I’ve read a good bit of books this year, some good, some not so good.

Here’s a quick list of the books I read this year that stood out.

1. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

WeHaveAlwaysThis is a really wonderful, odd, dark little story. It was the cover that caught my attention at first, and when I saw it was a book by Shirley Jackson I just had to have it. It tells the story of two women who live in a large house with their wheelchair-bound uncle. The rest of the family had been killed during a meal a few years back, when someone put arsenic in the sugar bowl. The sisters are shunned by the people in town and only Merricat, the younger sister, ever leaves the house, once a week for supplies. The townspeople taunt her, and the children sing songs about them. And we are left guessing…who put the arsenic in the sugar bowl?

2. City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer

Sometimes I feel like my writing career is moving somewhat slower than it should. Do you ever feel that way?

I’ve been reading Jeff VanderMeer’s Booklife, and in it he talks about the importance of setting goals as a writer.

Establishing goals is one of the most important tasks you can ever undertake for your writing career.

Booklife VandermeerHe goes on to set out a rule for the goals created; they must be specific, measurable and attached to a timeline. Each goal should clearly state what you want to accomplish, and by when.