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
Any one of those is worth your hard earned cash but Jason Gurley’s The Dark Age is my favourite of the lot (and one of my all time favourite short stories).
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]