2015 Recap

So I’m doing this during the Oscars, which is probably going to end up a horrible decision. Another horrible decision? I’m not drinking. [Note from the future: I started drinking.]

I brought up the 2014 recap for last year (because I can never remember how to format these dang things), and that was posted on January 28. And my first sentence was “Well, this is the latest I’ve ever done my year-end recap.”

So my main goal for 2016 is to make sure I don’t post my 2016 recap in March 2017. I mean, seriously, Alaina, what the fuck?

My other big goal is to try and break 40 books. I didn’t get there last year (*thanks*, Mysteries of Udolpho), but I’ve actually started 2016 off at a good pace, so this is a Thing that could happen.

Here’s how 2015 shook out: I ended the year with 32 books read, which really, isn’t too shabby. And 18 of those were ones I’ve never read before (handily denoted with an asterisk), and that’s more than half, so again – not too shabs.

January
1. Bloody Bones by Laurell K. Hamilton*
2. Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

February
3. Diamonds Are Forever by Ian Fleming*
4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth*

March
5. Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire*
[see the pre-review as part of The Collaborators here!]
6. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
7. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

April
8. Blue Lonesome by Bill Pronzini
9. Babayaga by Toby Barlow*
10. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn*

May
Bupkis. Fucking Mysteries of Udolpho.

June
11. Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
12. The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe*
13. Knockdown by Dick Francis

July
14. Proof by Dick Francis
15. Hannibal by Thomas Harris

August
16. Naked Pictures of Famous People by Jon Stewart
17. The Cocktail Waitress by James M. Cain*
18. Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
19. Lady in Waiting by Nicole Byrd*
20. You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day*

September
21. India Black by Carol K. Carr*
22. A Poisoned Season by Tasha Alexander*
23. The Favored Child by Philippa Gregory*

October
24. The Intern’s Handbook by Shane Kuhn*
25. Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn*
26. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

November
27. A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
28. Betrayal in Death by J.D. Robb*
29. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

December
30. Festival of Deaths by Jane Haddam
31. I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton
32. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh*

And that’s it; that’s everything. The door is officially closed on 2015, and I’m looking forward to 2016. But what I’m really looking forward to right now is grabbing a beer and hoping and praying that The fucking Revenant doesn’t take home Best Picture.

Ride eternal, shiny, and chrome. Witness me.

11:56 p.m.: Well, Leonardo DiCaprio just won his goddamned award (as Dear Friend Sarah calls it, his Participation Trophy), and I figure I might as well wait and see who takes home Best Picture. I’m almost done with one Stella Artois, but I can probably chug another one before bedtime.

Midnight: WWWHOOOOOOOOOO SPOTLIGHT WON THANK YOU JEEBUS OH MY GOD

Dear Landlady: I apologize for screaming just now, but I’m very excited.

Okay, I have to be at work in 8 hours. But at least I can sleep easy, knowing that enough people out there in the world agreed with me that The Revenant is not worthy of Best Picture.

Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

2014 Recap

Well, this is the latest I’ve ever done my year-end recap. I mean, on the one hand, I had my best December on record, so that pushed my reviews back about a month. On the other hand, holy hell, I’ve got this to do and I’ve read two books in January, and I’m on track to finish a third, so being behind might turn into a Thing.

When I wrote my 2013 Recap, I set myself a goal:

I have two goals for 2014:

1. Break 30 books read, dammit!

2. For a stretch goal: looking back through my records (because yes, I have records, shut up), mybest year on-record is 2008 (which predates That’s What She Read by a whole year), in which I read 46 books.  As a stretch goal, I would love to read 46 books again.

So what was my final result?

37. I read 37 books last year.

kuzcotopia

"C'mon, Yzma, put your hands in the air!"

You guys, 2014 was my best year here at That’s What She Read. 37 books! That’s amazing! I have every right to do a little Dance of Awesome right now.

In addition, thanks to being parked across from the main branch of the Portland Public Library for six months, 26 of those books were ones I’d never read before. Man, I’m proud of me right now.

