Last year I read nineteen books.
In the world of the Goodreads Reading Challenge where 50+ books is the norm, I guess 19 seems like a pretty small, arbitrary number. However, after the reading slump I experienced in the first quarter of 2017, I think 19 is a pretty decent number.
So, in celebration of this, here's a rundown of some of my favourite reads of the year:
At the top of my list is Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Set in the late 1980s, this is the story of teenager Ari, and Dante, the boy he meets at the local public pool. Sparsely and poetically written, Aristotle and Dante delves into the duos struggles with racial identity, sexuality, and class.
In 2017 I also read my first Laini Taylor novel, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, I picked this book up after some considerable encouragement from my twin sister. Daughter is the story of Karou, a teenager raised by supernatural creatures, and the war she can't remember. Daughter is set in two worlds: a version of our own and the world of Elsewhere. I may be in the minority here, but my favourite sections of the book were not actually those set in Elsewhere but in Prague. Taylor's rich, gorgeous descriptions of the city perfectly capture the city I remember and make me yearn to visit it again someday soon. Daughter is a fantastical and unpredictable novel, ending with one hell of an emotional gut-punch. Months later, I think I'm only just ready for the sequel, Days of Blood & Starlight.
In June I finished reading The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey, a haunting tale of survival set in a future dystopian England. Whilst I'm not normally drawn to this genre, I've found I haven't been able to forget this book. It's difficult to describe without giving anything away–in fact I'd go so far as to recommend you don't even read the blurb. It's a story best started with little prior knowledge.
Throughout September and October I read all four books in The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater. This was another series my sister recommended i.e. insisted I read (I'm grateful really. I love this series! Thanks B!). After getting off to a slow start with the series I soon found myself caught up in the Welsh-based mythology, the unfamiliar Virginian setting, and the individual, and intertwined journeys of Blue and her Raven Boys. These books have made me a fan of Stiefvater, and I can't wait for her upcoming sequel series.
My final read of 2017 was also one of the best: The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell. The Beginning is the first full short story collection I've ever read and one which will be hard to top. The stories range from whimsical to heartbreaking, disturbing to mesmerising (or, as is often the case, several of these things at once). My favourite story is the collection's namesake, closely followed by Jacob, Little Deaths, and Aunt Libby's Coffin Hotel.
How about you? What were your favourite reads of 2017? Do you have any frontrunners for 2018? So far I've read three excellent books, each very different in genre to the other and style, (with no reading slump in sight!).
Until next time,