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30Jan/18Off

2017 Albums of the Year

1Rose Elinor Dougall
Stellular

2St. Vincent
Masseduction

3Algiers
The Underside Of Power

4Richard Dawson
Peasant

5Nadine Shah
Holiday Destination

6Filthy Friends
Invitation

7LCD Soundsystem
american dream

8Mark Lanegan
Gargoyle

9Moses Sumney
Aromanticism

10Lorde
Melodrama

3Jan/18Off

2017 Audiobooks

  1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline read by Wil Wheaton
  2. The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams read by Douglas Adams
  3. Pattern Recognition by William Gibson read by Shelly Frasier
  4. Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire read by Cynthia Hopkins
  5. Espedair Street by Iain Banks read by Peter Kenny
  6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins read by Carolyn McCormick
  7. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins read by Carolyn McCormick

3Jan/18Off

2017 Books

It's been a year of reading in fits and starts - I never quite seemed to have the focus to read a lot. I'm hoping to read a bit more in 2018. We'll see how it goes!

  1. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, rated B+
  2. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, rated B+
  3. Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher, rated A-
  4. Armada by Ernest Cline, rated B-
  5. Hold Me by Courtney Milan, rated B
  6. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick, rated B-
  7. Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn, rated B+
  8. You Drive Me Crazy by Anna Premoli, rated C+
  9. Love To Hate You by Anna Premoli, rated B-
  10. Until Love Do Us Part by Anna Premoli, rated C
  11. True Love At The Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Lucy Darling, rated B
  12. Wildflower Bay by Rachael Lucas, rated B-
  13. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, rated B-
  14. The Magicians of Caprona by Diana Wynne Jones, rated A-
  15. Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, rated B+
  16. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, rated A-
  17. The Total Package by Stephanie Evanovich, rated B-
  18. Sleepless In Manhattan by Sarah Morgan, rated C
  19. One Dance With A Duke by Tessa Dare, rated B-
  20. Rogue One by Alexander Freed, rated B-
  21. Once Broken Faith by Seanan McGuire, rated A-
  22. All Or Nothing by Deborah Cooke, rated B
  23. The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire, rated A-
  24. Sleigh Bells In The Snow by Sarah Morgan, rated B-
  25. Sourdough by Robin Sloan, rated B+
  26. Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan, rated B-

11Feb/17Off

2016 Albums of the Year

1Wussy
Forever Sounds

2Angel Olsen
MY WOMAN

3Lambchop
FLOTUS

4Lou Rhodes
theyesandeye

5case/lang/veirs
case/lang/veirs

6Leonard Cohen
You Want It Darker

7Hannah Peel
Awake But Always Dreaming

8Drive-By Truckers
American Band

9Heron Oblivion
Heron Oblivion

10Mitski
Puberty 2

2Jan/17Off

2016 Books

Not my most prolific reading year but I did listen to a record number of audiobooks

  1. Johnny and the Dead by Terry Pratchett, rated A-
  2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster, rated B+
  3. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, rated C+
  4. Johnny and the Bomb by Terry Pratchett, rated A-
  5. You're Never Weird On The Internet, Almost by Felicia Day, rated B
  6. Justice Calling by Annie Bellet, rated B-
  7. Murder Of Crows by Annie Bellet, rated B-
  8. Pack Of Lies by Annie Bellet, rated B-
  9. Hunting Season by Annie Bellet, rated B-
  10. Heartache by Annie Bellet, rated B-
  11. Thicker Than Blood by Annie Bellet, rated B-
  12. Magic To The Bone by Annie Bellet, rated B-
  13. Me, Earl & The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, rated A-
  14. Chaos Choreography by Seanan McGuire, rated B+
  15. Stiletto by Daniel O'Malley, rated B+
  16. Country of the Blind by Christopher Brookmyre, rated B+
  17. Uprooted by Naomi Novik, rated A
  18. Some Kind of Wonderful by Sarah Morgan, rated C+
  19. Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan, rated B-
  20. First Time In Forever by Sarah Morgan, rated C+
  21. Wife By Wednesday by Catherine Bybee, rated C
  22. The Boss's Fake Fiancee by Inara Scott, rated C-
  23. One Con Glory by Sarah Kuhn, rated B
  24. Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn, rated B+
  25. Goodnight and Good Riddance by David Cavanagh, rated A
  26. Maskerade by Terry Pratchett, rated B
  27. Must Love Mistletoe by Christie Ridgway, rated C
  28. Superheroes Anonymous by Lexie Dunne, rated B
  29. Supervillains Anonymous by Lexie Dunne, rated B+
  30. How To Save The World by Lexie Dunne, rated B
  31. Miss Kane's Christmas by Caroline Mickelson, rated C