ANYWAY. What am I looking forward to in 2015? Well, I want to break 40 books. I can do it. This is a thing I can do. In addition, there’ll be a few more Collaborations between myself and Erica, and we’ve got my 200th reviewed book coming up fairly shortly. Plus, I may have a couple of other things up my sleeve.

So now, the breakdown. And remember, if it has an asterisk next to it, it was a book I’d never read before.

Also, I don’t say this often, mainly because I still operate under the impression that I’m the only one that reads this, but to all my readers: thanks. You guys are awesome.

January
1. Some Like to Shock by Carole Mortimer*
2. And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander*
3. Hawkeye: My Life As a Weapon Vol. 1 by Matt Fraction*
4. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs*

February
5. Redwall by Brian Jacques*
[See the pre-review as part of The Collaborators! here]
6. Susannah Morrow by Megan Chance*

March
7. A Kiss At Midnight by Eloisa James*
8. Deadlock by Sara Paretsky
9. Prima Donna by Megan Chance*

April
10. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen*
11. Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith*
[See the pre-review as part of The Collaborators! here]

May
12. The Race Underground by Doug Most*
13. Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain*

June
14. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez*
15. Divergent by Veronica Roth*
16. Judgment in Death by J.D. Robb*

July
17. Heat Rises by “Richard Castle”*
18. The Pelican Brief by John Grisham
19. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King **
20. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
21. A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King**
[** As I said in the combined post (linked here), I didn’t want to do a re-review of books I’ve already read twice (or more) in my time doing this blog.]

August
22. The Empire Striketh Back by Ian Doescher*
[See the pre-review as part of The Collaborators! here]
23. A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. King**
24. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle*
25. The Moor by Laurie R. King*

September
26. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams*
27. The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie
28. Demon Rumm by Sandra Brown*
29. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich*

October
30. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
31. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
[As stated in my review for Mockingjay, I again declined to re-review these books because I didn’t really have anything else to add. Their original reviews can be found here and here.]

November
32. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton*
33. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins*

December
34. Roman Blood by Steven Saylor
35. Death at Gallows Green by Robin Paige*
36. Gypsy Lord by Kat Martin*
37. Charade by Sandra Brown*

Also, in case you want to get into A Game of Thrones but want to know how the first two hundred pages end up, you can get a fun refresher of the plot here and here. (I have no idea if the Game of Thrones Project will continue – I’d like it to, but I need to double-check with my partner.)

Finally, I wouldn’t be a good friend unless I told you to BUY MY FRIEND JEN’S BOOK.

And that’s a wrap. Bring on the new year! … er, one month late. Well, what else is new.

2013 Recap

As stated in my review for H is for Homicide, 2013 is now my worst year on-record reading-wise.  I read 27 books last year, down from the 2012 total of 29.  17 of those 27 books were ones I had not read before, which is down from 2012’s 21 new-to-me-at-that-time count.  But it’s still more than half, so, take that, broadened horizons!

I have two goals for 2014:

1. Break 30 books read, dammit!
2. For a stretch goal: looking back through my records (because yes, I have records, shut up), my best year on-record is 2008 (which predates That’s What She Read by a whole year), in which I read 46 books.  As a stretch goal, I would love to read 46 books again.  And the next time I bitch about how reading classic literature takes longer (see: Dracula, Great Expectations), I would like to have one of my readers point me back to 2008 because that was the year I read all six of Jane Austen’s novels.  SIX.  IN ONE YEAR.  GODDAMMIT.

So anyway — now comes one of the best times of the year: the time I scroll back through my feed and link to all the reviews I wrote in the past year, in case y’all missed one or something.  But I enjoy it because I get to make in-jokes with the hyperlinks.  Look, you guys, I am easily amused.

If a book has an asterisk after it (*), it means I had not read it prior to 2013.

