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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Thoughts about 2014 and looking ahead to 2015

I'm not going to do an ordinary "best of" post for 2014, but I do want to mention a few books that spoke to me this last year.  I still attend a mystery book group at my former library workplace and this year saw me taking back the "moderator" hat again from my friend Jamie.  We read some great books in that group, the best of which was likely Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger.  Such a good book and it won many awards at mystery conferences.  If you haven't read Ordinary Grace, I recommend it.

Our group also read Dog On It by Spencer Quinn, the first book in the Chet and Bernie mystery series.  Chet is a dog and Bernie is a private investigator.  We have one member who had been urging us to read this book for a couple of years.  The one "different" thing is that the stories are narrated by Chet, from his point of view.  I loved it and I'm not even a dog person.  Dog On It got a thumbs up from most of our group.

We're looking forward to a good year in 2015.  Our discussion for January will be next Wednesday evening and we're talking about The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell.  Hmmm...I'll enjoy sharing what we come up with.  I'm suspecting that there may be a difference of opinion regarding some of the conclusions and storylines in this 1920's psychological thriller.

Speaking of psychological thrillers, has 2014 and probably 2013 before been filled with books that were touted as "just like Gone Girl" or "another Before I Go To Sleep".  I've gotten to where I am leery of and pretty much sick of this tactic.  I love a good twisty-turny mystery or thriller, but really?  Anyway, I also enjoyed:

The Secret Place by Tana French
In The Blood by Lisa Unger
Fear Nothing by Lisa Gardner
Watching You by Michael Robotham

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty was wonderful.  I listened to this one on audio and loved all of it.  May have been my favorite audio all year.  And then there was Natchez Burning by Greg Iles.  Oh my.  It's the first of a trilogy and I can't wait for the second book to come out in April.

I read 131 books in 2014, which may be the most I've ever read before.  It was good, mostly, but I'm thinking that I may have read too many and rushed through them.  I did listen to 44 books on audio, again the most ever.  Living in the country has offered many opportunities to listen as I run errands.  We are at least 15-20 minutes from really anything - grocery, gas station, etc.

I'm not really setting any goals for 2015 in my reading.  I just want to enjoy a variety of books and read what I want in the order I want.  Don't think that's too much to ask.  I'm not accepting any review copies any longer, so I feel no responsibility there.  I'll enjoy hearing about what everyone else has discovered and no doubt my wish list will expand again.  Thanks for welcoming me back to blogging.  As soon as I figure out some of the ins and outs of Blogger, I'll be more comfortable.  I wanted to post some pictures in this post, but I seem to be having trouble with that.  Looks like things have changed a bit.  Maybe next time.





29 comments:

  1. I liked Dog On It too, and have read a couple more in the series and liked those as well.

    I've made a note of a couple of your recs as they always were worth looking into.

    Yes, I too wonder if I rushed my reading too much last year. Quite a few were shorter vintage crime yarns, but even so, I plan a more laid back approach this year.

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    1. Cath, I can see that you've been reading some older books. I may have to try that some. We'll see. Laid back is the name of the day for my reading this year.

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  2. I loved Ordinary Grace and was thrilled to meet the author at a book signing at our store. I'm anxious to read his next stand-alone, which I believe will be published sometime this year. I've also read Iron Lake, which was very entertaining, but haven't read anymore in that series.

    I've read and loved everything by Tana French, but haven't gotten around to reading her latest. Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

    You sure did read a lot in 2014! I managed a whopping 37. ;)

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    1. Les, I'd love to see William Kent Krueger. Most of my book group really, really liked the book. I've read a couple of his Cork O'Connor series. It's one that I always mean to get back to but....

      You had a lot going on this year. And 37 is 37. I think you get your book fix by just absorbing through your pores at work. LOL

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  3. It felt like coming home when I read this post. I'm elated you are back. :)

    I see you are listening to Into the Darkest Corner. That is a must read/listen for me this year. I'm excited about it.

    I thought Ordinary Grace was just okay, but still liked many things about it. I think it was a timing issue. It was too slow for me.

    I am a dog lover, but I'm not a fan of dogs being the narrator. That could be one of those books that I end up loving, but I'm not willing to take the time to find out. : /

    I thought The Other Typist was just okay as well. Do you see a pattern here? That's why I revamped my thinking for 2015. :)

    The Secret Place - on my MUST READ 2015 list

    In The Blood - made my Best Reads list of 2014

    Fear Nothing - I've been in the middle of this for months and months. I was loving it, too. Stuff got in the way. I will be picking it up again soon.

    Watching You - I have this in some form or another. I like Robotham.

    Big Little Lies - Have this on audio waiting for me. I've only heard good things about it.

    Natchez Burning - I just got this one in audio from the library the other day. EEK! The size scares me!!! Love your enthusiasm about it. I may have to give it a go one disc at a time. :)

    I'm all for NO GOALS this year, too. It's such a relief. Just enjoy reading . . . Whatever, Whenever! :) :) :)

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    1. Joy, as I recall, you and I were on the same wavelength about a lot of books. INTO THE DARKEST CORNER has been a really, really interesting book for me, for a lot of reasons. I'm about a third through it and am positively itching to share my thoughts. Hope you enjoy some of the others I mentioned if you get to them.