2Jan/17Off

2016 Audiobooks

  1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline read by Wil Wheaton
  2. Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk read by Paul Garcia
  3. The Rook by Daniel O'Malley read by Katy Carmichael
  4. Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling read by Stephen Fry
  5. Bellwether by Connie Willis read by Kate Reading
  6. Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling read by Stephen Fry
  7. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett read by Stephen Briggs
  8. Making Money by Terry Pratchett read by Stephen Briggs
  9. The Truth by Terry Pratchett read by Stephen Briggs
  10. Night Watch by Terry Pratchett read by Stephen Briggs
  11. Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett read by Stephen Briggs
  12. The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett read by Stephen Briggs
  13. Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett read by Nigel Planer
  14. Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett read by Stephen Briggs
  15. Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett read by Stephen Briggs

2Jan/16Off

2015 Albums of the Year

1Low
Ones And Sixes

LOW_OnesSixes_cover

2Julia Holter
Have You In My Wilderness

Julia_Holter

3Susanne Sundfør
Ten Love Songs

Susanne-Sundfør-Ten-Love-Songs-2015

4Sleater-Kinney
No Cities To Love

14a54cdb469e4d2263913f9aeab720eb.1000x1000x1

5Drenge
Undertow

Drenge-Undertow-art

6Torres
Sprinter

torres-sprinter-1500x1500

7LoneLady
Hinterland

lonelady_hinterland_new_album_the_405

8Gwenno
Y Dydd Olaf

cover600x600

9My Morning Jacket
The Waterfall

the-waterfall-my-morning-jacket-album-cover-art

10Gaz Coombes
Matador

matador-packshot-share

11Courtney Barnett
Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

12The Decemberists
What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World

13Farao
Till It's All Forgotten

14Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Multi-Love

15John Grant
Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

16New Order
Music Complete

17Ought
Sun Coming Down

18Wolf Alice
My Love Is Cool

19Patty Griffin
Servant Of Love

20The Unthanks
Mount The Air

This year I found it very hard to choose between the top three choices - they are all SO good. In the end took the easy option I went with the order of most listens on last.fm.
Choosing albums to go on the list beyond the top dozen on so was also quite difficult. I added 1771 tracks to my iTunes library in 2015 and giving all that music the attention it deserved to make album of the year choices was basically impossible. I'm happy with the list as it stands but it took a concerted effort in the last few weeks of the year to be able to make my choices.

I think I only attended a couple of gigs this year. The Ex were great at Summerhall, but I had to leave early due to toothache. Low were similarly great at the Glasgow School of Art but it was spoiled by the guy who talked non-stop through the first half of the gig.

My favourite new-to-me track of the year was Kamikaze by Susanne Sundfør.
My most listened to track was Lies by Low

2Jan/16Off

2015 Audiobooks

This year I discovered downloadable library audiobooks and I also had an Audible membership that helped to expand my audiobook listening.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller narrated by Trevor White Rated A
An award winning satire of World War II this classic picaresque novel is superbly read by Trevor White. I've read this book twice previously and I got very different things from it each time. This time I really started to feel overwhelmed by the horror it all. The war, the insane bureaucracy, the corruption, and the abuse of civilians are all portrayed with vicious black humour but that doesn't rob it of any of it's power.

Dead Girl Walking by Chris Brookmyre narrated by Angus King and Kate Bracken rated A
Solid Jack Parlabane novel with the narration lifting it to greater levels. Bracken in particular is just brilliant narrating the diary entries of a naive Shetland violist thrust into the spotlight when she becomes a member of an upcoming band on their European tour.

Agent To The Stars by John Scalzi narrated by Wil Wheaton.
Reviewed before

Redshirts by John Scalzi narrated by Wil Wheaton
Reviewed before

The following titles were borrowed from the library. I've got some more promising titles to try out in 2016 than these less than impressive efforts.

The CEO's Accidental Bride by Barbara Dunlop narrated by Laurence Bouvard rated C-
While the narration is decent (and the lead male sounds uncannily like Ashley Clement's Darcy voice from The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet) the book is just awful.

Billionaire's Contract Engagement by Maya Banks narrated by Harry Berkeley rated C-
I love "Fake Married" stories (this being a fake fiancee tale) but this is just painful.

Bride, Bought And Paid For by Helen Bianchin narrated by Susan Lyons rated D
Author can't write for toffee. Also the happy ending makes no sense given the messed up forced marriage

The Tycoon Takes A Wife by Catherine Mann narrated by Harry Berkeley rated C-
It's a terribly weak story with utterly forgettable narration doing nothing to help matters.

Bossman's Baby Scandal by Catherine Mann narrated by Harry Berkeley rated C-
Again it's a terribly weak story with utterly forgettable narration doing nothing to help matters.