January
1. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl*
2. Killing Floor by Lee Child*

February
3. The Lunatic Cafe by Laurell K. Hamilton
4. The Runaway Jury by John Grisham

March
5. Unnatural Exposure by Patricia Cornwell*
6. After the Abduction by Sabrina Jeffries*
7. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
8. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams*

April
9. Nerve by Dick Francis

May
10. Island of Vice by Richard Zacks*
11. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
12. My Wicked Little Lies by Victoria Alexander*

June
13. Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
14. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare*

July
15. Gilligan’s Wake by Tom Carson
16. Dear Old Dead by Jane Haddam

August
17. Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris*
18. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn*
19. Moonraker by Ian Fleming*
[NOW with bonus tie-in at Movies Alaina’s Never Seen!]

September
20. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire*
[See the pre-review as part of The Collaborators! here]

October
21. Beyond Innocence by Emma Holly*
22. Witness in Death by J.D. Robb*
23. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley*
[See the pre-review as part of The Collaborators! here]

November
24. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins*

December
25. Dracula by Bram Stoker
26. William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher*
[See the pre-review as part of The Collaborators! here]
27. H is for Homicide by Sue Grafton

An Interruption: Take my survey!!

Hi everyone!  I haven’t stopped reading; in fact, I’ve got a review in the queue that I’m polishing before posting, so stay tuned!

But if you happened to turn in before I got off my ass and did that, here’s the thing.  I’ve been contemplating ideas on how to … not change, or improve, or even enhance the blog, but … I dunno, maybe something to switch things up?  Don’t get me wrong, I like the way the blog is formatted and its appearance (and WordPress?  Unless that Able theme can give me three columns and different colors for free, suck it, I’m keeping my Andreas09 theme!  So maybe stop asking?), but maybe adding something new to the mix won’t be a bad thing?

To be honest, this stems from when I remembered that the past two Aprils, I kind of maybe invited Alaina’s American History Month when I read the Roosevelt biography and also Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.  In an attempt to keep up the tradition I made on accident (much like watching Goldfinger on Christmas Eve for so long, or now saying “Scomps” whenever I make a toast), I went to Books-a-Million yesterday and found a bunch of actual history books so I don’t break it.

And I thought: what if I do a different theme every month?  Maybe May becomes Classic Literature month?  Not that that’s all I’m going to read in that month, but at least one book will fall under that category?

Or, what if I decide to read Game of Thrones a chapter at a time and write/Tweet about it?  (Much like Muggle Hustle – and if you haven’t read that, GO CATCH UP, THAT GUY’S THE SHIT)  Would people think it’s funny?  Would it just end up being a waste of time?  What if my friend Jen and I worked together and we turned Game of Thrones into a saucy puppet show?  WHAT ABOUT THAT?

So … I created a survey.  Yay!  Because I’m open to feedback, and this seems to be the best way to solicit it.

(In the spirit of full disclosure, the survey also covers my other blog, Movies Alaina’s Never Seen.  If you don’t frequent that site, that’s okay – but if you want to fill out the answers based on what you think it’s like, that’s not only also cool, but most likely also hilarious.)

So if you love me — and even if you only feel some fairly strong platonic feelings — hell, even if you hate me but don’t quite wish me dead, I’d greatly appreciate your feedback.  It doesn’t mean I’ll follow the advice (I’m quite like Alice in Wonderland in that regard), but it’ll make me think critically about the choices I make.

Plus, some of the answers to the questions are HILARIOUS.  You don’t want to miss out on that.

So … Please take my Feedback survey!

Thank you very much for participating.  And I promise, I’ll get back to my reviews posthaste.

2012 Recap

I … I don’t even want to talk about last year, you guys.  Worst year on record, reading-wise.  29 books.  29!  The hell!?  I mean, I guess you could say that I read one for every year I’ve been alive, but if you were to truly equate those books with those years, then my track record on the last few books/years is truly awful.

Well.  Let’s not waste any more time dwelling on the past.  Onward and Forward and Upward, and all that.  Whatever.  And remember, an asterisk (*) denotes a book I hadn’t read before 2012.

