Smugglivus Smugglivus Guest Author

Smugglivus 2014 Guest Author: Sarah McCarry

Welcome to Smugglivus 2014! Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2014, looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2015, and more.

Who: Sarah McCarry (also known as The Rejectionist), author of the beautiful All Our Pretty Songs and this year’s Dirty Wings, one of Ana’s Notable Reads of 2014.

Dirty Wings

Please give a warm welcome to Sarah, everyone!

This year I tried to do the same thing I try and fail to do every year, which is write down all the books I read; it’s harder than you think sometimes to keep track of yourself, and I read a lot of books, and I work so much I think there is some part of me that remains deeply resistant to anything that looks like work, even if it isn’t. This year I read a lot of books about monsters because I am working on a book about monsters that doesn’t want to be written. This year a lot of hard things happened in the world and I had trouble deciding if I wanted to know more, or didn’t. This year I made new friends who are also writers and read their books, too. It’s hard to believe this year is nearly over but I always say that.

The Emperor of All Maladies Vampires, Burial and Death

My favorite books about monsters that I read this year: Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies, which is a biography of cancer that I read after a friend of mine died of cancer, and I didn’t come away knowing anything more about why people die who shouldn’t, but I did learn a lot about cancer. It’s a very good book. I read Paul Barber’s Vampires, Burial, and Death, which is a history of vampire folklore; it turns out vampires are not so glamorous as you might think, and also rather messy. I read Anne Carson’s An Oresteia, in which monsters are described beautifully. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s “Monster Culture: Seven Theses” is an essay and not a book, but it’s in a book and you can read it for free online and it’s brilliant so you ought to. I have been procrastinating Bataille. I have watched every episode of The Vampire Diaries, some of them more than once. Some of them more than twice, if you want to know the truth.

The Cranes Dance Gabi A Girl in Pieces

And books I read to take a break from monsters: Meg Howrey’s The Cranes Dance, which is the funniest book about ballet and one of the best books about sisters you’ll ever read; Isabel Quintero’s Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, which is just as good as everyone says it is; Hilary T. Smith’s A Sense of the Infinite, which I just finished fifteen minutes ago and which is coming out next year and will wreck you in the best way. I am working on Ada’s Algorithm, which is a biography of Ada Lovelace, and also Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, which is not really a break from anything but it is a beautiful and necessary book. I finished Emily Mandel’s Station Eleven on the subway and I cried so hard people actually looked at me, which never happens in New York, and I wanted to hug them all and tell them how much I loved them, which never happens to me. I read Jenny Zhang’s Hags—well, obviously I read it because I published it, but I published it because it’s incredible. I’m taking The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath on vacation, which—yeah, I know. It’s okay. I read a lot of other things I can’t remember, or I will remember them later, after I have already sent this in, and think, Oh no I should have told them to read that one too.

Next year I’ll keep better track. Cross my heart.


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  • C. Lee McKenzie
    December 29, 2014 at 11:08 am

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t keep a list. Next year I swear I am doing it. However, this one was a great idea: categories. Thanks for it and thanks for the additions to my TBR list. Happy New Year.

  • Toni Munoz-Hunt
    December 30, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    My Goodreads list just got a lot bigger. THE CRANES DANCE and THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES especially caught my interest. Thanks for sharing!

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