My Year In Books

I took the Goodreads Reading Challenge this year and committed to reading 60 titles in 2014.  I surpassed my goal by 6 books!  Maybe a few more before December 31st!  Looking back on all that I read, I’m realizing these books are a chronicle of my life this past year.  ‘Scuse me while I reminisce.
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2014 started off heavy!  I was diggin’ on philosophy, evolution, atheism and HP Lovecraft.  What else am I supposed to read during winter in Colorado?  By far one of my favorite books this year was David Quammen’s Spillover – a hardcore and thoroughly researched work on zoonotic viruses.  Recently Quammen’s section on Ebola was published as a separate special edition.  Highly recommended.  Reading Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion made me feel intrigued, irritated, and enlightened all at once.  I agree with so much of what he says, but the dude can be a bit snide.   I balanced out all this deep thinking (or my sad attempts at deep thinking) with a long term battle to finish Guy Gavriel Kay’s fantasy doorstopper Tigana.  Good grief I wanted to love this book, but it took me forever – I listened to the audiobook while hiking in Colorado and Wyoming.  That was perfect, since the novel is about a beloved homeland, and mine is the Rocky Mountains.
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I moved to Wyoming for the summer and went on a thriller fiction rebound binge.  I plowed through the entire Pendergast series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  The books got progressively less impressive, but I had a good time.  And, okay, I couldn’t stay away from science and religion – I began my joyous discovery of Carl Sagan’s works, and will be reading more in 2015.  Then I realized that I wanted to immerse myself in all the scifi and fantasy I’ve been too busy to read during the last few years.   I jumped into The Expanse series and Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard books, and I listened to Lois McMaster Bujold’s Chalion series on my regular hikes up Josie’s Ridge.  I didn’t give up nonfiction though – I loved The Emerald Mile, Kevin Fedarko’s jawdropping account of the fastest-ever run down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon – in a wooden dory.  I still get chills.

Thinking about rivers, I traveled from Jackson, Wyoming to Shelton, Washington in late summer, following the Columbia along the way and listening to A Canticle for Leibowitz.  A true sci fi classic, I was riveted by this post-nuclear dystopian novel, even more powerful to experience while driving along the river south of the Hanford Site.  I don’t recommend doing a solo road trip through California and listening to T. Jefferson Parker’s serial killer fiction The Blue Hour – but I definitely recommend the book – harrowing and suspenseful.
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By far the last quarter has been the most fun reading I’ve done this year.  I drove from Arizona to Texas listening to Marisha Pessl’s bizarrely riveting novel Night Film.  I devoured Cherie Priest’s Maplecroft and the first book in Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy, and I finally tackled Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, all of which did not disappoint – great examples of why I prefer speculative fiction to anything else: innovation, daring, otherworldliness.  And I read Shards of Time, the last book of Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunner series.  A bittersweet conclusion to a series that I love so much.

I also started reviewing books for this very blog, which led me to volunteer as a blogger for the women’s speculative fiction website Luna Station Quarterly.  My first audiobook review, of Melissa Scott’s wonderful Five-Twelfths of Heaven, will be online in January!

Booooooooks.  I love them so.  Find me on Goodreads!

Thanks to Unsplash for the great library photo.



  1. susanwar said:

    Thanks for the book list! I am inspired to bump up my number of completed books in 2015!

    December 8, 2014
    • Carrie said:

      The game is on! I’m going for 70 in 2015!

      December 8, 2014

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