January
1.  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins*
2.  Murder Superior by Jane Haddam
3.  Madame’s Deception by Renee Bernard*

February
4.  Circus of the Damned by Laurell K. Hamilton
5.  The Cove by Catherine Coulter
6.  Bad Science by Ben Goldacre*

March
7.  Moneyball by Michael Lewis*
8.  Bright-Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich*
9.  How to Archer by Sterling Archer*

April
10.  Money Shot by Christa Faust*
11.  Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith*

May
12.  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens*

June
13.  I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley*
14.  ‘G’ is for Gumshoe by Sue Grafton
15.  Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris*

July
16.  Beyond Seduction by Emma Holly*
17.  From London With Love by Jenna Petersen*
18.  How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster*

August
19.  Up in the Air by Walter Kirn*
20.  Loyalty in Death by J.D. Robb*
21.  Prelude to a Scandal by Delilah Marvelle*

September
22.  Fraud by David Rakoff*
23.  Desire Never Dies by Jenna Petersen*
24.  Jennifer Government by Max Barry

October
25.  Banker by Dick Francis
26.  Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore
27.  The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig

November
28.  The Story of Ain’t by David Skinner*
29.  Fury by Elizabeth Miles*

And now, a brief interlude.

So here it is, July 31, and I am not completely packed and/or moved yet.  (Don’t worry, I won’t be homeless.)  What I wanted to do was post to both of my blogs (Movies Alaina’s Never Seen being the other one) with what I have in the queue.

Because, guys?  I’ve actually got two books to review.  I have finished two books in the past month that I have not yet talked about.  And it’s not because I don’t want to; it’s because between the painting and the moving and the sorting and the packing and the stairs and the flavin and everything else that’s going on, I have fallen asleep on the couch with the ‘post’ screen open like, twelve times.  So once everything’s settled, I’ll be able to actually sit down and write this stuff out and y’all might be spammed a bit, but then I’ll be caught up, so there’s that.

Keep an eye out in August for my backlog, which right now consists of a historical romance titled From London With Love, and also my latest Lunch Break Book, How to Read Literature Like a Professor.  In the interim, I will also most likely be able to finish Prelude to a Scandal (another Historical Romance, again, shut up) and the next Lunch Break Book, Up in the Air.

But the thing I’m looking forward to way more than writing the reviews here?  Having all of my books in bookcases throughout my new apartment and none of them packed away.  Because that will be heaven.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll be back soon.

[PS – Mom, The Cove is somewhere.  I haven’t burned it, even though I could have, because it’s not one of the ones she signed.  But it’s here, or it’s in Yarmouth, I’m not sure, but it still exists.  Don’t worry, you’ll get it back.]

2011 Recap

In 2010, I read 34 books.  I read the same amount in 2011.  The heck?  Why can’t I read more?  Stupid being an adult with stupid responsibilities.

Anyway.  For those interested (and looking for a handy-dandy reference [or possibly I’m just completely too anal-retentive for words]), here’s the complete listing of What She Read in 2011.  An asterisk (*) marks the ones I’d never read before.

January
1.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
2. Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

February
3. The Laughing Corpse by Laurell K. Hamilton

March
4. Devil’s Bride by Stephanie Laurens*
5. Heat Wave by “Richard Castle”*
6. Conspiracy in Death by J.D. Robb
7. Hot Money by Dick Francis
8. F is for Fugitive by Sue Grafton
9. Cause of Death by Patricia Cornwell
10. The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson*

April
11. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris*

May
12. Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming*
13. The Late Hector Kipling by David Thewlis*
14. Solar by Ian McEwan*

June
15. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
16. Seduced by his Touch by Tracy Anne Warren*
17. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
19. The Green Lantern Chronicles, Vol. 1 by John Broome & Gil Kane*

July
20. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
21. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

August
22. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
23. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
24. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King
25. A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King

September
26. A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. King*

October
27. The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy*
28. Naked Heat by “Richard Castle”*
29. The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen*
30.  Club Dead by Charlaine Harris*

November
31. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson*

December
32. Retail Hell by Freeman Hall*
33. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammet*
34. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer*