Thursday, December 26, 2013

Kicking off the year-end favorites

It's that time of year when I reflect back on the books I've read and put together lists of my favorites. I'll start with a little recap of my reading stats for you. I'm hoping to fit another one or two books in before we ring out the year next week, but they will be 2014 publications, so I feel ready to run down my favorites at this point.

So at this point I've read 98 books. A smaller percentage of that number were audiobooks this year: only 30. The 98 books were written by 92 different authors, and 65 of those authors were new to me this year.  I read 21 debut novels (3 debuted earlier than 2013).

I wish I could double those numbers, but alas, I simply don't read that fast. And while I wish I could read more of the books that come out, I don't ever want reading to turn into a chore for me. I read at a pace that allows me to absorb and enjoy my books. I'm happy with that.

Now onto our first look at favorites - favorite book covers.

I've discovered that I'm not a fan of commercial book covers. In other words, I don't like what sells. I prefer covers that elicit something from me. I love covers that have strong meaning and connect well with the books they are wrapped around. So, you may find my choices a little odd...that's just me, a little odd! And just a little side note, these are only covers from those books I read this year. I know there are fabulous covers out there I haven't seen or picked up yet as well...

If You Were Here - Alafair Burke



I love all of Alafair Burke's books, but this is by far my favorite of her covers. I'm often drawn to colors that are not black, white or red because those are so dominant in the crime fiction genre. But this cover's simplicity conveys a lot of meaning connected to the book. This is definitely a gold star book cover.

The Broken Places - Ace Atkins



While the use of the car mirror isn't a new one, I find the use in this cover especially strong given the role of the storm in the book. There's a great deal of atmosphere created in this cover without bogging it down with a lot of insignificant and busy detail.

The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt



I'm finishing up the 26-disc audio of this one right now. Again, I like the simple design. I like the sense of depth--inviting you to look inside, the appearance of texture and the font--among my all-time favorite fonts. There's an overall aura of something hidden and mysterious behind the paper. This cover does a lot with little.

Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies - Chris Kluwe



Maybe it's because I see so many dark and melancholy covers in the crime fiction genre, but I just can't help smiling when I see this cover. It has such a sense of whimsey to it. The contrast between the big male football star and the carousel horse is striking. This is a beautifully unique book and I think the artists came up with a beautifully unique cover.

Brilliance - Marcus Sakey



As with Alafair Burke's work, I thoroughly enjoy all of Marcus Sakey's work. And likewise, I feel the cover for Brilliance is his best cover yet. The depth perception, the use of light and shadows, it's all such a strong image. I love the way they've positioned the title and Marcus' name. Had they moved the blurb to the back cover or made it A LOT less prominent I'd say this cover is perfect.

Today's post will be a twofer: two favorites lists for the price of one (since they are both short). My next list is my five favorite first lines from 2013. First lines from any book I read this year, whether published in 2013 or earlier were considered for this list. I think these mostly speak for themselves, so here you go:


From Dead Harvest (Chris F. Holm): "Light spilled through the window of the pub as I watched them, casting patches of yellow across the darkened street but conveying no warmth."

From Gun Machine (Warren Ellis): "On playing back the 911 recording, it'd seem that Mrs. Stegman was more concerned that the man outside her apartment door was naked than that he had a big shotgun."

From A Quiet Vendetta (R.J. Ellory): "Through mean streets, through smoky alleyways where the pungent smell of raw liquor hangs like the ghost of some long-gone summer; on past these battered frontages where plaster chips and twists of dirty paint in Mardi Gras colors lean out like broken teeth and fall leaves; passing the dregs of humanity who gather here and there amongst brown-papered bottles and steel-drum fires, serving to tap the vein of meager human prosperity where it spills, through good humor or diesel wine, onto the sidewalks of this district... Chalmette, here within the boundaries of New Orleans."

From The Titled World (Tom Franklin & Beth Ann Fennelly): "Dixie Clay was squelching through the mud along the creek's swollen banks, shooing mosquitoes with her hat, when she saw a baby coffin bobbing against a sycamore snag."

From Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies (Chris Kluwe): "I've decided to call my own mind." (Note: since this is a series of essays and articles, this is only the first line to the first essay. Virtually every first line for each entry in the book is worthy of appearing on this list.)

There you have it! My five favorite covers and my five favorite first lines from books I read this year. How about you? What were standouts for you in these categories?

2 comments:

Beth F December 28, 2013 at 7:04 AM  

Argh -- I haven't read any of these, although several are on my TBR pile.

Katharine Ott January 2, 2014 at 3:47 PM  

I read 76 books, quite a few of them from our elementary school library. The covers I liked were: The Song of Achilles, The Hangman's Daughter and Dogboy. I do note first lines in my reviews (thanks for the idea!), but none stand out. Thanks for your interesting blog - Happy New Year!

Labels

2011 2012 2013 Ace Atkins Adrian McKinty Agnete Friis Alafair Burke Alan Bradley Alan Glynn Alan Orloff Alex Berenson Alex Dryden Alexandra Sokoloff Andrew Grant Andrew Gross Anne Zouroudi Annie Barrows Ariana Franklin Arne Dahl Attica Locke audiobook jukebox Audiobooks author events Author Q/A Barry Eisler Bernard Cornwell Beth Ann Fennelly Bill Cameron Bill Crider Bill Loehfelm Bill Pronzini blog tour Book Events Book News Brad Meltzer Brad Parks Brent Ghelfi Brett Battles Brian Azzarello Brian Freeman Brian McGilloway Bryan Gruley C. J. Box C.J. West Camilla Läckberg Cara Black Carl Hiaasen Carla Buckley Carlos Ruiz Zafon Carter Wilson Catriona McPherson Charles Cumming Charlie Huston Charlie Newton Chevy Stevens Chris Grabenstein Chris Holm Chris Kluwe Christa Faust Christopher Reich Christopher Rice Chuck Greaves CJ Lyons Claude Berube Colin Cotterill Cozy Mystery Craig Johnson Craig McDonald CRCRC crime caper Crime Fiction Crime Writers Caught Recommending Crime CWCRC D.A. Mishani Dana Cameron Daniel Palmer Daniel Silva DATW Dave Barry David Baldacci David Corbett David Ellis David Handler David Hayward David Morrell David Rosenfelt Deborah Coonts Deborah Crombie Declan Burke Denise Hamilton Denise Mina Dennis Lehane Detective Fiction Diane Stuckart Don Bruns Don Winslow Donald E Westlake Donato Carrisi Douglas Corleone Duane Swierczynski dystopian Earl Emerson ebook Ed Lynskey Edoardo Ballerini Elizabeth Hand Elizabeth Haynes Emma Donoghue Eric Beetner F. Paul Wilson FFB Five on Friday Focus Features Forensic Science Foul Play Books Francine Mathews Gabriella Herkert Gar Anthony Haywood Gayle Lynds General Fiction George Guidall George Pelecanos Gillian Flynn Graham Brown Gregg Hurwitz Hallie Ephron Hank Phillippi Ryan Harlan Coben Harley Jane Kozak Harper Lee Herman Koch Heroes and Villains Hilary Davidson Historical Fiction Hugh Laurie Ian Rankin Inger Frimansson Ingrid Thoft international thriller J.J. Myers J.T. Ellison James Barney James Conway James Crumley James DuPont James Fredericks James Grippando James Lee Burke James LePore James O. Born Jamie Freveletti Jan Burke Jane Cleland Janet Evanovich January LaVoy Jassy Mackenzie Jed Rubenfeld Jeff Abbott Jeff Woodman Jeffery Deaver Jeffrey Cohen Jeffrey Siger Jennifer McMahon JIAB2011 JIAM2013 Jill Thompson Jo Nesbø Joelle Charbonneau John Connolly John Grisham John Hart John Lescroart John Sandford John Shannon John