Monday, 5 January 2015

Favourite Books and Other Highlights of 2014

These two are my absolute favourites of the year. I cried my eyes out during several parts of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. The scenes aren’t even typical tearjerkers, and I don’t deal with the same problems as the main characters, but with his observant, thoughtful writing style, the author succeeded in making me care a lot about Ari and Dante, and I could relate to them on the more general level of having to figure out who you are and who you want to be. I recommend this to anyone and everyone!

The Raven Cycle is my favourite current young adult series. The characters are very close to my heart, and I especially enjoyed The Dream Thieves because of its focus on Ronan, whom I now adore even more than I already did in The Raven Boys.

I already mentioned A Game of Thrones as my favourite book in the first half of 2014, and I’m mad at myself because I didn’t continue on with the series. No need for descriptions, it’s just brilliant. 

A Single Man shows a single day in the life of George, a gay English professor who has to deal with the recent loss of his partner and his otherness as an Englishman in a shabby suburban neighborhood in Southern California. George is a very unique character, who, although at times depressed and pessimistic, still manages to see the beauty in life, and thus not only once brought a smile on my face with his comically cynical observations. 
If you don’t want to read the book, at least watch the movie, it’s great. (And it has Colin Firth in it, so what are you waiting for? I swear, I could’ve read this novel twice as fast if I hadn’t been so distracted by his handsome face on the cover. Not complaining, though.) 

I wrote an in-depth review of The Book Thief, so I won’t make many words about it now. It’s a great, moving story, and I want to check out Markus Zusak’s other book, I Am the Messenger, in the future!

2014 has been the year of comics for me. I’ve read more than any year before, and my collection has at least tripled. I read the entire Saga series, and have determined that it is my favourite comic. Brian K. Vaughan is a  creative writer and Fiona Staples does a wonderful job in bringing his ideas to life. I cannot decide which character I like the most, which, to me, is always an indicator for a great story.

The honour of best artwork as well as most hilarious comic, however, goes to Rat Queens. Having a rather trashy-looking cover, this series took me completely by surprise and impressed me with its humour (Gary! Betty!) and a strong cast of diverse, distinct female characters. [Review.]

Alex + Ada is a comic I was a bit hesitant about when I wrote my review, but which later grew on me, for I very much enjoyed the slower, non-action-packed approach to the topic of robots and future technology.

… or, my excuse to recommend Hannibal to you. This is by far the best show I started watching in 2014. Superb actors, phenomenal storytelling, fantastic soundtrack, wonderfully gritty atmosphere, stunning cinematography and, I have no more adjectives. I even bought the first of Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter novels because of the show, although that’s not my genre at all.

Best event in 2014: Thurston Moore concert in October. I usually go to 2 – 4 concerts every year, depending on which artists are on tour right now. This year, I’ve only managed to go to one, so it’s automatically my favourite, but it was great nonetheless. I like Sonic Youth, but I hadn’t listened to much of Thurston Moore’s solo work prior to this concert, because I could never decide whether I think he’s smart or a total douche. What I can tell after this concert, though, is that, whether it be as the singer of Sonic Youth or as a solo artist, he is definitely a great musician.

Best pastime in 2014: Learning new languages. I started taking language courses in Swedish and Icelandic a few months ago, and it’s so much fun. I love being able to communicate in multiple languages, which is one of the reasons I started this blog in English. If I could choose one place to spend the rest of my life in, it would probably be somewhere in Scandinavia, the mentality of the people, the landscapes as well as the languages are just beautiful. It’s been particularly hard to find an Icelandic teacher, so I’m glad it worked out.

Favourite song of 2014: Not a song, but a concerto! Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47. I cannot believe I only just now stumbled across this beautiful piece.

Best decision I made in 2014: Reviving this blog, duh! I enjoy exchanging views about books with you, and I’ve felt very welcome in the book blogging community right from the beginning, which is why I want to give thanks to everyone who came around this wee little blog, left a nice comment or just read through one of my posts. Thank you very, very much, it means a lot to me!

4 comments:

  1. Haha Hannibal is an amazing show! I've some other shows to recommend if you loved that one: The 100, Helix. Those are some fantastic shows as well! I'm glad you put one of the books in The Raven Boys series here because I'm going to read that series soon and I need to know if it's good or not! The Book Thief was also one of my favorites of this year.

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz

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    1. Thank you for your recommendations! I’ve seen the first 2 – 3 episodes of The 100, but, although the story sounds pretty cool, it couldn’t grab me enough. I haven’t heard of The Helix yet, but I’ll check it out!
      I’m currently watching the entire back catalogue of Bryan Fuller’s other shows as an attempt to fill the Hannibal-shaped hole in my life. So, now I’m not only a fan of Hannibal, but also of Bryan Fuller. The man is great! And I like Caroline Dhavernas way more after seeing her in Wonderfalls.

      I really hope you enjoy The Raven Boys! I’ve heard several people say that the story is too slow and uneventful for them, but I think it’s brilliant. :)

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  2. "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe" muss ich auch noch lesen. Für 2015 habe ich es mir jetzt ganz fest vorgenommen!
    Awww, Ronan und Chainsaw sind so toll, ich liebe die beiden einfach (und Noah) :D Den 4. Band kann ich gar nicht erwarten, so sehr freue ich mich schon darauf. "Blue Lily, Lily Blue" fand ich leider nicht ganz so gut wie "The Dream Thieves".
    Oh ja, bei "A Song of Ice and Fire" dürfte ich auch mal weiterlesen. Da stecke ich irgendwo in der Mitte von "A Storm of Swords", aber mir war in letzter Zeit einfach nicht danach. Neugierig darauf, wie die Geschichte weitergeht, bin ich trotzdem.
    Die Wiederaufnahme deines Blogs war auf jeden Fall eine grandiose Idee und ich hoffe, dass du der Bloggerwelt nun noch lange erhalten bleibst!

    Liebe Grüße,
    Bramble

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    1. Hach, vielen Dank für deinen lieben Kommentar! :)
      Find ich gut, dass du Ari & Dante lesen möchtest. Die ersten paar Kapitel über war ich noch ein wenig skeptisch, aber dann hat mich die Begeisterung gepackt. Ich hoffe, dass es dir ähnlich ergehen wird!

      Noah darf man in der Tat nicht vergessen, er ist schon arg putzig. :D Ich habe „Blue Lily, Lily Blue” direkt im Anschluss zu „The Dream Thieves” begonnen, was wohl ein Fehler war, da es mit Band 2 leider echt nicht mithalten kann ... Mir gefällt es natürlich immer noch gut, aber irgendwie fehlte mir in den ersten 100 Seiten das gewisse Etwas, darum habe ich es vorübergehend beiseite gelegt. Ich werde es aber diesen Monat noch fertig lesen und mir dann „The Scorpio Races” zu Gemüte führen. :)

      Zu Weihnachten hab ich die zweite Staffel von „Game of Thrones” geschenkt bekommen; das stellt hoffentlich eine ausreichende Motivation dar, um mich nun endlich wieder an die Bücher ranzutrauen ... Ich vermisse Tyrion ziemlich.

      Liebe Grüße

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