I Love Austen Week Tag + #VintageJaneAusten Project

I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest Jane Austen fan in the world (being more of a fantasy person) but I do enjoy her books and characters rather a lot when I do read them! πŸ™‚

So when I saw that it’s “I Love Austen Week” over at Hamlette’s Soliliquy, I thought it was the perfect excuse to do this neat tag she has, talk about some Jane Austen favorites, and to mention a Jane-Austen-related project I’m really excited about which I’ve been looking forward to sharing with y’all! πŸ˜€

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The Vintage Jane Asuten is an upcoming series, by six different awesome authors, of retellings of Jane Austen’s novels, with a twist… they’re are set in 1930s America.

I adore retellings of any kind, and I’d never read an Austen retelling before… so although I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, I really enjoyed the ones in this series that I’ve beta-read so far! If you enjoy Jane Austen at all, you’re going to want to make sure to check these out. πŸ™‚

Fun side-note: I designed the website for the series! (Because I’ve recently discovered that webdesign is so. fun.) So pop over there if you’d like to see more about the series!

www.vintagejaneausten.com

Even more fun: the first book, Emmeline by Sarah Holman, is actually releasing tomorrow (February 18)!

It’s a retelling of Emma and it’s delightful. ❀ (I’ll be reviewing it next week, so stay tuned. :))

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Today (Feb 17) is the last day to preorder Emmeline (here) — if you do, you can enter a giveaway for an Amazon giftcard (details here). You can also add it on Goodreads… because I am Goodreads-obsessed. πŸ˜‰

Okay, now on to the tag… because tags are fun!

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(I ❀ this picture)

I Love Austen Week Tag

1.Β  Which did you experience first, a Jane Austen book or a movie based on one?

Book. I read Pride and Prejudice a very long time ago, on something of a whim, and greatly enjoyed it. I then proceeded to neglect reading the rest, until a couple of bookclub reads a few years ago got me into them, and I’m at long last finishing up all her books with Mansfield Park, which I’m currently reading.

2.Β  What is your favorite Austen book?

Pride and Prejudice and Emma.

P&P was my first, and to me is still the most classic (plus Darcy is in it, which is reason enough; and he and Elizabeth are awesome).

Emma is a recent addition to my Jane Austen knowledge (I only read it last year) and I enjoyed it immensely because it’s unexpectedly brilliant (and because Mr. Knightley, of course).

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3.Β  Favorite heroine?Β  Why do you like her best?

Um… not sure… I guess I’ll go with Elizabeth Bennet. I’m not sure why I liked her (possibly because she was the first I met and because she has spirit) but she’s great. πŸ™‚

4.Β  Favorite hero?Β  Why do you like him best?

Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley.

Mr. Knightley is so… Mr. Knightley. *can’t describe* He just… IS.

Mr. Darcy is rather antisocial and such but he’s a really great guy deep down, and that’s my favorite. He’s just awesome. πŸ™‚

5.Β  Do you have a favorite film adaptation of Austen’s work?

I’m fond of both Pride and Prejudice versions I’ve seen (Kiera Knightley’s and BBC), and of Emma Thompson’s Sense and Sensibility (which I feel is an excellent adaption in general), and I did really enjoy the Persuasion I’ve seen, as well as the Emmas… I don’t know if I have a favorite. I still prefer the books to the film versions, in general. πŸ™‚

6.Β  Have your Austen tastes changed over the years?Β  (Did you start out liking one story best, but now like another better?Β  Did you think she was boring at first, then changed your mind?Β  Etc.)

I’m not sure… I do think that I’m glad I only read Emma recently, because I don’t know if I would have appreciated it as much, several years ago.

7.Β  Do you have any cool Austen-themed things (mugs, t-shirts, etc)?Β  (Feel free to share photos if you want.)

Um… not really? I have a hardcover all-in-one collection of all the novels, and I also have a few of the movies, but nothing particular other than that… unless the website I made for the Vintage Jane Austen book project counts as a “cool Austen-themed thing” that I have. πŸ˜›

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8.Β  If you could ask Jane Austen one question, what would you ask her?

I’d ask her what she thinks of the continued fascination and remaking of her novels, 200 years later, and for her thoughts on if people are missing the point of her jabs at society and only focusing on the romance aspect. πŸ˜›

9.Β  Imagine someone is making a new film of any Jane Austen story you choose, and you get to cast the leads.Β  What story do you want filmed, and who would you choose to act in it?

Pride and Prejudice with Richard Armitage as Mr. Darcy. (Actually, he’d make a good Mr. Knightley too…) Not sure who else to cast, though.

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Because obviously.

10.Β  Share up to five favorite Jane Austen quotations!

Mr. Darcy is very quotable, so most of what he said… But I’ll just put one down of his for now.

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

Pride and Prejudice (Mr. Darcy)

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”

Northanger Abbey (Henry Tilney)

“We do not look in great cities for our best morality.”

Mansfield Park (Edmund Bertram)

Poor Edward muttered something; but what it was, nobody knew, not even himself.

Sense and Sensibility

…Everything Mr. Knightley said in Emma. XD

(I’m also rather fond of the lengthy quote in Emma from Mr. Knightley’s brother about having to go see people for a dull event through the cold when he’d rather be comfortably at home; it appeals to my introvert-ish nature. :P)

So there you are! Do you enjoy Jane Austen? Which is your favorite story or character? Have you read the books (they’re better than the movies! *almost always the case*) and which is your favorite movie? Feel free to do the tag if you like, or answer the questions in the comments!

Unpopular Opinions Tag

So, you know how I said I had one tag left? Well back up, I have an amendment to that statement. Why, you ask?

Because Cait @ Paper Fury just tagged me with the bookish Unpopular Opinions Tag! Which kind of makes my day/week. Thanks Cait!!

So, I am going to do that! (Which will nicely carry my final [?] tag-post to my normal posting day of Monday. I like tidiness, I do.)

At first I was thinking of not doing it, because I’m not naturally a negative person. But I decided to give myself license to rant a liiittle bit today. For therapeutic reasons, you understand. πŸ˜‰ I hope I won’t offend/annoy anyone. o.o But… well… these are kinda my opinions and as Cait so wisely said, we can all have differing opinions on small bookish things and still be friends! (Mostly. Hopefully. I have learned such things the hard way. :P)

So. Let’s do this thing!

(Pictures from Pinterest and Goodreads. Yes I did just raid my entire store of gifs on Pinterest why do you ask… Gifs make everything better and are stupendous at lightening moods. *nod nod*)

The Unpopular Opinions Tag of a Bookish Variety

1. A POPULAR BOOK OR SERIES YOU DIDN’T LIKE.

Um… I’m not sure if they count as popular, but I’m going to pick two books for this.

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The End, the last book in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket — which I just hated how it ended and it didn’t explain ANYTHING and just gaahh. I kept reading the whole series, partly because they were amusing (in a dark way) and partly to find out what happened. BUT IT DIDN’T TELL US.

And Knightly Academy by Violet Haberdasher, because it had such potential to be awesome (I mean, a boy goes to school to become a knight in an alternate Victorian England? Sounds awesome, right?) but just UGH it let me down. I guess it’s just how all schools are with the bullies and the pointlessness and stuff. But I couldn’t see WHY the hero wanted to go to that school and he was so trod upon and it was sad and so annoying.

(Or… more like angry. But the gun shooting is accurate so…)

2. A POPULAR BOOK/SERIES EVERYONE HATES BUT YOU LOVE.

Again, don’t know if they count as popular, but…

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The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison. I just loved it but nobody else seems to! What? PRINCE GEORGE, OKAY. He’s the best. And the story did enough twists and turns to make me rearrange my brain and just it was kind of amazing.

