2014 Wrap-Up and 2015 Resolutions

Thought I'd do a little analysis before I plow into the 2015 backlog.  I blogged about 106 books this year (I definitely read more, since I took off January - April, but whatever).  I did not make my book resolutions.  Well, I blogged, and I made progress in my archives (now I'm up to 2007!), but I don't even think I read one of the outstanding Modern Library novels.  I did finish the Agatha Christie Project, but that's not too much of an accomplishment, as I had only one book left at the beginning of 2014.  My biggest accomplishment was starting the National Parks blog, and even that only had five entries so far.

No matter - let's look at what I read.  Of the 106 books only 21 were non-fiction (and that contains a number of literary essay collections).  That seems low for me, though, of course, this was a year with a lot of fluffy reading, and fluffy reading is usually fiction.  This year is already shaping up to be more non-fiction, and of course, I have a number of big non-fiction tomes that I'm halfway through seeded all over my house (looking at you, Ron Chernow's Hamilton, and Richard Rhodes's Making of the Atomic Bomb).  

I read lots of books by women writers.  A lot of people on the internet chat about making a vow to read more women and only reading women for a year or whatever. But in my case I read 70 books written by women, so I think I'm good on that front.  That's what you get for avoiding literary fiction for a year (though I did read Meg Wolitzer, and Julia Glass, and Diane Johnson, and Ann Patchett - all of whom I think escape the 'woman's fiction ghetto.').  And for reading lots of Ruth Rendell.  So much Rendell this year.

So, all in all, in terms of literary accomplishment, it hasn't been the most impressive year.  But gosh, I read a lot of books I really, really, liked, and had a lot of fun.  And managed to blog about most of them.  I'm not going to make a formal top ten list, but if you're not in the mood to scroll through the archives let me specially recommend:

* Going Clear - absolutely fascinating true account of Scientology.  So, so, good. 

* The Secret Rooms - real life mystery about an English Duke's mysterious past.  Delightful.

* The Return of Captain John Emmett - a mystery set in post WWI England.  My favorite topic, but even non-buffs will like the characters and atmosphere

* The Burgess Boys - the blurb made me think it would be preachy (it's about racism in Maine!), but I loved the characters and the thoughtfulness with which the author handled a sensitive topic.

*Cultural Amnesia - a re-read, but this collection of essays remains one of my very favorite books.  Learn about totalitarianism and enjoy every page.

Now, as for 2015? Who knows? I think I'll try again with last year's resolutions:

* Keep blogging!

* Finish carrying over my archives and,

* Finally, finally finish the Modern Library Project.

Here's hoping!  And, here is a random picture of a baby, to make this post more interesting.  


Isn't she pretty??

