The places I go

The more that you read, the more things you will know.

The more that you learn, the more places you'll go. -Dr. Seuss

Monday, January 30, 2006


Wrote 400 actual words today. I've decided that I should set a word count goal for any days that I don't sub. Maybe 500 to start.

I'm on a good roll with a nice, shmaltzy new story. I should be working on these romantic shorts almost as writing exercises. Because they're so darn short. I should be able to whip out an 1100 word story in a couple of days, at most.

Oh, and I heard from my friend Anita who had some good news for me about our joint project (which is still in the idea stages).

Yay! A happy writing day.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Undead, book 3

It's a sickness...

Unfortunately, the fourth book is only available in hardcover, and I just can't bring myself to do that...might be time to utilize interlibrary loan!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Chicklit Fest

I finished two books in the past few days:

Undead and Unemployed


See Jane Date

I'm still really, really enjoying the Undead series. Betsy, the heroine, is one of those characters who could be insufferable if handled badly. She's tall, blonde, thin, self-centered, obsessed with designer shoes, and it would be really, really easy to hate her. But she's so darn cute that you just can't. So Kudos to MaryJanice Davidson. This stuff is literary candy, but it's so incredibly sweet. (Hey! MJ has a blog!

See Jane Date by Melissa Senate was fantastic. Lady Turpentine tells me this was the first book published under the Red Dress Ink imprint. And this is exactly the sort of thing I'd like to be writing. I loved it. The ending was utterly predictable, but it was so much fun getting there that I didn't care.

So that's a big thumbs up to both!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Will write for chocolate

Debbie has a fantastic comic/column about freelance writing. It updates every Wednesday (which means there's a new one today!), and it's great stuff. Check it out!

Will Write for Chocolate

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Walking Dead

I'm in progress with this one...up to volume 4 (that's as far as it goes in the collected volumes), and I'm really enjoying it.

Yeah, it's a zombie book.

But it's a really well-written, character-driven zombie book. It kind of reminds me of The Stand...bunch of people trying to survive a horrifying, catastrophic event that's killed almost everyone. (well, nearly killed, in this case...)

Good stuff. I'll keep you posted. :)

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Ice Queen

This was a very quick and interesting read. It was actually the first novel I've read by Alice Hoffman...though I did see and enjoy the movie version of Practical Magic. I'll be interested in reading more of her.

It was mostly a sad and contemplative book, looking at the nature of death and what it means to be alive. The ending was both bittersweet and hopeful. I enjoyed it very much.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Thanks for stopping by!

Thanks for visiting me! I don't think I have a link up at the moment, but I just wanted to mention that you can visit my other blog here:


I finished The Ice Queen, which I enjoyed, and I will post about in full very soon. :)

Thanks for the recommendations, and keep them coming!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Make a recommendation!

I'm looking to add to my ever-growing list of books I want to read this year. If you have any suggestions, send 'em my way.

I think I'm adding Elie Weisel's Night, and I'd like a few other "required reading"/classics on my list.


The Five People You Meet in Heaven

I picked this up while subbing in an English classroom last week. It seems to be on all the high school reading lists, so I thought I should check it out.

I never read Tuesdays With Morrie. I occasionally read Mitch Albom's column, and I appreciate his writing style.

So am I a bad person if I say I didn't like this much?

It was a quick read, and it presented some good ideas about life and death...but mostly, I found it shmaltzy, simplistic and manipulative. If you've read this, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Oh, yeah...

There's that writing thing. :)

I've got a couple of things in the works. One of them is a project I'm just starting on with my friend Anita who lives in LA. I'm pretty excited about it, but I don't want to talk much about it just yet. I need to let my brain marinate in the creative juices a little while longer.

Secondly, I wrote a romantic short story a while back that was rejected (twice) by Woman's World magazine...I like it, and I think it has promise, and so I'm wondering if there's enough juice in it to be expanded into a novel-length work. Chicklit. Turn it into one piece of a much bigger story. If you're interested in seeing it, let me know and I'll email it to you.

McSweeney's Chamber of Astonishing Stories

I just finished this collection of short stories, which I found highly enjoyable. I especially liked the stories from Margaret Atwood and Stephen King.