Also maybe Illusionarium by Heather Dixon, which might not count because it just came out but people seem to complain about it and I’m just sitting here going EXCUSE ME?? Aside from it being too creepy for me, it was SPECTACULAR. How can people complain that it’s… um… boring??

3. A LOVE TRIANGLE WHERE THE PROTAGONIST ENDED UP WITH THE PERSON YOU DIDN’T WANT THEM TO BE WITH.

(Is it bad the first thing in my mind at this question was a confused notion of Hawkeye? But he’s not a book character and I think I’m okay with it but I don’t know…)

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I don’t know if I can think of one… I guess I don’t read much love-triangle stuff? But how about Halflings by Heather Burch — that has a love triangle and I kind of like both of the guys but Raven is kind of awesomer than Mace, so. And then I’ve HEARD suspicious things about Maria and Quinn and someone else later in the Destiny trilogy by Sarah Holman… so I’ll have to see. Ahem. I’ve only read the first in each series (I actually really liked The Destiny of One) so actually have no idea and am totally unqualified! But still.

destinyBut yeah. Love triangles in general… A mess.

4. POPULAR GENRE YOU HARDLY READ.

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Dystopian! Just… no. -_- I DO NOT LIKE IT. I’ve read, like… three? The genre makes me shrivel inside and is thoroughly unpleasant and just it gives me this awful feeling and depresses me. No thank you. THEY ARE JUST SO… HOPELESS OKAY. Like, the evil people have everything and are rich and the good people live in the dirt literally and are oppressed and everybody’s grumpy and everyone dies and sure mayyybe eventually the good guys will win (maybe?) but who even cares by now? Life just doesn’t sound worth living. Blech. I don’t have anything much specifically against the ones I have read, I mean, they’re fairly good and all (Captives by Jill Williamson, and Swipe and Sneak by Evan Angler… and yes I will read the Swipe sequels because PECK. PECK PECK. Though I just remembered some others I’ve read and no). On the whole I’m just not a fan of dystopian and will only read them when forced. NO THANK YOU.

5. A POPULAR/BELOVED CHARACTER YOU DISLIKE.

Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. I’m sorry, people, but I cannot abide characters who pine away and make themselves ill for love, especially for love of someone who’s a complete jerk, especially when there’s a really nice guy in plain sight, especially when all she’s doing is being a burden to her sister and mom and basically being worthless and it’s just stupid stupid stupid. I’M SORRY OKAY but I just can’t understand why anyone likes Marianne Dashwood. To me, she was just extremely unlikeable. I’m sure everyone else is seeing something I can’t and I’m just sitting here trying to figure it out…

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6. A POPULAR AUTHOR YOU CAN’T SEEM TO GET INTO.

Suzanne Collins? I haven’t read the HG books yet but I read Gregor the Overlander years ago before HG was even a THING and I just… couldn’t get into it. Or Orson Scott Card with anything other than Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow.

7. A POPULAR TROPE YOU’RE TIRED OF READING.

The tough girls. Maybe this is extreme, but I’m very very sick of the so called tough heroines who think they’re so awesome (but are in reality even whinier than their more timid counterparts) and are all “I can be one of the guys and awesomer than they are and yeah I’m so tough.” I’m sooo tired of those. Ladies, you can use weapons and stuff — that is awesome, I have no problem with it, go you — and fine you can wear trousers if it’s more practical (though usually it’s more to make a statement) but can we please have enough of this attitude and making a big deal of everything? SERIOUSLY. -_-

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8. A POPULAR SERIES YOU HAVE NO INTEREST IN READING.

Um… Twilight? Though I almost want to read it just to see what everyone’s deal is with hating it so bad. πŸ˜› Almost. Recently I would also have answered this with Harry Potter and the Hunger Games trilogy. I guess they would fit under the question actually because “no interest in reading” which is rather true of me, but maybe someday I might end up reading them anyway just to see what on earth is up with them, peoples. Y’know, some decade when I actually have time and if they ever actually take priority over books that I’m excited about and WANT to read… Ha.

