Goodreads claims I read 84 books last year – including 3 of my own. I read 44 in 2013 so that’s pretty good.
Lots of short stories in there, which accounts for the dramatic increase in the total number of books. There are also a lot more indie books. That wasn’t a conscious decision but I’ve been avoiding long books and indie books tend to be shorter than their traditional counterparts.
One thing I did avoid as much as I could, was indie books that were blatantly part of a series. Not that I don’t like a good series, provided it’s executed well (the Lexy Cooper books are a good example of a well handled series). But I’ve seen too many indie authors sacrificing basic story telling in order to create a cliffhanger ending in the hope they can entice readers to buy the next book. I hit that at least once this year, and it was extremely unsatisfying. It’s a big part of the reason I’m skipping the rest of that particular series. I’ll probably take the plunge on a series or two this year but once bitten, twice shy.
I also listened to a few audiobooks. I haven’t separated them out this year but I’m still enjoying Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden books. A lot.
Picking my favourites out of that lot is pretty tricky, so I’m going to treat short stories and full length novels separately.
There were a lot of really good short stories last year but here’s my top five, in the order I read them.
- Peace in Amber by Hugh Howey
- The Dark Age by Jason Gurley
- Consumption by Michael Patrick Hicks
- Susquehanna by Chris Pourteau
- The Walk Up Nameless Ridge by Hugh Howey
Now for the novels and this time I’m going to cheat and list eight (it’s my blog so I make the rules). Again in the order I read them.
- The Shining Girls by Lauren Buekes
- Sand by Hugh Howey
- Pennsylvania by Michael Bunker
- Eleanor by Jason Gurley
- Super by Ernie Lindsey
- Maplecroft by Cherie Priest
- Broken Monsters by Lauren Buekes
- Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Surprise of the year was Hugh Howey’s romance novel – The Shell Collector. I read a lot of different genres but romance isn’t one of them. But the back story for this one and Hugh Howey’s writing got me interested enough to try it. I won’t be rushing out to buy more romance novels but I enjoyed it.
An overall favourite? Today I’m going to say Broken Monsters but ask me tomorrow and it’ll be one of the others.
A good year of reading, then. My goal for 2015 is to exceed that 84 number but I suspect that will be tough. Unless I cheat again and read a lot of short stories.[A Year in Books – 2014 by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 5th January 2015]