My 2014 Reading Biography

AKA the books I read this year.

Honestly, I’m not sure that “reading biography” is a thing that people say, but I saw it on another post and I’m stealing it. How about we make it catch on and then eventually everyone who reads this blog will be able to say they had a hand in a new tag/meme on WordPress. I can see it now.

“Hey guys, this is my reading biography. As started over at Write me a Book, John!”

Maybe? Anyway, this is going to be a much shorter post than I’d have hoped at the start of the year. I’m pretty sure you know by now that my goal each year is to read 50 books. I think it’s a nice round number that’s definitely attainable, considering I read 44 a couple years ago in just seven months. Guess how close I got? Just guess. I’ll wait.

Hurry up.

Okay. Time’s up. I read…seven books! SO close to my goal! Not. It was a terrible reading year. I mean, how can I even say I’m a reader with that kind of number? It’s really disappointing and there’s no explanation. I’m just a loser. Here’s the mediocre list anyway. And I’m even going to post the date I finished each one so you really get an idea how bad it really was.

1. Valediction (Spenser #11) – Robert B. Parker – January 1

2. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank – March 7

3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) – JK Rowling – March 13

4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl – March 26

5. London Bridges (Alex Cross #10) – James Patterson – April 12

6. The Fault in our Stars – John Green – June 12

7. The Drop (Harry Bosch #15) – Michael Connelly – June 21

Pages Read: 2193

Reading Time: 36:07

Series Books: 4

Authors: 7

Amazon 100 Books: 4

That’s it. That’s all there is to know from what I read in 2014. This means I’ve read a whopping 22 books since January 1, 2013! What am I doing!? No. 2015 will be better. I know it.

How was your 2014 reading year? It couldn’t have been any worse than mine.

The Best of 2014: Books I read

I began this series of posts yesterday by telling y’all about the best bloggers I know. Today we’re going to talk about the best books I read in 2014. Although not over yet, it’ll be my worst reading year since high school. I’ve only made it through seven books. Seven. Oh well. But there were some standouts among those seven that I do want to talk about. Remember these are NOT books released in 2014 but books I read in 2014.

#1 The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank

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I read this book as part of my journey to read every book on Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This isn’t really a book. It’s her diary, as you well know. And maybe that’s why it really hit me like it did. She takes you through every emotion imaginable and she does so in such an eloquent manner that you can’t help but be impressed by her grasp of the written word. She’s able to take you back to one of the worst periods the world has ever known, and she does it while in hiding. It’s a remarkable work that everyone should read.

I currently have this book ranked #1 on my list of the best books I’ve ever read. There’s no doubt that it will stay there for some time. Here’s the post I wrote the day after finishing it.

#2 The Drop (Harry Bosch #15) – Michael Connelly

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Michael Connelly is right near the top of my favorite authors and I’ve never once been disappointed by one of his Bosch novels. The Drop is no exception. Bosch is working two cases at once. One is the death of a city councilman’s son and the other is a cold case. That’s all I’ll say. It’s vintage Bosch and I already have the next book in the series on my shelf.

I currently have this book ranked #13 on my list of the best books I’ve ever read. One spot ahead of the third and final book on the list.

#3 The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

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I don’t need to tell you anything about this book because you’ve probably already read it and made up your own mind about the story itself. This was the first time I’d read any YA title since Mockingjay in 2012. I really enjoyed this book. Yeah I thought Gus was too perfect and I thought the way he talked to Hazel was a little too much for a couple of teens, but those are pretty minor things. I loved them both as characters and John Green got millions of people to read about a tricky subject.

I currently have this book ranked #14 on my list of the best books I’ve ever read. Here’s the post I wrote about it earlier this year.

So that’s it! Those are the three best books I read this year! Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone just missed being included in the list. I won’t ask if you’ve read these titles because you’ve almost certainly read at least two of them, but I would like to know what your top reads of the year were. Tell me now.

Language in Your Writing

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Photo Credit: SLU

This post is partly inspired by a comment I received yesterday on my post Stopping a Book Before you Finish. I’d go back and see who said it, but I’m writing this 15 minutes before I’m supposed to get ready for work, so if you read this you mystery person you, thanks for the comment.

Okay. Now I’m not talking about language here. I’m talking about cussing. Or vulgar language in your work. There are a number of genres in which any coarse language is unacceptable, but let’s not talk about those this time around. Let’s talk strictly books for adults. Say you’re reading along and then the protagonist has an angry episode and starts cussing all over the next few pages. Would that turn you off the rest of the book? Or say you’ve been reading along and the protagonist speaks casually with other characters using some of our favorite four-letter words. Would that turn you off the rest of the book?

I ask because I’ve come to realize that although I read mostly detective stories that deal with serial killers or rapists or so-called bad people, there is very little cussing going on. When I say very little, I mean almost none. The book I’m just about to finish in the next day or so, The Drop by Michael Connelly, has had none. Or if there has been any, it’s been such a small amount that I can’t even recall it.

The point I want to make is that sometimes we write scenes that we just know need a little cussing to make more genuine or realistic, but in reality that is rarely the case. It may sound okay to you as you write it, but it likely sounds a bit forced or excessive to the reader if there are any scenes that have a lot of cussing from one or more characters. There are a number of things that can potentially turn me off a book, but cussing isn’t really one of them.

To you, do you tend to have any amount of vulgar language in your writing? Maybe there’s some yelling or maybe it happens in casual conversation. Tell me.