Verdon Johnny Shaw Jon Land Jonathan Hayes Jonathan Kellerman Jonathan Schuppe Joseph Finder Joseph Wallace Joseph Wambaugh Josh Bazell Josh Corin Joy Castro Julia Heaberlin Julia Pomeroy Julia Spencer-Fleming Julie Hyzy Juliet Blackwell Karen Fossum Karen Olson Karin Slaughter Katherine Kellgren Keith Thomson Kelli Stanley Kelly Braffet Ken Bruen Ken Isaacson Kevin Guilfoile Kimberly McCreight Lachlan Smith Laura Lippman Laurie R King Lawrence Block Lee Child Left Coast Crime Legal Thriller Lene Kaaberbøl Lenny Kleinfeld Les Roberts Liad Shoham Libby Hellmann Linda Castillo Linda Fairstein Linwood Barclay Lisa Ballantyne Lisa Black Lisa Brackmann Lisa Gardner Lisa Lutz Lisa Unger Literary Mystery Lori Roy Lou Berney Louis Bayard Louise Erdrich Louise Penny Louise Ure MacLeod Andrews Marcia Clark Marcus Sakey Mark Billingham Mark Gimenez Mark Hammer Mark Pryor Mark Sullivan Markus Zusak Martin Limon Martyn Waites Mary Higgins Clark Matt Coyle Matthew Dicks Matthew Pearl Matthew Quirk Medical Thriller Meg Gardiner Megan Abbott Memoirs Meredith Cole MfM 2011 Michael Chabon Michael Connelly Michael Harvey Michael Koryta Michael Lister Michael Stanley Michael Van Rooy Michael Wiley Michelle Gagnon Middle Grade Mike Lawson military thriller Murder and Mayhem in Muskego Narrator Interviews Nevada Barr Nonfiction novella NPM Oliver Harris Owen Laukkanen p.i. fiction paranormal Paranormal Thriller Pat Conroy Paul Levine Pete Larkin Peter Berkrot Peter Robinson PI Fiction poetry Police Procedural political thriller Psychological Thriller R.J. Ellory Ralph Cosham Raymond Chandler Rebecca Cantrell Reed Farrel Coleman Reg E. Cathey Review review copy Richard Lange Ridley Pearson Robert B. Parker Robert Crais Robert Dugoni Robert Fate Robert Greer Robert Gregory Browne Robert Pobi Robin Burcell Rochelle Staab romantic suspense Rosemary Harris Ross Macdonald Rupinder Gill Ruth Rendell Ryan David Jahn S. J. Watson S.J. Rozan Sandra Ruttan Sara Gruen Sara Henry Sara Paretsky Sarah Weinman Sasha Abramsky Sci-Fi scientific thriller Scott Turow Sean Black Sean Chercover Sean Doolittle Shane Gericke Shelf Awareness review Short Stories Simon Lewis Simon Prebble Simon Vance Simon Wood Six-word Memoirs Sophie Hannah Sophie Littlefield Spencer Quinn spy thriller Stefanie Pintoff Stephen Cannell Stephen Coonts Stephen Jay Schwartz Stephen King Stephen White Steve Forman Steve Hamilton Steve Hockensmith Steve Mosby Steve Ulfelder Steven Forman Stieg Larsson Stuart Macbride Sue Ann Jaffarian Sue Grafton Susan Arnout Smith Suspense/Mystery T. Jefferson Parker Tania Carver Tasha Alexander Tess Gerritsen theme week Theresa Schwegel Thomas Holland Thomas Kaufman Thomas Young Thriller Tim Dorsey Tim Maleeny Timothy Hallinan tlc book tours Todd Ritter Tom Franklin Tom Piccirilli Tom Schreck Toni McGee Causey Tony Hays Tony Hillerman Trevanian Truman Capote Val McDermid Victor Gischler Walter Mosley Warren Ellis Wayne Arthurson Will Lavender William Kent Krueger Xe Sands xuni author Yasmina Khadra Young Adult Young Readers Yrsa Sigurdardóttir Zoë Sharp

Great Indie Bookstores

xuni

xuni
An amazing collection of authors!

TLC Book Tours

Traffic Map

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed

Google+ Followers

Our Blogger Templates Web Design


  © Blogger templates 'Neuronic' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP