The RIP season has officially come to a close. The last two months have been wonderful. Ten of my thirteen read books in September and October have been of RIP substance, and I have enjoyed every delicious moment of it. Now it is time to wrap everything up, and move into my normal winter hibernation reads (ie, I tend to read very little in Nov/Dec, and when I do, it’s rereads and comfort reads).
My initial RIP possibilities list had sixteen candidates on it. Of those sixteen, I only read or listened to four (though I tried-and-abandoned three others). Six of this year’s RIP-reads were unexpected, including my favorite(s) of the season. I wanted to take a quick moment this Sunday to briefly revisit all ten of my RIP books, plus say a word about the three I abandoned, and take an early peek-forward into next year’s RIP season.
Read and Loved
I didn’t complete a single book for RIP this year that I didn’t enjoy. There were, of course, favorites. Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series pretty much dominated my brain for all of RIP and were by far my favorite reads of the season. All the rest were pretty good, too, however! Here they are, in order of when I read them:
- The Supernatural Enhancements – Perfect opener. Creepy, strange, absolutely unpredictable. Loved it!
- The Raven Boys – Oh boy. After having once abandoned this book only in the second chapter, I didn’t expect a second trial to lead to a very strong new obsession.
- Love is Hell – Fun little collection of shorts by several authors I love.
- The Silkworm – Great dark detective novel, with a perfect gritty feel for the season.
- The Dream Thieves – More Raven Cycle. Oh Maggie Stiefvater, how I’ve fallen in love with these books…
- The Whispering Skull – Wish I could have had this one on audio, but still very much enjoyed this sequel.
- The Secret Place – RIP wouldn’t feel complete without Tana French.
- Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Revisiting an old friend for the half-dozenth time.
- Storm Front – Not my favorite of RIP season, but still good. Dark and gritty and creepy in places.
- Blue Lily, Lily Blue – It seems only fitting to end RIP with the next installment of the series I’ve loved best this season. Love love love.
There were several books on my initial RIP list that I tried out and decided to skip (or save for a different time) after a few pages. I don’t considered these abandoned so much as aborted/postponed trials. If a book doesn’t work from the beginning, I don’t tend to read on. Abandoned books, on the other hands, are books I gave long, fair trials to, and gave up after I was a huge chunk into them. There were three of those during this RIP season, and because none of them were bad books – rather, just not for me books – I thought I’d take a moment to highlight them today as well.
- Rooms – I was expecting Lauren Oliver’s book about a haunted house to be RIP-ish, but it wasn’t. It was far more literary: slow and purposeful, without any real creep at all (at least up until I abandoned it). I may have loved this one if I’d read it at a different time, going into it with different expectations. As it was, I slogged through the first half of it over a week, and decided to return it to the library. Perhaps I will revisit it again one day, not during RIP season.
- Shadow of Night – I was on the fence about the first book in Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy, and tried to listen to book two during RIP. Two things got in the way. First, this was historical fiction, with the characters moving far into the past, and I just had no interest in the history or story. Second, I had just finished listening to the first two Raven Cycle books, and wanted more than anything to relisten to them already. It was, perhaps, unfair timing, but after several disks, I abandoned this one and indulged my multi-read needs instead.
- Night Watch – This Russian novel by Sergei Lukyanenko comes highly recommended from several good friends, and I was really excited about it. I read over half of it before I quit. I could have gone on, yes. The book was interesting enough that I could have finished it. I felt too frustrated to finish, however. I felt like I was losing so much in translation, like there was a wall between me and the characters, making it impossible to fully connect with them. There was also the book’s format. This is actually three related novellas instead of one novel – never my favorite structure – and after the first story ended and a new plot began, I lost interest completely.
For Next Year
There were waaaaaay too many books that I didn’t get to this year, mostly in the category of “RIP Books to Revisit.” The Monk. Good Omens. Rebecca. The White Devil. Anything by Shirley Jackson. The one I regret most is The Night Circus, which I’ve either read or listened to every year since 2011. I broke that tradition this year, mostly because The Raven Cycle books have dominated from beginning to end, and soaked up all my brain. They sort of drowned all the rest out. But I’m still sad that I didn’t get back to the Circus for 2014. Next year. Maybe next year I’ll dedicate RIP entirely to rereads.
That’s a Wrap
It was a good season, altogether. I love this time of year, and read nearly a quarter of 2014’s books during these two months. I discovered previously-unknown, now-loved authors and books. I enjoyed highly anticipated sequels. I revisited old character-friends, and made new character-friends. While I may not read as fast or extensively as I used to – many years, I’ve read double this year’s RIP total – I read more purposefully, and that has led to far greater overall enjoyment than before.
Thanks again, Carl, for all you do hosting this!