(Yeah, that’s funny…)

9. A SHOW/MOVIE ADAPTION YOU LIKED BETTER THAN THE BOOK.

The Princess Bride, and the 1990 Treasure Island with Christian Bale and Charlton Heston. OKAY I SAID IT. There are a couple movies I like more than the books. But this is really extreme. πŸ˜› I do love both the books too though! But the movies were just… aaahh, so awesome! Of course the screenplay of The Princess Bride was done by the author, which is cool. I as-you-wish The Princess Bride. ❀

And Treasure Island, especially with its epic music by The Chieftains and just I loved all the casting and whatever changes they made I mostly liked and it was just awesome. And Charlton Heston as Long John Silver was awesome and Christian Bale as Jim Hawkins was perfection, and I kind of really loved Captain Smollet for some reason. It may have been his hair, or accent…? Anyways nobody really knows about it because I think it was a TV movie, and maybe it’s a bit violent but I kind of just loved it.

10. A POPULAR STYLE OF COVER YOU CAN’T STAND. (Cait’s addition to the tag)

I’m… not much of a cover connoisseur I’m afraid, other than unashamedly loving gorgeous dresses on covers… But it kind of annoys me when part of a face is missing… And mostly I think minimalistic sort of covers, popularized by The Hunger Games methinks, are super annoying. Like… a black background with some words and maybe some sort of icon thing. *shrug* It’s kind of boring I’m afraid. I wouldn’t say I “can’t stand” it but yeah. LET’S HAVE PEOPLE ON THE COVERS. DRESSES. WEAPONS. I DON’T KNOW — SOMETHING INTERESTING. Oh, and also, in general, covers that looked like they were made by a three-year-old. They make me sad.

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There are no specific “rules” for this tag, so again I’m not tagging anyone — those who like stating their unpopular opinions are likely to take it anyway, and those who are more timid about it (like me…) might be torn about doing it.

So! Once again, if you would like to do this, play snag-the-tag! It’s a fun game, I assure you.

There is my post. I have now gotten my bookish negativity checked off my list for the next… hopefully year. πŸ˜›

What do you think? Agree? Disagree?
Have I done an unsafe thing by stating unpopular opinions?
WILL I BE SAFE AT NIGHT? O_O

(I guess we’ll find out… I keep a dragon under my bed as a burglar alarm. I do. His name is Flame the Frabjous and he’s very well trained against bilboes and other less harmless things that go bump in the night like frumious bookworms out armed with weapons of revenge that cause paper-cuts.)

Dragons, Darcy, and Daring

[or perhaps that should be “Toothless, Thornton, and Trying”]

Oh, hey, did you hear that? If you’ve been lurking around the blog, you probably did… That was the sound of… well… of silence. *cue old Simon & Garfunkle music*

What’s been up with you? Myself, I’ve been quite busy, but such busyness is not an interesting topic, so I shall tell you of the fun things I’ve been doing. Mostly, in my spare time all I’ve wanted to do was read, due to some library trips, a library sale, and finding a secondhand bookstore I’d never been to before. So not so good about remembering to blog. Reading allll the things.

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recently read, currently reading, to-read soon

I also have been watching things, like:

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (twice!! :D)

Toothless is the most adorable thing EVER, it was lovely going back and seeing all the characters again, the music was AAAAAAAAAAHHHHH ❀ and aside from one or two parts of the plot that I didn’t like (mostly because *spoilersnevermind* *cries*), it was one of the very best movie sequels I’ve seen! Go watch it. Seriously. (Because TOOTHLESS!!!)

There’s really only one way to sum that movie up:

“THIS IS AMAZING!!!”

The other main thing I finally saw recently…

North and South

Richard Armitage should SERIOUSLY play Mr. Darcy. Seriously. Perfection. The Mr. Darcy’s I’ve seen on the screen (while I like them) have never quite measured up to my mental casting of that gentleman when I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time. Armitage, however, would fill that role quite adequately, methinks. I’ve thought it ever since I first saw him act, and seeing Mr. Thornton in North and South only served to strengthen my position, because let’s face it, he’s the epitome of what Mr. Darcy should have been (without, y’know, the non-romance part of the N&S plot… which I found to be mostly blah).