1Jan/16Off

2015 Books

I read quite a few books this year - thankfully without the same compulsive need to escape into fiction that I felt in 2014. There's still a fair amount of feel-good romances in this list (including my first proper foray into historical romance) but it's better balanced out with works from other genres than I managed last year.

  1. Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery, rated C+
  2. Search For Senna by K.A. Applegate, rated B-
  3. The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson, rated B+
  4. Pocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuire, rated B
  5. Instant Attraction by Jill Shalvis, rated C
  6. Double Trouble by Deborah Cooke, rated C-
  7. The Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Crusie, rated B
  8. Indexing by Seanan McGuire, rated B
  9. Sex, Lies & Online Dating by Rachel Gibson, rated C
  10. The DUFF by Kody Keplinger, rated B
  11. A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger, rated B
  12. Pawn Of Prophecy by David Eddings, rated C+
  13. Queen Of Sorcery by David Eddings, rated C+
  14. Magician's Gambit by David Eddings, rated C+
  15. Castle Of Wizardry by David Eddings, rated C+
  16. Enchanter's End Game by David Eddings, rated C+
  17. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, rated B+
  18. Romancing The Duke by Tessa Dare, rated C+
  19. Hired Bride by Noelle Adams, rated C
  20. Stripping The Billionaire by Noelle Adams, rated C
  21. A Hero At The End Of The World by Erin Claiborne, rated B+
  22. Love Handles by Gretchen Galway, rated C
  23. Armada by Ernest Cline, rated B-
  24. From This Moment On by Bella Andre, rated C
  25. The Duchess War by Courtney Milan, rated B
  26. A Kiss For Midwinter by Courtney Milan, rated B-
  27. The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan, rated B
  28. The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan, rated B
  29. The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan, rated B
  30. Talk Sweetly To Me by Courtney Milan, rated B-
  31. A Night To Surrender by Tessa Dare, rated B-
  32. Long Way Home by Neve Cottrell, rated C
  33. A Week To Be Wicked by Tessa Dare, rated B-
  34. Trade Me by Courtney Milan, rated B-
  35. Off To Be The Wizard by Scott Meyer, rated B-
  36. A Red-Rose Chain by Seanan McGuire, rated A-
  37. The Martian by Andy Weir, rated A
  38. Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron, rated B+
  39. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, rated A-
  40. First & Then by Emma Mills, rated B
  41. Lock in by John Scalzi, rated B+
  42. The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey, rated A
  43. The Nine Lives of Christmas by Sheila Roberts, rated C
  44. Sleigh Bells In The Snow by Sarah Morgan, rated C+
  45. Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan, rated C
  46. Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan, rated C+
  47. What I Did For Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, rated B-
  48. Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett, rated A-

5Jan/15Off

2014 Albums of the Year

1O'Hooley & Tidow
The Hum

The Hum 150

2St. Vincent
St. Vincent

St_Vincent_artwork 150

3Jenny Lewis
The Voyager

The Voyager 150

4Angel Olsen
Burn Your Fire For No Witness

Burn Your Fire For No Witness 150

5Sharon Van Etten
Are We There

Are We There 150

6Perfume Genius
Too Bright

Perfume-Genius-Too-Bright 150

7Damien Jurado
Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son

Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son 150

8Morgan Delt
Morgan Delt

Morgan Delt 150

9Mark Lanegan Band
Phantom Radio

Phantom Radio 150

10King Creosote
From Scotland With Love

17118-from-scotland-with-love 150

11EMA
The Future's Void

12Wye Oak
Shriek

13The New Pornographers
Brill Bruisers

14Elbow
The Take Off and Landing of Everything

15The Afghan Whigs
Do The Beast

16Grouper
Ruins

17Lucius
Wildewoman

18Wild Beasts
Present Tense

19The War On Drugs
Lost In The Dream

20Mirel Wagner
When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day

21Sturgill Simpson
Metamodern Sounds In Country Music

22The Rural Alberta Advantage
Mended With Gold

23J Mascis
Tied To A Star

24Spoon
They Want My Soul

25Honeyblood
Honeyblood

The Hum and St. Vincent were released a week apart in February 2014 and it's a testament to their quality that even with the toll of many months listening that my pick for record of the year was a straight choice between the two.
It was a hard decision but I picked the O'Hooley & Tidow record for my number one. It's a very beautiful record packed with personality and humanity. That sense of personality edged it ahead of St. Vincent's seamless, jeweled, statement of intent.

Gig of the year was Neutral Milk Hotel at the Corn Exchange. A joyous experience from beginning to end despite the slightly rubbish venue.

My favourite new-to-me song of the year was You, Sailor by Erin McKeown.
My most listened to song from a 2014 record was Coil & Spring by O'Hooley & Tidow