Month: December 2016

Fave books of 2016

So you know how I was going to do all these lovely categories of books that I loved this year? Well I’ve done two (plus my least favorite), and I can already feel myself wanting to double up on books in the other categories I haven’t written yet, so… I’m just going to skip ahead to my faves of the year. And what do you know, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday is fave books of the year. I chose to include books I’ve read this year, not necessarily ones that were released this year.

These are not going to be in any sort of order, because that is just asking too much. I have some duplicates on here from the previous two lists (fave series and fave literary fiction)

faves-of-2016

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2016 resolutions check-in

This year I did pretty well on some of my resolutions, and not so well on others… like the whole reducing my TBR thing? Horrible. I don’t want to talk about it.

Anyway… it’s as good a time as any to see how well I’ve done on these resolutions, with less than two weeks to go in the year. I am officially on winter break now, having survived my first semester of adjunct-hood, and I’m looking forward to doing all the reading over the next few weeks. Still, it won’t be enough time to make a difference in how successful (or not) I was in completing these resolutions.

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Least favorite books of 2016

In the spirit of end-of-the-year wrap-ups and list-making (which I very much enjoy), I decided to share the books that I wish I hadn’t read or spent the time trying to struggle through this year. This is based partly on the book, and partly on my own reaction to it. Sometimes, you just don’t get along with a story, no matter how pretty (IE well-written) it is.

  • Hystopia, David Means. I started off really enjoying this book, but somewhere along the way I just got really tired of it. I could barely finish it.
  • Ruby, Cynthia Bond. The writing in this book was really beautiful. A man in a small town, Ephram, meets the titular character who has been used, abused, and cast out by the residents of a small town, and decides to help her (albeit secretly, since she is the town pariah). This book needs a trigger warning for basically anything you can imagine – rape, pedophilia, violence, torture and murder of children, racism, the list goes on. It’s a lot, and it’s graphic, and frankly gratuitous. I could barely finish it because I was so disgusted, and if that was her point then ok, but this book is not for me.
  • The Association of Small Bombs, Karan Mahajan. I actually DNF’d this book about 50 pages in, so I don’t know if it counts. I’m trying to be better about not finishing a book if it isn’t interesting me, and this one did nothing for me. I know this one is pretty popular (in fact a few of these are… maybe I should rename this “Unpopular Opinions”).
  • Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard. This book is pretty popular, but there were so many similarities to Hunger Games that I couldn’t enjoy it.
  • Sweetland, Michael Crummey. This is another one that had lovely prose, but did nothing for me. This is the problem with rating books – what criteria do we use? When one person says they loved a book, is it because of the plot? The characters? The prose? Was it a slow burn, insta-love, fast-paced, none of the above? I digress.
  • Me Before You, Jojo Moyes. This book made me ugly cry, but I also felt like I was emotionally manipulated, as if the story wasn’t organic but more like the author was thinking, “how could I make this more tragic?” It’s really problematic regarding disability in a way that I’m not going to get into as many others have already done so. Also, rape as character-development tool? No thanks.

It was actually difficult to choose books that I actively disliked this year, which is nice – it was a finite list, unlike my faves, which require at least three blog posts. It’s entirely possible for other people to enjoy some of these, they just weren’t for me.

 

Favorite literary fiction of 2016

Continuing my posts of favorite books of the year… up next I decided to talk about literary fiction.

One of the main genres I tend toward is literary fiction, and that has been since my undergrad English lit major days. It’s more of a time investment for various reasons, but the perfect mix of character and prose can be so rewarding. Here are my favorite literary fiction books that I read in 2016 (also they all came out this year, but that was a coincidence). Five of the seven were either nominated for or won a literary prize this year.

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Favorite series of 2016

Over the next few weeks I thought I would do a few posts about my favorite books that I’ve read this year. Since it’s nearly impossible to choose just 10 (or 16, or even 20) of my faves from this year, considering that I’ve read around 150 at the time of me writing this, I decided to cheat come up with some categories and then pick my faves from those.

These categories may include (because let’s be honest, this is a lot of writing and I may get lazy):

  • Fave series read in 2016
  • Literary fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Young adult
  • 2016 releases
  • Fave books read in 2016

I’ll try not to have any overlap in these categories, but… you never know. The last category probably will have at least a few repeats, if not all repeats based on the other lists.

First up: favorite series I’ve read in 2016. I’ve based this on what I’ve read this year, not what was released this year, and a couple of them aren’t complete yet (but I’ve read all the books that are out). This is fairly long, but it’s hard to talk about my faves without getting verbose. I also forgot to put the cover for Six of Crows in this picture, which pisses me off, but I’m not redoing it.

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End of the year TBR

It’s December! That means mere weeks of reading left this year, which means I need to make sure I complete some more of my goals. There are some books that I would really like to read by the end of the year (since somehow, January magically resets everything and makes it feel like goals need to be achieved before then).

I’ve sort-of based this on books that are on “best of 2016” type lists, or up for awards, as well as personal preference. I’ve already read quite a few of the books that are popping up on “best of” lists, which is a new experience for my bookish heart that previously thought if it wasn’t a classic, it wasn’t worth my time. So, now I’m trying to read the others that are on those lists (that I already own).

  1. Finish the Harry Potter series. This was one of my resolutions for the year and I am still on The Chamber of Secrets! Whoops. Maybe I’ll read at least one or two more.
  2. The Fate of the Tearing – Erika Johanssen. So I had this book on my list when I started writing this post because it was coming out November 29th. This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and I found it for sale four days early and finished it already. I loved it so much but it also hurt my heart… Somehow Johansen managed to make Kelsea lose everything, but also it had a happy ending? I really need to talk to someone about the excerpts that come at the beginning of each chapter in this series because they took on a whole new meaning after this ending. Please.
  3. Truthwitch – Susan Dennard. The sequel Windwitch comes out in January, so what better reason to finish reading this book?
  4. Barkskins – Annie Proulx. I’ve been meaning to read this for a while but its size is intimidating me. But I’ll read it.
  5. The Association of Small Bombs – Karan Mahajan. This just came out on New York Times’ list of the ten best books of the year, and I’ve had it on my shelf for a while.
  6. Gemina – Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. I’ve been meaning to read this since it came out in October, and if I wait too long then I’ll forget what happened in its predecessor. At this point I wonder if I should just reread the first book, Illuminae, anyway, since it has been over a year.
  7. A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles. This one I don’t own intentionally, but Book of the Month sent me the wrong book a couple months ago, so… now I own this. I was waffling between it and the book I ending up choosing, so it’s just a happy accident.
  8. The Young Elites series – Marie Lu. I got this as a gift for my birthday, so I don’t want to wait too long to read it or I’ll feel guilty.
  9. Red Rising series – Pierce Brown. When I read Red Queen (Victoria Aveyard) I thought it had far too many similarities to The Hunger Games, and according to some reviews I read there were similarities involving this series as well. PhantomRin has been creating a lot of art for this series lately, which has piqued my interest.
  10. Lab Girl – Hope Jahren. I’ve kind-of been reading more non-fiction and this one has had a lot of hype.

I know this is a lot of books for one month, but… I was looking at my November books and even though I reread three books (which Goodreads doesn’t count), I still managed to get through 17 new reads. Plus in two weeks I’ll be on winter break and so I’ll have vast fields of time in which to read… yay! Chances are I will read books that aren’t on this list instead of some of these, but that’s the way it goes.