The Miniaturist by Heidi Julavitis was very good, as was The Devil of Delery Street by Poppy Z. Brite.

I admit to not finishing either the Joyce Carol Oates or the Peter Straub, because they just didn't grab my attention.

Overall, if you enjoy the creepy and the weird, I imagine you would like this collection.


Friday, January 13, 2006

Risking Everything

I finished Risking Everything, a wonderful collection of poetry.

Unlike Roger Housden's other collections, this book doesn't feature any essays or commentary. As I was reading, I made note of the poems that I particularly enjoyed (with links to the ones I could find):

Shoveling Snow with Buddha, Billy Collins
People Like Us, Tasting Heaven, Robert Bly
My Dead Friends, Marie Howe
Sweet Darkness, David Whyte
anything or anyone that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.

The Journey, Mary Oliver
To Have without Holding, Marge Piercy
Breath, Kabir
O My Friends, Mirabai
Thank You, My Fate, Anna Swir
The Dove Descending, TS Eliot
Prayer is an Egg, Rumi
hatch out the total helplessness inside

Perfect Joy, Chuang Tzu

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Welcome to my new blog. :) This is going to be where I keep my posts about what I'm reading and writing.

I just finished Undead and Unwed, which was great fun. I could really get behind this whole "paranormal romance" thing.

I'm also working on Risking Everything, a book of poetry from off of Rand's shelf (great stuff), and McSweeney's Chamber of Astonishing Stories, which I'm loving. It was a Christmas gift. :) More details to come!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

2005 50 Book Challenge

50. If Grace is True...Why God Will Save Every Person
I found this fascinating...I'll need to get the book out to properly blog about it, because I underlined. A lot.

49. Factoring Humanity
Fabulously well-written science fiction. I'd read another book, Calculating God, by the same author. Rand had it and recommended it to me. He then bought me this one for Christmas, and I finished it in an afternoon. As I told Rand, it's great to read SF that doesn't make you feel like you're being lectured at. Sawyer's books are truly about the people AND the ideas. Great dialogue, well-drawn characters, and really cool ideas. Thumbs up. :)

48. Brooklyn Dreams
Very interesting, well written and well drawn graphic novel. I have to say, I'm starting to become a fan of JM DeMatteis.

47. Bird by Bird
This was a great book about writing, and I found Lamott's writing to be honest, funny and touching. Anne Lamott gives great advice, her personal insights are fantastic, and reading this made me want to check out some of her fiction. I need to go back through and find some of my favorite quotes. I kept reading things to R aloud. I definitely give this one a thumbs up.

46. The Dominant Blonde
I enjoyed this. It was a fun, fast read. Typical chicklit, but definitely well-written, intelligent and sexy.

45. A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Bad Beginning
I read this during my free first period yesterday. I love children's books and YA novels, so after everything I've heard, I expected to love Lemony Snicket. I didn't *hate* it, but I didn't love it either. It was clever, funny in parts, but mostly I just didn't see what the big deal is all about.

44. Moonshadow
I loved the literary allusions DeMatteis uses at the beginning of each chapter. I loved the artwork, which was done in beautiful watercolors. The story was funny and touching and heartbreaking, and while being wildly fantastical, it was also somehow deeply real.

43. Passionate Hearts
I absolutely adored this collection of poetry. I marked a few favorites, and will definitely be revisiting them. I highly reccommend this, if that means anything at all to you. ;) Maybe I'll post some bits of the ones I liked best, if I get around to that...

42. Kiss Her Goodbye
Wendy Corsi Staub is cool. She writes traditional romance, chicklit, thrillers, ghost stories, and she does it all really, really well. This novel was a thriller set in Western New York (Wendy is from Fredonia), which made it really fun to read. I really like a thriller that keeps me guessing until the very end, and this one achieved that goal. It was a quick but thoroughly enjoyable read. If you enjoy this sort of thing, I would recommend her! :)

41. The Joy Luck Club
I've had this paperback lying around my house for way too long. I decided to teach the story "Two Kinds," which is an excerpt from the novel. I decided it was about time I picked it up and read it. I kept wanting to express my amazement that this was Amy Tan's first novel. The language is so breathtakingly beautiful, the characters so only complaint was that the ending left me a little flat. This is definitely worth a read.

40. The House on Mango Street
A very quick but deeply moving and engaging read. It's a series of little vignettes that tell a complete story. Some of them are funny, some of them heartbreaking. I will definitely be interested in reading more of Sandra Cisneros's work.

39. Maus I and II
First I need to say again that I can't believe that I didn't read Maus when I was in college. I think every class but the one I was in read this...but anyway...outstanding stuff. I sobbed out loud at the end of the second book. The section where he described the gas chambers...shudder. This should be required reading for, well, everyone.

38. Breakfast of Champions
Rand commented that it's funny that I'm reading all this Vonnegut now...he did all of his Vonnegut reading in high school and college. Well, what can I say? I may be late to the party, but I don't think I'm enjoying it any less. :) I thought this book was fantastic. And it's even more apparent to me now how much Vonnegut influenced Stephen King. (In the last books of the Dark Tower series, King does a similar step-into-the-characters-world thing...but with a slightly different twist. King's characters come to find *him*) Anyway, I do love Vonnegut's very simple and straightforward style, and the idea of the writer being "creator of the universe" is mind-bogglingly fascinating.

37. The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith
This is the second book I've read by Marcus J. Borg, and I very much appreciate his style. He's an academic, but manages to write readable, accessible prose that doesn't come off as condescending. One thing I found interesting was his description of a common image of God as king, judge or police officer, stating that in this monarchical model of God, God becomes the superego. I also found his commentary on social justice particularly moving.

When I said I was reading this book, Jen said "Because you want to?" Well, yeah...I've always said that I wished I'd taken some religious studies classes in college. There's so much I don't know anything about. Luckily for me, I met a man who has a master's in theology. ;)

36. Matilda
I really liked Roald Dahl when I was a kid...Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach were among my favorite books...but I missed this one. Luckily for me, Rand happened to have it lying around, and once I got started, I couldn't put it down. A cute story, funny, well-told, with lots of heart. I simply adored this book. :)

35. Naked Pictures of Famous People
Jon Stewart before The Daily Show. A fun little read of Woody Allen-esque essays. Quite entertaining. :)

34. Fahrenheit 451
How could a self-respecting English teacher not have read this book before? Ummm...I don't know, but I'm catching up now. :) I finished this during my free time this afternoon, completely engrossed. This is a short little book, but I literally devoured it once I started reading. Fantastically entertaining and thought-provoking, and definitely a story that holds up over the years.

33. Cat's Eye
I have to say it again...I adore Margaret Atwood. I wouldn't say this was my favorite of her work (so far, that's a toss-up between The Blind Assassin andThe Handmaid's Tale), but I did think it was very, very good. The stories of Elaine's childhood are gut-wrenching. I would agree with some of the reviews I read that didn't think Atwood did such a good job of following Elaine into adulthood, of allowing the reader to feel that same emotional-connectedness, except that I think that was kind of the point.

A side note about Atwood...a few years ago, I was applying to a creative writing program (which I later decided not to pursue) and asked one of my professors to write me a recommendation. He wrote me an absolutely glowing letter, and in it, he described my writing as "delightfully Atwoodian." At the time, I had read zero Margaret Atwood. I now take it as an amazing compliment. :)

32. Anthem
This would be my first, and thus far only, experience with Ayn Rand. When Jen read this, she commented on how similar in theme Lois Lowry's The Giver was, and I would have to agree. What is clear in reading even just this short bit of Rand is her dissatisfaction with Communisim and Socialism, the theme that permeates all of her work.

I had to roll my eyes at one of the Amazon reviews. I'll bet you can figure out which one. ;)

What I get from Anthem and all of the dystopian fiction I've read is this...any ideological extreme carried too far can be frightening and dangerous.

31. Pride and Prejudice
Part of my quest to read more classic literature. I enjoyed this, especially in tandem with listening to The Jane Austen Book Club. I didn't realize how much Helen Fielding *really* had Austen in mind when she was writing Bridget Jones. Now I definitely need to sit my butt down and watch the movie. (mmm...Colin Firth...)

