Towards the end of 2018, Goodreads said I had read 73 “books.” Considering I read a couple more after this tally, that brought my total to at least 75. That’s 200% more than the goal of 25 I’d set. Pretty good for someone with a (semi-undiagnosed) learning disability and possible dyslexia. But, to be fair, some of those “books” were short stories and novellas. And most of the “full length” books were on the short side, under 300 pages. Still, I’m taking time out to congratulate myself.
Then again, the majority of those books were of the m/m (male/male or gay) romance genre. And to think romance novels never interested me. I blame it on Diana Gabaldon and Lord John Gray, specifically, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade. It wasn’t a romance, per se, because there was a lot going on— mystery, political intrigue, military action, and a near-death experience. But romance figured throughout.
But the year in books did include some diversity. I’d planned to do a “Sunday Seven” featuring the non-gay-romance books I read, but there’s actually ten. So let’s call it a Tuesday Ten. Here they are, in order of longest to shortest (pages, not words).
- Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, Time’s Best Novel of the Year 2004 and many other awards. I even read all the footnotes!
- Past Poisons, an anthology of historical mysteries dedicated to Ellis Peters, by a whole slew of authors
- Ballroom by Alice Simpson, more boring than The Man in the High Castle—but the cover is pretty
- The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick, only slightly better than the extremely boring television series
- The Squire’s Tale (Sister Frevisse #10) by Margaret Frazer, featuring the return of one of my favorite characters from the first Frevisse novel, The Novice’s Tale
- A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters, Brother Cadfael #1
- The Patchwork Girl of Oz (Oz #8) by L. Frank Baum, not his best
- The Ladies of Grace Adieu, a collection of very clever short stories by Susanna Clarke, a kind of continuation of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
- King Solomon’s Mines by
Allan Quartermaine H. Ride Haggard, it hasn’t aged well, what with all the animal cruelty and machismo
- One Corpse Too Many by Ellis Peters, the second Brother Cadfael novel
- Nozy Cat #1 (yes, that’s its title) by Lyn Keyes, a cozy mystery with a talking cat. The second book in the series is called Nozy Cat #2.
(Crap! How did that list turn into 11? When I added them up initially, I swore there were only 10.)
My favorites and highly recommended: The Ladies of Grace Adieu, One Corpse Too Many, and A Squire’s Tale. I’d recommend reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell before The Ladies of Grace Adieu, and Sister Frevisse #1, and A Novice’s Tale, before The Squire’s Tale, to get a better understanding of Roger Fenner. One Corpse Too Many can stand on its own, I think.
Any favorites you’d recommend? (Oh yeah, I tried reading The Great Gatsby for a second time and didn’t even get as far as I did the first time. Don’t recommend it, please.)