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  4. You had a great reading year, Kay! Les got me to add Ordinary Grace to my wish list... it sounds wonderful. I read Tana French's first book and will get to the others eventually. Big Little Lies was great, but it made me glad I'm past the school politics phase - yuck! The audio version of The Other Typist was excellent, although I'm not entirely sure what happened at the end. Bet you have an interesting discussion.

    My approach to reading in 2015 is the same as yours - no pressure! Should be a great year :)

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    1. JoAnn, you and me both about the school politics. It was exhausting. And I'm planning on doing a post about our meeting discussing THE OTHER TYPIST. I have my opinion about the end and am curious if it is the same for some of my other friends.

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  5. Welcome back!
    " I just want to enjoy a variety of books and read what I want in the order I want." is the best possible reading goal.

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  6. Remember when everything was the next "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"? You are right, we hit another craze and this time with "Gone Girl". Anyway, looks like you had a fabulous reading year! I've decided to join a couple of challenges (reminding myself it is for fun of course!) just because I want to remember to add more variety to my reading. If it happens great if not well next time :) Hope you have a fabulous reading year ahead!

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    1. Exactly, Iliana, the dragon tattoo book and I loved that one. Just got tired of hearing about it as a comparison all the time. In fact, we had one guy who came to our mystery group (it's at a branch of the Austin library) who thought we should only read mysteries set in Scandinavia. He left when we told him that wasn't the point. LOL

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  7. I love the Chet and Bernie books!! Joy, I don't think him narrating will bother you. It seems just real to me. Makes me smile just remembering the books. He is no super hero dog. He gets in trouble by just being him, and not a person. I'm not explaining this very well, am I?!
    After moderating my own comments, I popped right in here, and was so happy to see you had posted again!! Oh, how I've missed your book news. Email me if you want about photo questions.

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    1. Oh, Nan, I can totally see you loving Chet and Bernie. My book group friend is such a lovely person and she kind of reminds me of you in a way. She loves her dogs. We had another member who wasn't excited about a book narrated by a dog. It was really funny because when it was time for that member to share about her Chet/Bernie experience, she said, "well, I got to page 2..." and we all laughed, her included. It was all good fun.

      Think I've gotten the photo thing figured out. I use Internet Explorer and apparently Blogger wishes you to use Google Chrome. I installed it and tried to insert a picture - had no problem. Think it will all be OK. I'll email if I get stuck and thanks.

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  8. I am not familiar with Ordinary Grace, but it does sound good. I will be adding it to my wish list. :-) I enjoyed Dog On It when I read it--while I like dogs, I don't generally like books narrated by animals, and so it was a pleasant surprise to me when I liked it.

    Our local indie bookstore has a mystery/crime fiction book group I wish I could join. Anything scheduled during the week is out for me though. :-(

    I look forward to seeing what you read in 2015, Kay! It's so good to have you back.

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  9. Wendy, I wish you could attend our group. You would love it. Good luck with your first day back tomorrow. Be sure and pace yourself. :-)

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  10. Yikes--did it eat my comment??! Well, just happy to see you blogging again! And I am in line for the French book--hope to get it soon.... Happy reading in 2015!

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    1. Thanks! Hope you enjoy THE SECRET PLACE. Has teenage girls and stuff...lots of stuff.

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  11. Glad you're back among us, Kay!

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  12. Wow, you read 131 books, Kay. That's quite something. I didn't reach my target, partly because of what I've been going through since late October. I'm happy that since Christmas I've been able to read again. I think you are right though, that there is such a thing as reading too fast, and I do try to remember that when I'm reading to meet a target. Some books can be read fast, and some books are to be tasted and savoured.... :-) It's so good to have you back! Someone else wrote about Ordinary Grace too this past year, so it's on my list of books I want to get to this year. I haven't read Gone Girl yet, though I wanted to when the movie came out, then Oct happened and I can't read many mysteries for the moment. One day!

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    1. Hmmm....talk to me after you've read GONE GIRL...it was not a favorite of mine. And that's all I'll say about that right now. :-)

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  13. Great books, some that I've read and enjoyed myself. I am a big fan of William Kent Krueger, Tana French, and Lisa Unger. I enjoy suspense, mysteries and thrillers also so I'm happy to be following you now and will be stopping by often to check out your titles :)

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! Always appreciate meeting new friends.

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  14. I didn't realize Natchez Burning was the start of a trilogy. I like Iles so I'll have to add it to my list!
    Sounds like you have a good book group. I still need to find one (or make one!).

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    1. Stacy, NATCHEZ BURNING is part of his Penn Cage series. I think it was originally going to be only one book and then the story was such a big one, he divided into 3 parts. One book to be published per year. Your local library might have a book group. Or you could suggest that to them. :-)

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  15. Sounds like you read some good ones this year. I loved THE SECRET PLACE and BIG LITTLE LIES. I've had NATCHEZ BURNING on my shelf for awhile, but keep ignoring it because dang, it's HUGE. I've heard tons of good things about it, though. ORDINARY GRACE sounds like something I'd enjoy -- I'm definitely going to check it out.

    Happy 2015, Kay. I'm SO glad you're back!

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    1. Susan, NATCHEZ BURNING is definitely a chunkster. When I scheduled it for our book group, I gave them the option to read any Iles book, but warned that we'd be talking about that one specifically. It is 800 pages. Whew!

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  16. Happy New Year!! I am a little late with that but I am back at work and trying to catch up.

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  17. IN THE BLOOD was sooo good! I listened to it on audio, and I remember having to pause it a few times to gasp. I love twisty-turny suspense too.

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!