Leave a comment