We did this last year, so I thought we’d do it again. In last year’s post I said: “Next year will in all likelihood be back down in the 100s, for my own and my wife’s sanity.” That . . . didn’t happen.
Books Read: 279
- Female authors: 141
- Male Authors: 132
- Both male and female authors: 6
- Fiction: 220
- Nonfiction: 59
- GNs: 32
- Poetry: 7
- Short Story Collections: 7
- Plays: 6
- Adult: 138
- YA: 83
- Children’s: 58
Books Published in 2013 or 2014: 178
I feel like I’ve talked endlessly about my favorite Adult Books 4 Teens, teen books, and children’s books, so in lieu of listing overlapping favorites, I’m going to leave this year by briefly mentioning my favorite books that I wasn’t able to discuss, generally because they were adult books without teen appeal, were published prior to 2013, or both.
1. The Finno-Ugrian Vampire by Noemi Szecsi. A brilliant adult book with absolutely no teen appeal, more about language and Hungarian culture than vampires. Hilarious.
2. Between My Father and the King by Janet Frame. Previously uncollected and unpublished short stories by New Zealand’s greatest writer. Unpublished stuff unusually stays unpublished for a reason, but not in this case–these are amazing stories.
3. Copyfraud and Other Abuses of Intellectual Property Law by Joe Mazzone. One of my favorite pet issues–which I did get to discuss in the context of Phil Lapsley’s Exploding the Phone. IP is arcane and difficult, but utterly crucial for all of us living in the digital world to understand.
4. Mr. Posterior and the Genius Child by Emily Jenkins. Jenkins/Lockhart’s sole adult book is just as good as anything she’s done for teens and children.
5. The Story of Ain’t: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published by David Skinner. The story of the creation of Webster’s 3rd International Dictionary. No seriously, it’s fascinating.
6. Tenderness, Heroes, and Tunes for Bears to Dance To by Robert Cormier. I went on a little Cormier kick in October which confirmed for me that he remains one of the towering greats of YA literature.
7. Early Modern Playhouse Manuscripts and the Editing of Shakespeare by Paul Werstine. Throughout most of the 20th Century, editors based their editions of Shakespeare on a set of assumptions about the way plays were transferred from the author to the playhouse to the printing house. These assumptions turn out to be almost entirely baseless when you look at the actual manuscripts which we still have access to. Werstine does look at them, and demolishes most of 20th Century editing in the process.
8. A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry. Lowry’s first novel. I was stunned at how much of her greatness was already apparent.
9. Revolutionary Summer The Birth of American Independence
by Joseph J. Ellis. A history of the summer of 1776, looking at the parallel’s between Washington’s military battles and Jefferson and Adams’s political ones.
10. The Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno. A decidely minor, but nonetheless engrossing, postmodern detective story.