Here is the list of books I did write about, though sorely incomplete

1. Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell

2. Le Divorce, Diane Johnson

3. All The Great Prizes: The Life of John Hay from Lincoln to Roosevelt, John Taliaferro

4. Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons

5. Miss Hargreaves, Frank Baker

6. Miss Buncle's Book, D.E. Stevenson

7.  I Feel Bad About My Neck, Nora Ephron

8. Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief, Lawrence Wright

9. Me Before You, Jojo Moyes

10. No Man's Nightingale, Ruth Rendell

11. Sins of the FathersRuth Rendell

12A Sleeping LifeRuth Rendell

13.  Murder Being Once Done, Ruth Rendell

14. A Guilty Thing SurprisedRuth Rendell

15.  Death NotesRuth Rendell

16. The Best Man to DieRuth Rendell

17. The Blood Doctor, Ruth Rendell

19.  The Chimney Sweeper's Boy, Ruth Rendell

20. The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer

21. The Secret Rooms: A True Story of A Haunted Castle, A Plotting Duchess, & A Family Secret, Catherine Bailey

22. Rose Under Fire, Elizabeth Wein

23. Little Demon in the City of Light: A True Story of Murder and Mesmerism in Belle Epoque Paris, Steven Livingston

24. The Trip to Echo Springs: On Writers and Drinking, Olivia Laing

25. The Ghost of the Mary Celeste, Valerie Martin

26. The Secret House of Death, Ruth Rendell

27. Vanity Dies Hard, Ruth Rendell

28. The Return of Captain John Emmett, Elizabeth Speller

29. The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton, Elizabeth Speller

30. Miss Buncle Married, D.E. Stevenson

31. The Minotaur, Barbara Vine

32. The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp, Eva Rice

33. Spies of the Balkans, Alan Furst

34. Mission to Paris, Alan Furst

35. The Painted Girls, Cathy Marie Buchanan

36. The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of The Women Who Helped Win World War II, Denise Kiernan

37. The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

38. Still Life,  Louise Penny

39. Asylum, Simon Doonan

40. The Burgess Boys, Elizabeth Strout

41. Kingbird Highway, Kenn Kaufman

42. Kingdom of Shadows, Alan Furst

43. The House Girl, Tara Conklin

44. And the Dark Sacred Night, Julia Glass

45. Servants,  Lucy Lethbridge

46. The St. Vita Society, Ruth Rendell

47. The Cradle in the Grave, Sophie Hannah

48. The Cuckoo's Calling, Robert Galbraith

49. The New Moon With The Old, Dodie Smith

50. The Silkworm, Robert Galbraith

51. The Young Clementina, D.E. Stevenson

52. The Four Graces, DE Stevenson

53. The Two Mrs. Abbotts, D.E. Stevenson

54. The Leftovers, Tom Perotta

55. The Face of Trespass, Ruth Rendell

56. The Late Scholar, Jill Paton Walsh

57. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Fannie Flagg

58. The Town in Bloom, Dodie Smith

59. Night Film, Marisha Pessl

60. London Fields, Martin Amis

61. Mrs. Tim of the Regiment, D.E. Stevenson

62. Get Shorty, Elmore Leonard

63. Some Tame Gazelle, Barbara Pym

64. Amy and Isabelle, Elizabeth Strout

65. The Secret Place, Tana French

66. A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby

67. Housekeeping vs. The Dirt, Nick Hornby

68. The Polysyllabic Spree, Nick Hornby

69. Shakespeare Wrote For Money,  Nick Hornby

70. More Baths Less Talking, Nick Hornby

71. Bellman & Black, Diane Setterfield

72. Five Came Back, Mark Harris

73. The Oxford Book of English Detective Stories, Edited by Patricia Craig

74. The Spies of Warsaw, Alan Furst

75. One Plus One, Jo Jo Moyes

76. Mr. Mercedes, Stephen King

77. The Old Fox Deceiv'd, Martha Grimes

78. Scandals of Classic Hollywood, Anne Helen Peterson

79. Let's Kill Uncle, Rohan O'Grady

80. Rumpole for the Defense, John Mortimer

81.  The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, R.A. Dick

82. Le Mariage, Diane Johnson

83. The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters

84. This House is Haunted, John Boyne

85. The Wife, The Maid, and the Mistress, Ariel Lawhon

86. The Last Talk With Lola Faye, Thomas H. Cook

87. Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures, Emma Straub

88. The Outsmarting of Criminals, Steven Rigolosi

89.  Thus Was Adonis Murdered, Sarah Cauldwell

90.   Dr. Mutter's Marvels, Christin O'Keefe Aptowicz

91.  American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell, Deborah Solomon

92.  Blandings Castle, P.G. Wodehouse

93.  A Fatal Inversion, Ruth Rendell (as Barbara Vine)

94.  This is Where I Leave You, Jonathan Tropper

95.  The Curse of the Bronze Lamp, Carter Dickson (John Dickson Carr)

96. - 98.  The Magicians Triology, Lev Grossman

99.  My Own Two Feet, Beverly Cleary

100.  Cultural Amnesia, Clive James

101. Started Early, Took My Dog, Kate Atkinson

102. Behind the Scenes At the Museum, Kate Atkinson

103.  This Is The Story of A Happy Marriage, Ann Patchett

104. Take the Cannoli, Sarah Vowell

105. The Girl Next Door, Ruth Rendell

106. The Rose and the Yew Tree, Agatha Christie as Mary Westmacott

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017