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Goodreads | Peter Anargirou’s 2013 Year in Books

Goodreads | 2013 Year in Books.

I read 32 books last year according to Goodreads. Boy, a lot of it was crap.

Six books were for teens – Ally Condie’s Matched trilogy, the last two novels of Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy, and a novelization from Surviving High School (the iOS visual novel I play a lot) by M. Doty, How to Be a Star.

Thirteen were actually episodic releases of John Scalzi’s The Human Division. It was later released as one novel.

Four were short stories (and most weren’t great) – The Time Traveler’s Wife, Skinny Bitch, Dead(ish), and I Will Be Your Dominatrix.

Two were based on World of Warcraft – Vol’jin: Shadows of the Horde and Stormrage.

The other eight were more substantial – The Ocean at the End of the Lane, John Dies at the End, This Book Is Full of Spiders, The Time Machine and the Invisible Man, The Metamorphosis and Other Stories, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Journey to the Center of the Earth.

I’d talk about which ones I liked, but honestly, I really enjoyed a lot of them. It was nice to see John Scalzi return to his Old Man’s War universe with the Human Division, and I really liked the episodic release. John Dies at the End and its sequel, This Books Is Full of Spiders were both fun. I really loved Kafka’s stories, as weird as they were. And what can I say? I’m a sucker for teenager dystopian novels.

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Having recently finished Journey to the Center of the Earth, I can say that it’s fairly entertaining once the characters get somewhere interesting! For the first section of the book, which felt like roughly a third of it, the explorers were simply traveling to the point at which they were going to begin their descent into the Earth. Following that section, they begin their descent through an inactive volcano, hiking down tunnels. This part as well drags for quite some time. Truly it’s only the final third or so of the book that deals with interesting discoveries, and once I reached that part, the rate at which I read greatly increased.

There’s something about an underground world that seems strangely exciting. We see it over and over in literature and other media. Reading this novel continually made me want to play Dungeons & Dragons. I can’t say exactly why, because I’ve never played in a campaign that featured much underground exploration.

The choice of narrator in the novel is particularly useful in framing the story in a context that’s sympathetic to the reader. While Axel’s uncle, Professor Lidenbrock, continually believes in the validity of their journey and never waivers, Axel questions it constantly. He believes in the accepted science and doesn’t think they’ll succeed. There are times that he flips his feelings and gets excited, but he’s still the voice of the current knowledge and status quo.

It took me a while to finish the novel, but I’m glad I did. I probably won’t be reading more Jules Verne immediately, but I’d be happy to read some of his other novels in the future.