Category: Lists

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 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.

fave-series

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Favorite books from the first half of 2016

In my last post I went through how many books I’ve read, what genre, ratings, and how well I’ve done on my resolutions (or not). It’s also high time I look back on what I’ve read this year so far and decide which have been my favorite. This is especially helpful since I haven’t been writing about them much, and I don’t want to forget everything by the time I get to December!

I chose 6 books, one for each month. These are books that I have rated highly and still look back on fondly, even after months. I’ve been struggling lately with ratings and whether my initial reaction is more important than what I remember months and years later. I came down on the side of memory – what good is it to read a nice book that was thrilling, but ultimately forgettable? This means that I keep going back and down-grading books that I realize aren’t as great as I initially thought. Partly that comes from comparison, and partly from reflecting back on the whole experience and recognizing that one or two good aspects don’t make up for a load of defects, whatever they may have been.

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