And wow, I just wanted to smack Lydia. Eek!

30. Catalyst
I read and absolutely loved Speak, so I had to read more Laurie Halse Anderson. I picked this up at Barnes & Noble and finished it during my free time the next day. I really appreciate the way Anderson captures the teenage voice. I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as I enjoyed Speak...I thought that story was more compelling. Also, I felt that the protagonist's main storyline was left somewhat unresolved.

29. The Stranger
My introduction to existentialism came in a fiction writing class in college. It was a workshop course, and a French student wrote an incredibly bleak, dark story in which his protagonist wandered around brooding and smoking a lot. I don't remember whether or not anything else happened. What I do remember is that I hated it, and that my professor thought it was brilliant. And that was what I thought about when I read The Stranger. I also thought about this song. For years, because of the fiction writing experience, I believed that I hated existentialist writing. I now realize that isn't true...Ron Hawkins, after all, writes incredibly existentialist lyrics and I like him just fine...maybe it's the French part that gets to me. ;)

Um, anyway...I'm glad I read this, but it didn't inspire any great emotional reaction in me. I read some of the reviews at Amazon, and saw that a number of people loved it *because* they hated it so much. I didn't hate it, but like Meursault, I was emotionally indifferent to it.

28. Ishmael
A guy sits around and has conversations with a telapathic gorilla about the meaning of life, the nature of humanity and our place in the world. Which is a lot more interesting than it sounds. ;) What I enjoyed about the book is that it raises good questions and forces the reader to question his or her attitudes about the aforementioned topics. I picked this up at the school where I was subbing yesterday...apparently, the teacher had used it in a class, and I can see why. I'll bet they had some fascinating conversations. :)

27. The Virgin Suicides
I finished this one so quickly that I never even got the chance to put it up on my sidebar! A fascinating and utterly compelling read. I haven't seen the movie, but I think I might check it out now...I really, really enjoyed Lost in Translation, so I'm interested in seeing what Sofia Coppola did with this story.

26. Cry Me a River
I liked this. I found it to be highly emotional and very moving at times. Although your sympathy was mainly with the protagonist, a father just released from prison, trying to save his son from death row, you could understand the anger and hurt directed at him by the other characters (his wife and sister, as well as his father-in-law). The ending may have been somewhat predictable, but still touching.

25. 'Til the Fat Lady Sings
I thought this book was really entertaining. I'm definitely enjoying Alisa Kwitney's style, and would like to continue reading her stuff. My one quibble with this book...was the main character, just a teeny bit taller than me and exactly my weight, really supposed to be fat? Or was it the idea of her struggle to fit into a thin world? Was the author trying to make a point about our culture's attitudes about weight? Um, anyway...I did like this book.

24. Preacher
What a fantastic story. Rand and I read this together (my first time, certainly not his...) for quite a while now and just recently finished. The most compelling thing about this, I thought, was the love story between the two main characters. Somehow, amidst all the weirdness (and it was weird, believe you me) this romance worked. Also some good stuff about friendship and grace and redemption.

23. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Oh my GOD, this was fantastic. I picked it up Saturday morning at Media Play, using the gift cards I received for being appreciated as a teacher. :) I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get a copy, not having reserved it and not feeling up to attending a midnight party. But fortunately for me, copies were plentiful.

I liked this much better than book 5...I felt it was a much tighter story...better editing, less waste. I admire JK Rowling for her ability to keep me (and millions of others) on the edge of my seat, to finish one book and be crawling out of my skin in anticipation of the next. That is some great storytelling talent.

I've enjoyed watching Harry and his friends grow up...and I'm going to be awfully sad when it's over. That's when, I suppose, my rereading and rewatching will begin.

I don't want to give too much away, not having the ability to hide an extended post, but I invite anyone who wants to discuss the finer details to send me an email. :)

22. Girlfriend in a Coma
Wow. I don't know if I have adequate words to describe how I feel about this book. I was completely drawn in, completely enthralled, from the very first page. I checked out the reviews at Amazon, and it's clear that this book is not for everyone. I, for one, thought it was amazing. I absolutely love Coupland's prose style, the story was offbeat and original, and also deeply thought-provoking. I'm eager to read more of his work!

