2014 Year-End Review: A Belated Post

How now, multiverse?

2015 was a stealthy little bugger. We’ve failed to write anything new this year, because LIFE, but we promise we’ve been reading!

KUBI:

Here, belatedly, are Kubi’s favorite books for 2014:

2014-favorite-reads-kubi

  1. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  2. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
  3. Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig
  4. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
  5. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  6. Edge of Tomorrow by Hiroshi Sakurazaka
  7. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
  8. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
  9. Mourning Diary by Roland Barthes
  10. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
  11. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
  12. Levels of Life by Julian Barnes
  13. The Prestige by Christopher Priest
  14. The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
  15. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

HANNA:

Here, belatedly, are my favorites for 2014:

2014-favorite-reads-hanna

A huge chunk of last year was spent hoarding books, worrying about shelf space, attempting to restrain my impulses, devouring YA novels like cake, and making feeble attempts at writing substantial posts.

I had the good fortune to find and hold in my hands some of the most gorgeous works of art such as a signed first edition of Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art by Christopher Moore, which is a thing of beauty and a rollicking good read, and Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence by Nick Bantock. Someone at work thrust the latter into my hands after learning that I love to read, and I’ve been in love with this series ever since. Nick Bantock is one of my favorite visual artists, and it’s always a delightful treat to find his books on display.

Another one of my favorite artists is Chip Kidd, who is responsible for some of the most clever and unforgettable book covers. I am always in awe of Chip Kidd’s work, and he did a masterful job with the art direction and design of The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami. It is a deliciously terrifying book, and I loved everything about it.

Sometimes, you come across a book that seems thoroughly in tune with your thoughts that it seems as if the universe conspired to have you read it at that particular moment, just when you needed it the most. Both The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen and Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba cut me from all angles and provided a much needed catharsis. These books are two of my favorite things on this planet, and I thank my lucky stars that they have made their way into my little corner of the world.

2014 also took me on a wild romp across space and time with stellar fantasy novels such as the unbefuckinglievably fantastic Vicious by V.E. Schwab, and the wonderfully silly Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor provided a satisfying conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, which introduced me to Karou and her magnificence.

I was fucking stunned by the sheer genius of The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. I love Locke and the Gentlemen Bastards with all of my heart, but I especially love the book’s language, wit, and magnificent cussing. Scott Lynch is a word painter, and I can only dream of writing something as perfect as this:

“Some day, Locke Lamora,” he said, “some day, you’re going to fuck up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will shit comets with glee. And I just hope I’m still around to see it.”

Speaking of sublime writing, I loved Just Kids by Patti Smith for its shockingly beautiful prose, and I underlined the bejeezus out of Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. I savored every gorgeously written sentence of Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation, which provided heartbreakingly beautiful vignettes about a long relationship and a faltering marriage. I unabashedly adored The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin for its charm, exploration of relationships, and emphasis on books and reading. Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger is damn near perfection, and I will always be in awe of how each story was written in such easy grace.

Finally, Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor was the perfect happy potion for a year in shambles. It is every bit as lovely and magical as it sounds. Laini Taylor has a beautiful way with words, and I devoured all of it with great relish.

It fills me with pleasure that I didn’t miss any of these books, each of which is a gift to this world, and made last year a little bit nicer.

Advertisements
2014 Year-End Review: A Belated Post

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It’s a fun way to keep track of current reads and to find out what other people have been reading. There is a linky thing at the end of the post, so go forth, visit new reading blogs, and add to your to-read list!

monday reads

KUBI

How now, weblings? Hanna has been holding down the fort while I keep my head down to write for school. Things are Coming Along, but I still have many miles to go before I sleep. This is a quick break before the week begins in earnest.

Love in the Time of Cholera

I’m currently reading Love in the Time of Cholera to mourn the death of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. My copy was a birthday gift from my folks on my 20th birthday, so it’s basically been on my TBR for nearly a decade. I regret that I waited this long to read it, but wonder if that might somehow be appropriate for the occasion.

