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2019 Reading in Review -- Nonstandard Edition, Part 1: The "Book Titles" Self-Interview

A few years ago, Olga Godim came up with a fun "reading year in review" version in the form of a self-interview, where the only answers permitted were book titles.  I instantly decided to copy it and add a few more categories of my own.  While I didn't have time to do this again in the more recent past, as my last "2019 in review" posts, I decided to undust it -- with yet more additions of my own --, along with another, similar questionnaire, the Bookish Academy Awards (posted separately).

 

(Note: For the more seriously-minded, my "real" "best new(-to-me) books of 2019" post -- with links to my reviews / reading status updates, where in existence -- is HERE.)

 

 

In 2019, what was / were your ...

 

Most Memorably Good Encounters?

Hogfather: Discworld, Book 20 - Terry Pratchett, Nigel Planer Wyrd Sisters - Terry Pratchett, Celia Imrie

Hard to beat -- every single year anew.

 

 

Most Horrific Encounters?

The Case of the Abominable Snowman - Nicholas Blake, Kris Dyer The Hollow Man - Peter Noble, John Dickson Carr The Monster in the Box - Ruth Rendell, Christopher Ravenscroft The Bone Woman: A Forensic Anthropologist's Search for Truth in the Mass Graves of Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo - Clea Koff

 

 

Nicest Relations Met?

Beloved - Toni Morrison The Daughter of Time - Josephine Tey, Derek Jacobi

 

 

Most Awful Relations Met?

Wedlock: How Georgian Britain's Worst Husband Met His Match - Wendy Moore, Rachel Atkins

The husband from hell.

 

 

Worst Person Met (overall)?

Evil Has a Name - Full Cast, Peter McDonnell, Steven Kramer, Various Authors, Paul Holes, Jim Clemente The Guilty Ones: A Jackman and Evans Thriller - Joy Ellis, Richard Armitage Five Bloody Hearts - Joy Ellis, Matthew Lloyd Davies

Hard to think of anybody worse than a serial killer (both in real life and in fiction).

 

 

Best Vacation Spots?

Death In Kashmir - M.M. Kaye Murder at Mt. Fuji - Shizuko Natsuki Days in the Caucasus - Banine

Seriously, the locations were the best things about all of these books.  Though the mystery in Death in Kashmir was at least decent as well (and I'd advise you to give the audio version the widest berth you're capable of).

 

 

Most Exciting Adventures?

Murder on the Orient Express: Complete & Unabridged (Audiocd) - Agatha Christie Death on the Nile - Agatha Christie

Well, duh. :)

 

 

Best Guided Tours?

The Good Thief's Guide To Paris - Chris Ewan The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams, Stephen Fry

 

 

Favorite Place to Visit?

Pyramids - Terry Pratchett, Nigel Planer

 

 

Least Favorite Place?

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood The Testaments - Margaret Atwood, Mae Whitman, Ann Dowd, Bryce Dallas Howard, Tantoo Cardinal, Derek Jacobi

I know I'm breaking the rules here because the answer isn't in the book names as such, but honestly, can you think of a worse place to be trapped in than a theocratic autocracy?

 

 

Most Embarrassing Memory?

Strangers on a Train - Patricia Highsmith, Bronson Pinchot Smallbone Deceased - Michael Gilbert

Tie between the chance encounter of an alcoholic psychopath and his future victim on the one hand and the discovery of a murder victim inside his own locked deed box at his lawyer's office on the other hand ...

 

 

Most Heartbreaking Memory?

The Memory of Love - Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Aminatta Forna

This book will slay you -- hide and hair.

 

 

Best Weather?

A Caribbean Mystery - Agatha Christie, Emilia Fox

 

 

Worst Weather?

Raven Black - Ann Cleeves, Kenny Blyth White Nights - Ann Cleeves, Kenny Blyth Hot Sur - David Colacci, Laura Restrepo, Roxanne Hernandez

Tie between two extremes -- the rain-, snow- and-wind-chased Shetlands and tropical, hot and humid Colombia.

 

 

Scariest Event?

And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie, Dan Stevens Earth-Shattering: Violent Supernovas, Galactic Explosions, Biological Mayhem, Nuclear Meltdowns, and Other Hazards to Life in Our Universe - Bob Berman, Peter Ganim

 

 

Funniest Moment?