21. All Families Are Psychotic
Yep, more Douglas Coupland. Love him. Love, love, love him. This book was crazy, plot-wise, yet managed to be true, funny, and even heartwarming.

20. Tricked
I loved this fantastic graphic novel by Alex Robinson. The characters were all so alive and wonderfully complex, and the stories of the six main characters brought together in the book's climax were woven together beautifully. Great, great stuff.

19. Mr. Maybe
Thanks to Lady Turpentine, who offered me a bunch of suggestions when I said I was in the mood for chick lit, and to Rand, who happened to come across some books for me. This was one of them, and I read it not quite in one sitting, but close. ;) Jane Green does this SO well. The first couple of chapters, I was all set to not like the heroine at all. But the end of the book I was totally rooting for her. Fantastic. (And a sidenote...when I read these books, I so want to be British.)

18. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Just for kicks, I went and read some of the analysis and comments at Sparknotes. I found myself disagreeing with some of their analysis, and wonder if it's just my prejudices...anyway...I found this an interesting and thought-provoking, but ultimately depressing read. (if you haven't read this and think it's a *sexy* book, think again. there is sex, yes, but it's hardly the point.) It paints a pretty bleak picture of love and sexuality, and, well, humanity, in my opinion. I guess I'm more of an optimist. :)

17. Rape: A Love Story
I thought this was fantastic. Horrifying, sad, dark, emotional...and fantastic. One thing I didn't realize when I picked it up was that it's set in Niagara Falls. A woman is brutally gang raped and left for dead in a park. Her 12-year-old daughter was the only witness. She is able to identify the perpetrators, who are arrested and charged, but they hire a sleazy defense attorney who turns the case into the most horrible "blame the victim" scenario I've ever read.

It's a short read (only 154 pages), and well worth it. And the ending is perfect.

16. The Big Over Easy
I love Jasper Fforde and the Thursday Next series. I wasn't sure how I would like his new series-crime novels based on nursery rhyme characters. It took me a while to decide how I felt about this book. Ultimately, I enjoyed it. I liked the characters, and the story was a lot of fun. I did put my finger on what was bothering me about it, and it was summed up perfectly in this review:
Fforde parodies detective fiction and nursery rhymes in an innovative and humorous way, but the world in which the story takes place is not as well developed as that in which Thursday Next lived.
I like Thursday's world better. But I found that, like the Nursery Crimes Division, this book grew on me. I'm curious to see where he goes next.

15. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Touching, funny, sad, and utterly compelling. It was a quick, easy read that grabs you right from the first words and doesn't let go until the very end. I would recommend this book to anyone.

14. Life After God
Of the three Douglas Coupland works I've read so far, this was my least favorite...which was not to say that I disliked it, but it was, well, odd. Basically, I was unable to determine whether or not the stories were supposed to be connected, or if they were just a series of similarly-themed stories and vignettes. I also had a hard time determining who was speaking most of the time. I felt that it dealt with the same issues that Coupland deals with in Girlfriend in a Coma, only that book accomplishes it much better. But that's just my opinion. :)

13. Which Lie Did I Tell?
I think William Goldman is wildly entertaining, and I really enjoyed this book...both for his "insider" stories and his insights about writing. There were a few times I questioned the reasoning of anyone who wants to be a screenwriter...good God, I don't know if I could put up with all of that Hollywood bullshit, no matter how much they were paying me. But it sure is fun to read about someone else's experience!

12. Invisible Monsters
Okay, so apart from Fight Club, which I saw but did not read, this is my first experience with Chuck Palahniuk. It was weird, and gruesome, and unsettling, and funny, and sad. I'm definitely interested in reading more of his stuff.

11. About a Boy
While I'd previously seen both High Fidelity and About a Boy, the only Nick Hornby I'd read up until now was How to Be Good, which I liked, but I've heard that it's not his best work and was panned by a lot of critics. That said, I *loved* About a Boy. I thought the story was much better than the movie (which I did also like, by the way...). The one thought that I kept having was that Hornby must have written the character of Will specifically for Hugh Grant to play in the movie. ;)

10. Big Mouth and Ugly Girl
I didn't know Joyce Carol Oates was writing YA stuff. Loved, loved, loved this, and am quickly becoming a big Joyce Carol Oates fan. She writes with such beauty and emotional honesty.