I didn’t expect it to be funny at all, but found myself chortling in mingled embarrassment and delight, pitchy oh-my-gods squeezed out of my constricted throat, watching Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza plunge feverishly, clumsily into love. In this sampling, he hands her his first letter:

Florentino Ariza, with a white camellia in his lapel, crossed the street and stood in front of her. He said: “This is the greatest moment of my life.” Fermina Daza did not raise her eyes to him…

“Give it to me,” she said.

…She raised the embroidery frame so he could put the letter on it, for she could not admit that she had noticed the trembling of his fingers. Then it happened: a bird shook himself among the leaves of the almond trees, and his droppings fell right on the embroidery.

Ah, the humiliation of young love. I am completely won over when it is finally pointed out that “the symptoms of love [are] the same as those of cholera.” I’m reading slowly – a chapter at a time – for fear that my pre-occupied brain will miss something.

zweig anderson

On Ender (my Kindle), I have The Society of Crossed Keys, a collection of Stefan Zweig’s writing that served as the inspiration for Wes Anderson’s most recent confection The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Since I last wrote here, I finished The Year Of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor, and Tiny Beautiful Things: Lessons on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed. One of these days, I’ll write a special post just for these books because they proved me wrong when I was sure I would never finish a book again. They each struck a chord in me, and I want to hear the rest of the song.

Here are a couple of the books I intend to read in the near-ish future:

catton et al

  • Case Histories by Kate Atkinson: I give the woman love whenever I come across her books at the store. It’s not yet a full-blown operation, but yes, it seems I’m procuring her entire oeuvre. That’s just how much I love Life After Life.
  • Torch by Cheryl Strayed: I’d been thinking about this book since finishing Tiny Beautiful Things, and ended up finding it in a used bookstore this weekend. I also own Wild, so I definitely have a lot of Cheryl Strayed in my future.
  • The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton: When a girl my age wins the Man Booker Prize, it is practically a given to obsess about her. I want to give her debut a shot before I even attempt her epic The Luminaries.

HANNA

Salutations, beautiful creatures!

Last week was a blur of days spent sifting through piles of work, frolicking outside to thwart the evil forces of the sun, catching up on sleep, stocking up on snackage, hanging out with the crazy mother before she flies back to work, discovering a shared obsession with the cousin, and preparing a feast for the senses for the father’s birthday.

As for my reading exploits, I have just finished reading The Doll’s House, which is the second volume in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman.

I have to say that I’m really glad that I started re-reading this series. I devoured it when I was still a little bit too young, but my mind was blown in every way possible. Reading it slowly this time around made me appreciate everything about it even more. It also reinforced my adoration for Gaiman’s work and the crazy inner workings of his twisted mind.

The Doll's House

Reading Laini Taylor’s Lips Touch: Three Times was a heady experience. I am absolutely in love with her prose, and her use of words and description is sheer genius. It’s a collection of two short stories and a novella, which revolve around a kiss.

This book was enchanting, and I savored every word of it like relishing a piece of the best damn chocolate in the entire universe.

Lips Touch

My favorite story is Goblin Fruit, which centers on a girl named Kizzy and her utmost desires. Its first few lines were so seductive that I just had to keep on reading:

There is a certain kind of girl the goblins crave. You could walk across a highschool campus and point them out: not her, not her, her. The pert, lovely ones with butterfly tattoos in secret places, sitting on their boyfriends’ laps? No, not them. The girls watching the lovely ones sitting on their boyfriends’ laps? Yes.

Them.

The goblins want girls who dream so hard about being pretty their yearning leaves a palpable trail, a scent goblins can follow like sharks on a soft bloom of blood. The girls with hungry eyes who pray each night to wake up as someone else. Urgent, unkissed, wishful girls.

Like Kizzy.

Oh, it was wonderful and absolutely delicious.

The other two stories, Spicy Little Curses Such As These and Hatchling, were marvelous and breathtaking, but it was Goblin Fruit that really made an impression on me.

Each story also featured beautiful illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo, who made the stories come alive.

I know I didn’t get to read much this week, but I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute I spent with these two books. I’m still scanning my shelves for my new companions in the coming days. In the mean time, here’s a photo of David Tennant reading a book with a penguin:

David Tennant

Have a lovely reading week, duckies.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?