Just look! ThorntonDarcyBremask! [Bremask is one of my characters in my WIP “The Invisible Mask”]

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Ahem, I believe I got distracted…

In other news, I joined some online sites on a whim, mostly in order to follow certain people… Not doing too much with the sites but poking tentatively through their shallow waters in my non-existent spare time. What I REALLY want to do is join Pinterest, but I’m saving that for a special occasion/reward for catching up on stuff, because I know it’s going to be extremely epic, awesome, and… time consuming.

Anyways, new places: (in case, y’know, you’re on them or interested…)

Twitter: https://twitter.com/OCarrollDeborah

Tumblr: http://deborahocarroll.tumblr.com/

Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/deborahocarroll

So, meanwhile, I have some more projects coming up. You see, aside from all the normal busyness, and trying to get back into studying and things, I’m also… daring to do Camp NaNoWriMo again.

AGAIN!

*cue cheers and applause to cover up the groans from the back of the audience*

Yeah… Sorry. But yep, it’s true. I know you’d think I’d had enough of it for awhile, but nope… I’m jumping write right back in for more awesomeness! I’ll be taking the opportunity to make myself write words to a goal. (I’m set for 10k, but I hope to be able to go above and beyond; it just depends on my schedule.)

What will I be writing about? I’m not 100% sure, but I’m not going to hold myself to just one story if there’s scenes from a few different ones that want to be written… And with so many WIPs and things-to-write-someday, I’m sure I’ll find something…

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However! This does not mean that poor little bloggy will be abandoned in July! Far from it. I actually (for once) have plans for weekly posts, hopefully more interesting and/or writerly than my latest ones, so as long as I actually write them and post them on time and stuff, there should be postses. *nods seriously*

I was, for instance, tagged with the Writing Process blog tour thingamy some time ago, so look for a post on that next week (assuming I survive the first week of Camp NaNo!).

In the meantime, Camp starts… well… tomorrow. Somehow. Huh. I wonder how that happened. So I’d best “pack my bags”; that is, do some more plotting so I know what on Earth–or elsewhere–I’ll be writing about tomorrow!

Favorite Reads of 2013

I read a lot of wonderful books in 2013, so here without further ado I give you a list of my favorites, not counting re-reads. I’m including three books I read that aren’t published yet, written by people I know. When those books are published, I’m going to be the first in line to buy them.

TOP 15 BOOKS READ IN 2013


1. Paper Crowns (Unpublished)Mirriam Neal

Yes, my favorite book of the entire year was an unpublished story. Was it really that good? The answer is YES. ABSOLUTELY YES. It was perfection in awesome fairytale form. Publish it soon, Mirri, so that it can sit in a place of honor on my bookshelf and so I can send multiple copies to all of my friends. ❀


2. The Court of the Stone Children – Eleanor Cameron

This was a truly amazing book, a delightful mixture of historical fiction, fantasy, mystery, ghost story… I’ve never read anything like it before. Plus it’s by one of my five favorite authors. I’m going to be rereading this again soon I think…


3. Searching for Dragons – Patricia C. Wrede

I loved this book! Second in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, and even better than “Dealing with Dragons”, the first one–even though I thought the series couldn’t get better. I loved all the fairytale things hidden throughout, and the whole thing was epic and witty.


4. The Kingdom of the Starlit Valley (Unpublished)the Princess of Dol Amroth

Hilarious humor and fun and adventure, plus one of the very coolest characters EVER made this book wonderful!


5. The Penderwicks – Jeanne Birdsall

Considering the fact that this is a modern story, which is not my thing, it just shows how amazing of a book this was that it made it this high on my list! It totally felt like a really classic older book and I was amazed to notice it was only published in the last ten years. The fun adventures of four sisters, I really enjoyed it.