The Murder of My Aunt - Richard Hull, Gordon Griffin

Pure slapstick.

 

 

Saddest Moment?

The Stolen Boys - Joy Ellis, Richard Armitage

 

 

Best Food?

Chocolat - Joanne Harris, Gareth Armstrong, Samantha Bond The Lost Plays: Butter in a Lordly Dish / Murder in the Mews / Personal Call - Agatha Christie, Ivan S. Brandt, Richard Williams, Full Cast The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding - Agatha Christie, Charles Armstrong Christmas Pudding - Nancy Mitford, Kristin Atherton

Chocolate, Butter in a Lordly Dish, and two versions of Christmas Pudding?  I'll take it ...

 

 

Worst Food?

Wine of Violence - Priscilla Royal, Wanda McCaddon Picnic at Hanging Rock - Joan Lindsay, Yael Stone The Shape of Water - Andrea Camilleri, Mark Meadows

 

 

Overstatement of the Year?

Good Omens - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Martin Jarvis

Hey, it's the apocalypse ... we'll be having So. Much. Fun!!!

 

 

Understatement of the Year?

Another Little Murder - Lorna Nicholl Morgan

 

 

Best Animal Encounters?

Owl Be Home for Christmas - Donna Andrews, Bernadette Dunne Ladyhawke - Joan D. Vinge The Whale Rider - Witi Ihimaera, Jay Laga'aia Furry Logic: The Physics of Animal Life - Liz Kalaugher, Matin Durrani The Five Red Herrings - Dorothy L. Sayers, Patrick Malahide

 

 

Scariest Animal Encounters?

The Speckled Band - Arthur Conan Doyle Raven Black - Ann Cleeves, Kenny Blyth The Raven Tower - Ann Leckie Track of the Cat - Nevada Barr, Barbara Rosenblat Krokodilwächter - Katrine Engberg, Dietmar Bär The Tenderness of Wolves - Stef Penney, Sally Armstrong, Adam Sims

 

 

Most Precious Acquisitions?

The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle - Arthur Conan Doyle, Alan Cumming The Christmas Egg - Mary Kelly, David Thorpe The Golden Ball and Other Stories - Agatha Christie, Hugh Fraser, Christopher Lee Eternity Ring - Patricia Wentworth, Diana Bishop The Ivory Dagger - Diana Bishop, Patricia Wentworth

 

 

Favorite Garments?

Monk's Hood: The Third Chronicle of Brother Cadfael - Ellis Peters, Stephen R. Thorne The Golden Slipper - Anna Katharine Green

 

 

Prettiest Flowers?

The Rose Rent - Ellis Peters, Nadia May The Apothecary Rose - Candace Robb, Derek Perkins Purple Hibiscus - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Lisette Lecat A Christmas Garland - Simon Prebble, Anne Perry

 

 

Favorite Visual Arts?

Still Life - Louise Penny, Adam Sims Photo Finish - Ngaio Marsh, James Saxon

 

 

Favorite Music?

Son de Mar - Manuel Vicent

 

 

Best Parties?

Hallowe'en Party - Agatha Christie, Hugh Fraser Death and the Dancing Footman - Ngaio Marsh, James Saxon At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails - Sarah Bakewell, Antonia Beamish

If I had reread Gaudy Night this year, it of course would have been included as well.  As it is ...

 

 

Poshest Homes Visited?

The House on the Lagoon - Rosario Ferré, Silvia Sierra Mysterious Affair At Styles - Agatha Christie

 

 

Coziest Homes Visited?

South Riding - Winifred Holtby, Carole Boyd High Rising - Jilly Bond, Angela Thirkell The White Cottage Mystery - Margery Allingham, William Gaminara

 

 

Worst Homes Visited?

Crooked House - Agatha Christie In a House of Lies - Ian Rankin, James McPherson The Casual Vacancy - Tom Hollander, J.K. Rowling

 

 

Most Puzzling Questions?

Was It Murder? - James Hilton Whose Body? - Dorothy L. Sayers, Mark Meadows Why Didn't They Ask Evans? - Emilia Fox, Agatha Christie Anna, Where Are You? - Patricia Wentworth, Diana Bishop Why Shoot a Butler? - Georgette Heyer, Ulli Birvé