9. The Invisibles
(Link is only to the first volume, but I did read all of them!)
Wow...weird, craziness from Grant Morrison. I imagine this will take several readings for the ideas to actually sink in. The first volume is pretty much The Matrix. (Grant Morrison actually sued the guys who made the movie, but then dropped the suit.) Delves into weird spirituality and philosophy and asks "what is reality?" Pretty cool. I did enjoy it quite a bit.

8. Dandelion Wine
I found this a bit strange and hard to get into at doesn't follow a typical narrative so much...but once I did get into it, I loved it.

7. Never Let Me Go
Despite my utter loathing of The Remains of the Day, I decided this interested me enough to pick it up. I LOVED it. Finished it in one day. The story was poignant, haunting, and achingly beautiful. Perhaps I should give ROTD another shot? ;)

6. The Edible Woman
I continue to *heart* Margaret Atwood. I didn't like this as much as I've liked some of her other work, but it was an interesting look at the ideas of femininity and gender roles. It was written in the late 60s, and considering that, I think it was a good examination of what those roles meant, and how they were changing.

5. If God is Love
Phillip Gulley and James Mulholland are both Quaker ministers. One of them is formerly Catholic, the other formerly Protestant. I read their other book, If Grace is True, earlier this year. I enjoyed this one just as much. There are a million things I have marked in this book that I want to share, but I'll save that for later. (It'll get a post of its very own.) For now, I'll just say that if I could go to a church where one of these guys (or someone like them) was in charge, I'd be there every Sunday.

4. Good Omens
Great fun. The back of the book had a pull quote from a review in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle that read something like "It's 'The Omen' as done by Monty Python." (not exactly it, but I don't have the book with me) I'd say that's a pretty apt description. Very, very funny stuff. :)

3. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
One day, I was subbing in a classroom where there was a student teacher. What does this mean? It means that essentially, the school is required by law to have a certified teacher in the room, but the student teacher was running the show. Which means that I got to sit and read a book all day. I hadn't started anything, and so I saw this in the classroom and thought, "I kind of wanted to read this. And I'm sure I can finish this today." I was right. What I did not anticipate, though, was how many times it would make me weep, which I had to try to do inconspicuously. ;) I did like this, very much.

2. Second Summer of the Sisterhood
Yes, I liked it. Yes, I cried some more. I'm such a sap. :) Seriously, though, I think Anne Brashares has done a fantastic job of capturing all the emotion of friendship, of being sixteen, of falling in love for the first time, of mother-daughter if any of that interests you, pick these up.

1. Identity Crisis
I admit to reading this because Rand really wanted a non-comic-nerd's opinion of it. It was okay, I guess. There was a lot of backstory stuff that I didn't get, of course. I thought the characters were well done, and the emotional aspects of the story were well done also. What I found surprising was that Brad Meltzer is famous for being a writer of mysteries/thrillers, because I didn't think this mystery was particularly well done. Lots of plot holes.

*Bonus material*

1. The Jane Austen Book Club
I listened to this book on CD, and very much enjoyed it.

2. New Rules
Another audio book. Very funny, if you enjoy Bill Maher.

3. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Gotta love that David Sedaris. And nothing beats listening to him read his own stories.

4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
A re-read of one of my childhood favorites, in anticipation of the movie's release.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Enjoyed this. Enjoyed this much more than 100 Years of Solitude, which I did not finish.

6. The Rag and Bone Shop
This was Robert Cormier's final book, and I picked it up while subbing in a 9th grade English class that was reading it. I thought it was very good; engaging, interesting, and thought-provoking, written at the perfect level for the target age group. That said, I hated the ending. *Hated* it. I think it was supposed to be "chilling" or "shocking" or something, but I didn't like it. This novel was apparently published posthumously, and I wonder what the finished product would have been, had it been published while he was alive.

Winner of the prize for favorite book read this year...toss up between Never Let Me Go and Girlfriend in a Coma. Both were brilliant in completely different ways.

What did YOU read this year? :)