6. Princess of the Midnight Ball – Jessica Day George

Okay, so Twelve Dancing Princesses is my favorite fairytale, and this was a MARVELOUS version of it. Add in the fact that it was set during a musket time-period, and it reaches near perfection for me…


7. Secrets of Camelot (Unpublished)Lauriloth

I had the great privilege of getting to beta-read this for my friend (still working on the notes, Lauri!) and let me just say… I. Was. Blown. Away. The story mixes together King Arthur legends and Robin Hood legends, and add in some dragons in there and just… whoa. Does it get any better than that? The answer is no! This was SO epic!


8. The Fairest Beauty – Melanie Dickerson

This was an AWESOME book! You may be noticing by now that I’m a big fan of fairytale re-tellings, and this was an incredible version of Snow White. I really loved it and want to try more things by the author!


9. The Naming – Alison Croggon

This was recommended to me by a friend, and though a bit thick to wade through I was extremely glad that I did! Though it seemed to borrow heavily from The Lord of the Rings for a few things, it was a great fantasy story and I’m looking forward to finishing reading the series!

10. Facets of FantasySarah Scheele

This was a collection of five novellas, and each one of them was something special in itself! Awesome adventure stories, Sci fi, and Fantasy, and also one of the most hilarious stories I’ve ever read. The author is currently serializing a rewrite of one of the stories in this collection, on her blog–an incredible and original Cinderella retelling that I am LOVING, so be sure to check it out! I can’t wait for the conclusion!


11. The Amaranth Enchantment – Julie Berry

This was a great fairytale-ish fantasy story–it even had an element of Cinderalla that was fun! Very vivid and original, I quite enjoyed it.


12. The Boggart – Susan Cooper

This is possibly the oddest thing on my list of favorites this year… But Scotland! I listened to the audio version which was awesome. Very funny and cool and unique!


13. Castle in the Air – Diana Wynne Jones

Sequel(ish) to “Howl’s Moving Castle”… enough said! This was extremely fun.


14. Tears of a Dragon – Bryan Davis

Fascinating conclusion to the “Dragons in Our Midst” series, it was extremely engaging and fun!


15. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

Going on my slowly-growing pile of books I’ve read by Jane Austen (all right, I’ve only read Pride and Prejudice besides this) I enjoyed this story immensely! It’s interesting how much I “got” it, despite it having been written so very long ago.

FAVORITE NONFICTION:


Exploring J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit – Corey Olsen

Fantastic look at The Hobbit, and really showed me some good things to think about when re-reading it! Highly recommended!

(If you’re a fan of Tolkien, check out Corey Olsen’s AMAZING downloadable MP3 college lecture series on Tolkien’s works–they are the most fascinating thoughts on Tolkien I’ve ever found; not to mention extremely fun and informative!)


The Four Loves – C. S. Lewis

Lewis always has great things to say, and this year I branched out from his fiction into some of his non-fiction. I was very glad that I did! This was my favorite I read in 2013 and had a lot of interesting and inspirational thoughts.

FAVORITE SHORT STORIES:

Wintermoon Wish – Sharon Shinn (from “Firebirds Rising”)

This story. I just… I can’t. It’s a WONDERFUL short story. Which is extreme for me to say because I’ve been finding that short stories are usually not my thing. It’s basically a Christmas story, or like what a Christmas might be in a fantasy land that doesn’t have Christmas. It was wonderful. It was also basically the only story in the entire collection it was in that I liked…

The Apprentice Thief – Seumas MacManus (from “In Chimney Corners: Irish Folk-Tales”)

I loved this story about an apprentice thief doing seemingly impossible things–it was awesome!

Westwoods – Eleanor Farjeon (from “The Little Book-Room“)

And this one, about a king who’s looking for someone to marry, was just SO delightful! In fact, many of the stories in the book it’s collected in are great!

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So there’s my year in books! Have you read any of those? What did you think? And what were your favorite reads of 2013?