Saturday, 4 January 2014

Books of 2013

I love to read, and I feel that I read way too little nowadays. But I did manage a nice list of books last year and hopefully I'll read more this year.
  1. Red Country by Joe Abercrombie. Still in the same world as the rest of his books, but this time in a country we only saw a glimpse of in the first trilogy. I really liked Shy, the main character. I figured out who Lamb really was the first time he appeared in the book, and the return of Nicomo Cosca was a pleasant surprise although I really don't like him. Abercrombie has a knack for making very interesting and strong female characters, which I enjoy. In this book Shy and Lamb head out to find the children they lived with after an attack on their home. It becomes a trip where all their past unfolds and is revealed and a trip with a lot of interesting characters. 
  2. Prince of Stories by Hank Wagner, Christopher Golden & Stephen R. Bissette. It's a biography of Neil Gaiman's works. I didn't read the whole thing, because I felt it was going to spoil too much of what I hadn't yet read. However, I did enjoy what I read and once I feel I've read enough of Gaiman's works (like all of Sandman) I will probably read through the rest of the book. "Gaiman is the most famous author you've never heard of."
  3. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. What first caught my interest about this book were the old-fashioned photographs inside it and how there was something slightly wrong with each photograph. I bought it but it was only after Toni had read it and told me it was great that I read it too. It's obviously a teen novel, but it's really nicely done. Though I more than once figured out the plot before the main character did, so there was never any real surprise in it for me. I still really liked it, though, and there's supposed to be a movie and a sequel to it. I'm looking forward to both!
  4. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Nobody Owens is a human child who grows up at a graveyard with ghosts as his only family. He's got the powers of the graveyard and he learns a lot about the supernatural plane of our world. But while he does so, he also becomes aware that whatever killed his human parents is still after him. The Graveyard Book is a children's novel, but amazingly well done with a fair few surprises in it. It's one of those books that makes you feel empty once you've finished it. It's that good. 
  5. Unnatural Creatures. This is a short story compilation compiled by Neil Gaiman, but each story is by a different writer. Each story contains some sort of unnatural creature, hence the name. My favourites were the ones by Gahan Wilson, Diana Wynne Jones, Edith Nesbit, Larry Niven, Megan Kurashige, Avram Davidson, and Peter S. Beagle. The book felt a little long at times, but mostly it was very entertaining.
  6. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. This is sort of an adult children's novel. It's really short and it's about children, but the part about children comes from a middle-aged man reminiscing. I loved this book because it told the story of a magical and yet ordinary childhood, the kind that most children wish they could have. The end had me crying and smiling at the same time. And the book itself was both heart-warming and heart-breaking. This from a book of only 178 pages. 
  7. The Sandman by Neil Gaiman. This is a comic or rather a graphic novel. I've read numbers 1-3 and there are 10 in total + some spin-offs. The series tells the story of Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, and his siblings (especially Death) features on some occasions. The story isn't told in any particular order. The first volume told the story of how Dream (Morpheus) was captured and imprisoned in the early 20th century, while in the 2nd volume Morpheus meet a man in the 13th century who thinks dying is a silly notion and he has decided not to so they decide to meet at that same place every hundred years, which they do. In the 3rd volume we meet Shakespeare and his travelling band of actors and they get to play A Midsummer Night's Dream for a very special audience ;) Ofc there's more happening in each volume and they never fail to catch my attention and making them impossible to put down. 
  8. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. This novel was amazing. I still haven't watched the TV-series, but I will. The book was fantastic. Richard is an ordinary man with an ordinary life until he stumbles upon Door. She's badly hurt and Richard brings her to his flat to try and help her. The next day when she leaves she tells him she's sorry and the day after Richard notices that no one seems to see him or hear him, and those who do don't know who he is. So he sets out to find Door again, which leads him to London Below an amazing place full of strange people and creatures. Richard gets caught up in a plot against Door and her family and soon he finds himself in a full-fledged adventure. 
  9. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. Rowling's first novel for adults and on top of that it's general fiction. As far away from Harry Potter as possible. I don't read much general fiction and I thought it was hard to get into. I thought it didn't kick off until after Barry's funeral (about 150 pages in), but when it did I found it hard to put down. The characters and their choices and actions intrigued me and I wanted to know what would happen next. The end made me cry and I was still caught up in that book's world for days after I had finished it. 
  10. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a J.K. Rowling). Rowling's second adult novel written under pseudonym of Robert Galbraith to avoid the publicity. This is a crime novel and although I found it interesting and I really liked the main character Cormoran Strike, I did find it extremely hard to get into. To the point that I actually put it down and stopped reading it for a couple of weeks before I picked it up again and finished it. I really don't like Robin either. However I found myself smiling by the end of the book and I think I would consider reading another book with Strike and Robin, if there ever is one, although I found it a difficult book to read. 
  11. Heroes. There is a comic released alongside the four seasons of Heroes. I have read volume 1 and I also own volume 2. The stories in the comics are small stories that take place in-between the episodes of the TV-series. It also tells the complete background stories of characters that only show up briefly in the series. Like Hana Gitelman. Remember her? Didn't think so. She was in one episode in season 1 and half of the first volume is about her. I really like this comic since it provides one more layer to the already complex story of Heroes
  12. The Infernal City by Greg Keyes. This is the first of two novels placed within the Elder Scrolls universe. The story of the two novels takes place between the games Oblivion and Skyrim. 40 years after the Oblivion crisis. This first book, The Infernal City, was interesting but kind of slow since it was mostly about bringing the heroes together and "getting there". Though it did provide a great promise of things to come in the next book. Annaïg and Mere-Glim are best friends. They live in the south of Black Marsh and one day a flying city shows up out of nowhere killing everything in its path and creating a walking dead army in its wake. Annaïg likes to meddle with alchemy and she finds a potion that gives flight. She and Mere-Glim both end up on this flying city after trying the new flying potion, and they decide to try and bring it down before it destroys all of Tamriel.
  13. Necronomicon by H.P. Lovecraft. I have read about half of this one. It's a short story collection and it's all written in 1920's English, which makes it a very hard read. I love it though! Although I've only read half pages-wise, I've less than half of the stories left. The stories towards the end of the book are all of about 50-100 pages each. This is the author who layed the groundwork for modern horror authors. I'm not easily frightened and there's only one story so far that has scared me: The Colour Out of Space. But I did also find Herbert West - Reanimator slightly unnerving. I will finish reading this in the near future. Possibly I'll have it done before the end of the month. 
  14. Nihonjin no Shiranai Nihongo (Japanese the Japanese don't know) by Nagiko Amano. My teacher while studying Japanese mentioned this book and when I found it I had to buy it. It's a manga style book written by a Japanese language teacher. She works with foreign people wanting to learn Japanese and the book is about questions she receieve while working. Questions about what things are called that natives usually don't think about or questions why things are called the way they are or questions about cultural things and why they are like that. I had a lot of fun reading this book and I could easily relate to most of the situations depicted in the book. 
  15. Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman. This is a children's book with lots of pictures. However it has a very intriguing story and I finished the book with that warm feeling inside and wondered why all children's books can't be like this.
  16. Lord of Souls by Greg Keyes. The second book in the Elder Scrolls world. I've read about half of it, and I'm not seeing an ending approaching anytime soon. This will be very interesting and there's already more action than there ever was in the first book. I approve :)

And I just realised that there wasn't even a single book in Swedish last year. I should fix that this year. I really should. And I should also fix it so that I read at least 2 books a month. 16 books in a year (and some of them even comics!) isn't even near acceptable! I should read more in Japanese and French too...

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