Category: books

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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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.

 

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.

Bookish updates

So… I haven’t written in a while. In the last month or two I’ve had some ideas about posts – quite a few ideas, really, and they are stacking up. I think I’ll get working on those now, since I am in a good rhythm at my new job, and have a ton of book-related things I want to write about.

But first, a quick update:

Last week I reached my Goodreads goal of reading 125 books this year. My goal was a bit weird because I kept changing it based on how much I was reading. It went 75-100-125-150-125. I finally settled back on 125 because I spent September (and part of this month) rereading books, which didn’t count towards my total. Ok, TBH I was rereading the Throne of Glass series because Empire of Storms kicked my ass and I felt like everything had finally come together and that series has given me something to fangirl over like I haven’t since I used to rewatch Buffy the Vampire Slayer and had the soundtrack for the musical episode on repeat. I’m a grown-ass woman, but I’m also like “where is all the Rowaelin fanfic?!”

I really think that Goodreads needs to change that so rereads count, because I would actually be at 130 right now, but that’s fine. I’ve read more this year than I ever have, so I’m not going to begrudge those missing 5 rereads. It’s still entirely possible for me to get to 150 for the year, but I’m not pressuring myself.

I have cried more because of a book in the last couple of months than I have in a long time (hello, Crooked KingdomJust MercyWhen Breath Becomes Air, A Court of Mist and Fury, and Empire of Storms, I’m looking at you. Oh, and The Assassin’s Blade). Especially thanks to Crooked Kingdom. I couldn’t stop crying for an hour after I finished that book, and when I tried to tell my partner about it, I just got worse.

This has basically been me lately, after reading almost anything:

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Even Sweetbitter, which I read last weekend, nearly did this to me. Tess is such a fuck-up, but I understood her on a weird level that I wish I didn’t.

This next week has several exciting bookish things – first, this weekend my department and several breweries in town are hosting a book festival, which means books + beer, which is basically my weekends in a nutshell, anyway. The town has just decided to make it official, apparently, that the cool thing to do, which my partner and I have been doing for about a year, is to take a pile of books to a brewery and read and drink all weekend.

This weekend is also Dewey’s 24 hour readathon, which I am planning on participating in again. Last time I read 17 or 18 hours, but this time I am going to push myself a bit more. I’ll post updates on Litsy (booksinotherwords) and Instagram, mostly.It might be hard with the book festival going on the same weekend (and some personal family things), but I’m going to do my best.  Especially considering…

…in the next week there are two more bookish events, including an author signing (Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman, Jessica Cluess, and Kiersten White) and the winner of the Man Booker Prize being announced. Combined, I’d really like to read 6 books in order to prepare for both of those things. In the next 7 days. So… we’ll see how that goes. I know I am capable of doing that, it’s just that things come up, shit happens, etc.

24-in-48-fall

I would really like to read these in the next couple of weeks, if not in the next week. Right now my feelings about the Man Booker are The Sellout = yay, you deserve it, Eileen = ok, won’t be mad if it wins, and Hot Milk = will be annoyed if it wins. The three books on the bottom of the image are the other three that are shortlisted, so I have no feelings yet except for the cover of Do Not Say We Have Nothing is gorgeous. It’s even better in person.

Look for more posts in the future… I hope. As I mentioned, I’ve had ideas brewing, I just need to take the time to work them out.

Happy reading!

Ten books I’d buy right now…

…if someone gave me an unlimited gift card. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a good idea for people with self-control. People who don’t act like money grows on trees and find ways to constantly acquire new books every week, despite having put themselves on book-buying bans.

That’s not me.

So, what I decided to do is think of books that I would buy, if they existed or if there wasn’t some other obstacle besides money. Because when it comes to me and books, there are few reasons why I don’t/can’t get my hands on them.

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Anticipated Releases – Fall 2016

Last year sometime I created a list of my top ten anticipated releases of 2016, which wasn’t actually very conscious of many things coming out in the latter half. Nor was it conscious of literary fiction, in general. I decided to update the list based on things I’ve discovered since then. Until I made this list I didn’t realize how many good things are coming out, so I’m really excited!

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Books I want to read by the end of summer

I decided quite quickly last year when I started this blog that having a strict TBR is not a good idea for me. This is for many reasons: constantly purchasing new books, adding to my gigantic Goodreads TBR, wanting to read books I’ve owned for a long time, being a mood reader, and also just the fact that I’ve been trying to read more genres.

However… there are some books that I would like to get to sooner than others, and so I thought I would make a list of them and explain why it is that I want to read them so much. I have a few weeks before the fall semester starts, which is what I consider to be the unofficial end of summer, summer being that period of unlimited, uninterrupted book-reading, in theory.

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