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Stella Matutina
books and stories and musings, oh my!
My Awesome Year of Awesome 
9th-Jan-2013 03:04 pm
An image of a tiny, dark grey poodle lying in a nest of red blankets. He has a long, natural poodle haircut. Most of his body is tucked away inside, but his front paws are poking out over one of the blankets.
This picture of Murchie has nothing to do with anything.

2007 was my best reading year ever. I discovered scads of wonderful new authors, expanded my list of Favouritest of Favourite Books from a Top 3 to a Top 5, and read so many amazing novels that I had to exclude some painfully good material from my year-end Best Of list lest it become bloated and unwieldy.

Every year since then has been a let-down. Yeah, I've found a few new Favouritest of Favourite Books (enough to turn my Top 5 into a Top 10, for which we can mostly blame Sarah Monette), and I've added a couple of new authors to my must-read-everything-they-write-oh-god-oh-god list, but the mediocre has always won out over the awesome when it comes time to crunch the numbers.

I'm determined that 2013 will be different. My reading plan for this year is as follows:

  • Read awesome stuff.

  • Ignore books that fail to meet my standard of awesome.


This will be my Awesome Year of Awesome.

I've made a good start. As of yesterday, I've finished one 4.5-star book (THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray) and two 5-star books (STEALING PARKER by Miranda Kenneally and THE MASTER OF HEATHCREST HALL by Galen Beckett). I also abandoned a book that failed to meet my standard of awesome, and I'm prepared to do so again whensoever the need arises1.

In the past, I've had excellent luck with asking y'all to look through my TBR and tell me which books you think I should read ASAP, so I thought I'd try again. If you'd be so kind as to browse la TBR and tell me which books you consider the awesomest of awesome reads, you will win my undying gratitude.

My standard of awesome is oddly flexible, but in the past I've most ardently enjoyed the following sorts of things:

  • Thick, wallowsome books with lots of fascinating detail.

  • Dark stuff.

  • Intense relationships of all varieties. I have a particular fondness for sibling relationships and romantic relationships wherein two people who totally belong together may end up with other people.

  • Things that rip my heart out and stop on it.

  • Daring rescues. Bonus points if there are, like, twelve of them crammed into one book.

  • The theatre. I have a total soft spot for books set in and around theatres.

An awesome-to-Memory book need not include all these elements. Hell, it might not include any of them (though I can think of precious few books that entranced me without providing an intense relationship of some sort). They're just guidelines.

So, what should I read in the near future?

Back in the Day:

  1. Or so I tell myself. My hardassery skills are not always what they could be.
Buffy - Historical Anya
9th-Jan-2013 11:54 pm (UTC)
a) I love this plan.
b) my very most favorite book of all time, Devices and Desires, is on your reading list. (I love it so much, I keep rereading it, and then refusing to move on to the next book in the trilogy because OMG I MUST HOARD THEM - not rational, I know.) It strongly matches the following criteria:
Thick, wallowsome books with lots of fascinating detail.

Dark stuff.

Intense relationships of all varieties. I have a particular fondness for sibling relationships and romantic relationships wherein two people who totally belong together may end up with other people.

Things that rip my heart out and stop on it.
c) another one of my all-time top twenty on your tbr is Firethorn. It's not that thick, but it does have a lot of detail. Also, the dark stuff and the intense relationships. It doesn't have daring rescues but it does have lots and lots of action.
9th-Jan-2013 11:57 pm (UTC)
Oh, and War for the Oaks is FAB. I put off reading it for about a decade because everyone was SOOOO into it that I did not believe it could actually be good. But it was!
10th-Jan-2013 06:16 pm (UTC)
Fact: I once borrowed DEVICES AND DESIRES from the library, read the first twenty pages, and returned it. It was too good; I had a feeling it would take over my life, and I wasn't in a position where I could have my life taken over by a book.

I recently bought a copy, though, and now I'm ready to dive in. I have the second book on hand, too, and it looks like I can get the third from the library pretty easily if I need to binge.
10th-Jan-2013 05:35 am (UTC)
Murchie is so cute! I'm not really coming up with any thick books that are dark, rip your heart out and stop on it, and have the theater in them, but if I come across one I'll let you know. :) I heard The Bronze Horseman is good, but I haven't read it.
10th-Jan-2013 06:41 pm (UTC)
Is that the one by Paullina Simons? I just looked it up on LibraryThing, and it sounds great.
10th-Jan-2013 08:47 am (UTC)
I found Mortal Love and At The Mouth of the River of Bees pretty awesome. I love your plan btw - good luck!
10th-Jan-2013 06:41 pm (UTC)
I bought MORTAL LOVE specifically because I knew you loved it. :)
11th-Jan-2013 12:42 am (UTC)
I think 2009 was my best reading year ever. I hope 2013 will match it or pass it, too!
11th-Jan-2013 06:20 pm (UTC)
Here's to us and our amazing reading years!
11th-Jan-2013 01:07 am (UTC)
Code Name Verity. Is my recommendation to you. It doesn't have siblings but it is dark and will rip your heart out and I can't say whether daring rescues happen or not. You will like it a lot I think.
11th-Jan-2013 06:22 pm (UTC)
I adored CODE NAME VERITY! It was one of my top books of 2012. :)
12th-Jan-2013 12:55 am (UTC)
Goddammit. I knew I had seen a review of it here, but then I did a search for it with your search thing and nothing came up and I was like, My memory is all wrong. Dammit dammit dammit. I am the worst. I am the worst worst worst. *overcome with shame*
13th-Jan-2013 08:17 pm (UTC)
No worries! I never did review it, since all my thoughts were spoilery and jumbled.
11th-Jan-2013 10:25 pm (UTC)
I can't be much help, because I've only read two of your tbr books--one of which, the first Rain Wild book, I didn't like much....But I did love Bitterblue!
13th-Jan-2013 08:18 pm (UTC)
I'm looking forward to BITTERBLUE! I heard Cashore read the prologue at a BEA event, and it sold me on the rest of it. I hope to start in the next couple of weeks.
12th-Jan-2013 05:22 am (UTC)
Murchie is adorable! That face!

I'm afraid I can't be much help with your TBR list. I guess I'd pick Costume Not Required, simply because the first book of the series, The Damned Busters, is on MY TBR list :) I gather since you have the sequel on your list, that the first book was good?
13th-Jan-2013 08:20 pm (UTC)
The first book is also on my TBR. :) I bought it because Matthew Hughes is one of the authors I'm most pleased to see in a magazine or anthologie's TOC. I first encountered him via the story he later expanded into THE DAMNED BUSTERS.
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